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Nancy Pellowski Wiger


178 Pillsbury Dr SE
211C Burton Hall


Ph.D., University of Minnesota, organizational leadership, policy and development: comparative and international development education
M.A., University of Minnesota, educational policy and administration: comparative and international development education
B.A., Grinnell College, sociology

Pellowski Wiger

Areas of Interest

International Development Policy
Gender and Education
Global Youth Policy
Youth Empowerment and Education
Social Capital


As a Researcher in the Department of Organizational Leadership, Policy, and Development (OLPD), I am currently working with Dr. David Chapman and Dr. Joan DeJaeghere as the Project Director for an evaluation of entrepreneurship education in East Africa. The Learn, Earn, and Save Initiative is a six-year (2011-2017) evaluation collaboration with The MasterCard Foundation to assess the overall impact of three non-formal and formal education initiatives on youth from marginalized backgrounds. As Project Director, I assist in leading all evaluation activities by coordinating communication with partners, developing and field-testing instruments, co-leading workshops, monitoring finances, conducting both quantitative and qualitative data analyses, and disseminating results. I also serve as Co-Principal Investigator to evaluate an informal business club program aimed to help disadvantaged youth learn entrepreneurship and life skills in 20 government schools in Tanzania.  

I received my doctorate from the University of Minnesota in Organizational Leadership, Policy, and Development, with a program focus in comparative and international development education. My past scholarly work has included mixed methods, longitudinal research examining how youth drew on their social capital to succeed in education and earning, particularly when faced with gender, economic, and social class inequalities. I have worked with CARE to investigate girls’ and boys’ empowerment and education efforts in eight developing countries and to examine adolescent girls’ leadership in Honduras using CARE’s Girls Leadership Index (GLI) survey, and I have worked with UNICEF to finalize child-friendly school standards in Ghana.

Professional Affiliations

  • American Evaluation Association
  • Comparative and International Education Society

Selected Publications

  1. Pellowski Wiger, N. (2016). Social capital, agency and creating micro-enterprises: A case of entrepreneurship education for Tanzanian youth. In J. DeJaeghere, J. Josic, & K. McCleary (Eds.), Education and youth agency: Qualitative case studies in global contexts (217-232). Springer Publications: Switzerland.

  2. DeJaeghere, J., Pellowski Wiger, N., & Willemsen, L. (2016). Broadening educational outcomes: Social relations, skills development and employability for youth. Comparative Education Review, 60(3), 457-479.

  3. Pellowski Wiger, N. (2016). Social capital, education, and earning: The important role of peer relationships for marginalized Tanzanian youth (Doctoral dissertation). Retrieved from ProQuest. (10141942).

  4. Pellowski Wiger, N., Chapman, D., Baxter, A., & DeJaeghere, J. (2015). Context matters: A model of the factors associated with the effectiveness of youth entrepreneurship training. Prospects, 45(4), 533-547. 

  5. DeJaeghere, J., & Pellowski Wiger, N. (2013). Gender discourses in an NGO education project: Openings for transformation toward gender equality in Bangladesh. International Journal of Educational Development, 33(6), 557-565.

Selected Presentations

  1. Pellowski Wiger, N. (2016, November). The importance of assessing peer relationships for future livelihoods: Evidence from marginalized youth in East Africa. Paper presented at the Inaugural Symposium of the Comparative and International Education Society, Scottsdale, AZ.

  2. Krause, B., Pellowski Wiger, N., Chapman, D., & Williams, T. (2016, October). Moving beyond ‘faint evidence’: Assessing the gender differences in the impact of entrepreneurship training in Tanzania. Paper presented at the Global Youth Economic Opportunities Summit, Washington, DC.

  3. Pellowski Wiger, N. (2016, March). The impact of peer relationships in two Tanzanian boarding secondary schools. Paper presented at the Comparative and International Education Society, Vancouver, Canada.

  4. Pellowski Wiger, N., & Krause, B. (2015, September). Reforming vocational training systems in a gendered world: Tackling issues of capacity building and inclusion. Paper presented at the Global Youth Economic Opportunities Summit, Washington, DC.

  5. Pellowski Wiger, N. (2015, March). How can schooling lead to social capital and small enterprise creation for Tanzanian youth? Paper presented at the Comparative and International Education Society, Washington, DC.

  6. Updated November 18, 2016