PPC Summer Scholars


The Public Policy Center welcomed four Summer Scholars-in-Residence: Aislinn Conrad-Hiebner, Assistant Professor in the UI School of Social Work (and current complimentary appointment in the PPC’s Social & Education and Health Policy Research programs); Armeda Wojciak, Assistant Professor in the UI Department of Psychological and Quantitative Foundations; Megan Gilster, Assistant Professor in the UI School of Social Work; and Jessica Welburn, Assistant Professor in the UI Department of Sociology (both of whom have complimentary appointments in the PPC’s Social & Education Policy Research program). 

The goal of the PPC Summer Scholar-in-Residence program is to provide an opportunity for a scholar or team of scholars (up to three people) to work together at the Public Policy Center on a policy-relevant research project that align with the PPC’s program areas. The projects are listed below with links to their abstracts.

Conrad-Hiebner worked with Suzanne Bentler, Assistant Research Scientist in the Health Policy Research Program, and Tessa Heeren, Research Associate in the Health Policy Research Program on the project, Hardship in the Heartland, from May 14 – 25, and August 6 – 17. The aim of the project was to describe the incidence of material hardship across the State of Iowa. Material hardship occurs when a family’s consumption of goods and services falls below an acceptable standard, and includes security and quality of food, transportation, and housing, the ability to pay bills, and access to a doctor when needed.

Wojciak’s project, We Can! Building Relationships and Resilience: An Intervention to Support Educators Working with Children Who Have Experienced Adverse Childhood Experiences, was an intervention that addresses adverse childhood experiences, toxic stress, strategies to work with students who have experienced trauma, and ways to build resilience among all students. Over the course of the four-week period, Wojciak worked on two tangible products to move We Can! forward: a grant application and a publication. Her residence took place May 14th- June 10th. 

Gilster and Welburn collaborated on Housing Inequality in Iowa City: Examining the Experiences of Community Members and University Students, to facilitate the collaborative analysis and dissemination of results from a community engaged, mixed-methods Housing Inequality study. The ultimate goals of the project were to write an article for an interdisciplinary journal and pursue additional funding to conduct more interviews. Their residence took place June 18 to June 29.

In addition, Rebecca Kreitzer, Assistant Professor of Political Science at University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, returned to continue last summer’s work with Tracy Osborn, Gender Equality in Public Policy, which led to a journal article submission, development of a survey instrument for primary data collection, and a grant application. Rebecca was in residence May 14 – June 1.