Roland Fryer, Jr.
Robert M. Beren Professor of Economics, Harvard University; Faculty Director, EdLabs
Roland Fryer, Jr. is the Robert M. Beren Professor of Economics at Harvard University, a Research Associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research, and a former Junior Fellow in the Harvard Society of Fellows — one of academia’s most prestigious research posts. In January 2008, at the age of 30, he became the youngest African-American to receive tenure from Harvard. He has been awarded a Sloan Research Fellowship, a Faculty Early Career Development Award from the National Science Foundation, and the inaugural Alphonse Fletcher Award (Guggenheims for race issues).
In addition to his teaching and research responsibilities, Fryer served as the Chief Equality Officer at the New York City Department of Education during the 2007–2008 school year. In this role, he developed and implemented several innovative ideas on student motivation and teacher pay-for-performance concepts. He won a Titanium Lion at the Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival (Breakthrough Idea of the Year in 2008) for the Million Motivation Campaign.
Fryer has published papers on topics such as the racial achievement gap, the causes and consequences of distinctively black names, affirmative action, the impact of the crack cocaine epidemic, historically black colleges and universities, and acting white. He is an unapologetic analyst of American inequality who uses theoretical, empirical, and experimental tools to squeeze truths from data — wherever that may lead.
Fryer is a 2009 recipient of a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, the highest award bestowed by the government on scientists beginning their independent careers. He is also part of the "2009 Time 100," Time Magazine's annual list of the world's most influential people. Fryer's work has been profiled in almost every major U.S. newspaper, Time Magazine, and CNN’s breakthrough documentary Black in America.