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, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor of Human Development, Family Studies, and Public Policy, 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. Max 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. Max 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 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 to co-develop the Research-to-Policy Collaboration, starting at the National Prevention Science Coalition and continuing at Penn State University. She also investigates approaches for (1) reaching legislators with research messages, (2) writing a research basis into law, and (3) enhancing policy training and engagement among researchers.
Brittany Gay is a doctoral candidate at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC), where she received her M.A. in Applied Developmental Psychology. Her research, which intersects developmental and community psychology, focuses on the contextual factors that contribute to children’s educational outcomes. Brittany has worked with organization and programmatic decision makers on issues such as juvenile workforce training, food insecurity, and early literacy engagement, consulting on feasible program goals and evaluation capacity development. She started working with the RPC as an intern in August 2018 and then as a pre-doctoral policy associate in June 2019. In her role, Brittany supports the (1) implementation of the RPC via congressional staff and researcher outreach and (2) evaluation of the RPC by providing technical assistance for process evaluation and survey data collection.
Jessica Pugel earned her M.A. in Psychology from San Diego State University. Throughout undergraduate and graduate training, she studied how structural factors of our immediate communities affect individuals, groups, and intergroup relations. These findings repeatedly pointed to the need to change the system to effectively improve relations, which contributed to her interest in policy. Her undergraduate honors thesis and graduate thesis both emphasized the importance of intergroup contact (political parties and ethnic groups, respectively). She was able to study yet another type of intergroup contact when she joined the RPC as an intern in January 2020: contact between researchers and policymakers. Now as a research associate, Jessica's role includes (1) supporting analytic capacity, (2) enhancing researcher engagement, and (3) maintaining partnerships with related organizations.
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
Director of Research and Evaluation
Elizabeth (Beth) Long earned her Ph.D. in Clinical and Translational Science from Virginia Commonwealth University. Her current research interests include investigating ways to improve the use of research in policymaking to improve lives and prevent problem behaviors, especially substance use disorders (SUDs). These interests grew out of her undergraduate and graduate research examining social, neuropsychological, and genetic risk factors related to SUDs, where she came to recognize the significant influence of environmental risk factors for SUDs and related problems, leading to her interest in informing large-scale impact through policy. She joined the RPC in 2018 to lead the quantitative evaluation of the RPC’s impact. More specifically, this work involves (1) survey development and programming; (2) data collection; and (3) data management and analysis. In addition to the quantitative evaluation of the RPC, Beth pioneered the evaluation methodology for examining strategies to optimize electronic research dissemination approaches to improve the reach of research syntheses among policymakers.