About Us


Lester Lusher, the Principal Investigator for the CollegeBetter research project, is currently a professor in the economics department at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. Back in early 2014, Lester was a PhD candidate from UC Davis, and as part of his dissertation, he developed a mechanism inspired by research from Behavioral Economics that would incentivize college students to get better grades in school. Lester was encouraged to submit his research project to a local business idea competition, leading to the birth of CollegeBetter.

After finishing in first place at the competition, Lester teamed up with several professors from the economics department at UC Davis and with Institutional Review Board approval, opened the first CollegeBetter pool in the Winter 2015 quarter at UC Davis. Since then, numerous experimental CollegeBetter pools have been launched at UC Davis, garnering results that ultimately produced Lester’s dissertation and PhD. Overall, Lester found that students who participated in CollegeBetter were more likely to raise their GPA compared to a control group.

Now that Lester a faculty member at UH Manoa, and with the research support of several national foundations, we are giving all UH Manoa undergraduates the opportunity to participate in CollegeBetter. Starting in the Spring of 2019, we will set up at least one pool for each Fall and Spring semester. Find out more about the individual team members below, and sign up for email alerts by providing your email address on our home page.

Contact Us

Get in touch: support@collegebetter.com

Lester's Personal Email: lrlusher@hawaii.edu

Institutional Review Board at UH Manoa: uhirb@hawaii.edu

The Team

Lester Lusher


Professor of economics at UH Manoa and Principal Investigator of CollegeBetter. His research interests center on behavioral economics and education.

Shannon Tran


First year PhD student in economics at UH Manoa. Primary research assistant for CollegeBetter.

Roger Pender


Graduated in 2014 from UC Davis, works as a computer programmer.

Rahman Raza


Software Developer, Designer and Product Management Consutant. Graduated from UC Davis in 2016.

Kat Fukui


UCD '13 Alumni. Solving design problems at a startup in Berkeley. Loves to explore, learn new things, and play with cats.