Nishank Varshney
PhD Student
55-17 Humphrey School
Currently reviewing Ph.D. applicants
Faculty Advisor
Areas of Expertise
Early Childhood Education, Program Evaluation, Cost-Benefit Analysis, Social Impact Financing


    Nishank was born and raised in India, where he completed his B.E. (Hons.) in Electronics & Instrumentation Engineering, and M.Sc. (Hons.) in Mathematics from Birla Institute of Technology & Science (BITS), Pilani. In his final year of undergraduate studies, an internship with the Association for Democratic Reforms on decriminalization of Indian politics, and a master’s thesis on the implementation of the Right to Education (RTE) Act at the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, got him interested in the field of public policy.

    After briefly working as a business analyst with Dell International Services, Bengaluru for eight months, he went back to work full-time as a research associate at the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad. There, he worked on the implementation and evaluation of the RTE Act in the states of Gujarat, Maharashtra, and Rajasthan. He was selected as one of the four National winners of Telenor Youth Forum 2015, and was selected as one of the ‘30 under 30 leaders’ by BITS Alumni Association under the category of ‘Community Service & Social Entrepreneurship.’

    Nishank joined the Humphrey School to pursue a master’s degree in public policy in 2016 and was subsequently admitted to the Ph.D. program in 2018. He currently works at the Human Capital Research Collaborative (HCRC) on interventions in early childhood education. He is also actively involved with the campus community, having served as the President of Humphrey International Student Association (HISA), President of the Chateau Housing Co-operative, and the Director of Programming for the Council of Graduate Students (COGS) at UMN, and also received the President's Student Leadership and Service Award in 2018. He is currently serving as the Chief Financial Officer (pro-bono) of BITSAA International, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, and a member of the Student Activities Committee of the Association for Public Policy & Management. 

    He has taught a course on ‘Financial Management for Public and Non-Profit Organizations’ to undergraduate students for two semesters at the University of Minnesota. His current research focuses on early childhood education, program evaluation, and social impact financing. For his dissertation, Nishank is working on “Three Essays on the Economic Evaluation of Early Childhood Education Programs.”


    Master of Public Policy (University of Minnesota, Humphrey School, 2018)

    M.Sc. (Hons.) in Mathematics (BITS Pilani, India, 2014)

    B.E. (Hons.) in Electronics & Instrumentation (BITS Pilani, India, 2014)

    Nishank Varshney, Judy A. Temple, and Arthur J. Reynolds (2022). "Early Education and Adult Health: Age 37 Impacts and Economic Benefits of the Child-Parent Center Preschool Program.Journal of Benefit-Cost Analysis 13.1 (2022): 57-90.

    Arthur J. Reynolds, Sangyoo Lee, Lauren Eales, Nishank Varshney, and Nicole Smerillo (2022). "Parental Involvement and Engagement in Early Education Contribute to Children’s Success and Well-Being." In Family-School Partnerships During the Early School Years, pp. 91-111. Springer, Cham, 2022.

    Nishank Varshney, Sangyoo Lee, Judy A. Temple, Arthur J. Reynolds (2020) "Does early childhood education enhance parental school involvement in second grade?: Evidence from Midwest Child-Parent Center Program." Children and Youth Services Review, Volume 117, October 2020, 105317

    Ankur Sarin, Ambrish Dongre, Praveen Khanghta, Nishank Varshney, Akriti Gaur, Ajey Sengai (2018) "Implementation of Section 12(1)(c) of the Right to Education Act." Economic and Political Weekly, Vol. 53, Issue No. 8, 24 Feb, 2018

    Aditi Kadam, Jared Swanson, Kyle Kretschmann, Min Lee, Nishank Varshney (2018) "Pay for Success: A Roadmap for Implementation in Minnesota." University of Minnesota Digital Conservancy