The Community Research Collaborative is excited to welcome two new fellows for 2011, Janet Harrah and Geoff Zimmerman, and to welcome John Besl back as a senior fellow. Read below to learn more about our fellows, their topics of interest, and be sure to keep your eyes peeled for an engaging monthly blog entry from each of them.
John Besl, M.A., 2011 CRC Senior Fellow
John Besl serves as an analyst and demographer for the Child Policy Research Center at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. He provides data processing, analysis, and desktop mapping support for studies on topics ranging from infant mortality reduction to the persistence of childhood health disparities.
Prior to joining Cincinnati Children’s in 2003, John held the position of Research Demographer at Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business. In that role, he completed a set of population projections for the state and each of its 92 counties. He served as Indiana’s liaison to the U.S. Census Bureau, representing the state in two federal-state cooperative programs for the production of population estimates and projections. During three years at IU, John authored 19 articles describing population and employment trends in Indiana Business Review and IN Context, publications of the business school and state government, respectively.
John earned his M.A. degree in Sociology in 1991 from Bowling Green State University, specializing in applied demography. He began his professional career in Madison, Wisconsin as a demographer with the Wisconsin Department of Administration, eventually moving to the Chicago suburbs to take the position of Senior Research Demographer for Nielsen Media Research. There he contributed to the production of household and population estimates crucial to television audience measurement.
Following a competitive application process, John was selected in 2009 to complete a weeklong workshop at the University of Michigan on using the American Community Survey (ACS.) The ACS will be the new workhorse of the federal statistical system, producing annual updates of valuable social, economic, and housing data formerly available only once per decade from the decennial census. He’s been active for several years in the Population Association of America, the scientific professional organization for researchers in the population field, recently completing a one-year term as chair of the Committee on Applied Demography. The committee represents the interests of demographers who focus on practical applications of demographic data and methods for decision-making audiences.
John will blog about population and public health trends impacting the Cincinnati metropolitan area and the nation.
Geoff Zimmerman is Director of Continuous Improvement for The Strive Partnership at KnowledgeWorks. Strive is a coalition of postsecondary, K-12, business, nonprofit, and philanthropic organizations in Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky aimed at increasing educational aspirations, achievement, and attainment of students throughout the region. In this capacity, he manages the data and information initiatives of the partnership, including promoting the use of community level data and indicators, promoting collaborative data management systems, and promoting continuous improvement and collaboration for collective impact.
Geoff has worked in the nonprofit sector and in education throughout his career. His experience includes research and analysis, data and information systems and design, outcomes development, continuous improvement, and strategic planning. Geoff has a bachelor's of science in business administration from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio and a master's in business administration from the University of Cincinnati.
Geoff will blog about topics in education. He'll highlight relevant national topics and reports that surface throughout the year and dig into some of the local data across the education roadmap, including educational attainment, postsecondary success, student achievement in k-12, non-academic success measures and assessments, and ready for school measures.
Janet Harrah, M.A., 2011 CRC Fellow
Janet Harrah is the senior director, Center for Economic Analysis and Development at Northern Kentucky University.
With a foundation of 20 years of experience in the field of applied economics, the focus of Harrah’s research has been on the wide-ranging factors affecting regional economic growth and change. The breadth of those efforts run the gamut from estimating the fiscal impacts of changes in the tax code to facilitating a community-wide discussion regarding the direction of the region’s future economic development agenda.
A central theme of her work has been translating complicated statistical analyses into information, useful to a broad spectrum of audiences, from the classroom to the boardroom. Over the years Harrah has been actively involved in the community, chairing and staffing community committees and projects with civic and business leaders as well as elected officials.
She earned a bachelor's degree in economics from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and a master's degree in economics from Wichita State University.
Janet will blog about economic trends impacting the Cincinnati metropolitan area.