Speaker Profiles

CHLOE E. BIRD (Sept. 20 Conference) is chair of the Diversity and Inclusion Forum and a senior sociologist at the RAND Corporation, where she studies women's health and determinants of differences in men’s and women’s health and health care. She is also professor of sociology and policy analysis in the Pardee RAND Graduate School. She recently served as a senior advisor in the National Institutes of Health’s Office for Research on Women’s Health and as editor-in-chief of the journal Women's Health Issues, where she is now associate editor. Her current work examines ways to improve and integrate women’s reproductive health care into their care across the life course to reduce cardiovascular risk and improve outcomes. Her recent projects include a study assessing gender disparities in quality of care among Medicare Advantage beneficiaries. In her book Gender and Health: The Effects of Constrained Choice and Social Policies (Cambridge University Press, 2008), Bird and coauthor Patricia P. Rieker explore how policymakers and other stakeholders shape individuals’ opportunities to pursue a healthy life. They emphasize the need for research that informs stakeholders' decisions in order to improve women's health and reduce disparities.

RAJ CHETTY (Sept. 20 Conference) is the William A. Ackman Professor of Economics at Harvard University. He is also the Director of Opportunity Insights (formerly the Equality of Opportunity Project), which uses “big data” to understand how we can give children from disadvantaged backgrounds better chances of succeeding. Chetty's research combines empirical evidence and economic theory to help design more effective government policies. His work on topics ranging from tax policy and unemployment insurance to education and affordable housing has been widely cited in academia, media outlets, and Congressional testimony. Chetty received his Ph.D. from Harvard University in 2003 and is one of the youngest tenured professors in Harvard's history. Before joining the faculty at Harvard, he was a professor at UC-Berkeley and Stanford University. Chetty has received numerous awards for his research, including a MacArthur "Genius" Fellowship and the John Bates Clark medal, given to the economist under 40 whose work is judged to have made the most significant contribution to the field.

DAVID DALEY (Sept. 20 Conference) is the author of Ratf**ked: The True Story Behind the Secret Plan to Steal America's Democracy (W.W. Norton/Liveright) and a frequent lecturer and media source about gerrymandering. He is the former editor-in-chief of Salon.com, and the former CEO and publisher of the Connecticut News Project. He is a digital media fellow at the Wilson Center for the Humanities and the Grady School of Journalism at the University of Georgia. His work has appeared in New York magazine, the Atlantic, the Boston Globe, the New Yorker, The Washington Post, USA Today, Rolling Stone, Details, and he's been on CNN and NPR. He earned a bachelor's degree in political science at Boston College and a master's degree in journalism at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. When writing for the Hartford Courant, he helped identify Mark Felt as the "Deep Throat" source for Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein.

SUSAN DYNARSKI (Sept. 20 Conference) is a professor of public policy, education and economics at the University of Michigan, where she holds appointments at the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, School of Education, Department of Economics and Institute for Social Research and serves as co-director of the Education Policy Initiative. She is a faculty research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research and the Center for Analysis of Postsecondary Education and Employment. She is a nonresident senior fellow in the Economic Studies Program at the Brookings Institution. Dynarski earned an A.B. in Social Studies from Harvard, a Master of Public Policy from Harvard and a Ph.D. in Economics from MIT. Dynarski has been a visiting fellow at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston and Princeton University as well as an associate professor at Harvard University. She is an editor of Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, former editor of The Journal of Labor Economics and Education Finance and Policy, and is currently on the board of Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis.

SAM FRIEDMAN (Sept. 20 Conference) is a sociologist of class and inequality at the London School of Economics and Political Science. His research focuses in particular on the cultural dimensions of contemporary class division. He has recently completed a book entitled The Class Ceiling: Why it Pays to be Privileged (with Daniel Laurison), which examines social mobility into Britain’s higher professional and managerial occupations. The hidden barriers, or “glass ceiling”, preventing women and ethnic minorities from getting to the top are well documented. But as the book documents, the upwardly mobile also face a powerful and previously unrecognized “class pay gap” within Britain’s elite occupations. Friedman is currently working a new project (with Aaron Reeves) analyzing the entire 120-year historical database of Who’s Who – a unique catalogue of the British elite – to find that the propulsive power of elite schools has both diminished significantly over time and yet remains doggedly persistent.

ALEXES HARRIS (Dec. 12) is a University of Washington Presidential Term Professor in Sociology. Her research interests focus on social stratification processes and racial and ethnic disparities. She investigates how contact with varying institutions (educational, juvenile and criminal justice and economic) impact individuals' life chances.  Her book, A Pound of Flesh (2016), documents the contemporary relationship between the United States' systems of social control and inequality.  Using a mixed-method approach (court observations, interviews with court actors and defendants, review of legal statute and cases, and statistical analysis of court automated data), it analyzes the particular policies and mechanisms used within the criminal justice system to impose and monitor sanctions to poor people who do not pay their legal debts, and Harris examines the consequences of this process. Outlining how local community and court culture and financial constraints influence contemporary notions of who should be held accountable for their actions by the criminal justice system, she argues that monetary sanctions serve as a punishment tool that permanently penalize and marginalize the poor.

ELAINE HERNANDEZ (Sept. 20 Conference) is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at Indiana University Bloomington. Her research explores the structural forces that contribute to social inequalities in health. Why is the association between socioeconomic status, gender, race/ethnicity, and health so enduring? How do social inequalities in health emerge and persist across generations? Answering these questions contributes to our understanding of the basic social processes that create and reproduce unequal health outcomes across different sociodemographic groups. To date, she has primarily focused on (1) examining the persistent association between sociodemographic factors and health and (2) isolating key points when sociodemographic differences or inequalities begin (i.e., emerge) or are reproduced over time. She uses a variety of methodological approaches and data to creatively examine and explore these associations, and her research has appeared in the Journal of Health & Social Behavior, Social Science & Medicine, Society & Mental Health, the Journal of Aging and Health, Social Forces and the Population Bulletin.

MICHAEL KRAUS (Sept. 20 Conference) is an Assistant Professor of Organizational Behavior in the Psychology Department at Yale University. He is a social psychologist who specializes in the study of inequality. His current work explores the behaviors and emotional states that maintain and perpetuate economic and social inequality in society. He also studies the emotional processes that allow individuals and teams to work together more effectively. Michael’s research has appeared in Psychological Review, Perspectives on Psychological Science, and Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. He currently teaches Power & Politics and Global Virtual Teams in the Yale SOM core curriculum.

BRUCE LINK (Sept. 20 Conference) is a Distinguished Professor of Sociology and Public Policy at the University of California, Riverside. He earned his BA from Earlham College and MS and PhD degrees from Columbia University. His interests are centered on topics in psychiatric and social epidemiology. He has written on the connection between socioeconomic status and health, homelessness, violence, stigma, and discrimination. Currently he is conducting research aimed at understanding health disparities by race/ethnicity and socioeconomic status, the consequences of social stigma for people with mental illnesses, and the connection between mental illnesses and violent behaviors. Dr. Link is also a Professor Emeritus of Epidemiology and Sociomedical Sciences in the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University, a research scientist at the New York State Psychiatric Institute, and the current president of the Interdisciplinary Association for Population Health Science (IAPHS).

BRUCE MCEWEN (Nov. 21) is Alfred E. Mirsky Professor and head of the Harold and Margaret Milliken Hatch Laboratory of Neuroendocrinology at The Rockefeller University. A prominent neuroscientist, he leads research on the effects of sex, stress and hormones on the brain. In 1968, his laboratory discovered adrenal steroid receptors in the hippocampus — a truly seminal discovery. His current research focuses on how stress affects particular areas of the brain, including the amygdala, prefrontal cortex and hippocampus. He is also investigating how brain regions differ between men and women. Dr. McEwen’s research has significantly deepened our understanding of how the brain changes over the course of development, from childhood to old age, and it continues to shine new light upon the causes and progression of psychiatric illnesses, particularly post-traumatic stress disorder and depression.

CRAIG MCEWEN (Nov. 21) is Daniel B. Fayerweather Professor of Political Economy and Sociology Emeritus at Bowdoin College where he taught from 1975 to 2012.  His early research examined community corrections in comparison to traditional incarceration for juveniles and resulted in a book, Designing Correctional Organizations for Youths.  Over the next 25 years his research and commentary focused largely on mediation programs — small claims, community, corporate, family and general civil – and has been published widely in law reviews, social science journals and professional magazines.  He is co-author of the treatise Mediation: Law, Policy, Practice (with Sarah Cole, Nancy Rogers, James Coben, and Peter N. Thompson).  He also co-authored with Lynn Mather and Richard Maiman an empirical study of Divorce Lawyers at Work:  Varieties of Professionalism in Practice.  Most recently he co-authored Designing Systems and Processes for Managing Disputes with Nancy Rogers, Robert Bordone and Frank Sander.

PHUMZILE MLAMBO-NGCUKA (Feb. 20) is United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UN Women. She was sworn into office on 19 August 2013 and brings a wealth of experience and expertise to this position, having devoted her career to issues of human rights, equality and social justice. Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka has worked in government and civil society, and with the private sector, and was actively involved in the struggle to end apartheid in her home country of South Africa. From 2005 to 2008, she served as Deputy President of South Africa, overseeing programs to combat poverty and bring the advantages of a growing economy to the poor, with a particular focus on women. Prior to this, she served as Minister of Minerals and Energy from 1999 to 2005 and Deputy Minister in the Department of Trade and Industry from 1996 to 1999. She was a Member of Parliament from 1994 to 1996 as part of South Africa’s first democratic government. Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka began her career as a teacher and gained international experience as a coordinator at the World YWCA in Geneva, where she established a global program for young women. She is the founder of the Umlambo Foundation, which supports leadership and education. A longtime champion of women’s rights, she is affiliated with several organizations devoted to education, women’s empowerment and gender equality. She has completed her PhD on education and technology at the University of Warwick, United Kingdom.

 

SAMUEL MOYN (Jan. 30) is Henry R. Luce Professor of Jurisprudence at Yale Law School and Professor of History at Yale University. His areas of interest in legal scholarship include international law, human rights, the law of war, and legal thought, in both historical and current perspective. In intellectual history, he has worked on a diverse range of subjects, especially twentieth-century European moral and political theory. He has written several books in his fields of European intellectual history and human rights history, including The Last Utopia: Human Rights in History (2010), and edited or co-edited a number of others. His most recent books are Christian Human Rights (2015, based on Mellon Distinguished Lectures at the University of Pennsylvania in fall 2014) and Not Enough: Human Rights in an Unequal World (2018). He is currently working on a new book on the origins and significance of humane war for Farrar, Straus, and Giroux. Over the years he has written in venues such as Boston Review, the Chronicle of Higher EducationDissentThe NationThe New Republic, the New York Times, and the Wall Street Journal.

 

KIMBERLY NOBLE (March 19) is a neuroscientist and board-certified pediatrician, and director of the Neurocognition, Early Experience and Development (NEED) lab. She and her team study how socioeconomic inequality relates to in children's cognitive and brain development.  Her work examines socioeconomic disparities in cognitive development, as well as brain structure and function, across infancy, childhood and adolescence. She is particularly interested in understanding how early in infancy or toddlerhood such disparities develop; the modifiable environmental differences that account for these disparities; and the ways we might harness this research to inform the design of interventions. Along with a multidisciplinary team from around the country, with funding from NIH and a consortium of foundations, she is currently leading the first clinical trial of poverty reduction to assess the causal impact of income on children’s cognitive, emotional and brain development in the first three years of life.

 

ROB REICH (April 16) is professor of political science and, by courtesy, professor of philosophy and at the Graduate School of Education, at Stanford University. He is the director of the Center for Ethics in Society and co-director of the Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society (publisher of the Stanford Social Innovation Review), both at Stanford University. He is the author most recently of Just Giving: Why Philanthropy is Failing Democracy and How It Can Do Better (2018) and Philanthropy in Democratic Societies: History, Institutions, Values (edited with Chiara Cordelli and Lucy Bernholz, 2016). He is also the author of several books on education: Bridging Liberalism and Multiculturalism in American Education (2002) and Education, Justice, and Democracy (edited with Danielle Allen, 2013). His current work focuses on ethics, public policy, and technology, and he serves as associate director of the Human-Centered Artificial Intelligence initiative at Stanford. He is a board member of the magazine Boston Review and at the Spencer Foundation.

BRISHEN ROGERS (Sept. 20 Conference) is a Visiting Associate Professor of Law at Georgetown Law, an Associate Professor of Law at Temple University Beasley School of Law, and a Fellow at the Roosevelt Institute. His current research explores the relationship among labor and employment law, technological development, and economic and social equality. He is writing a book on those questions, entitled Rethinking the Future of Work: Law, Technology, and Economic Citizenship (under contract with MIT University Press). In addition to his law review publications, he has recently written for the Boston Review, the Washington Post Outlook, Onlabor.org, and ACSblog, the blog of the American Constitution Society. His scholarship has been cited in landmark decisions by the California Supreme Court and the European Court of Justice. Prior to law school, he worked as a community organizer promoting living wage policies and affordable housing, and spent several years organizing workers as part of SEIU’s “Justice for Janitors” campaign.

JOES SOSS (Oct. 17) is the inaugural Cowles Chair for the Study of Public Service at the University of Minnesota, where he holds faculty positions in the Hubert H. Humphrey School of Public Affairs, the Department of Political Science, and the Department of Sociology. His research and teaching explore the interplay of democratic politics, societal inequalities, and public policy. He is particularly interested in the political sources and consequences of policies that govern social marginality and shape life conditions for socially marginal groups. His coauthored book, Disciplining the Poor: Neoliberal Paternalism and the Persistent Power of Race (2011), was selected for the 2012 Michael Harrington Award (APSA, New Political Science) and the 2012 Oliver Cromwell Cox Award (ASA, Section on Racial and Ethnic Minorities), the 2012 CHOICE Outstanding Academic Title Award (American Library Association), and the 2015 Herbert Simon Award (APSA, Section on Public Administration).

KAROLYN TYSON (Sept. 20 Conference) is an Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She received a doctorate in sociology from the University of California, Berkeley in 1999 and a B.A. from Spelman College in 1991. She specializes in qualitative research focused on issues related to schooling and inequality. She is particularly interested in understanding the complex interactions between schooling processes and the achievement outcomes of black students. Currently she is collaborating with a team of researchers on a multi-method, multi-site study examining issues centered on the law, rights consciousness, and legal mobilization in American secondary schools. She has recently completed a book examining how and why black students have come to equate school success with whiteness. Based on more than ten years of research, Integration Interrupted shows how the practice of curriculum tracking in the aftermath of the Brown vs. Board of Education decision contributed to students casting academic achievement as a “white thing.” Dr. Tyson is also working on a study tracing the history of racialized tracking in a suburban school district and the consequences for the district’s black students.