The RPC Team

The Research-to-Policy Collaboration relies on the coordinating power of a handful of staff who are supported by a range of voluntary researchers at various career stages. Working most closely on responding to opportunities to distill research related to current policy priorities are the RPC Directors, Policy Coordinator, fellows, and interns. Read below to learn more about our exceptional team.

Max Crowley


Max Crowley, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Human Development and Family Studies, and directs the Prevention Economics Planning and Research Program. He is an expert in economic evaluation and the financing of early childhood programs and is a member of the National Academy of Medicine's Committee on the Use of Economic Estimates to Invest in Children, Youth and Families. This work sits at the intersection of human development, economics and public policy. Dr. Crowley leads multiple efforts to increase the use of evidence in the early childhood and health space in a thoughtful manner that will protect children and the public while mobilizing new resources to support evidence-based programming. Dr. Crowley is a frequent consultant and invited speaker on the economics of prevention for initiatives around the country. This includes ongoing consultation to many Federal and State agencies. Additionally, Max's work involves utilizing advanced analytic designs, administrative data and technological solutions to optimize preventive strategies.

Taylor Scott

Associate Director

Taylor earned her Ph.D. in community psychology in the Health Psychology Program at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Her research interests include broad-based promotion of well-being and success among at-risk children via community-based programs and public policy. She served for five years on the Community Research and Evaluation Team at UNCC, supporting evaluations in the context of local child-serving systems including mental health, child welfare, public housing, and education. Beginning in 2015, Taylor worked as the Policy Coordinator for the National Prevention Science Coalition (NPSC), working to support research translation on topics ranging from criminal justice to child welfare. She continued this work as Research Assistant Professor at the Pennsylvania State University by supporting the formalization of the Research-to-Policy Collaboration model and evaluating approaches for (1) reaching Congress with research messages, (2) writing a research basis into law, and (3) enhancing policy training and engagement among researchers. Taylor now oversees the 2019 replication of the RPC and its evaluation.

Fellowship and Internship Program

Many research training programs do not offer much training with regard to how researchers can engage and support the policymaking process. Moreover, there is substantial demand among junior scholars for hands-on experiences outside of academic settings. Our fellowship and internship program offers applied training experiences for junior scholars who desire experience with research translation and/or policy research. Applications are taken on a rotating basis.

Selected Interns become involved in at least one project that contributes to their professional development goals. Fellows contribute to the broadest array of activities, and earn this status after contributing 150 hours or more (i.e., approximately one full-time practicum or internship).


Not only does this opportunity provide a valuable training experience, the talented fellows and interns who work with us have expanded our capacity to:

  • Respond to policymakers' requests for research evidence and identify experts in the field

  • Engage research experts from across the country in federal policy efforts

  • Support events and congressional meetings at the Capitol

  • Investigate how research evidence can be leveraged in legislation

  • Evaluate our efforts to disseminate research to policymakers 

  • Present or publish, including peer-reviewed research papers as well as policy and practice briefs 

Read more below for examples of the work from our Interns and Fellows.

Sarah Prendergast

Sarah Prendergast is an applied developmental science doctoral candidate at Colorado State University and a Doris Duke Fellow for the Promotion of Child Well-Being at Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago. Her research interests include family resilience, child maltreatment prevention, and kindergarten readiness, and how these are influenced by contextual factors (e.g., social policies, family economic resources, and neighborhood quality). She began working as an RPC intern in 2017, and has been involved in responding to a number of legislative requests for research evidence, including one that involved organizing information on studies related to home visitation programs. She also supported a congressional briefing on preventing human trafficking. Most recently, Sarah has been served on the investigation of how research is used in the federal legislation through keyword analysis and qualitative coding of bills and statute. She is also working to publish an op-ed regarding federal agencies' program evaluation capacities.

Taylor Darden

Taylor Darden is a Clinical/Community doctoral student at University of Maryland - Baltimore County who is interested in studying how social determinants (e.g., racial discrimination, SES, and gender) impact health inequities among the African-American population. She began interning for the RPC in January 2017 in order to learn one method of translating research to policy by connecting research experts to legislative staff based on the current interests and needs of lawmakers. Taylor has supported efforts to build the Research Network among child welfare researchers, facilitated several responses to legislative inquiries for research evidence, and has edited grant proposals. Most recently, Taylor has been working on a policy brief related to independent living programs for youth aging out of the foster care system.

Alex Ingram

Alex Ingram is a doctoral student in the clinical psychology program at Arizona State University, studying risk factors and interventions to promote resilience in children who face difficult family transitions such as parental bereavement and divorce. She began working with the RPC in September 2017. A project that Alex helped to lead involved examining the use of research evidence in legislation. Specifically, Alex helped to assess the use of keywords in legislation (e.g., evidence-based) and use those data to select bills that were qualitatively coded using an inductive approach for document review. 

Amy Anderson

Amy J. Anderson is a doctoral student in community psychology at DePaul University and is interested the role of public policy in influencing educational equity, the well-being of youth populations, and social justice broadly. She worked with the RPC the academic year 2017-18 to lead an outcome evaluation of efforts to disseminate research via emails to congressional officials. In this role, Amy tremendously expanded the RPC's capacity for developing a replicable approach for collecting and managing data regarding congressional staff's opening research emails and content (e.g., a URL to a policy brief), as well as potential predictors such as the relevance of the topic to the legislator (e.g., assessed via their public statements). 

Christina Athineos

Christina Athineos is a doctoral student in Suffolk University’s Clinical Psychology Ph.D. program. As a member of Suffolk University’s Community Action-Based Research Lab, Christina is involved in research efforts focused on empowerment and social justice. Christina joined the RPC in August 2017 to translate research related to current legislative efforts. Through this experience, Christina has managed social media posts that share research findings and spearheaded the development of the current website! 

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Cagla Giray

Policy Associate

Cagla Giray received her Ph.D. and M.S. in Human Development and Family Studies (HDFS) from the University of Illinois and her B.A. in Psychology from Bilkent University in Ankara, Turkey. Her interests reside at the interface of applied developmental psychology and international development, with a focus on the promotion of child and family well-being and resilience. Cagla has substantial experience in interdisciplinary research and implementation across diverse country settings (United States, Turkey, Jamaica & South Africa). She collaborated with academic institutions, local and governmental stakeholders, and non-profit (Save the Children) and international development (World Bank) organizations supporting humanitarian programs across the Middle East, North Africa (MENA) and Central Asia. Cagla began working on the RPC in March 2019 as a Policy Associate and Post-Doctoral Policy Scholar, supporting the congressional outreach via periodic meetings with congressional staffers, responding legislative requests on child and family policy issues, connecting researchers and policymakers via in-person hill meetings and coaching/guiding researchers via policy training.

Azaliah Israel

Policy Associate

Azaliah Israel holds an M.S. in Human Development and Family Studies from the University of Alabama and is a Ph.D. Candidate in Family Policy at the University of Arkansas. She joins our team as a skilled provider of technical assistance (TA) to human services programs and agencies, including Healthy Marriage and Responsible Fatherhood (HMRF) grantees and TANF programs. In addition to researching, analyzing, and interpreting federal and state legislation affecting fatherhood programs, she also participated in the assessment, planning, and implementation of programs and special projects concerning father engagement. Azaliah assists the RPC team in conducting introductory meetings with congressional staff to assess their research needs and identify potential researchers in our network to assist in decisions making. In addition to the recruitment researchers, she also leads the rapid response process for congressional offices following in-person meeting with in-network researchers and congressional offices. She regularly engages with research experts across the nation to coordinate the production of policy briefs for congressional offices through conferencing and in-person meetings and supervises RPC interns. 

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