Jenna M Thomas Vest, M.S.

Image: Jenna Thomas Vest headshot

Position Title
Data Analyst


Jenna M Thomas Vest is a data analyst for the Center for Educational Effectiveness (CEE) in the Office of Undergraduate Education (UE) at the University of California, Davis. While spending the last 10 years enrolled in institutions of higher learning, she developed a passion for seeing fellow students succeed academically. Her work supports Undergraduate Education at Davis by providing valuable insight into student experiences using student data.

Research and Scholarship 
Jenna’s research has centered on the experiences of students in academic settings. Academically, she is currently writing her dissertation, for which she developed a scale measuring how challenged high school students feel in academic environments. Her prior work has centered on gifted students and their academic experiences, and this work has resulted in two journal publications and multiple presentations at academic conferences, including the annual meetings of the American Psychological Association (APA) and Association for Psychological Sciences (APS).
Professionally, she has previously worked with K-12 schools to evaluate their effectiveness at meeting learning goals. As a part of CEE, she has conducted program evaluations and developed dashboards to help UE programs better understand their students. She has also developed several surveys, including a recent measure of students’ use of and attitudes toward Generative AI. 

While enrolled in graduate school, Jenna participated in two committees: the Professional Education Committee and the Graduate Education Committee. She has also reviewed grant and award proposals for the Association for Psychological Sciences Student Caucus (APSSC).


During graduate school, Jenna taught three courses on development. She also worked as a math tutor while pursuing her undergraduate degree. These experiences motivated her to pursue a career in ensuring student success in higher education. 

Education and Background
Jenna has spent the last 10 years enrolled in postsecondary institutions. She obtained a B.S. in psychology from Liberty University and went on to receive a M.S. in quantitative psychology, a M.S. in data science, and a graduate certificate in institutional research from Ball State University. She is also currently a PhD candidate in educational psychology.
Originally from North Carolina, she currently resides in Indiana where she works for Davis remotely. She lives with her fiancé, David, and three pets: Sirius, Harper, and Yuki.
Hobbies and Interests
Other than higher education, Jenna is also passionate about fiber crafts: most notably crocheting. Much of her free time is spent creating amigurumi (i.e., crochet stuffed animals), which she sells at Indiana fairs. She also enjoys reading and watching thrillers and playing simulation games.