RIPL

Who We Are

We are problem-solvers with a measurable track record of excellence in public policy solutions.

We use advanced data analytics, rigorous research, and strong, lasting collaborations with government and private-sector partners to design human-centered, meaningful, and measurable policy solutions which improve equity and economic opportunity for all American families.

We draw from a network of expert researchers at universities across the country to form partnerships and deliver expertise and proven results.

RIPL Team

We hold ourselves and each other accountable for demonstrating the Leadership Attributes through our actions every day. Our Leadership Attributes describe how RIPL does business, how leaders lead, and how we keep our partners at the center of our decisions. Our unique culture, described by our Leadership Attributes, guides us in our pursuit of excellence.

Read about our Leadership Attributes HERE.

Find out about Careers at Research Improving People’s Lives HERE.

Jonelle Ahiligwo

Jonelle Ahiligwo is a Project Manager at RIPL, where she leads project planning and implementation, and organizational marketing. Jonelle holds a Master of Public Affairs and a Bachelor of Arts in Biology and Public Health degrees from Brown University. Jonelle lives in Los Angeles. When she is not working to improve people’s lives, you can find her at the beach trying to spot dolphins or chowing down at one of the many delicious restaurants LA has to offer.

Mintaka Angell

Mintaka Angell is the Chief Operating Officer of RIPL, and is a founding member of the RIPL leadership team. Previously, she has served as a Research Associate at the Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs at Brown University. Mintaka holds a BA in History and an MPA from Brown University, focusing on Data-Driven Policy. Mintaka lives in Brooklyn, New York, where she enjoys writing horror novellas, amateur kickboxing, and rigorously sampling every ice cream shop in the city.

Susan Athey

Board Member and Research Faculty Affiliate

Dr. Athey is the Economics of Technology Professor at Stanford Graduate School of Business, as well as a Research Associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research. Her research is primarily in industrial organization, marketplace design, and applied econometrics. She has conducted path-breaking research on causal machine learning methods, focusing on estimating heterogeneous effects of treatments, designing optimal personalized treatment assignment policies, and developing methods for analyzing longitudinal data. 

As one of the first “tech economists,” she served as consulting chief economist for Microsoft Corporation for six years, and now serves on the boards of several technology companies as well as non-profit Innovations for Poverty Action. She is the director of the Shared Prosperity and Innovation Initiative at Stanford GSB, which focuses on using technology and practices such as machine learning and A/B testing for social impact. She is also associate director of the Stanford Institute for Human Centered Artificial Intelligence.

Sam Baldock

Sam Baldock is the Director of Policy at RIPL, where she leads project management, partnership development, and stakeholder engagement with state government partners. Prior to joining RIPL, she served as the Director of Regional Initiatives and the Deputy to the Chief of Staff at Empire State Development, New York State’s economic and workforce development agency. Sam holds a Master of Public Administration from SUNY Albany and a Bachelor of Science in Economics and International Business from the University of Nevada, Reno. Sam lives in Brooklyn, where she enjoys exploring the City’s museums and cultural institutions, participating in local storytelling events, and planning her next hiking adventure.

Eric Chyn

Board Member and Research Faculty Affiliate

Dr. Chyn is an Assistant Professor of Economics in the Department of Economics at Dartmouth, and a Faculty Research Fellow at the National Bureau of Economic Research. He is a member of the Human Capital and Economic Opportunity (HCEO) Global Working Group, a Faculty Affiliate at the Wilson Sheehan Lab for Economic Opportunity at the University of Notre Dame, and a Faculty Affiliate at the Economic Self-Sufficiency Policy Research Institute. He studies topics in the fields of labor, urban, and public economics. His recent research uses quasi-experimental methods to study the impact of government programs on outcomes of children.

Nile Dixon

Nile Dixon is a Software Engineer on the Engineering Team where he supports the development of many of RIPL’s web apps and chatbots. Prior to joining RIPL he was a Data Analyst for QuestBridge. Nile holds a Bachelors of Sociology from University of Houston – Downtown with extensive training in data science and analytics. Nile lives in Houston, TX and when he is not working to improve people’s lives he is baking vegan donuts and playing board games.

Maggie Finney

Maggie Finney is the Director of Operations at RIPL, where she leads maintenance of the organization’s finances; coordinates grant management; and assists in product and policy development. Prior to joining RIPL, she worked as a Consultant for Public Consulting Group where she provided project management and policy expertise to Human Services and Labor agencies in several states; she also supported the operations of $18M in US Department of Labor (USDOL) grants. Prior to that, Maggie held internships in Massachusetts state government at the Executive Office for Administration and Finance and the Health Connector, the Commonwealth’s health exchange. Maggie holds a BA in Public Policy from Duke University with extensive training in public finance and policy implementation. Maggie lives in Raleigh, NC and when she is not working to improve people’s lives she likes to explore new taco spots, get lost in a good read, and spend time outdoors.

Richard Gilbert

Board Member and Research Faculty Affiliate

Dr. Gilbert is currently Professor Emeritus of Economics at UC Berkeley. He has previously served as Chair of Berkeley’s Economics Department from 2002-2005. Dr. Gilbert was previously the Deputy Assistant Attorney General for Economics with the U.S. Justice Department, and was Director of the University of California Energy Institute. He was a Fulbright Scholar in 1989 and was a visiting fellow at Churchill College, University of Cambridge in 1979 and 2006.  Dr.  Gilbert was educated at Stanford University, where he received his Ph.D. in Economics in 1976, the same year he joined UC Berkeley as an assistant professor. He became a full professor in 1983. His research is in industrial organization and regulation with an emphasis on competition policy, innovation and intellectual property.

Marcelle Goggins

Marcelle Goggins is a Data Engineer at RIPL, where she leads the development of applications and secure data lake solutions for RIPL’s future of work and post-secondary education initiatives. Prior to joining RIPL, Marcelle worked as a Data Scientist at the University of Washington, studying teacher labor market outcomes. Prior to that, she designed and implemented a science-computer science curriculum in NYC and New Jersey school districts as an Associate Research Scientist at NYU. Marcelle holds an MA from New York University and a BA from Harvard University. She lives in Seattle where she enjoys hiking and biking after work.

Samantha Gold

Samantha Gold is an Economic Analyst at RIPL, where she uses machine learning, causal inference, and administrative data to study a variety of public policy topics related to child health, educational attainment, and getting America back to work. Prior to joining RIPL, she worked as a Research Data Analyst at UC Berkeley, studying the impact of California’s Bottle Bill on recycling attitudes and behaviors. She holds a BS degree in Environmental Economics and Policy from UC Berkeley. Samantha lives in Providence, Rhode Island. When she is not working to improve people’s lives, she likes to play tennis and test recipes with her new air fryer.

Ethan Guy

Ethan Guy is a Principal Project Manager at RIPL, where he leads project management, partnership development, and stakeholder engagement with state government partners. Prior to joining RIPL, Ethan was the Principal Analyst for the City of San Rafael in California.  Prior to that, he was the Deputy Chief Resilience Officer for the City of Oakland. Ethan holds an MPP from the Goldman School of Public Policy at UC Berkeley and a BA from Michigan State University, with extensive training in housing and urban development. He lives in Portland, Maine. When he is not working to improve people’s lives, he likes long bike rides through the countryside.

Kyle Hancock

Kyle Hancock is the Associate Director of Technology at RIPL, where he manages and develops technology solutions for data-driven policy. Prior to joining RIPL, he spent the past decade building and managing technology teams and strategy for public school systems. He was also a founding member, president and board member of the New Hampshire CTO Council, an organization he helped lead to represent over 80% of New Hampshire students in just a few years. Kyle holds an MS in Information Systems from the University of Phoenix, as well as several industry technology certifications. Kyle lives in Concord, NH. When he is not working to improve people’s lives, he can be found spending time with his family and two dogs, gardening or doing projects around the house.

Justine Hastings

Founding Board Member and Research Faculty Affiliate

Dr. Hastings is the Founding Director of RIPL and currently serves as the RIPL Board Chair. She is an Affiliate Professor of Economics at the University of Washington, the Chief of Human-Centered Science at Amazon, and a Faculty Research Associate with the National Bureau of Economic Research. Her research expertise spans Industrial Organization, Public Economics, and Behavioral Economics. She has conducted academic research on topics such as market structure and competition, environment and energy regulation, advertising and consumer protection, consumer financial markets, health care, social safety-net programs, and markets for higher education. Her research employs diverse empirical techniques including field experiments, survey analysis, machine learning, predictive analytics, analysis of large administrative datasets, and structural demand and supply estimation. Her research was cited in the 2017 Nobel Prize scientific background materials implications, and has been used to shape public policy improvements around the world, including North Carolina, Rhode Island, Chile, and Mexico. She has also served as an expert advisor on the Academic Research Council to the United States Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Mike Hicklen

Mike Hicklen is the Director of Cloud Engineering at RIPL, where he provides technical direction for RIPL’s cloud solutions. Prior to joining RIPL, he led a successful version control startup, Assembla, as Director of DevOps, completing a complete lift-and-shift migration from a bare metal data center into the cloud, leading to a successful acquisition. Prior to that, he worked at Amazon Web Services, supporting some of the largest tech, health and e-commerce businesses in the world. Mike brings a wide variety of experience in Linux systems administration, cloud hosting platforms, and network security, and he obsesses over his customers, both internal and external.  Mike lives in Austin, TX (originally from Huntsville, AL). When he’s not working to improve people’s lives, he’s spending time with his wife and daughter, listening to vinyl, and playing nostalgic computer games.

Mark Howison

Mark Howison is the Senior Director of Research and Technology, and is a founding member of the RIPL leadership team. Prior to joining RIPL, he worked as a Data Scientist and researcher at Brown University, where he founded and led the Data Science Practice and the Computational Biology Core within the central IT department, and served as a Research Associate at the Watson Institute for International Affairs. He has also previously worked in high-performance computing as a computer systems engineer with Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. Mark holds an M.S. in Computer Science from UC Berkeley. Although originally trained as a computer scientist, his research crosses many disciplines through partnerships with economists, doctors, and policymakers to solve challenges in human health and public policy. Mark lives in Portland, Maine, where he enjoys the outdoors, winter sports, and splitting firewood.

Scott Jensen

Scott Jensen is the Chief Executive Officer and Vice President of External Affairs of RIPL. Prior to joining RIPL, Scott was appointed by Governor Gina M. Raimondo as the Director of the Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training from 2015 to 2021. Scott has a distinguished history of leading innovation with data and technology to improve lives wherever he serves. He designed, launched and implemented one of the nation’s most innovative workforce development programs, Real Jobs RI, and its post-pandemic counterpart, Back to Work RI. 

 

Prior to his tenure in Rhode Island, Scott was the Deputy Secretary of Labor for Maryland, and has served as an elected City Council Member. 

 

Scott received a BA in History from Illinois State University, an MA in Liberal Education from St. John’s College in Annapolis, MD, and was a Ph.D. candidate in philosophy at the Graduate Faculty of the New School for Social Research in New York, NY. Before entering public service, Scott also taught philosophy to undergraduate students at Salisbury State University in Maryland. Scott lives with his family in Maryland, where he enjoys Husserlian Phenomenology and barefoot waterskiing.

Joe Long

Joe Long is a Data Scientist at RIPL. Prior to joining RIPL, he completed a Ph.D. in Economics at Northwestern University. Prior to that, he worked at the Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA) as a Research Analyst. Currently, Joe lives in St. Louis, and when he is not working to improve people’s lives he likes to paint, play guitar, and cook.

Daniel Molitor

Daniel Molitor is an Economic Analyst at RIPL, where he helps implement analysis and machine learning techniques to advance RIPL’s scientific research. Prior to joining RIPL, he worked as a Data Analyst for Opportunity Partners, a non-profit focused on serving individuals with disabilities. Daniel holds a BA  from Bethel University in St. Paul, MN. Daniel lives in Providence, Rhode Island. When he is not working to improve people’s lives, he enjoys disc golfing and playing a variety of strategic board games. 

John Ratliff

John Ratliff is a strategist and implementation advisor focused on building prosperity and advising communities in times of crisis and opportunity. He works closely with community leaders to develop visions for a more innovative, resilient, and equitable future, including efforts to: recover from the COVID-19 pandemic; the Great Recession; rebuild Lower Manhattan after 9/11; reunify Berlin; and rebuild after Hurricanes Katrina, Sandy, Irene, Isabel, Floyd, and Hugo. He assists in the building of new tools, partnerships, and ways of doing business to realize these visions. He is an expert on the interplay of policies across multiple levels of authority and effective execution in systems of networked governance.

He was appointed by President Obama as Counselor to Secretary Penny Pritzker and Director of Policy and Strategic Planning at the U.S. Department of Commerce, where he served for three years. He also served as Director of Policy for Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley for seven years and as a legislative counsel in the U.S. House of Representatives assigned to the Committees on Transportation and Infrastructure, Small Business, and Education and the Workforce. John was also director of multiple divisions of the National Governors Association’s Center for Best Practices where he advised governors and other state leaders on policies related to technology, the environment, energy, transportation, housing, and homeland security.

John holds a J.D. from Harvard Law School and an M.P. in urban and environmental planning and a B.A. from the University of Virginia. He is based in Washington, DC, and Annapolis, Maryland, where he enjoys kayaking, playing acoustic guitar, and travel writing.

Amelia Roberts

Amelia Roberts is a Senior Product Manager at RIPL, where she leads implementing RIPL data-driven solutions around workforce development in states across the country. Prior to joining RIPL, Amelia was the Director of Data and Performance at the Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training, where she led a team of analysts, spearheaded special technology initiatives to accelerate recovery from COVID-19, and managed IT system deployments. Prior to that, Amelia was the Data and Performance Manager for the Governor’s Workforce Board of Rhode Island, performing analyses to promote data-driven policy and investment decisions. Amelia holds an M.A.. in Business Analytics from Merrimack College, with extensive training in developing BI visuals and dashboards. Amelia lives in Rhode Island. When she is not working to improve people’s lives, she enjoys playing co-ed soccer and spending time with her husband and two kids.

Karen Shen

Karen Shen is a RIPL Economist, applying advanced machine learning and causal analysis to help partners use data and science to connect communities to opportunity. Prior to joining RIPL, she completed a Ph.D. in Economics at Harvard University, with a focus on public and health economics. Before graduate school, she worked as a research assistant at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Karen lives in Baltimore, Maryland. When she is not working to improve people’s lives she likes to camp, read, and discuss reality TV.

Sarah White

Sarah White is the Director of Product Innovation, where she leads developing and scaling RIPL’s data-driven digital services in workforce development, post-secondary education and training pathways, and public benefits programs. Prior to joining RIPL, Sarah coached public and private-sector organizations to adopt more creative and innovative behaviors at IDEO, a global design company. Prior to that, Sarah led state-level pilots exploring interventions for delivering more human-centered benefits administration at Code for America. Sarah holds an MA from the Middlebury Institute for International Studies at Monterey, and a BA from Lake Forest College. She lives in Minneapolis, where in her free time she enjoys running or cross-country skiing the city lakes. 

April Yee

April Yee is a Product Manager at RIPL, where she works with cross-sector teams on the design, development and deployment of RIPL’s digital products. Prior to joining RIPL, she worked as a Project Manager in Seattle with the King County Department of Community and Human Services, managing a wide range of social services contracts. She holds a MPA from Brown University specializing in data-driven policy, with a BA in Social Welfare from the University of Washington. She lives in San Leandro, CA, and enjoys reading and leisurely walks in her spare time.

Seth Zimmerman

Research Faculty Member

Dr. Zimmerman is currently an Associate Professor of Economics at Yale University and a Faculty Research Fellow at National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER). His research is focused on labor economics, public finance, and household finance, with a focus on the economics of education. Recent work asks how access to selective higher education affects upward mobility into top jobs and top incomes, how school districts can design transparent and equitable public school choice systems, and how public investment in education affects student outcomes. Partnerships with local and national governments to design, implement, and evaluate public policies are central to Dr. Zimmerman’s research.