Session 2: Legislators

Event Details

How to Build Relationships with Legislators

Friday, April 5, 2024, 11:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. ET.

Sponsored by: SRCD’s Policy Department

About the session:

Legislators are at the forefront of shaping policy decisions. In this second webinar, we will focus on how scholars can help connect with legislators to make evidence-based policy choices. You will understand how the policy formation process works in U.S. Congress, look at the successful Research-to-Policy Collaborative model, learn the difference between lobbying and advocacy, and consider how equity manifests in these spaces.

Both of our speakers, Dr. Scott and Dr. Tseng, have published extensively on the links between scholars and legislators, including Dr. Tseng’s upcoming Social Policy Report article, and they will be guided in discussion by SRCD Congressional Fellow Alum, Alaina Flannigan.


Dr. Taylor Scott, Evidence-to-Impact Collaborative, Penn State

Taylor ScottDr. Taylor Scott directs the Research Translation Platform in Penn State’s Evidence-to-Impact Collaborative. This involves studying the effectiveness of models such as the Research-to-Policy Collaboration, SciComm Optimizer for Policy Engagement, and the Family Impact Seminars. In her role as TrestleLink President, Taylor is actively developing the organization’s plan for sustainability and growth. She also directs a Research-to-Policy Fellowship training program for junior scholars to obtain hands-on, practical policy experience. 

Dr. Vivian Tseng, Foundation for Child Development

Dr. Vivian TsengDr. Vivian Tseng is President and CEO of the Foundation for Child Development, a private foundation that works at the nexus of research, policy, and practice to advance social justice for young children. Prior to FCD, Dr. Tseng served as Senior Vice President, Programs, at the William T. Grant Foundation where she led initiatives to advance evidence-informed policy and practice. She is widely recognized for her leadership role in building an interdisciplinary field of research-on-research use in policy and practice, expanding research-practice partnerships, and supporting a broader movement to democratize evidence. She regularly speaks to international and domestic audiences on equity-centered and evidence-informed policy and practice. Her research on racial, cultural, and immigration influences on child development have been published in “Child Development” and her research on promoting social change through research and philanthropy have appeared in the “American Journal of Community Psychology”, “American Psychologist, and Humanities and Social Sciences Communications”. Dr. Tseng’s career reflects an abiding commitment to racial equity. She has fostered greater equity in grantmaking, developed funding programs to support researchers of color and nonprofit leaders from racially minoritized and LGBTQ communities, and mentored countless junior colleagues throughout her career. Dr. Tseng received her Ph.D. from NYU and her B.A. from UCLA and serves on the Boards of Grantmakers Concerned with Immigrants and Refugees and the Federation of Associations in the Behavioral and Brain Sciences. She is co-founder and Advisory Committee member of the Transforming Evidence Funders Network.


Dr. Alaina Flannigan, Child Trends

Dr. Alaina FlanniganDr. Alaina Flannigan is a Research Scientist II in the Child Welfare research area at Child Trends, a non-profit child and family research firm. She has a background in program evaluation using applied statistical modeling and participatory qualitative methods as well as experience managing federal, state, and foundation projects. Her research focuses on strengthening developmentally appropriate support to older youth in foster care as they transition into young adulthood, including establishing relationships with supportive adults. Currently, Dr. Flannigan’s projects at Child Trends include the 5-year ACF initiative for Child Welfare Community Collaborations to Strengthen and Preserve Families. Additionally, she co-leads Child Trends’ ongoing work as the data and self-evaluation partner to the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Family Well-being Strategy Group, particularly the Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Initiative, which is now part of the older youth workstream. Dr. Flannigan strongly endorses centering youth voice and choice in all decisions that affect the lives and well-being of young people. Prior to joining Child Trends, Dr. Flannigan served as a Science and Technology Policy Fellow for the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). In this role, she was sponsored by the Society for Research in Child Development (SRCD) and placed with the U.S. Congress Joint Economic Committee, where she focused on housing, tax, health, and social safety net policy to ensure that America’s families can lead healthy, productive lives and meaningfully contribute to the growth of the economy. Dr. Flannigan received her Ph.D. in Educational Psychology and M.A. in Program Evaluation from the University of Texas at Austin, where she focused on human development, culture, and learning science.


Registration Prices

Member Type Price
SRCD Member $0
Non-Member $20

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