Attention: You are using an outdated browser, device or you do not have the latest version of JavaScript downloaded and so this website may not work as expected. Please download the latest software or switch device to avoid further issues.

LEARN > Past Events > 2024 Virtual Research Symposium, Contextualizing Data

2024 Virtual Research Symposium, Contextualizing Data


In an era where data is recognized as a critical asset, the potential for informed decision-making and effective governance is vast. However, the use of data as a lever for public participation and societal benefit requires more than just mere collection and analytics. Meaningful use demands a strategic framework that enables the institutionalization for data as an actionable resource within the public sector. 

The Data Foundation and George Washington University’s Trachtenberg School of Public Policy and Public Administration invited the academic community (faculty and students), policy-makers and -influencers, practitioners, and data scientists to contribute proposals that explored the multifaceted challenges and opportunities for contextualizing data in public sector organizations.

Proposals were encouraged to address one of the following themes:

  • Strategies for embedding data-driven decision-making within public sector institutions at the federal, state, or local level
  • The role of technology and infrastructure in facilitating the use of data
  • Innovative methods for facilitating data quality, security, and privacy in public sector applications, including with AI
  • Case studies about successful data integration demonstrating either short-term or long-term impacts on public services and policy that help build a body of evidence about the usefulness and value of data activities
  • Innovative approaches to engaging the public and key stakeholders in the collection, use, and governance of data, including emerging uses of to promote participation

Proposals should have articulated the resources available and used for stakeholders that enable action. Within each presentation, presenters should have also aimed to offer insights about how data can be systematically transformed into an institutional asset that drives efficiency, transparency, and public value. We were particularly interested in contributions that provided actionable recommendations for policy, practice, and research, and also suggest where future policy research opportunities may be beneficial for the community in the next five years.


Wednesday, June 5, 2023

9:30 a.m. - Opening Remarks 

  • Mary Tschirhart, Director, Trachtenberg School of Public Policy and Public Administration

9:40 a.m. - Cross-Agency Data Governance is Essential for Data-Driven Leadership

  • Amy Bhikha, Chief Data Officer, Colorado Governor’s Office of Information Technology
  • Camila Camborda, Associate Director, State Policy and Advocacy, Data Quality Campaign 
  • Ross Goldstein, Executive Director, Maryland Longitudinal Data System Center
  • Nick Moore, Director, Governor's Office of Education and Workforce Transformation, State of Alabama

10:25 a.m. - Break [5 minutes] 

10:30 a.m. - Strategies and Tools from a Federal Project to Increase Data Analytic Capacity of State and Local TANF Agencies

  • Richard Hendra, Senior Fellow, MDRC
  • Melissa Wavelet, Senior Fellow, MDRC
  • Edith Yang, Senior Associate, MDRC

11:15 a.m. - Transforming Community Hazard Mitigation Planning with Generative AI: The PARC Pilot by FEMA

  • Brian Burdi, Data Scientist, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
  • Daisy Henderson, Digital Services Expert, United States Digital Services (USDS)

11:30 a.m. - Break [5 minutes] 

11:35 a.m. - The Role of Private Management Consultants in Promoting Cooperative Compliance in the Era of Digitalization of Tax Administration

  • Joseph Cordes, Professor of Economics, Public Policy and Public Administration, and International Affairs; Co-Director, GW Regulatory Studies Center 
  • Yaerin Park, Assistant Professor of Public Policy, HNU - ASU Joint International Tourism College (HAITC), George Washington University

12:20 p.m. - An Equity Data Dashboard for Grantmaking in the Arts – Learning and Growing Together

  • Alexzandra Fogle, Program Analyst, National Endowment for the Arts
  • Patricia Mullaney-Loss, Social Science Analyst, National Endowment for the Arts

1:05 p.m. - Integrated Network Solutions in Government Hiring Trends (INSIGHT+)

  • Keunyoung (Eli) Lee, Ph.D. Candidate, University of Southern California
  • Yi Ming, Ph.D. Student, University of Southern California
  • William (Bill) Resh, Director, CLEAR Initiative, University of Southern California

1:50 p.m. - Closing Remarks

  • Data Foundation

Thursday, June 6, 2023

9:30 a.m. - Opening Remarks

  • Data Foundation

9:40 a.m. - Maximizing the Value of Public Data through Technology and Infrastructure

  • Katrina Matthews, Program Analysis Officer, DC Department of Employment Services
  • Rebati Mendali, Chief Economist, DC Department of Employment Services

10:25 a.m. - Does Performance Inform Budget at a Deeper Organizational Level? – A Study of Interactions of Performance and Program Budget Change

  • Robert Hines, Assistant Professor of Political Science and Public Administration, The University of North Carolina at Charlotte
  • Elaine Lu, Professor and Director of Public Policy and Administration, City University of New York: John Jay College of Criminal Justice 
  • Katherine Willoughby, Margaret Hughes and Robert T. Golembiewski Professor of Public Administration and Policy & PhD Program Director, University of Georgia

11:10 a.m. - Break [5 minutes] 

11:15 a.m. - Bridging Data and Talent: Strategies for Attracting Young, Diverse Talent to Public Sector Institutions

  • Will Jenkins, Director, Partnership for Public Service
  • Nadzeya Shutava, Research Manager, Partnership for Public Service

12:00 p.m. - Real-World Projects Utilizing Administrative Data: “Show and Tell”

  • Matt Berry, Executive Director, Kentucky Center for Statistics (KYSTATS)
  • Yvette Chocolaad, Senior Policy Advisor and Managing Director, Multi-State Data Collaboratives, NASWA
  • Cynthia Forland, State Engagement and Special Projects, Multi-State Data Collaboratives, NASWA
  • Ewa Gallagher, Research Economist, Illinois Department of Employment Security
  • Ellie Hartman, Chief Evaluation Officer, Workforce Data Integration, Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development
  • Bryan Huebsch, Chief Data Officer, Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development 
  • Stephanie Walsh, Assistant Director and Director of the New Jersey Statewide Data System, John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development, Rutgers University's Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy

12:45 p.m. - Break [5 minutes] 

12:50 p.m. - Using Technology to Better Facilitate Decision-Making in the State Department’s ECA Bureau

  • Elizabeth Botkin, Social Science Analyst, U.S. Department of State
  • Kirsten Zeiter, Social Science Analyst, U.S. Department of State

1:35 p.m. - Closing Remarks

  • Data Foundation



Day 1








Day 2







Closing Remarks

Additional Resources:



Trachtenberg School of Public Policy & Public Administration, The George Washington University



This website is powered by