Shelby is an advanced PhD student, Presidential Merit Fellow, and Fulbright recipient at Harvard University in the department of Government. Her research focuses on the politics of education and forced displacement in sub-Saharan Africa. She has more than a decade of experience in education and development.

Shelby is also a senior policy analyst and education expert with the Center for Global Development. She is a regular consultant with UNHCR, the World Bank, and the International Rescue Committee. She is also an Associate Member of Cambridge University’s REAL Centre as part of the RISE Ethiopia project. Shelby holds a Masters in Education Policy from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and 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 high school and spent several years as a researcher with the World Bank and the Education Commission. 

At Harvard, Shelby teaches a course she designed on international aid to education. She has also been a teaching fellow for courses in applied statistics, microeconomics, education in armed conflict, and education and international development and is a research methods coach at the Harvard Kennedy School.

Her research has been funded by the Fulbright program (Ethiopia), the Harvard Center for African Studies, the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, the Frederick Sheldon Traveling Fellowship, and others. She is currently a Comparative Inequality and Inclusion Fellow at the Weatherhead Center and is 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.