Shelby is an advanced PhD student and Presidential Merit Fellow at Harvard University studying education and political economy in low- and middle-income countries. She has more than a decade of experience in education and development with a regional focus on sub-Saharan Africa. Her research interests include: the politics of education, gender, development and humanitarian aid to education, refugee education and education in emergencies, education finance and social spending, education and employment with a focus on women and girls, and impact evaluations in education.

She is currently a consultant with the Center for Global Development on topics related to education and migration. She is also a regular consultant with the World Bank and the Education Commission, and is an Associate Member of Cambridge University’s REAL Centre as part of the RISE Ethiopia project. Shelby holds a Masters in Global Policy Studies from the University of Texas LBJ School of Public Affairs where her Master's thesis on international aid to the education sector earned distinction for outstanding graduate research. Prior to beginning her doctoral work, Shelby taught in a drop-out recovery high school in Texas, completed a Fulbright grant, and worked for the World Bank in several locations as part of the Gender Innovation Lab (GIL). She was part of the core team for the Education Commission's 'Learning Generation' report (2016) as well as the World Bank's flagship report on skills in Africa, 'The Skills Balancing Act in sub-Saharan Africa' (2019). She is highly skilled in both quantitative and qualitative research methods and has also consulted for national governments, USAID, and UNICEF, among others.

At Harvard, Shelby has been a Teaching Fellow for courses in Applied Statistics, Microeconomics, Education in Armed Conflict, and Education and International Development. She is also research methods coach at the Harvard Kennedy School. Her research has been funded by the Harvard Center for African Studies, the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, and others. She is currently a Comparative Inequality and Inclusion Fellow at the Weatherhead Center (2020-2021) and a member of the Harvard Graduate School of Education REACH Initiative focused on education in situations of migration and forced displacement. 

Shelby is also competitive member of both the Harvard University Figure Skating and Women's Club Ice Hockey teams.