Edward J. Smith is a doctoral candidate at the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education. He previously worked as a senior policy analyst in the Research and Policy Institute at NASPA and research analyst at the Institute for Higher Education Policy. While working in D.C., Ed taught English Composition and Developmental Reading for three years at the University of the District of Columbia, Community College. Ed’s research agenda explores how city leaders develop and advance an education attainment agenda, rooted in the assets of the city, suited to the needs of its people. More discrete lines of inquiry include an understanding of: 1) the optimal economic, social, cultural, and political conditions under which K-12-to- postsecondary education transitions occur within a city; 2) the effectiveness and ideal structure of placed-based college attainment initiatives; and 3) the extent to which localized, cross-sector coalitions can influence higher education policymaking and programing in metropolitan areas. His research has been published or is forthcoming in Urban Education, Journal of Student Affairs Research and Practice, and Journal of Student Financial Aid. He has authored policy briefs, research reports, and white papers published by the Institute for Higher Education Policy, NASPA, and the Center for the Study of Race and Equity in Education. Ed’s research has been funded by the Andrew Mellon Foundation’s Humanities + Urbanism + Design Initiative, as well as the City of Philadelphia’s Fund for Innovation.