Division of Economic Independence (DEI)

Staff and Organization

Hillary Bruck Photo

Hilary Bruck

Division Director, Division of Economic Independence
Family Self-Sufficiency, Employment and Training, Career Pathways Programs, Health Profession Opportunity Grants Evaluations

Hilary Bruck is the Director of OPRE’s Division of Economic Independence (DEI), providing leadership for the division’s portfolio of welfare and family self-sufficiency research and evaluation.

Ms. Bruck joined OPRE in 2010 as a Presidential Management Fellow and served as a Senior Social Science Research Analyst and Team Leader for Employment and Training Research prior to becoming Deputy Director of DEI in 2021. She has led OPRE’s Health Profession Opportunity Grants federal evaluation portfolio and several projects focused on employment and training interventions for low-income individuals. She also previously managed OPRE’s biennial Research and Evaluation Conference on Self-Sufficiency.

Before OPRE, Ms. Bruck worked as a Research Analyst at the American Institutes for Research in the Education, Human Development, and the Workforce Program. She received a Masters in Public Policy, with a concentration in Education, Social, and Family Policy, from the McCourt School of Public Policy at Georgetown University, and a B.A. in Psychology from Georgetown University.

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Sarita Barton

Social Science Research Analyst

Sarita Barton is a Social Science Research Analyst. Within the Division of Economic Independence, she supports research on barriers to employment and employment interventions for TANF recipients, as well as the innovative use of data to improve employment outcomes for low-income populations. Prior to joining OPRE, Dr. Barton held positions at the Department of Homeland Security where she worked on strategic planning and enterprise risk management. She was also a Peace Corps volunteer and has a special interest in international social development, social welfare, and civic engagement. She holds a Ph.D. in social work from Washington University in St. Louis, a master’s degree in social work from the University of California, Berkeley and a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Yale University.

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Erin Cannon

Social Science Research Analyst
Child and Family Well-being, Two-Generation Approaches, Child Care, Human-Centered Design

Erin Cannon’s work focuses on cross-cutting topics, such as two-generation and whole family approaches to service delivery, and the use of human-centered design in human services. She has a particular interest in child development and well-being, understanding family contexts, and innovating in programs to mitigate effects of early adversity. Dr. Cannon joined OPRE as an American Association for the Advancement of Science/Society for Research in Child Development (AAAS/SRCD) Executive Branch Policy Fellow in the Division of Child and Family Development. Prior to joining OPRE, she was a Research Assistant Professor at the University of Maryland, College Park, where she led studies on behavioral and neural correlates of infant social cognition, and oversaw evaluations of early childhood education programs. Dr. Cannon holds a B.A. in Psychology from the University of California, Irvine, and an M.S. and Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

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Kim Clum

Senior Social Science Research Analyst
Employment, Evidence Reviews, Behavioral Interventions, Racial and Ethnic Disparities

Kim Clum’s work focuses on adults with low incomes, economic self-sufficiency, the application of behavioral sciences to human services, and racial and ethnic disparities in the human services. She has a particular interest in qualitative methods and equitable approaches to conducting research and evaluation. With Victoria Kabak, she co-leads OPRE’s work on behavioral interventions to advance self-sufficiency. Prior to joining OPRE, she held positions in the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE) at HHS, where she worked on an array of policy and program areas, including those related to disconnected youth, low-income men, reentry, and the child support program. Before that, she was at the University of Michigan, where she conducted qualitative research on topics related to low-income families, well-being, and mobility. Dr. Clum holds a BA, MSW, and a Ph.D. from the University of Michigan.

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Nicole Constance

Senior Social Science Research Analyst
Team Leader for Noncustodial Parent Research
Child Support, Career Pathways Programs, Employment and Training, Health Profession Opportunity Grants Evaluations, Justice-Involved Parents, Non-residential Parents

Nicole Constance leads OPRE’s research with noncustodial parents, and OPRE’s research and evaluation support to the ACF Office of Child Support Enforcement. Her work in OPRE focuses on employment and training, career pathways programs, parents involved in the child support program, parents who do not live with their children, and justice-involved parents. She is especially interested in improving employment opportunities for low-income populations, particularly young men, noncustodial parents, and parents who have been incarcerated. Prior to joining OPRE, she completed internships with the U.S. Census Bureau in the Social, Economic, and Housing Statistics Division’s Survey Improvement Research Branch, and with Child Trends in their Youth Development area. Dr. Constance holds a B.S. in Psychology and a B.S. in Anthropology from Virginia Commonwealth University, and a M.S and Ph.D. in Human Development and Family Studies and Demography from Penn State University.

Lauren Deutsch Photo

Lauren Deutsch

Social Science Research Analyst
Employment and Training, Family Self-Sufficiency, TANF Program and Policy Research, Health Profession Opportunity Grants Evaluation, Homelessness and Housing Instability, Research and Evaluation Conference on Self-Sufficiency

Lauren Deutsch’s portfolio focuses on supporting the well-being and self-sufficiency of low-income families through projects related to employment and training, career pathways programs, TANF office culture, and family experiences with poverty. Prior to joining OPRE, Ms. Deutsch was the project manager and research analyst for a U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) contract to measure and evaluate progress toward USAID’s 2011-2015 Education Strategy Goals. Ms. Deutsch holds an M.P.P. from the Trachtenberg School of Public Policy and Public Administration at the George Washington University and a B.A. from the George Washington University.

Victoria Kabak headshot (square)

Victoria Kabak

Senior Social Science Research Analyst
Behavioral Interventions Research, TANF Program and Policy Research, Family Self-Sufficiency, Coaching, Child Support

Victoria Kabak is a senior research analyst in OPRE. She oversees a diverse portfolio of research, evaluation, and technical assistance projects focused on building evidence around programs targeting TANF and other low-income and vulnerable populations. Ms. Kabak co-leads DEI’s behavioral science portfolio and leads the division’s research and evaluation technical assistance efforts. Ms. Kabak joined OPRE in 2015 and became a Presidential Management Fellow the following year. Previously, she worked at a nonprofit organization dedicated to child welfare systems reform and at a microfinance institution. Ms. Kabak holds a bachelor’s degree from Harvard College and a master’s degree in public policy from the Harvard Kennedy School.

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Marie Lawrence

Social Science Research Analyst
Employment and Training, TANF Program and Policy Research, Child Support, Behavioral Interventions Research

Marie Lawrence’s portfolio focuses on improving family well-being through research and evaluation projects related to employment and training, child support, and the applications of behavioral science to human services. She is particularly interested in research that explores and addresses racial and ethnic disparities; engages community members in program design and evaluation; and builds evaluation capacity in local programs. Prior to joining OPRE, she was an Emerson National Hunger Fellow and held positions at the National Conference of State Legislatures, New America, and community-based organizations in Arizona and California. Marie holds a BA from Duke University and an MPP from the Harvard Kennedy School, and she is currently pursuing a PhD in public policy and administration at The George Washington University.

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Gabrielle Newell

Social Science Research Analyst
TANF Program and Policy Research, Employment and Training, Case Management, Workforce Development

Gabrielle Newell’s work focuses on TANF, workforce development, and case management. She has a particular interest in innovative practices to support long-term financial stability and career growth. Prior to joining OPRE she provided crisis response and case management services to victims of trafficking with the non-profit Polaris. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in International Studies, with a minor in Human Rights, from the University of Chicago, where she was selected for the Truman Scholarship. Gabrielle also has a Masters in Comparative Social Policy from the University of Oxford.

Amelia Popham Photo

Amelia Popham

Senior Social Scientist Research Analyst
TANF Program and Policy Research, Family Self-Sufficiency, Employment and Training, Health Profession Opportunity Grants Evaluation, Research and Evaluation Conference on Self-Sufficiency

Amelia Popham’s work focuses on the well-being of low-income families. She has a particular interest in the coordination of federal safety net programs and increasing their effectiveness in promoting family self-sufficiency. She is also interested in participatory approaches to research and evaluation and building research capacity in underserved communities, including American Indian and Alaska Native communities. Ms. Popham joined ACF in 2010 as a Presidential Management Fellow (PMF). Prior to joining OPRE, she worked on policy and program monitoring related to Tribal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and Tribal TANF Child Welfare Coordination in ACF’s Office of Family Assistance. Prior to that, she held positions at Social Intervention Group, United Way, and the University of Texas’ Center for Social Work Research. Ms. Popham holds a Bachelors in Social Work (BSW) from the University of Texas at Austin and a Masters of Science in Social Work (MSSW) from Columbia University.

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Megan Reid

Social Science Research Analyst
Employment, Child Support, Reentry from Incarceration, Healthy Marriage, Fatherhood, Racial and Ethnic Equity

Megan Reid’s work broadly focuses on low-income families’ circumstances, dynamics, and economic well-being. She is particularly interested in understanding relationship formation and dissolution, parenthood and co-parenting, barriers to employment, and criminal justice-involved populations. At OPRE her work focuses on employment interventions, healthy marriage and relationship education programs, responsible fatherhood programs, child support, and family economic stability. Previously, she was a National Poverty Fellow at the Institute for Research on Poverty at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, in residence at OPRE. Prior to coming to OPRE, Megan was a Project Director at National Development and Research Institutes in New York City where she directed a study about low-income cohabiting Black stepfamilies. She earned her BA in sociology and English from Rutgers University, and her MA and PhD in sociology from the University of Texas at Austin.

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Emily C. Ross

Social Science Research Analyst
Child and Family Well-being, Two-Generation Approaches, Head Start, Child Care, Evaluation Technical Assistance (TA), Employment and Training

Emily C. Ross is a Social Science Research Analyst within the Division of Economic Independence. Her current work at OPRE centers on fostering child and family well-being in the context of social services programs, with a specific focus on two-generation anti-poverty programs, early care and education, workforce well-being, and training related to employment and financial capability for adults with low incomes. In addition, she supports research efforts to provide evaluation technical assistance in human services programs. Dr. Ross is interested in improving the coordination and delivery of social services to families, as well as in efforts to elevate and prioritize families’ voices throughout the research process. In 2018, she joined OPRE’s Division of Child and Family Development as a Policy Fellow with the American Association for the Advancement of Science/Society for Research in Child Development (AAAS/SRCD), and moved into a federal role with the Division of Economic Independence in 2021. She holds a BS in Psychology from McGill University and an MA and PhD in Human Development and Social Policy from Northwestern University.

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Elaine Sorenson

Senior Advisor, Child Support

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Girley Wright

Senior Program Analyst
TANF program and policy Research, Special Populations, Incarcerated Parents, Transitional Jobs Studies

Girley Wright is a Senior Program Analyst. Her portfolio includes topics related to self-sufficiency, employment, and the well-being of low-income individuals, including subsidized employment and TANF-related issues. She has a particular interest in strategies that will improve the skills of low-income workers. Prior to joining OPRE, she held positions at the Social Security Administration. Ms. Wright holds a BA from Benedict College.

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Lisa Zingman

Social Science Research Analyst
Employment and Training, Family Self-Sufficiency, Health Profession Opportunity Grants Evaluations, Human Services in Rural Contexts

Lisa Zingman’s work focuses on building the research evidence for programs aimed at improving the lives of low-income children, individuals, and families. At OPRE, she supports the Health Profession Opportunity Grants Program evaluations, studies of Human Services Programs in Rural Contexts and Understanding Financial Literacy Interventions, the ACF Evidence Capacity Support contract, the Pathways to Work Evidence Clearinghouse, and OPRE’s biennial Research and Evaluation Conference on Self-Sufficiency. Prior to joining OPRE, she held positions at the HHS Office of Adolescent Health, where she was a Policy Coordinator and special assistant to the director, and Abt Associates, where she worked on large-scale impact evaluations. Ms. Zingman holds a BA from Tufts University and a MSPH in Health Policy from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.