Danielle Fearon, PhD ’12, a Senior Research and Planning Associate in Baylor’s Department of Institutional Research and Testing (IRT), has always loved working with numbers, and now she enjoys analyzing numbers to benefit Baylor University.
As a Senior Research and Planning Associate in Baylor’s Department of Institutional Research and Testing (IRT), Fearon uses statistical information gathered in University-wide surveys to predict outcomes and produce facts about Baylor.
“We publish the fun facts about what is going on at Baylor,” Fearon said. “Anything that you ask us (within reason) — we’ll give you the data.”
Baylor’s IRT is a treasure trove of statistical information, most of which is published online, with reports ranging from raw enrollment numbers to graduation and retention rates.
Statistical analysis is something Fearon mastered in the doctoral program of the School of Education’s Department of Educational Psychology, where she studied research methods, statistical techniques and analytical approaches related to psychological and educational phenomena.
For one of her recent projects, Fearon worked with former professor and mentor Dr. Alex Beaujean of the Educational Psychology department. The duo researched and analyzed data for the University on what factors affect retention rates.
Fearon said they wanted to see how financial factors such as merit awards, student loans and family contribution impacted students’ persistence to continue at Baylor. Beaujean and Fearon found that students who received any amount of merit aid were much less likely to drop out than students receiving no merit aid.
The SOE played a role in bringing Fearon to Texas from her home in Jamaica. Dr. Terrill Saxon, associate professor in Educational Psychology, met Fearon while he was conducting research in Jamaica. He recognized Fearon’s potential and encouraged her to continue her studies at Baylor University.
“Danielle is the type of person that you want on your team,” Saxon said. “She is professional, articulate and able to organize and synthesize lots of information. But true to her Jamaican culture, she does not take life too seriously. She is proud of her heritage, and it is contagious when you are around her.”
Moving to a different country can be scary, but Fearon said she loves working and living in Texas. She said the cuisine is better in Jamaica, but she likes the Texas weather.
Fearon is very focused and loves her work but enjoys singing and reading for fun and has a dream of one day being the Minister of Education in Jamaica.
Fearon graduated with her BS in Psychology from Northern Caribbean University in 2004 and earned an MS in Clinical Psychology from the University of the West Indies in 2007. Fearon also serves as an adjunct lecturer in the Department of Educational Psychology, where she teaches Statistical Methods and The Developing Child.
“I did my first research paper when I was an undergraduate, and my passion for research grew from there,” Fearon said. “I have a curious mind and having the tools to find answers to different questions is fascinating to me.
Published in print and online versions of the Winter 2015 Instant Impact Newsletter