Episode # 5

Solving Student Summer Melt

Is your college motivation melting away? You might be experiencing “summer melt”. Nationally, 1 in 5 college-bound students fail to show up to campus in the fall. This phenomenon is called summer melt. In this episode, Professor Benjamin Castleman and Applied Behavioral Scientist Alice Choe tell us about their research into ways to prevent summer melt and other ways to boost college access and completion, especially for historically marginalized students. Check out our resources to get yourself signed up for free college advising and text message “nudges” to keep yourself on track for life after now. Life After Now is brought to you by the Minnesota Office of Higher Education.

Topics covered in this episode include:
●    Definitions of summer melt and research on how to prevent it
●    Definition of the “summer nudge” approach at Nudge 4 Solutions Lab that is backed by data science
●    How to support students who have made progress in their degree but don’t complete it
●    How to use nudges to help students receive holistic support for the many types of challenges they face

Ben Castleman & Alice Choe Episode 5

Episode Transcript


Benjamin Castleman 
Ben Castleman is the Newton and Rita Meyers Associate Professor in the Economics of Education at the University of Virginia, and the Founder and Director of the Nudge4 Solutions Lab at UVA. He is the Faculty Director of the University of Virginia-US Army Partnership on Veterans' Education,  and was a senior advisor to Former First Lady Michelle Obama's Reach Higher Initiative. He has presented about his research at several White House convenings and in testimony before Congress, and his research has appeared in top public policy and economics journals. 

Ben is a graduate of Brown University, and completed his doctoral work at Harvard University. Before returning to graduate school, Ben was a public school teacher and administrator in Providence, RI.


Alice Choe
Alice Choe is an Applied Behavioral Scientist with the Nudge4 Solutions Lab. Her work is centered around designing and implementing behaviorally informed interventions to improve postsecondary outcomes for individuals. 

Prior to joining the Nudge4 team, she worked as an educational consultant at a Beijing-based startup. She was responsible for supporting high school seniors both navigate the U.S. college admissions process and develop the cognitive and non-cognitive skills necessary to succeed as an international student. Alice was also previously a Thomas J. Watson Fellow with the IBM Watson Foundation. She explored the intersection of legal systems, religion, and social norms to better understand how domestic violence interventions take shape and evolve in different countries including Jordan, South Africa, and India. 

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