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Promise Team Spotlight - Isabel McMullen

Isabel McMullen

We are back from our holiday break! Did you miss us? Let’s kick off 2020 with another installment of our Promise Team Spotlight series and get to know Isabel McMullen, a Research Assistant for The Kalamazoo Promise (The Promise).

A member of Loy Norrix High School’s class of 2013, McMullen used The Promise to double major in political science and Spanish at the University of Michigan. After graduation, she wanted to find an opportunity that would help develop her quantitative analysis abilities.

“When writing my senior thesis, I found that I didn’t have the quantitative abilities needed for a career in that field,” McMullen explained. “Eventually, I moved home and applied for an internship with the W.E. UpJohn Institute For Employment Research (UpJohn Institute), where my resume got funneled to Bob Jorth at The Promise.”

Working from the UpJohn Institute, McMullen maintains databases related to Promise Scholars in Kalamazoo Public Schools and at the college level. Additionally, she helps fulfill data requests for publications such as MLive, The Wall Street Journal, and The New York Times. Her other duties include long-term research about college persistence and workforce outcomes for Promise Scholars.

McMullen has always been proud of her Kalamazoo roots and is grateful for the undergraduate tuition that The Promise contributed, but she never expected to be working in her hometown.

“I always envisioned myself anywhere else but Kalamazoo,” she shared. “I have been surprised at how fulfilling it feels to work in the community where I grew up. There is a friendliness and a spirit here that you don’t see in other cities, and everything is so accessible.”

In addition to her role with The Promise, McMullen spends her time running, volunteering as a Big Sister for Big Brothers Big Sisters, and tutoring.

When asked what she loved the most about being a research assistant for The Promise, McMullen revealed it was the people she has gotten to know.

“I love having the background of knowing the people in my data sets,” she said. “I know them and care about them. They are a big part of why I have stayed in this position.”

It was great getting to know you, Isabel. We hope 2020 is a great year for you and The Promise!

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