Emma Pottinger grew up in rural Vermont; Monterrey, Mexico; and Durban and Cape Town, South Africa, where they developed a passion for education, intersectional feminism, and equitable international development, having witnessed stark disparities. Today, Pottinger applies this passion as a research analyst in Mathematica Global Unit.
Pottinger primarily serves as a project manager, programmer, and research assistant on international studies that examine promising practices for improving education, population health, and reproductive health, and for expanding sanitation and access to safe drinking water. Currently, Pottinger leads the data collection and analysis for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Capacity Building for Strategic Learning Initiative helping grantees improve their ability to achieve equitable outcomes for students. Previously, Pottinger reviewed literature and wrote summaries about practices aiming to improve the quality of secondary schools in Malawi; reviewed data and conducted a qualitative analysis to support an evaluation of the MacArthur Foundation’s strategy to improve reproductive health in India; and provided programming support on projects in Cape Verde and Pakistan.
Before joining Mathematica, Pottinger served as a research and event coordinator for the Trevor Noah Foundation, during its launch. In this role, they refined the foundation’s mission, and researched and developed its theory of change and engagement strategy.
Pottinger holds a bachelor of commerce in economics with distinction and a bachelor of social sciences in gender studies, international relations, and economics with distinction from the University of Cape Town. They are pursuing a master’s degree in education policy and analysis at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. As an undergraduate, Pottinger served as chairperson of Ubuyne, a student-run organization that mentors, tutors, and provides debate coaching for high school students from under-resourced schools.