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Maya Shankar serves as Senior Advisor for the Social and Behavioral Sciences at the Office of Science and Technology Policy, where she works to translate academic research findings into improvements in Federal program performance and efficiency using rigorous evaluation methods. As part of a broader Administration effort to promote evidence-based policy, she leads OSTP’s Social and Behavioral Sciences Initiative and has spearheaded the creation of the White House Social and Behavioral Sciences Team -- a group of behavioral science and evaluation experts, which helps Federal agencies design public policies that work better, cost less and better serve citizens. In 2013, Maya completed a Post-Doctoral Fellowship in cognitive neuroscience at Stanford University, after receiving a Ph.D. from the University of Oxford on a Rhodes Scholarship and a B.A. from Yale University in cognitive science. She is a former graduate of the Juilliard School of Music Pre-College Division and a private violin student of Itzhak Perlman.
During the first years of life, a poor child hears roughly 30 million fewer total words than her more affluent peers. Children who experience this drought in heard words have vocabularies that are half the size of their peers by age 3, putting them at a disadvantage before they even step foot in a classroom.