Shelby is an advanced PhD student and Presidential Merit Fellow at Harvard University studying education in emergencies and political economy in developing country contexts. She has more than a decade of experience in education and development. Her research interests include: education and employment with a focus on women and girls, the politics of refugee policy, the intersection of humanitarian and development aid, education and political participation, as well as refugee education with a regional focus on sub-Saharan Africa. She is currently an Associate Member of Cambridge University’s REAL Centre where she is part of the RISE Ethiopia project, and works for the World Bank on projects related to refugees, education, and labor. 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. She is highly skilled in both quantitative and qualitative research methods and has consulted for national governments, the Education Commission, USAID, and UNICEF, among others. At Harvard, Shelby has been a Teaching Fellow for courses in quantitative research methods, Microeconomics, Education in Armed Conflict, and Education and International Development. In addition, she is a research methods coach at the Harvard Kennedy School. 

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