Olugbenga Ajilore is a senior advisor in the Office of the Under Secretary for Rural Development at the United States Department of Agriculture. Prior to this appointment, he was a senior economist at the Center for American Progress. His expertise includes regional economic development, macroeconomic policy, and issues in diversity and inclusion. He has been invited to testify in front of Congress. He has been featured in The New York Times and The Washington Post, and he has made many media appearances.
Prior to joining American Progress, Ajilore was an associate professor of economics at the University of Toledo. His research has focused on race and local public finance, peer effects and adolescent behavior, and police militarization. Ajilore’s work has been published in numerous journals, such as The Review of Black Political Economy, Economics and Human Biology, the Review of Economics of the Household, and the Atlantic Economic Journal. In 2018, Ajilore served as president of the National Economic Association. Ajilore received his Ph.D. in economics from Claremont Graduate University. He earned his B.A. in applied mathematics and economics from the University of California, Berkeley.
Celeste Carruthers is an associate professor in the Haslam College of Business at the University of Tennessee, with a joint appointment in the Department of Economics and the Boyd Center for Business and Economic Research. Her research centers on education policy with crossovers into public economics, labor economics, and economic history. Recent and ongoing projects examine the effect of financial aid on college choices, career and technical education, and the consequences of segregated schools in the early 20th-century United States. Carruthers is a co-editor of Economics of Education Review, a former member of the Association for Education Finance and Policy Board of Directors, a member of the CTE Research Network at the American Institutes for Research, an affiliated researcher with the National Center for Analysis of Longitudinal Data in Education Research (CALDER), and she has served as a faculty advisor to several fellows in the Harvard Graduate School of Education Strategic Data Project. Carruthers earned a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Florida, an M.A. in economics from the University of New Hampshire, and a bachelor's degree in economics and accounting from Appalachian State University.
Joe Cortright is principal of Impresa, a Portland based economic consulting firm specializing in cities. Its clients include city governments and national foundations from around the United States and major corporations including Nike and Intel. Joe has served as a Non-Resident Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution and was named by Planetizen as one of the world’s 100 leading urbanists. He is also director of City Observatory, a think tank focusing on urban economic issues founded with support from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. Joe's work casts a light on the role of knowledge-based industries in shaping regional economies. His City Vitals report is widely used as a tool for benchmarking metropolitan progress. Cortright has also written extensively on the migration of talented young workers among cities in a series of studies entitled “The Young and Restless.” Prior to starting Impresa, Joe served for 12 years as the Executive Officer of the Oregon Legislature’s Trade and Economic Development Committee. Joe is a graduate of Lewis and Clark College and holds a master’s degree in public policy from the University of California at Berkeley.
Mary Donegan joined the Urban and Community Studies, University of Connecticut, faculty in the fall of 2017. She holds BAs from Wellesley College in Economics and Russian Area Studies and earned her MRP and PhD from the Department of City and Regional Planning at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. Prior to UConn, Mary worked as a research associate evaluating housing policy at UNC’s Center for Urban and Regional Studies, and as a research assistant and visiting scholar at UNC’s Center for Community Capital. Much of her research evaluates economic and community development policies and programs that state and local governments have enacted. Current research focuses on the efficacy of economic development incentives, the complexity of entrepreneurial ecosystems, workforce development and employment precarity amongst women and marginalized groups, and the evolving relationships between research universities and regional development.
William Elliott III is a leading researcher in the fields of college savings accounts, college debt, and wealth inequality. Shaped by his personal roots in poverty, in a small steel mill city in Pennsylvania, he challenges individual beliefs and cultural values that surround funding for college, student debt, inequality, systemic patterns of poverty, and educational justice. Some of the college savings account programs he is currently conducting research on are the Oakland Promise in California, Prosperity Kids in New Mexico, K2C in San Francisco, Promise Indiana, and the Harold Alfond College challenge in Maine. He is published in journals such as Economics and Education Review, Journal of Poverty, Race and Social Problems, Educational Policy, and his most recent book is, “Making Education Work for the Poor: The Potential of Children’s Savings Accounts.” Before earning his B.A., Elliott served as an enlisted member of the military. He earned his B.A. in philosophy from Geneva College in Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania. He earned his M.S.W. and then his Ph.D. from the George Warren Brown School of Social Work at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri.
Emily House serves as the Deputy Executive Director for the Tennessee Higher Education Commission and the Tennessee Student Assistance Corporation. Prior to assuming this role, Emily led the THEC/TSAC Research and Planning team as the Chief Research Officer. In this capacity, she developed and executed the State of Tennessee’s higher education research agenda, and worked with Executive and Legislative leaders to design, implement, and evaluate initiatives including Tennessee Promise and Tennessee Reconnect. Previously, Emily served as a Teach for America corps member, and currently teaches Statistics and Research Design courses to doctoral students at East Tennessee State University and Vanderbilt University. A native of Rochester, New York, Emily earned her bachelor’s degree at Cornell University, her Master’s in Public Policy at Vanderbilt University, and Doctor of Philosophy from the University of Michigan. She is a graduate of the Tennessee Government Executive Institute and is the recipient of the inaugural THEC Presidential Fellowship.
Jennifer Iriti, Research Scientist and Director of the Evaluation for Learning Group at the University of Pittsburgh’s Learning Research & Development Center, designs, manages, and implements evaluations of education programs and organizations in PK-20 settings. Methodologically eclectic, she focuses on providing rigorous research and evaluation to support educational policy- and decision-makers about persistent problems of policy and practice. Most recently, she has focused on programs that support postsecondary access and success, such as evaluation of the Pittsburgh Promise and in her role as Co-PI for an NSF INCLUDES grant intended to increase access for underrepresented minoritized populations in undergraduate STEM programs. She holds a doctoral degree in Developmental and Educational Psychology and a certificate in Interdisciplinary Policy and Evaluation from the University of Pittsburgh. Jennifer also holds appointments to the graduate faculty, is a Faculty Fellow with the Center for Urban Education and is an Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Learning Sciences and Policy program.
Nathan Jensen is a 2002 Ph.D. from Yale University. Professor Jensen joined University of Texas-Austin in September 2016 as a Professor of Government. He joined the George Washington University’s School of Business in 2014 as an Associate Professor in the Department of International Business. Prior to joining George Washington University, he was an Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science at Washington University in St. Louis. Professor Jensen is the co-author of “Incentives to Pander: How Politicians Use Corporate Welfare for Political Gain.” His research includes analyses of state-level economic development incentive programs in Kansas, Maryland, Missouri, Texas, and Virginia as well as work on the transparency of economic development programs. His other areas of research include the study of firm foreign direct investment decisions and impact of anti-bribery laws on business corruption.
Nichola Lowe is a Professor and the Interim Director of Urban and Regional Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Her research primarily focuses on the institutional arrangements that lead to more inclusive forms of economic development and specifically, the role that practitioners can play in aligning growth, equity and innovation goals. She has conducted extensive research on critical legacy and growth industries in North Carolina, including biomanufacturing, life sciences, textiles and construction. Her work also documents smart approaches to state and local economic development, including efforts to align strategic forms of industrial recruitment and entrepreneurial support in ways that extend quality job opportunities to displaced workers and less educated individuals. She has consulted on projects for the International Labour Organization, Ontario (Canada) Ministry of Economic Development and Trade and the Chicagoland Workforce Funder Alliance, the UNC Kenan Institute for Private Enterprise, the North Carolina Council for Entrepreneurial Development and the North Carolina Board of Science and Technology. Dr. Lowe earned her Ph.D. in Economic Development and Planning from MIT in 2003, her master’s degree from U.C. Davis and her baccalaureate from U.C. Berkeley.
Lindsay Page is the Annenberg Associate Professor of Education Policy at Brown University and a faculty research fellow of the National Bureau of Economic Research. Her work focuses on quantitative methods and their application to questions regarding the effectiveness of educational policies and programs across the pre-school to postsecondary spectrum. Much of her recent work has involved the implementation of large-scale randomized trials to investigate innovative strategies for improving students’ transition to and through college. She holds a doctorate in quantitative policy analysis and master’s degrees in statistics and in education policy from Harvard University. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Dartmouth College.
Mark Partridge is the Swank Chair of Rural-Urban Policy at Ohio State University and is affiliated with GSSI in Italy and Jinan University in China. He served twelve years as Co-Editor of the Journal of Regional Science, is Co-editor of Springer Briefs in Regional Science, and serves on a dozen other editorial boards. He has published nearly 150 academic journal papers and 60 other book chapters, briefs, and reports. He has published in leading journals such as the American Economic Review, Journal of Economic Geography, Journal of International Economics, Journal of Urban Economics, and Review of Economics and Statistics. He co-authored the book The Geography of American Poverty: Is there a Role for Place-Based Policy? Dr. Partridge frequently gives presentations and addresses to academic and practitioner groups around the world. Professor Partridge has received research funding from many sources including European Commission, U.S. National Science Foundation, and Canadian SSHRC. His research includes investigating poverty, inequality, and regional growth, and he is a leading rural policy expert. He is a Fellow and President of the Regional Science Association International and has received the prestigious NARSC Isard and Boyce Awards. He also served as NARSC Chair and NARSC President. Dr. Partridge is a Fellow and served as President of the Southern Regional Science Association.
Carlianne Elizabeth Patrick is an associate professor in the Department of Economics at the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies at Georgia State University and faculty affiliate of the Center for State and Local Finance, Fiscal Research Center, and Real Estate Center. Patrick’s primary strand of research focuses on the effect of, and theoretical justification for, policies aimed at altering firm decisions, such as where to locate – particularly the use of economic development incentives. Another strand explores the effect of local public goods and tax policies on households' location decisions. A third studies how locational characteristics influence labor market outcomes. Patrick is a former International Council of Economic Development Certified Economic Developer (CEcD) who worked with firms and communities. Her experience as a local economic development practitioner helps ground her research in a ‘real world’ institutional framework and gives it a decidedly policy-oriented focus. She is a recipient of the 2016 Miernyk Research Excellence Medal, the 2014 Andrew Young School of Policy Studies Dean’s Early Career Award, Charles M. Tiebout Prize in Regional Science, Barry M. Moriarty Prize, W.E. Upjohn Foundation Early Career Award, and Regional Science Association International Dissertation Award. She received her Ph.D. from The Ohio State University.
Andre M. Perry is a fellow in the Metropolitan Policy Program at the Brookings Institution, a scholar-in-residence at American University, and a columnist for the Hechinger Report. Perry’s recent scholarship at Brookings has analyzed Black-majority cities and institutions in America, focusing on valuable assets worthy of increased investment. Prior to his work at Brookings, Perry has been a founding dean, professor, award-winning journalist, and activist in the field of education. He served on Louisiana Governor-elect John Bel Edwards’ K-12 education transition committee, as well as on New Orleans Mayor-elect Mitch Landrieu’s transition team as its co-chair for education. Perry founded the College of Urban Education at Davenport University in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Preceding his time in Michigan, he was an associate professor of educational leadership at the University of New Orleans and served as CEO of the Capital One-University of New Orleans Charter Network. Perry’s academic writings have concentrated on race, structural inequality, and urban schools. A native of Pittsburgh, Pa., Perry earned his Ph.D. in education policy and leadership from the University of Maryland College Park.
Dan Rickman is Regents Professor of Economics at Oklahoma State University, where he also has served as Director of the Center for Applied Economic Research. Former places of employment include the University of Las Vegas-Nevada and Regional Economic Models, Inc. Visiting appointments include Colorado State University and the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland. He is an elected fellow of both the Regional Science Association International and the Southern Regional Science Association. He has served as President of both the North American Regional Science Council and the Southern Regional Science Association. He co-authored the book The Geography of American Poverty: Is there a Need for Placed-Based Policies with Mark Partridge for the Upjohn Institute. Along with Mark Partridge, Rickman published extensively in academic journals on the nexus between place-based policies and regional economic development. Rickman also has published extensively on models used in regional forecasting and policy analysis models. More recently, Rickman has examined state and local fiscal policy making and regional economic performance. He received his PhD in Economics from the University of Wyoming.
Edward Smith is a program officer with The Kresge Foundation’s Education Program. He helps advance the team’s goals and functions by inviting and reviewing funding requests and making recommendations for investments in ongoing or emerging innovations. He joined Kresge in 2019 after 10 years in education policy research, working to understand how city leaders develop and advance education attainment initiatives rooted in a city’s assets and suited to the needs of its people. Previously, he held positions at the W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research, NASPA’s Research and Policy Institute and the Institute for Higher Education Policy. Ed has consulted for New Jersey’s Office of the Secretary of Higher Education, the Community College of Philadelphia and the City of Philadelphia’s Office of Education. He has served as an instructor of record at the Davidson County Correctional Facility (Nashville, Tenn.), the Workshop School of West Philadelphia, Pennsylvania State University’s College of Education and the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education. He holds a Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education, as well as a bachelor’s degree in economics and a master’s degree in education from Pennsylvania State University.
Keith Wardrip joined the Community Development and Regional Outreach Department of the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia in 2011 and has served as the community development research manager since 2013. In this role, he produces original research, supervises the work of the department's research analysts, and leads the development of the department’s research agenda. His work focuses primarily on employment and post-secondary educational opportunities for low- and moderate-income populations, affordable housing and housing quality, and philanthropic support for local community and economic development. Before joining the Philadelphia Fed, Wardrip spent six years in Washington, D.C. conducting affordable housing research at the Center for Housing Policy and the National Low-Income Housing Coalition. He has an M.A. in geography, with an emphasis in urban studies and affordable housing, from the University of Colorado and a B.A. in geography from the University of Kentucky.
Abigail Wozniak is the first director of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis’ Opportunity & Inclusive Growth Institute. Prior to assuming that leadership role in February 2019, she was a tenured associate professor of economics at the University of Notre Dame. From 2014 to 2015, she was a senior economist for the White House Council of Economic Advisers. She has been a visiting scholar at the University of Chicago’s Becker-Friedman Institute and a visiting fellow at Princeton University’s Department of Economics and Industrial Relations. She is a faculty research fellow at the National Bureau of Economic Research and a research fellow at the Institute for the Study of Labor in Bonn, Germany. A native of Green Bay, Wisconsin, Wozniak holds a B.A. from the University of Chicago and a Ph.D. from Harvard University.