Stephen J. Aguilar

  • Assistant Professor of Education

Research Concentration

  • Educational Psychology


PhD, Education and Psychology, University of Michigan

MS, Psychology, University of Michigan

MA, Humanities (Philosophy), University of Chicago

BA, Philosophy & Psychology, Georgetown University


  • Learning Analytics • Educational Psychology • Motivation & Self-Regulated Learning • Digital Equity • Learning Technologies
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Stephen J. Aguilar

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Dr. Stephen J. AguiIar is an Assistant Professor of Education in the Educational Psychology concentration. His areas of expertise include motivation and self-regulated learning as they relate to the design and implementation of educational technologies. He specializes in learning analytics, the digital equity gap, and gameful approaches to teaching and learning.

His research agenda has two overlapping areas of focus: educational technology and policy relevant educational interventions. His educational technology work includes projects that evaluate the motivational and self-regulatory impacts of educational technologies; projects that leverage novel methods (i.e., data science techniques); and projects focused on documenting—and mitigating the impact of—the digital equity gap. Dr. Aguilar's work also focuses on policy-relevant educational interventions based in educational psychology and includes work that uses what we know about learning and motivation to correct misconceptions about educational policy. This work constitutes an essential tool to combat the proliferation of inaccurate information during increasing political polarization. 

Dr. Aguilar has received funding from the American Educational Research Association (AERA), the Herman & Rasiej K-5 Mathematics Initiative, Great Public Schools Now, and 2U Incorporated, among others. He received a B.A. in Philosophy and Psychology from Georgetown University, a M.A. in the Humanities (Philosophy) from the University of Chicago, and a Ph.D. in Education and Psychology from the University of Michigan. Previously, he taught sixth and seventh grade in East Palo Alto, California and served as a the Director of Institute Technology for Teach For America-Los Angeles’s summer institute. 

Awards and Grants

Provost’s Postdoctoral Scholarship, 2016
USC Rossier School of Education
University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA

Data Consortium Fellow, 2016
National Science Foundation: Division of Information & Intelligent Systems

Learning Analytics Junior Fellow, 2013
Learning Analytics Fellows Program University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI


Professional Affiliations and Memberships

Assistant Professor of Education, 2018 - pres.
USC Rossier School of Education

Provost Postdoctoral Scholar, 2016 - 2018
USC Rossier School of Education

Director of Institute Technology, 2008 Los Angeles Institute
Teach For America Summer Institute 
Los Angeles, CA

Teach For America: 6th & 7th Grade Teacher
All subjects (6th); Science & History (7th)
East Palo Alto, CA


Distance Learning and Educational Equity in the Wake of COVID-19
Reserach Grant ($30,000)
Great Public Schools Now
Co-Principal Investigator. PI: Hernan Galerpin. Summer 2020

Masters of their Destinies? Hispanic Students’ Sense of Control in Relation to Post-Secondary Outcomes, a Generalized Structural Equation Modeling Approach 
AERA Fellowship Program on the Study of Deeper Learning ($20,000)
American Educational Research Association & The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation
Principal Investigator. November 1, 2016 – December 31, 2017

Technical Knowledge Acquisition 
Seedling Grant ($30,000)
Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA); FA8650-15-C-9102,
Significant Contributor. PI: Gully Burns. January 1, 2017 – March 31, 2017

Using Learning Analytics and Natural Language Processing to Explore the Role of Synchronous Chat in Knowledge Construction During Online Course Sessions 
Research Grant ($25,000)
2U, Incorporated
Principal Investigator. Co-PI: Melora Sundt. 2017-2018

Assessing the Role of Asynchronous Materials in Supporting Learning
Research Grant ($25,000)
2U, Incorporated
Co-PI. Principal Investigator: Melora Sundt. 2017-2018