Investigators & Leadership
American Institutes for Research
C. Matthew Snipp
Laura Forbes Somers
Deanna Lyter Achorn
Sharoon Negrete Gonzalez
Vanessa Coleman is a Principal Consultant at the American Institutes for Research (AIR). Her work focuses on aligning research, practice, and policies in ways that directly address systemic inequities and oppression. She leads and consults on a range of projects utilizing qualitative research methods and improvement science processes to engage stakeholders in defining and implementing change at multiple organizational levels. As Co-Director of the Center for Education Equity (CEE), she works with state education agencies, private foundations, and school districts to operationalize “equity.” She also collaborates with several city-wide community-engaged improvement efforts throughout the United States. As Director of The Equity Project (TEP), she leverages AIR’s research, policy, and practice expertise to increase educational and social opportunities for all students and the communities in which they exist.
Prior to AIR, Dr. Coleman was a managing partner at Coleman-Smith, where her work focused on facilitating leadership through effective and sustainable improvement. Her approach emphasized innovation, scaling change, systems change, and capacity building for education, health, and community-focused entities. She served as Executive Director of the Coalition of Essential Schools, a national comprehensive school reform think tank and network. Dr. Coleman also served as Executive Director of the Breakthrough Collaborative, an international youth development program focused on academic achievement and early educator development.
Peter W. Cookson, Jr. is a senior researcher at the Learning Policy Institute (LPI) and a principal researcher at the American Institutes of Research (AIR), with three decades of research experience. His areas of expertise include school reform, school choice, charter schools, private schools, and the integration of technology into classroom learning. He is recognized as an authority on the effects of social class on educational attainment. He has conducted numerous studies on school choice, the consequences of educational stratification, and new models of learning. He teaches in the Department of Sociology at Georgetown University. His most recent publications include: Exploring Education (fifth edition), co-authored with Alan R. Sadovnik, Susan Semel and Ryan Coughlan (Routledge, Winter 2017), Class Rules: Exposing Inequality in American High Schools (Teachers College Press, Fall 2013), Hearts on Fire: Stories of Today’s Visionaries Igniting Idealism into Action, co-authored with Jill W. Iscol (Random House, Winter 2013), and Sacred Trust: A Children’s Education Bill of Rights (Corwin Press, Spring 2011).
Kathryn Edin is a Professor of Sociology and Public Affairs at the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University, and is the co-director of The Bendheim-Thoman Center for Research on Child Wellbeing (CRCW). She is one of the nation’s leading poverty researchers, working in the domains of welfare and low-wage work, family life, and neighborhood contexts, through direct, in-depth observations and interviews. Using qualitative and mixed-method approaches, she has taken on key research questions that have not been fully answered by quantitative work. She has authored 8 books and some 60 journal articles. $2.00 a Day: The Art of Living on Virtually Nothing in America, co-authored with Luke Shaefer, was recently met with wide critical acclaim.
David B. Grusky is the Barbara Kimball Browning Professor in the School of Humanities and Sciences, Professor of Sociology, Senior Fellow at the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research, Faculty Fellow at the Stanford Center for Population Health Sciences, Director of the Stanford Center on Poverty and Inequality, and coeditor of Pathways Magazine. His research addresses the changing structure of late-industrial inequality and addresses such topics as the future of extreme inequality in the United States, recent trends in social mobility, the sources of gender inequality, the role of social classes and social closure in reducing opportunity, new ways to improve the country’s infrastructure for monitoring labor market outcomes, and new approaches to reducing poverty and increasing mobility.
C. Matthew Snipp
C. Matthew Snipp is the Burnet C. and Mildred Finley Wohlford Professor of Humanities and Sciences in the Department of Sociology at Stanford University. He is also the Director for the Institute for Research in the Social Science’s Secure Data Center and formerly directed Stanford’s Center for the Comparative Study of Race and Ethnicity (CCSRE). He has been a Research Fellow at the U.S. Bureau of the Census and a Fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences. Professor Snipp has published 3 books and over 70 articles and book chapters on demography, economic development, poverty, and unemployment. His current research and writing deals with the methodology of racial measurement, changes in the social and economic well-being of American ethnic minorities, and American Indian education. For nearly ten years, he served as an appointed member of the Census Bureau’s Racial and Ethnic Advisory Committee. He also has been involved with several advisory working groups evaluating the 2000 census, three National Academy of Science panels focused on the 2010 and 2020 censuses. He also has served as a member of the Board of Scientific Counselors for the Centers for Disease Control and the National Center for Health Statistics, and the National Institute of Child Health and Development’s Population Science Subcommittee, as well as an elected member of the Inter-University Consortium of Political and Social Research’s Council. He is currently serving on the National Academy of Science's Committee on National Statistics, a body that advises the federal government about the federal statistical system.