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The Policy Research Group (PRG) is a bi-monthly, interdisciplinary working group for scholars to present and solicit feedback on current research relevant to public policy, broadly defined. Presenters give a talk that lasts approximately 35 minutes, followed by about 25 minutes of question and answer time. The presentations may be on research at different stages of completion. While most presentations will present relatively polished work, some presentations may be research designs or projects in progress. Presenters are encouraged to circulate a draft of the research on which the presentation is based prior to the presentation. While PRG participants are primarily graduate students and faculty in Public Policy, all members of the university community are welcome to attend.


If you would like to receive email notifications and reminders about upcoming talks, email Doug MacKay or Tricia Sullivan to join the PRG listserv.


Location: 102 Abernethy, from 3:30-4:45pm unless otherwise noted


Spring 2020

February 7: Tom Swiderski

Ph.D. Student in Public Policy, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Tom entered the Public Policy Ph.D. program in 2017. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Boston College and a Masters in Social Work from UNC Chapel Hill.

Prior to enrolling in the Ph.D. program, Tom worked on applied research projects as a Social Research Specialist at the UNC Charlotte Urban Institute. In this role, Tom worked on several agency-driven evaluations of local educational, government, and social service programs.

Tom’s primary research interests concern the sociology of education and higher education policy. In particular, Tom is interested in educational stratification and transitions into and out of higher education.


February 21: Dr. Sarah Komisarow
Sarah Komisarow is Assistant Professor in the Sanford School of Public Policy and a Faculty Affiliate of the Center for Child & Family Policy. She is an applied microeconomist with research interests in the economics of education, education policy, and the causes and consequences of educational inequality. She graduated from Duke University with a B.A. in Public Policy Studies in 2008 and from the University of Chicago with a M.A. and Ph.D. in Economics in 2012 and 2016, respectively.


February 28: Dr. Jamila Michener LOCATION TBD

Jamila Michener is an Assistant professor in the department of Government. Her research focuses on poverty, racial inequality and public policy in the United States. Her recent book, Fragmented Democracy: Medicaid, Federalism and Unequal Politics (Cambridge University Press) examines how Medicaid–the nation’s public health insurance program for people with low income–affects democratic citizenship. Unpacking how federalism transforms Medicaid beneficiaries’ interpretations of government and structures their participation in politics, Fragmented Democracy assesses American political life from the vantage point(s) of those who are living in or near poverty, (disproportionately) Black or Latino, and reliant on a federated government for vital resources.

Michener’s research has been supported by the Woodrow Wilson Foundation, the Russell Sage Foundation, the National Science Foundation, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Ford Foundation. She received her MA and PhD from the University of Chicago and her undergraduate degree from Princeton University. Prior to working at Cornell, she was a Robert Wood Johnson Health Policy Scholar at the University of Michigan.


March 6: Dr. Ashu Handa

Ashu Handa is Kenan Eminent Professor of Public Policy, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  He recently returned from a post as Chief of Social & Economic Policy at UNICEF’s Office of Research-Innocenti, Florence, Italy. At UNICEF he led the Innocenti Report Card Series, UNICEF’s flagship publication on the well-being of children in rich countries. The 2014 Report Card, which Handa led, focused on the impact of the great recession on child poverty, and was featured in over 100 major media outlets across the globe, including the Washington Post, Financial Times, The Guardian (UK), Republica (Italy), El Pais (Spain), AP, and Rueters. The current Report Card, launched in March 2016, tracked bottom-end inequality among children in 41 rich countries over time, measured through children’s health, education and income.


March 27: Dr. Stephanie Potochnick

Dr. Stephanie Potochnick is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at UNC-Charlotte. Dr. Potochnick earned a Ph.D. in Public Policy from UNC-Chapel Hill, an M.A. in Sociology from UNC-Charlotte, a B.A. in Political Science from Emory University, and an A.A. from the College of Eastern Utah. Her areas of research include social demography, immigrant education and health, population and migration policy, and health and education policy.

Dr. Potochnick’s recent work has appeared in various academic journals including Ethnic and Racial Studies, Journal of Adolescent Health, Harvard Educational Review, American Educational Research Journal, Journal of Family Issues, Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health, Education Policy Analysis Archives, Social Science Research, Review of Higher Education, and International Migration Review, among others.


April 3: Dr. Sarah Lischer

Sarah Kenyon Lischer is an associate professor in the department of Politics and International Affairs at Wake Forest University. She is the author of Dangerous Sanctuaries: Refugee Camps, Civil War, and the Dilemmas of Humanitarian Aid (Cornell University Press, 2005). She has published widely on the topics of humanitarian crises, human rights, military intervention, African politics, and forced migration in journals such as International Security, Global Governance, the Harvard International Review, Civil Wars, and The American Scholar. Lischer has been awarded fellowships and grants by, among others, the Berghof Foundation, the Peace Research Institute of Oslo, Harvard University’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, and the Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation. She is writing a book on atrocity narratives and reconciliation after genocide.

Fall 2019

October 11: Jason Coupet

Jason Coupet is an Assistant Professor of Public Administration at NC State. Jason’s PhD is in Strategic Management from the University of Illinois at Chicago, and his BA in Economics from the University of Michigan. His research interests include strategic management, Data Envelopment Analysis, organizational economics, research methods, and the political economy of organizations. He is also a National Science Foundation Mentoring Fellow in Economics at Duke University. His research has appeared in Applied Economics, Business Strategy & the Environment, Administration & Society, and Nonprofit Management & Leadership, among others.


October 25: Joaquin Rubalcaba

Joaquín Alfredo-Angel Rubalcaba is an assistant professor in the Department of Public Policy at UNC Chapel Hill. Dr. Rubalcaba received his Ph.D. in Economics from the University of New Mexico and is an alumnus of the RWJF doctoral fellows program. His areas of interests broadly include health and labor economics. Specifically, he has explored the health and labor market outcomes among underrepresented and disadvantaged communities, while developing new empirical techniques to investigate the economic mechanisms and public policies driving these outcomes.

Currently, Dr. Rubalcaba’s research addresses the role of public policy in the overall socioeconomic wellbeing of immigrant communities. In this line of research, he investigates how policies such as the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals and the Real ID Act have impacted labor supply behavior and health insurance coverage. In another line of research, Dr. Rubalcaba is exploring new empirical techniques to estimate economic values. This particular research has demonstrated an empirically tractable method to assign economic value to health conditions, such as diabetes, ultimately increasing the economic tools used to inform policy decisions.


November 1: Nadia Brown  FedEx Global Education Center DeBerry Conference Room, 3009

Dr. Nadia E. Brown is an Associate Professor of Political Science and African American Studies at Purdue.  She is from St. Louis University where she specialized in American politics with a distinct focus on Black politics as well as Women and politics.  She is the author of a forthcoming book entitled Sisters in the Statehouse: Black women and Legislative Decision Making (under contract with Oxford University press) and she is the author of numerous articles focusing on Black women’s politics.

Professor Brown received her PhD in Political Science in 2010 from Rutgers University, with major fields in Women and Politics and American Politics.  She also holds a graduate certificate in Women’s and Gender Studies.  Her BA, also in political science, is from Howard University in 2004.

Dr. Brown’s research interests lie broadly in identity politics, legislative studies, and Black women’s studies. Current research projects address the politics of appearance for Black women candidates for public office.  Dr. Brown enjoys teaching courses in the fields of African American Studies, Women’s and Gender Studies, and Political Science.


November 22: Rebecca Tippett

Dr. Rebecca Tippett is the founding Director of Carolina Demography at the Carolina Population Center at UNC-Chapel Hill and oversees the operation of the organization. Her work helps leaders across North Carolina make sense of population-level changes throughout the state.

She has authored more than 200 articles and reports about the impact of demographic and social trends in North Carolina and is frequently sought after for her expertise and ability to communicate demographic information. She has delivered over 100 presentations on topics ranging from census reapportionment to school enrollment projections and regularly appears in state and national media such as The Charlotte Observer, The Wall Street Journal, and National Public Radio.

Prior to joining UNC, Dr. Tippett worked at the University of Virginia’s Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service where she produced population estimates and population projections for Virginia’s 134 counties and independent cities. A transplant to North Carolina from the Midwest, she earned her BA in Sociology and Political Science from The Ohio State University and her MA and PhD in Sociology from Duke University.


December 6: UNC Public Policy job market candidates

Spring 2019

January 11: Noreen McDonald

Professor McDonald’s work focuses on how infrastructure investments and technology changes influence travel and the downstream impacts on road safety, public health, energy demand, and city form. She is an internationally-recognized expert on the travel behavior of youth and young adults. Her work on children’s travel has shown that improved pedestrian and bicycle facilities can increase travel by foot. She has assessed the causes of declines in driving in the US and UK and looked at how transportation planning practice can respond to recent behavioral shifts and those anticipated due to changing technology. Her most recent work explores disruptions associated with shared mobility, e.g. Uber/Lyft and autonomous vehicles.

McDonald is currently working on several projects including:

  • quantifying the impacts of shared mobility on non-emergency medical transport,
  • considering the role of planning with the advent of autonomous vehicles,
  • exploring how autonomous vehicles will impact vulnerable road users,
  • measuring how recent changes to planning for new development have influenced practice,
  • analyzing the travel of young adults, i.e. the millennial generation, to understand the potential transport and energy impacts, and
  • assessing the multi-modal costs of school transportation.


January 25: Doug Lauen

Dr. Lauen’s work seeks to understand the effects of educational policies, school types, and school contextual factors on student outcomes. He focuses on areas that policymakers can control and that have high relevance to current educational policy debates. To date his academic research covers four areas: 1) classroom poverty composition, 2) educational accountability, 3) performance incentives, and 4) school choice. Sociological and economic theory and policy relevance guide his work, which employs rigorous quantitative research designs. His work often examines the heterogeneity of effects across socially, economically, and educationally disadvantaged student subgroups because reducing educational inequality depends on whether policies and settings have differential effects on disadvantaged and minority students.

February 1

The Graduate Students of Public Policy are hosting a SAFE Training from 1-5pm. Please contact Kellen Kane:


February 8: Joaquin Rubalcaba

Joaquín Alfredo-Angel Rubalcaba is an assistant professor in the Department of Public Policy at UNC Chapel Hill. Dr. Rubalcaba received his Ph.D. in Economics from the University of New Mexico and is an alumnus of the RWJF doctoral fellows program. His areas of interests broadly include health and labor economics. Specifically, he has explored the health and labor market outcomes among underrepresented and disadvantaged communities, while developing new empirical techniques to investigate the economic mechanisms and public policies driving these outcomes.

Currently, Dr. Rubalcaba’s research addresses the role of public policy in the overall socioeconomic wellbeing of immigrant communities. In this line of research, he investigates how policies such as the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals and the Real ID Act have impacted labor supply behavior and health insurance coverage. In another line of research, Dr. Rubalcaba is exploring new empirical techniques to estimate economic values. This particular research has demonstrated an empirically tractable method to assign economic value to health conditions, such as diabetes, ultimately increasing the economic tools used to inform policy decisions.


February 22: Elsie Harper-Anderson 

Dr. Harper-Anderson is associate professor of government and public affairs and director of the Ph.D. program at Virginia Commonwealth University.  Her research examines the impact of macroeconomic transformation on regional economies and urban labor markets with a focus on social equity and sustainability concerns. Her recent work focuses on understanding entrepreneurial ecosystems and their impact on building inclusive economies. Her other scholarship has focused on understanding and enhancing the connection between workforce development and economic development. She serves on the advisory board for the City of Richmond’s Office of Community Wealth Building. Prior to academia, her work included significant experience evaluating economic development, workforce development and housing programs for local, state and federal agencies such as DOL, EDA and HUD. Dr. Harper-Anderson has also worked as a practitioner administering federal housing and economic development programs at the local level. She teaches courses related to economic development, labor markets and urban development policy. Harper-Anderson is the recipient of the 2016 Wilder School Excellence in Teaching Award.


March 1: Mark Holmes

Mark Holmes, PhD, is a Professor in the Department of Health Policy and Management in the University of North Carolina Gillings School of Global Public Health and Director of the Cecil G. Sheps Center for Health Services Research, where he is also the Director of the North Carolina Rural Health Research and Policy Analysis Center and the Co-Director of the Program on Health Care Economics and Finance at the Cecil G. Sheps Center for Health Services Research.

His interests include hospital finance, rural health, workforce, health policy, and patient-centered outcomes research.

In 2014, he received the Phillip and Ruth Hettleman Prize for Artistic and Scholarly Achievement by Young Faculty. In 2015 he was named Outstanding Researcher by the National Rural Health Association.  Previously, he was Vice President of the North Carolina Institute of Medicine, where he gained experience in North Carolina health policy. He previously served on the board of the North Carolina Health Insurance Risk Pool. His state policy work led to his 2010 Health Care Hero “Rising Star” award from the Triangle Business Journal. He is a member of the Editorial Boards of the Journal of Rural Health and the NCMJ. He received his BS in Mathematics and Economics from Michigan State University and his PhD from the Department of Economics at UNC-Chapel Hill.


March 22: Mini-Workshop: Marlous De Milliano and Elc Estrera

Marlous is a PhD candidate at the Department of Public Policy at UNC-Chapel Hill. Her main research interests are household economics and human capital development. With her dissertation she is focusing on the relationship between childhood malnutrition and school attendance in Zambia, and the impact of unconditional cash transfer programs on social support in Ghana and Malawi.  

Marlous is a member of the Transfer Project team, conducting research in multiple countries around cash transfers, and she is a predoctoral trainee at the Carolina Population Center. Prior to starting her PhD she worked as a research consultant for UNICEF analyzing issues regarding social protection and child poverty.


Elc is a third-year PhD student in the Department of Public Policy. He is interested in labor economics, in particular discrimination and the economics of education. Please visit his website to learn more about him.





March 29: Ryan Jablonski

Jablonski is an Assistant Professor of Political Science at the London School of Economics and Political Science; and in 2018/19 a visiting scholar at the University of Washington Department of Political Science. In his research he primarily uses quantitative methods to study how governments and international organizations make decisions about the distribution of public spending in developing countries. He is also interested in the effects of crime, corruption and electoral manipulation on development outcomes. Much of his work draws on research in Malawi, Kenya, Somalia and Uganda.

His research is published in World Politics, The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), International Studies Quarterly, Journal of Conflict Resolution, British Journal of Political Science and World Development and has been funded by the World Bank, USAID, DFID, AidData, EGAP, NSF, and others.

Jablonski also helps coordinate the LSE African Political Economy Group and Seminar Series.


April 12: Alessandra Bazo Vinrich

Alessandra is a doctoral candidate in the department of sociology at the University of Massachusetts, Boston as well as a first generation Latina immigrant and college graduate. Her research interests are intricatelly connected to her experiences growing up in a new immigrant destination. For the past five years she has conducted research on undocumented Latinxs in Winston-Salem and Raleigh, North Carolina, and in Boston, Massachusetts. In her dissertation project she explores the intersection of race/ethnicity, immigration status, and place in the educational trajectories of undocumented Latinxs. One of the principal goals of her research is to apply her scholarship to her work with immigrant communities and to bridge the gap between them and the academy.


Previous Speakers

Fall 2018

September 7: Erika Wilson

Erika K. Wilson is the Reef C. Ivey II Term Associate Professor of Law at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Her areas of expertise include civil litigation, civil rights, education and school reform, public policy, and race discrimination. She currently teaches Civil Lawyering Process and the Civil Clinic.

Professor Wilson’s research interests focus on issues related to education law and policy, specifically obtaining educational equality for disadvantaged students, and the intersection between race and the law. Her articles have appeared in the Cornell Law Review, UCLA Law Review, and Michigan Journal of Law Reform, among various others. In 2016, her work was selected for presentation at the Harvard Yale Stanford Junior Faculty Forum. In 2017, she was awarded the James H. Chadbourn Award for Excellence in Scholarship from the UNC School of Law.

Prior to joining the UNC faculty in 2012, Professor Wilson was a Teaching Fellow at the University of Baltimore. She previously worked as an associate at Arnold & Porter LLP, where she litigated complex commercial cases involving antitrust, copyright infringement and product liability issues. Professor Wilson also served as the George N. Lindsay Fellow for the Education Project at the Lawyer’s Committee for Civil Rights Under Law where she engaged in a broad range of litigation and law reform projects involving school desegregation, the No Child Left Behind Act, special education, school discipline and federal funding to Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

Professor Wilson received her B.A. in public policy from the University of Southern California, cum laude and her J.D. from the UCLA School of Law.


September 21: Corrine McConnaughy

Professor McConnaughy is Visiting Associate Professor of Public Policy and Associate Professor of Political Science, The George Washington University.  Her research interests are in identity politics, focusing primarily on the roles race and gender play in American politics, and in the development of political institutions.  She also has research and teaching interests in methodology, particularly in the design of social science research for causal inference.  Her work in these areas has appeared in journals such as the American Journal of Political Science, Journal of Politics, Public Opinion Quarterly, Studies in American Political Development and American Politics Research.  She is author of a book on the partisan and coalitional politics of women’s voting rights, entitled The Woman Suffrage Movement in America: A Reassessment (Cambridge, 2013).  Other current research projects include a study of the role of gender identity in shaping the gender gap and a joint study with Ismail White on the intersection of race and gender in Americans’ political attitudes.


October 5: Joe Soss, hosted in partnership with the American Politics Research Group, Hamilton 271

Professor Joe Soss is the inaugural Cowles Chair for the Study of Public Service at the University of Minnesota, where he holds faculty positions in the Hubert H. Humphrey School of Public Affairs, the Department of Political Science, and the Department of Sociology. His research and teaching explore the interplay of democratic politics, socioeconomic inequalities, and public policy. He is particularly interested in the political sources and consequences of policies that govern social marginality and shape life conditions for socially marginal groups. Joe Soss is the author of Unwanted Claims: The Politics of Participation in the U.S. Welfare System (2000), co-editor of Race and the Politics of Welfare Reform (2003), co-editor of Remaking America: Democracy and Public Policy in an Age of Inequality (2007), and author or co-author of numerous scholarly articles. His most recent book is Disciplining the Poor: Neoliberal Paternalism and the Persistent Power of Race (University of Chicago Press, 2011), co-authored with Richard C. Fording and Sanford F. Schram. In 2010, he received the campus-wide Outstanding Faculty Award from the University of Minnesota’s Council of Graduate Students (COGS). Professor Soss also holds faculty positions in the Department of Sociology and the Department of Political Science.


October 26: Maryann Feldman

Maryann P. Feldman is the Heninger Distinguished Professor in the Department of Public Policy at the University of North Carolina. Her research and teaching interests focus on the areas of innovation, the commercialization of academic research and the factors that promote technological change and economic growth. A large part of Dr. Feldman’s work concerns the geography of innovation – investigating the reasons why innovation clusters spatially and the mechanisms that support and sustain industrial clusters. Her dissertation, which was subsequently published as a book, was entitled the Geography of Innovation. The work examined the spatial distribution of industrial innovation and provided an empirical model of the factors and resources that affected the production of new product innovation.

Currently Feldman is actively engaged in researching the industrial genesis of the Research Triangle region, in a joint project with Nichola Lowe.  The project follows the development of the regional economy over a 50 year time period using a unique database of entrepreneurial ventures and attempts to understand the institutional dynamics that created a vibrant regional economy. This work provides a replicable template for integrating large datasets to use in the study of regional economies.


November 2:  3:00-4:30pm

Averi Chakrabarti

Averi is from Kolkata, India where she studied Political Science (at Presidency College) and International Relations (at Jadavpur University). Subsequently, she obtained a Master’s degree in Public Policy from Johns Hopkins University. While in school, Averi gained exposure to anti-sex trafficking efforts, refugee resettlement and microfinance through various internships. Before coming to UNC, Averi spent two years working with the South Asia branch of the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL). Her research interests are in development economics, with a focus on human capital and gender issues.



Paul Treacy

Before beginning work on his Ph.D. in 2014, Paul Treacy earned a bachelors degree from Rice University, a masters of industrial and labor relations from Cornell University, and a masters of public policy from Georgetown University.

His professional experience includes six years at the U.S. Labor Department, where he contributed writing, research, and economic analysis to federal rules published by the agency.  He also completed details at the Office of Management and Budget, the Labor Department’s Office of the Assistant Secretary for Policy, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and the Institute for the Study of International Migration.

Paul’s past research experience and continued academic interests are related to labor markets, employment policy, and immigration. He is currently a Royster Fellow at the University of North Carolina, was a Citicorp Fellow at Cornell University, and an MBA Fellow at the Labor Department.​


November 30: Erica Fields

Professor of Economics at Duke University, Field’s major fields of interests are development economics, labor economics, economic demography, and health. Specifically, her research focuses on the areas of marriage and family, property rights, global health, and finance and entrepreneurship. She has received grants from the National Science Foundation, Agricultural Technology Adoption Initiative, and the Harvard Sustainability Science Program, among others. She has published work in various journals, including the American Economics Journal and the Quarterly Journal of Economics. Her research regularly takes her out of the U.S., and she is currently working on projects that explore adolescent empowerment and education in Bangladesh, the effects of microfinance on women and households in South Asia and India, and the impacts of access to family planning resources on fertility and health in Zambia.


Date TBA: Practice Job Talks, 3:00-4:30pm

Emily Nwakpuda

Emily is a former chemist, peace corps volunteer, and public administrator.  She has trained as a mixed methods researcher and her work looks broadly at the economic and social benefits produced by scientific innovations. Her three paper dissertation contributes to the literature on science policy and innovation policy, by considering the impact of high net worth philanthropy on the funding of academic science.  Each of her dissertation papers uses a different methodology and develops original data.  Her work has been funded by the Sloan Foundation and the National Science Foundation.  Emily will graduate May 2019.

Ghazal Dezfuli

Ghazal Dezfuli is a Ph.D. candidate in Public Policy at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  She holds a bachelor’s degree in economics and government from Bowdoin College and a Master of Public Policy degree from the University of Chicago. Previously, she worked as a consultant at the World Bank. Her research interests include civil conflicts, peace processes, armed groups, and political institutions in fragile states.



Spring 2018

January 19: Dan Gitterman

Daniel Gitterman is the Thomas Willis Lambeth Distinguished Chair in Public Policy at UNC-Chapel Hill. He serves as Chair of the UNC Department of Public Policy, and Director of the Honors Seminar in Public Policy and Global Affairs (Washington, DC). Gitterman’s research interests include: the American Presidency and public policy; education and labor markets; American welfare state and politics of social and health policy, and globalization and labor standards. Professor Gitterman received a B.A. from Connecticut College, an M.A. from the University of Pennsylvania, and an A.M. and Ph.D. in Political Science from Brown University. Gitterman was an Exchange Scholar at the Harvard University Ph.D. program in Health Policy and completed a National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) postdoctoral fellowship at the University of California at Berkeley.


February 2: Ipsita Das

Ipsita Das earned a Bachelors degree in Sociology (Honors) from Miranda House, University of Delhi, India, a Post-Graduate degree in Rural Management from Xavier Institute of Management, Bhubaneswar, India and a Masters of Public Policy from Duke University. As an Associate Research Manager at IMRB International’s India office, she worked on large-scale survey research projects on HIV/AIDS, water and sanitation, and forced labor. Prior to starting her doctoral studies, she was a Research Fellow with Duke University and NEERMAN in India. During her fellowship, she worked on impact evaluation of programs in water and sanitation and improved cookstoves in India, and electricity provision in Bangladesh.

Ipsita’s research interests are in understanding the relationship between environment, health and development outcomes; household energy use in low-resource countries; and exploring determinants of health-improving technology adoption. At UNC-Chapel Hill, she was a recipient of the Weiss Urban Livability Fellowship and a pre-doctoral trainee at the Carolina Population Center.


February 16: Gabriel Valdivia

Gabriela Valdivia is Associate Professor in the Geography Department at UNC-CH. Her research examines the political dimensions of natural resource governance in Latin America: how Latin American states, firms, and civil society appropriate and transform resources to meet their interests, and how capturing and putting resources to work transforms cultural and ecological communities. Her latest research project, “The Impact of Oil Extraction, Regulatory Policy, and Environmental Practice on Native Amazon and Afro-Ecuadorian Communities,” funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), examines how the everyday lives of Afro-descendants and Amazonian peoples are shaped by oil infrastructure in Ecuador. She grew up in Peru and conducted ethnographic research in Ecuador and Bolivia, and brings these experiences into her introductory courses on Latin America and advanced undergraduate courses on the political ecology of rural Latin America.


February 23: Janeria Easley

Janeria Easley is currently a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Sociology and the Population Studies Center (PSC) at the University of Pennsylvania. She earned her Ph.D. in sociology at Princeton University. Her research focuses on ethnic and racial economic inequality, neighborhood inequality, and wealth. Specifically, Dr. Easley analyzes  the relationship between residential segregation and job access among the largest ethnic and racial groups in the United States. She is also interested in racial differences in intergenerational mobility.


March 2: Elizabeth Ananat

Elizabeth Oltmans Ananat is Associate Professor of Public Policy Studies and Economics at Duke University. She received a B.A. in political economy and mathematics at Williams College in 1999, a master’s degree in public policy from the Ford School at the University of Michigan in 2001, and a Ph.D. in economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2006. In 2010 she served as Senior Economist for Labor, Education, and Welfare at the White House Council of Economic Advisers. Her research focuses on the intergenerational dynamics of poverty and inequality.


March 23: Jacqueline Chattopadhyay

Jacqueline Chattopadhyay is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science and Public Administration at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. She is a faculty member in UNC Charlotte’s Gerald G. Fox Master of Public Administration Program and in UNC Charlotte’s doctoral program in Public Policy. She earned her Ph.D. in Government & Social Policy from Harvard University in 2012 and her B.A. (Political Science; Economics) from the University of California, Irvine in 2005. Her research focuses on American politics with emphases on social policy, health policy, and immigration. In particular, she studies fluctuations in the American welfare state; citizen interactions with regulatory and safety-net policies; households’ navigation of public and private insurance products; and the politics of policy implementation, resilience, and retrenchment.


April 13: Arne Kalleberg

Arne L. Kalleberg is a Kenan Distinguished Professor of Sociology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He received his B.A. from Brooklyn College and his M.S. and Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin at Madison. He was previously a Professor of Sociology at Indiana University in Bloomington.  Kalleberg served as the Secretary of the American Sociological Association in 2001-4 and as its President in 2007-8. He is currently the editor of Social Forces, an International Journal of Social Research.


Fall 2017

September 8: Elizabeth Frankenberg

Dr. Frankenberg has been appointed as the new Director of the Carolina Population Center and joined UNC’s Department of Sociology in the Summer of 2017. Her research focuses on family, health, natural disasters, public policy, and well-being. Frankenberg has directed major longitudinal studies in Indonesia including the Indonesian Family Life Survey and the Study of the Tsunami Aftermath and Recovery, funded by grants from NIA and NICHD.



September 22: Health & Human Rights Lecture ~ 5:00pm in FedEx Global Education Center

The UNC Health & Human Rights Lecture Series seeks to elaborate the human rights principles that frame health policy. In considering human rights under international law as a basis for public health, this annual lecture has shifted the analysis of global health debates from social justice to legal accountability, elevating human rights from principle to practice. Established in 2011, this lecture series has brought to campus many global leaders in the application of human rights to public health.



September 26: Carolina Forum ~ 5:15pm in FedEx Global Education Center

The twenty-first century version of the Carolina Forum creates a new space and a place for discussion and debate on big domestic and global policy challenges. The Forum fosters non-partisan discussion and deliberation. Its mission is to educate and to engage students in a dialogue about key policy issues in the U.S. and around the globe. The Forum hosts leaders in policy and politics, higher education, private and non-profit sector, and provides an opportunity for students to evaluate the debate surrounding complex policy problems and to enhance their ability to reason through competing arguments.



September 29: Erik Wibbles, Duke Political Science

Erik Wibbels is the Robert O. Keohane professor of political science at Duke University and the co-general editor of the Cambridge Studies in Comparative Politics series. His research focuses on development, redistribution and political geography. He also has partnerships with bilateral and multilateral donors to improve the design and evaluation of governance programming and is a founding member of the DevLab@Duke.



October 13: Venkat Kuppuswamy, UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School

Dr Kuppuswamy is an Assistant Professor of Strategy and Entrepreneurship at UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School, where he teaches courses in strategic management, media entrepreneurship, and innovation. His research lies in two broad domains: entrepreneurship and corporate diversification.



October 27: Students preparing for APPAM



November 10: Frank Baumgartner, UNC Political Science

Frank R. Baumgartner is the Richard J. Richardson Distinguished Professor of Political Science at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. In recent years he has been involved in studies of race and criminal justice and serves on the editorial boards of many peer-reviewed journals, such as the Journal of Public Policy, Public Administration, Policy Studies Journal, Political Research Quarterly.



November 17: Whitney Afonso, UNC School of Government

Dr. Afonso joined the School of Government in 2012 and was named the Albert and Gladys Hall Coates Distinguished Term Assistant Professor for 2015–2017. Her research into how the choice of revenue streams by state and local governments affect government and citizen behavior has been presented at the annual conferences for the National Tax Association, Association for Budgeting and Financial Management, American Society for Public Administration, and the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management.



December 1: Kristin Goss, Duke Sanford School of Public Policy

Professor Goss focuses on why people do (or don’t) participate in political life and how their engagement affects public policymaking. Her current research projects focus on the role of philanthropic billionaires in policy debates and on the evolution of gun-related advocacy over the past decade. Professor Goss directs the “Duke in DC” program, which provides select undergraduates with an immersive experience combining work experience and policy-oriented seminars. She also is active in the Triangle Area chapter of the Scholars Strategy Network, which amplifies the voice of university-based academics in public policy debates.



Spring 2017

January 20: Nicole Ross, Public Policy

February 3: Ben Meier and Pam Jagger, Public Policy

March 3: Bradley Hardy, American University, School of Public Affairs

March 24: Lisa Schulkind, Belk College of Business

April 7: Paul Gaggl, Belk College of Business

April 21: Brigitte Seim, Public Policy
February 21: Dr. Sarah Komisarow

Sarah Komisarow is Assistant Professor in the Sanford School of Public Policy and a Faculty Affiliate of the Center for Child & Family Policy. She is an applied microeconomist with research interests in the economics of education, education policy, and the causes and consequences of educational inequality. She graduated from Duke University with a B.A. in Public Policy Studies in 2008 and from the University of Chicago with a M.A. and Ph.D. in Economics in 2012 and 2016, respectively.


Fall 2016

September 9: Maureen Berner, UNC School of Government

September 23: Bill Lester, Department of City and Regional Planning

October 7: Ashu Handa, Public Policy

October 28: Students prepping for Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management conference

November 11: Anna Krome-Lukens, Public Policy

Number 18: Meenu Tewari, Department of City and Regional Planning

December 2: Scott Wentland, Bureau of Economic Analysis

Spring 2016

January 29: Jeremy Moulton

February 12: Steve Hemelt

February 26: Doug Lauen

March 4: Doug McKay

April 8: Tricia Sullivan

April 22: Brigitte Zimmerman


Co-covenors: Rebecca Kreitzer – – 919-962-2788 – Abernethy 101

Candis W. Smith – – 919.843.8130 – Abernethy 211