Meet the Team

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David Mahan, Ph.D.

  • Founding Executive Director
  • Research Institute

David is the founding executive director of the Dallas College Research Institute. He has served as the associate vice president, data and advanced analytics at the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education (CPE), as well as the assistant provost of institutional effectiveness at Manhattan College (Bronx, N.Y.) and director of institutional research/effectiveness at Bellarmine University. David has worked for almost 20 years as an executive leader in higher education, in areas of public policy research, academic assessment/accreditation, strategic planning, institutional research and student recruitment. In 2010, he earned a doctorate in educational leadership and organizational development from the University of Louisville College of Education and Human Development. While attending UofL, he served as a fellow in graduate studies for the Association of Institution Research (AIR), successfully completing the 2009 National Summer Data Policy Institute (NCES/NSF) in Washington, D.C. David's research focus is student equity in terms of higher education access and outcomes for return on investment, state-level attainment goals, first-generation student academic performance, the relationship between student engagement and retention/graduation, and student career outcomes by academic program. He has served as an adjunct professor, teaching program evaluation curricula at the University of Louisville and Bellarmine University.

Ryan Lux, Ph.D.

  • Data Science Analyst
  • Research Institute

Ryan uses machine learning and statistical modeling to improve the outcomes of Dallas College students. Prior to joining the Research Institute, he was a visiting assistant professor of political science at the University of Texas at Dallas. His research focuses on comparative institutions and political science pedagogy. He has authored several chapters for political science textbooks and received the Marianne Stewart Award for Teaching Excellence. Ryan holds a doctorate and Master of Science in political science from the University of Texas at Dallas, a Bachelor of Arts in political science from the University of North Texas and an honorable discharge from the U.S. Army.

Sayeeda Jamilah, Ph.D.

  • Survey Research Analyst
  • Research Institute

Sayeeda designs survey instruments and supports the implementation and analysis of surveys to understand the needs of Dallas College students. Previously, she was a research assistant at the Office of Programs, Accreditation and Assessment at UT Dallas, where she assisted with the assessment and improvement of academic and administrative programs and SACSCOC accreditation. She served as a program analyst for the Student Advancement and Leadership Initiative at LINC North Texas, conducting survey analyses and program evaluations, and has also taught English at Dallas College.

She holds a Master of Arts in humanities with a focus in literature and a doctorate in public policy and political economy with concentrations in development and social policy from the University of Texas at Dallas.

Emily Sharma, Ed.D.

  • Technical Writer
  • Research Institute

Emily focuses on the creation and review of the Research Insitute’s written content, both internal and public-facing. She especially enjoys being part of a team dedicated to helping Dallas College best serve its students, faculty, staff and community. Prior to joining the Research Institute, Emily taught in the Writing and Reasoning Program at Southern Methodist University, where she also served as coordinator of English as a Second Language (ESL). She has taught a variety of courses in ESL, French and Spanish at Dallas College and Columbia University’s Community Language Program. Outside of higher education, she has worked as a writer and project manager in business planning. Emily holds a doctorate of education in higher education from Southern Methodist University, where she also earned undergraduate degrees in French/Spanish and business. She holds a Master of Arts in applied linguistics from Columbia University.

Navi Dhaliwal, M.Sc.

  • Economic Analyst
  • Research Institute

Navi seeks to understand education as a pathway for economic opportunity, empowerment and equity. His research asks which postsecondary programs offer the greatest returns on investment, and he studies how financial barriers, educational attainment and wages differ by demographic group.

Navi previously worked as an academic data analyst at Uplift Education, a K-12 school district in North Texas. He also served as a research analyst at the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, where his focus was regional economics and energy.

He holds a Master of Science in economics from the Barcelona School of Economics and a Bachelor of Arts in mathematical economic analysis and policy studies from Rice University.

McKenna Griffin, M.Ed.

  • Data Visualization Specialist
  • Research Institute

McKenna is a recent graduate from Vanderbilt University’s quantitative methods Master of Education program. She believes that quality education is required to solve the world’s largest problems and hopes that her work will support future problem-solvers. She is, therefore, thrilled to be part of a team that emphasizes actionable research for student success. McKenna has previously worked as a course and curriculum analyst and as an intern for the Office of Planning and Institutional Effectiveness, both at Vanderbilt University. At the Research Institute, she is responsible for designing interactive reports and creating and validating datasets. Her skillsets include Tableau and SQL, and her goal at the Research Institute is to convey complex information in an easily digestible format.

Gaby Bautista

  • Senior Administrative Assistant
  • Research Institute
  • Administrative Office
  • DOH270
  • 214-378-1836
  • Email Gaby

Gaby has worked in various roles within Dallas College including assistant accountant, procurement analyst and now senior administrative assistant. She provides administrative support for Student Success, Research Institute, Strategic Research and Analytics and other divisions as needed, such as Athletics. She helps with training and implementation of the ERP system (Jaggaer) and assists internal/external stakeholders with contracts, procurement processes, supplier registrations, budget management, scheduling and more.