Institute on Assets and Social Policy

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Graduate Research Assistants

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Nicholas Croce

Nicholas Croce is a dual-degree MPP/MBA student concentrating in Poverty Alleviation. Since living in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, Nicholas has internalized a deep interest in interfaith relations and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. At IASP, he focuses on the efficacy of Children’s Savings Accounts in creating socioeconomic mobility.  Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. is prominent on his bookshelf; his to-be-read-when-time-allows reading list includes Tocqueville’s Democracy in America and Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century. Nicholas is a proud AmeriCorps alumnus, and has worked at the American Red Cross, Amnesty International Israel, and the New Hampshire Human Rights Commission. 

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Misti Jeffers

Misti Jeffers is a PhD student in the Assets and Inequalities concentration. She received a M.A. in Child Study and Human Development from Tufts University and a B.S. in Child Psychology and Human Services from East Tennessee State University, where she was a McNair Scholar. She previously worked in program evaluation at Jumpstart for Young Children, conducted research on juvenile justice and child welfare issues as an intern at the Department of Research and Planning in the Massachusetts Executive Office of the Trial Court, and provided direct care at a trauma-based youth behavioral health setting in Tennessee. Her current research interests include exploring youths' perceptions of opportunity and evaluating policies that increase access to human, social, and financial capital as a means to interrupt intergenerational transmission of poverty, particularly in rural Appalachia.  At IASP, Misti is part of a team researching healthcare career pathways. In her free time, Misti pretends to train for half-marathons and consistently strives to find the best biscuits and gravy in Boston. 


Annie Leiter

Annie Leiter is an MPP student concentrating in Child, Youth, and Family Policy. Since working with adolescents and teens as a volunteer ski instructor at Youth Enrichment Services, Annie has developed an interest in youth development, particularly through youth workforce development initiatives and community partnerships. At IASP, Annie is part of a team focusing on advancement in healthcare careers for low-income workers. Annie graduated from Williams College in 2013 with a BA in Political Science and a Certificate in Spanish. Before attending the Heller School, Annie did project management work for two consulting firms, first in Frankfurt, Germany, serving start-up medical device companies, and later in Brookline, MA, serving non-profit clients. Annie is currently a volunteer case manager for the Eastern Massachusetts Abortion Fund.


Anna Mahathey

Anna Mahathey is a candidate in the dual Masters in Public Policy and Masters in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies program. She concentrates in poverty alleviation and is particularly interested in studying the ways that welfare policies and other policies targeted toward low-income people affect the various identities women hold, such as workers, mothers, and caregivers. Previously, Anna interned with the Government Affairs team at CFED, where she delved into policy issues around retirement, asset limits, affordable homeownership, and financial security at work. She also specialized in researching and writing about the women’s wealth gap. At IASP, Anna is part of a team researching healthcare career pathways. Prior to attending the Heller School, Anna attended High Point University, where she earned degrees in Religion and Sociology. When she’s not researching or doing school work, Anna can be found outside exploring and soaking up nature’s beauty.

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Liz Olson

Liz Olson is a dual degree candidate in the Masters in Public Policy and Masters in Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies program. She comes to Heller with a background in direct service provision and advocacy work, having spent several years working alongside survivors of intimate partner violence in an emergency shelter. Most recently, Liz worked at an affordable housing agency focused on mitigating displacement of communities of color and low-income people in Portland, OR. There, she coordinated an asset building program for individuals affected by economic exclusion and financial insecurity. At IASP, Liz contributes to an evaluation of the implementation of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act in the state of New Hampshire. When she's not studying or working, Liz likes to eat pizza (who doesn't?!) and spend time with her sweet niece and nephew. 

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Caroline Swaller

Caroline Swaller is a dual Master's in Public Policy and Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies candidate. She concentrates on the intersection of federal policy and gendered violence specifically the growing role of Title IX in fighting against sexual assault on college campuses. Previously, Caroline worked as a workplace policy and research intern at the National Partnership for Women & Families in Washington D.C.. At IASP, Caroline is part of a research team working with the Family, Friends, and Neighbors Network in Bangor, Maine focusing on the caregiving and educational needs of informal care networks. Caroline graduated from Denison University in 2013 with a dual Bachelor's in Women's Studies and Theatre with a specific interest in the ways political theatre can transform oppressive legal structures in the United States. She has worked abroad in London, UK and has traveled the country from coast to coast as a volunteer with Americorps NCCC FEMA Corps. In her spare time she thinks of ways she can be more like Leslie Knope. 

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Alexandra Turner

Alexandra Turner is a Masters in Public Policy candidate crafting an interdisciplinary concentration in Immigration Studies. Her research interests include analyzing how case law and policy can strengthen one another to facilitate sociopolitical inclusion of immigrants. At IASP, Alexandra is a part of the team focusing on career mobility for low-income individuals working in the health care sector. As an AmeriCorps alumna, she has had experience working with local government and non-profits to improve the quality of life of day-laborers and their families. In 2015, she graduated from the University of Wisconsin--Milwaukee with a Bachelor's degree in Political Science. When not contemplating law school or requesting all the interlibrary loans she possibly can, Alexandra enjoys drinking masala chai while she watches productions from the BBC.

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