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Policy Analysis

Debra Brucker

Debra Brucker

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Debra Brucker has more than 15 years of social and health policy research experience, conducting empirical research, needs assessments, program evaluations and qualitative research for a variety of federal, state and nonprofit organizations. Brucker has held research positions within state government, academic institutions and private organizations. She currently studies the economic well-being of persons with disabilities as a researcher affiliated with the University of New Hampshire’s Institute on Disability. A resident of Maine, she serves on its Governor’s Commission on Disability and Employment and State Rehabilitation Council. Brucker received a PhD in urban planning and public policy from Rutgers University and a master of public administration from the University of Delaware.

Angela Fontes is the director of the Behavioral and Economic Analysis and Decision-making (BEAD) program area in the Department of Statistics and Methodology at NORC at the University of Chicago. At NORC, Fontes oversees academic, foundation and commercial research focused on economic decision-making and consumer behavior. She is the Principal Investigator on several projects, including a five-year contract with the Securities and Exchange Commission to conduct investor protection research, and NORC’s ongoing collaboration with JUST Capital and Forbes on the JUST 100: America’s Best Corporate Citizens. Fontes' personal research centers on retirement preparedness and methodologies for the collection of household finance data. In addition to utilizing a number of large national/federal data sets including the Survey of Consumer Finances, the Survey of Income and Program Participation, and the Consumer Expenditure Survey, Fontes works extensively with the Financial Well-being and Literacy data collected using NORC’s AmeriSpeak Panel. Fontes' research can be found in journals such as the Hispanic Journal of Behavioral Sciences, Health Affairs, the Journal of Family and Economic Issues, the Journal of Women, Politics and Policy, Financial Counseling and Planning, and the International Journal of Transportation Research. Prior to NORC, Fontes worked in business and market research consulting with Chamberlain Research Consultants and Leo Burnett. She was recently awarded a Distinguished Graduate Teaching Award at SPS. Fontes is an active member of the American Association for Public Opinion Research, the American Council on Consumer Interests, and the Association for Financial Counseling and Planning Education. She holds a PhD in consumer behavior and family economics with a minor in sociology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and is a certified Project Management Professional.

Wendy Hassett is a clinical associate professor of public affairs at The University of Texas at Dallas. In that capacity, she teaches public affairs graduate classes focusing on the topics of local economic development, public productivity, ethics and organizational culture, and information systems in the policy environment. Prior to joining the faculty at The University of Texas at Dallas, she worked as an assistant city manager and has over twelve years of experience in local government management. Hassett is the co-author or co-editor of Local Government Management: Current Issues and Best Practices and Civic Battles: When Cities Change Their Form of Government. Her scholarly work has appeared in Public Administration Review, Public Performance & Management Review, Review of Public Personnel Administration, Journal of Public Budgeting, Accounting & Financial Management, and other journals, and was the recipient of the 2005 Public Administration Review Editors' Choice Award. She is a past board member of Public Administration Review. Hassett completed her doctoral work in public administration and public policy at Auburn University in Alabama.

Mark Keightley is an economist with the nonpartisan Congressional Research Services (CRS) in Washington, DC. At CRS, he advises Congress and their staff on fiscal policy, business and international corporate taxation, and housing tax policy. Before joining CRS, Keightley was an associate with the Congressional Budget Office and a visiting scholar at the Federal Reserve Bank of Saint Louis. He has taught at Syracuse University, the College of William & Mary George Mason University, and George Washington University. Keightley’s research has been cited by the President's Council of Economic Advisers, U.S. Supreme Court, Government Accountability Office, Federal Reserve of Dallas, Brookings Institution, Cato Institute, Harvard's Joint Center for Housing Studies, Center on Budget Policies and Priorities, Bloomberg, NY Times, CNN, Businessweek, Reuters, Tax Notes, Daily Tax Report, and various academic publications. Keightley earned an MS and PhD in economics from Florida State University.

Gregory Kuhn currently is director of government management consulting at Sikich LLP and was assistant director for public management and training at Northern Illinois University’s Center for Governmental Studies. Kuhn has more than 28 years of combined governmental, consulting and higher education experience. He was the inaugural faculty director of the MPPA program and continues to be program adviser and lecturer. His primary teaching areas include public policy, leadership, public administration and budgeting. He also served as an instructor/lecturer for Northern Illinois University’s public administration program, and he has earned teaching awards at both NIU and SCS. Kuhn earned an MPA and PhD in public administration, public policy and organizational theory from Northern Illinois University.

Bruce Madariaga

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Bruce Madariaga is a professor of economics at Montgomery College in Maryland. He previously worked for 15 years for the United States Environmental Protection Agency as a senior economist and manager. In 1997 he was the recipient of the EPA’s highest award, the Gold Medal, for leading the analysis of new national air pollution standards. Madariaga has published a book about applying economic principles, Economics for Life, as well as various articles on agricultural, environmental and natural resource economics and policy and the teaching of economics. He completed his doctoral work in economics from the University of Maryland, specializing in environmental and natural resource economics and policy. Madariaga also earned a MPA degree from Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, where he studied public policy analysis, management and advocacy.

Meghann Pytka is a 2020 Postdoctoral Researcher at Polin: Museum of the History of Polish Jews in Warsaw, Poland. In addition to working for Northwestern's MPPA program, she teaches at Maryville University in St. Louis. She oversees the Digital Resource Guides for the Association for Women in Slavic Studies; and previously, she was the assistant Director for the program in Women, Gender & Sexuality Studies at Southern Illinois University, Carbondale (SIUC), where she was also a joint-lecturer in the Department of History and the Honors College. A scholar of nineteenth- and twentieth-century Central and Eastern Europe, her work focuses on topics of genocide and ethnic cleansing, imperialism, anti-colonial resistance, gender inequality, and nationalism. Some of her most recent accolades include faculty fellowships at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM), the Holocaust Educational Foundation, the Polish Center for Holocaust Research, the Center for Urban History of East Central Europe (Lviv) through the European Holocaust Research Infrastructure program (EHRI), and the Kolegium Europy Wschodniej (KEW). Pytka's research, writing, and presenting have been supported by the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS), the Fulbright Program, the International Research and Exchanges Board (IREX), and the Crown Center for Jewish Studies. Pytka earned her PhD in history and a graduate certificate from the interdisciplinary program in Gender and Sexuality Studies from Northwestern University. She has also received the Lacey Baldwin Smith Prize for Teaching Excellence from Northwestern and the Non-Tenure-Track Teaching Award from the College of Arts and Sciences at SIUC.

Pamela Ransom has been active as an environmentalist, planner, researcher, educator and community activist. For more than eight years she was special assistant for environmental affairs for New York City Mayor David Dinkins. Then she moved into international activism as director of health and environment for the Women’s Environment and Development Organization. She worked closely with the late Congresswoman Bella Abzug, spoke to a variety of UN meetings and international conferences and organized major events at venues such as the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing. She has also served on the faculty of Long Island University School of Business, Public Administration and Information. Ransom received her doctorate from Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Ellen Rissman is an economist and senior policy specialist in the economic research department of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. She provides research and analysis on issues in labor economics, such as self-employment and entrepreneurship and cyclical movements in employment. Rissman’s research has been published in the Journal of Monetary Economics and the Journal of Labor Economics. Her research has also appeared in the Chicago Fed’s research periodicals. Before joining the Chicago Fed in 1985, she completed her doctorate in economics and lectured at Northwestern.

Zachary Seeskin

Zachary Seeskin

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Currently teaching:
Statistics for Research

Zachary H. Seeskin is a Senior Statistician with NORC at the University of Chicago, where he works on sample design, estimation, and data analysis for government and public interest surveys. Seeskin further contributes to imputation, adaptive design, total survey error analysis, and small area estimation for such surveys as the National Immunization Survey and the Survey of Doctorate Recipients. His expertise includes analyzing administrative data quality and combining data sources for evidence-building, topics on which he has published research in the Statistical Journal of the International Association of Official Statistics and the International Journal of Population Data Science. In addition, Seeskin and colleagues are developing automated statistical tools to assist researchers with evaluating quality of state and local administrative data sources. Seeskin holds a PhD in statistics from Northwestern University where he served as a U.S. Census Bureau Dissertation Fellow.

Andy Sharma is a political economist whose areas of specialty include aging, health disparities, later-life migration and quantitative methods. Currently he works with the Cedar Grove Institute on a project to employ statistical methodology to examine the adverse impact of economic and racial isolation on student performance in North Carolina. A research article from this investigation was published in Education Policy Analysis Archives (Volume 22, 2014) and this study was cited and listed under Table of Authorities in an Amicus Brief filed by the Society of American Law Teachers in the Fisher II case with the United States Supreme Court (October 2015). He has also published in other highly regarded journals, such as Ageing and Society, Applied Geography, Disability and Rehabilitation, Journal of Aging and Health, and Women’s Health Issues. Sharma is a former recipient of the Carolina Population Center Fellowship with training grants from the National Institute on Aging and the National Institute for Child Health and Human Development. He also received the Future Faculty Fellowship and Weiss Urban Livability Fellowship at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he completed his PhD. He has master degrees in mathematics from Loyola University Chicago and economics from DePaul University.

William Stenzel is the director of Prairie Land Solutions, a private consulting company that specializes in staffing and scheduling analyses for public safety agencies. He was previously an associate director of Northwestern’s Center for Public Safety. From 1988 to 1993 he served as the principal investigator for the “Police Allocation Manual” project, supported by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which developed a procedure for determining traffic and patrol staffing needs of state, county and municipal law enforcement agencies. Stenzel also directed and participated in a number of research projects related to the development and assessment of computer-based management tools for the deployment and allocation of police and fire service personnel. He is the coauthor of Police Work Scheduling: Management Issues and Practices. He has a DSc and MS in operations research from Washington University in St. Louis and an MS in statistics.

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