SSN Chapter Spotlights

These stories spotlight the work that SSN chapters and members have done to advance research-based policymaking in communities across the states.

2022-2023 Academic Year

Polling station

Improving Poll Worker Recruitment in Maine

"The research that Dr. Glover, Dr. LaBouff and Dr. LeVan are conducting is giving us more information about the motivations that bring poll workers to serve in this capacity and what is effective in reaching them for recruitment." - Maine Secretary of State Bellows 

Utah Legislature

Connecting with State Policy in Utah

“We had an idea of some of the bills that were going to come up. We wanted to figure out how to get people prepared to engage in a way that might be meaningful during the 45 days of the session.” – Jessica Sanders, Utah SSN chapter co-leader 


Making Connections after Pandemic Shutdowns in Dallas-Fort Worth

“I was thrilled to meet with SSN scholars because timely, insightful commentary from academics is a critical part of our state’s ongoing dialogue about important issues.” - Ryan Sanders, Commentary Editor, Dallas Morning News

San Diego

Collaborating with Civic Organizations in San Diego

“As advocates, we decided that working directly with academics...was an obvious and necessary step to enacting crucial climate policies." - Mikey Knab, Director of Policy, Climate Action Campaign


Highlighting State Election Changes in Missouri

“Election rules keep changing. So there's always new things to try and explain to people.” - David Kimball, Confluence SSN chapter co-leader


Building Trust in Elections at the Local Level in Virginia

“The purpose is really to improve trust through education by offering a variety of events to clarify and understand what happened in 2020, but also to understand where people are today.” – Bobbi Gentry, Virginia SSN chapter co-leader

2021-2022 Academic Year


Collaborating with Local Civic Organizations in Alabama

“Through our 2022 partnership with SSN's Dr. Peter Jones, Alabama Appleseed was for the first time able to tell lawmakers just how expensive it is to suspend drivers' licenses…It means a lot to be able to fight 'tough-on-crime' rhetoric with facts." - Leah Nelson, Research Director, Alabama Appleseed


Starting a Column in Local Connecticut News Outlet

"We...value so highly commentary rooted in hard data, objective research and documented facts. That made partnering with SSN scholars from the state's universities a no brainer.” – Paul Stern, CT Mirror Viewpoints Editor


Building Relationships with Policymakers in Maine

“SSN scholars can bring real stories from real Mainers and real Maine families…The things we are trying to decide—when we can talk about it in terms of our own Mainers, our own neighbors, our own community members, it’s just really invaluable.” - Charlotte Warren, Maine House Representative


Fighting Poverty in Georgia

“Our focus is on policy research and network-building across the South, so we were excited to support these five scholars as they examine the opportunity for the Southeast Crescent Regional Commission as it starts operations in the coming months.” - Sarah Beth Gehl, Executive Director, Southern Economic Advancement Project

Florida SSN

Running Informative Policy Workshops in Florida

"As a state legislator and a doctoral student at UCF, I know there are disconnects between research and policy making; it's great to have the opportunity to show researchers how their work can support our efforts in Tallahassee to craft and pass policy that supports everyone." - Anna Eskamani, Florida House Representative

North Carolina

Connecting Scholars and Local Policymakers in North Carolina

“While there’s a lot published about how to formally advocate at a state or federal level, it’s not always as clear how to do that at a local level.” – Sarah Verbiest, North Carolina SSN Chapter Leader


Sharing Innovative Policy Ideas with Policymakers in New Jersey

“The Policy Shark Tank was an amazing experience for our staff, exposing them to bold, leading edge policy ideas.” - Kari Osmond, Chief of Staff to Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman

Utah rock formation

Informing Reproductive Health Policy in Utah

“There was more discussion about reproductive health than ever before. Proactive policies took up a lot of space rather than just restrictive policies, and that in and of itself can be an important message.”  Jessica Sanders, Utah SSN Chapter Leader

Wisconsin Farm

Focusing on Issues Facing Black Wisconsinites

“Our office finds the Scholars Strategy Network to be a valuable resource and we are really looking forward to strengthening our connection with the group.” – Will Zolecki, Chief of Staff to Wisconsin State Representative Supreme Moore Omokunde


Engaging the Alderpeople of Chicago

“I can always count on SSN to expose me to research and policy proposals that can improve the lives of middle- and working-class Chicagoans,” - Matt Martin, Chicago 47th Ward Alderman