Head shot of Ruth Lopez Turley
  • Director, Houston Education Research Consortium
  • Associate Director, Kinder Institute for Urban Research
  • Professor of Sociology, Rice University
  • Founder, National Network of Education Research-Practice Partnerships
  • Kinder Fellow

Raised on the U.S.-Mexico border by a mother with an 8th grade education, Ruth experienced firsthand the hardships resulting from educational inequities. With sacrificial help from many in her family and community, she attended highly selective, “Ivy Plus” universities — which happens to less than 0.5% of students with her background (Chetty et al., 2017). Because of these experiences, Ruth specialized in the sociology of education in order to fight injustices in our educational system through research. However, after 14 years of utilizing traditional academic research models, she concluded that research does not have an impact… unless researchers make an explicit effort to make it impactful. That’s why she founded the Houston Education Research Consortium in 2011 and has raised over $30 million so that district partners do not have to pay for this work. HERC’s research has informed numerous actions across districts and state education policy. In 2016, she helped found the National Network of Education Research-Practice Partnerships, a professional learning community that is improving how research is used to address educational inequities across the nation.