About Us

The Purdue Policy Research Institute’s aims to foster high-impact, interdisciplinary research in established and emerging areas of strategic focus, and leverage extant research to maximize impact.


PPRI is a research community led by faculty but including also staff, post-doctoral students, graduate and undergraduate students.

This Team generates policy research that attracts national and international attention and support to Discovery Park and Purdue. The PPRI team creates and participates in interdisciplinary grant activities in strategic areas. PPRI is hosting a “Policy Lab” where faculty and students (fellows and affiliated faculty) work together producing new ideas and research, and supports faculty teams in incorporating policy into their projects. PPRI works closely with the Director to ensure these efforts reflect the overall goals of Discovery Park.


Rosalee A. Clawson

Interim Director of Purdue Policy Research Institute


Rosalee A. Clawson is Professor of Political Science and Interim Director of the Purdue Policy Research Institute. She received her Ph.D. from The Ohio State University in 1996, her M.A. from Ohio State in 1993, and her B.A. from DePauw University in 1990. Clawson began teaching at Purdue in 1996.

Her research focuses on American politics, especially public opinion, mass media, and the politics of race, class, and gender. Her work has been published in the American Political Science Review, Public Opinion Quarterly, Political Research Quarterly, Political Communication, Journal of Black Studies, Judicature, Social Science Quarterly, and Journal of Social and Water Conservation. She is the co-author of Legacy and Legitimacy: Black Americans and the Supreme Court, Public Opinion: Democratic Ideals, Democratic Practice, and Conducting Empirical Analysis: Public Opinion in Action. She is also co-editor of Politics, Groups, and Identities, a journal of the Western Political Science Association. Her research has been funded by the National Science Foundation, the USDA, and the Spencer Foundation.

Clawson is an award-winning teacher, receiving Purdue University's Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching Award in memory of Charles B. Murphy in 2002. She was inducted into the Teaching Academy in 2002 and the Book of Great Teachers in 2008. In 2013 she won the College of Liberal Arts Kenneth T. Kofmehl Undergraduate Teaching Award. She was an IMPACT faculty fellow in 2012-13 and served as a faculty consultant for the Center for Instructional Excellence between 2009 and 2012.

In 2011-12, Clawson was a fellow in the CIC Academic Leadership Program. She is a faculty affiliate of the Purdue University Center for Research on Diversity and Inclusion, and a team leader for the Purdue University Systems of Systems initiative.

Krista Kelley

Operations Manager

kokelley@purdue.edu | 765.494.1050

Krista Kelley has nearly two decades of experience in office administration in the airline industry, property management, and in academia. At Purdue University, she served in the Graduate School’s Office of the Dean, and in the Office of the Provost in Faculty Affairs. Krista was also part of the steering committee which began the Clerical and Administrative Assistant Mentoring Program (CAAMP) at Purdue, and served on the CAAMP leadership team with a focus on technology. She has presented and served on panel discussions with CAAMP, mentored a handful of Purdue support staff members, and is a trained Clifton StrengthFinders coach (Krista’s top five “Signature Strengths” are Strategic, Ideation, Woo, Positivity, Communication).

L. Allison Roberts

Bement Senior Policy Fellow


L. Allison Roberts is a Purdue University graduate in Political Science and History. She is currently a Sociology Ph.D. candidate at the University of Portsmouth, UK, researching life experiences after trauma. Her Ph.D. research is on the military and veteran community but she also has a National Health Service (NHS England) project which is civilian-focused. Allison's main PPRI responsibility is the Andrew Mellon Foundation funded research grant, Breaking Through: Developing Interdisciplinary Solutions to Global Grand Challenges. ​She previously worked with Dr. Laurel Weldon on the interdisciplinary Diversity and Inclusion Research Project from 2013-2016. Other areas of experience are working with Dr. Valeria Sinclair-Chapman for the Center for Research on Diversity and Inclusion, assisting with the collaborative multi-institutional INSuRE project (Information Security Research and Education) with Dr. Melissa Dark, and on the Family Journeys Project at the Military Family Research Institute. Allison was also a Postgraduate Visiting Scholar in the School of Geography, Politics and Sociology at Newcastle University in the United Kingdom, and served as the Deputy Administrator's intern at NASA Headquarters in Washington, D.C.

Summer Forester

Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Movements, Markets & Transnational Networks Project


Summer’s focus in PPRI is on the project, Movements, Markets and Transnational Networks, an initiative funded by the Gates Foundation. Summer just recently earned her PhD and her research focuses on how security threats affect government action on women's rights in the Middle East. She is particularly interested in this phenomenon in Jordan, where she conducted sixteen months of fieldwork during 2015-2016.

While in Jordan in 2016, Summer served as part of the Fullbright leadership working with running camp for girls.

Soraida Garcia

Graduate Assistant, Grand Challenges Project


Soraida is a graduate student in Forestry and Natural Resources and is part of the team working on Breaking Through: Developing Interdisciplinary Solutions to Global Grand Challenges, a Mellon Foundation funded initiative.

Her research focuses on ecosystems in Chicago cemeteries. Harmful chemicals and toxins used in the embalming process and in coffins are released into the soil of graveyards as decomposition takes place. With human population growing, Soraida recognizes the immediate concerns of the depletion of natural resources and additional toxins in the air, especially in urban areas. Her research aims to identify a redesign of cemetery management that would remedy this problem.

Tyler Spence

Consultant for the Drones Regulatory Research Institute (DRRI)

tyler.spence@sjsu.edu | 765.494.9793

Tyler Spence served as the first PPRI Postdoctoral Policy Fellow in the 2016-17 academic year. In his one year tenure, Tyler started the Drones Regulatory Research Initiative (DRRI) among other significant contributions leading to the growth and success of PPRI in its inaugural year.

With a background in aviation as a pilot, flight instructor, and researcher, Tyler Spence completed his PhD in Aviation Technology. He also completed the graduate certificate in social policy in order to bridge aviation with the social sciences, making him an ideal candidate for this institute which fosters an interdisciplinary approach to problems, especially between STEM fields, humanities, and social sciences.

Tyler accepted an offer for a tenure-track faculty position at San Jose University, starting in the Fall of 2017 and PPRI continues to engage with Tyler when projects arise that can benefit from his specific expertise.

Nadia Gkritza

PPRI Faculty Policy Fellow

nadia@purdue.edu | 765.494.4597

Dr. Konstantina “Nadia” Gkritza is an Associate Professor in the Schools of Civil Engineering and Agricultural and Biological Engineering at Purdue University. Dr. Gkritza has over 10 years of experience in the area of economic analysis of transportation investments and modeling, transportation and energy interdependencies, highway safety and sustainability. She has successfully led several federally-, state- or industry- funded projects/programs, more than $6.6 million in awards. She has documented her research outcomes through several peer-reviewed outlets with 41 published manuscripts, over 100 conference and technical presentations, 18 technical reports, and four book chapters.

Dr. Gkritza is the co-Chair of the Transportation Research (TRB) Committee on Transportation and Economic Development; and a member of the TRB Committee on Freight Transportation Economics and Regulation. Dr. Gkritza teaches courses on transportation engineering, economic analysis of transportation investments, and transportation data analysis.

Dustin Souders

PPRI-CCAT Postdoctoral Autonomous Vehicle Policy Fellow


Dr. Dustin J. Souders is a researcher working in the area of human factors, aging, and transportation safety. He received his bachelor’s degree in psychology from Florida State University, and under the tutelage of Dr. Neil Charness, continued there to earn his master’s and doctoral degrees in cognitive psychology. He has worked as a graduate researcher for the Center for Research and Education on Aging and Technology Enhancement (CREATE) Lab, the Aging Drivers and Pedestrians (ADaPts) project, and the Center for Accessibility and Safety for an Aging Population (ASAP) University Transportation Center.

Dustin’s graduate work focused on leveraging advanced vehicle technologies, from advanced driver assistance systems to fully autonomous vehicles, to safely maintain older adults’ mobility, and his work in the transportation area has been published in both the Transportation Research Record and Accident Analysis & Prevention. He has been a standing member of the Transportation Research Board’s committee on Safe Mobility of Older Drivers (ANB60) since 2015.

As a post-doctoral research fellow with a joint appointment working with Dr. Samuel Labi on the USDOT Connected and Automated Transportation projects, and with Dr. Rosalee Clawson at the Purdue Policy Research Institute, Dustin is looking forward to conducting interdisciplinary research to provide objectively backed policy recommendations to in the area of autonomous vehicles.

Elis Vllasi

PPRI Scholars Strategy Network (SSN) Fellow


Elis Vllasi serves as PPRI’s Scholars Strategy Network Fellow, supporting Indiana SSN chapter activities, helping our chapter thrive by expanding its capacity and bringing his practical experience and knowledge to chapter leadership.

Vllasi is a PhD candidate in international relations whose research interests include transnational ethnic conflicts, third-party military interventions, hybrid warfare, nation-building, and democratization. His research examines why some efforts at external democratization fail. A few conventional answers: the target country lacks the necessary institutions; domestic leadership is incapable of making the changes required; and third-parties have insufficient influence needed to motivate a new political system. His research shows an additional but often overlooked predictor of democratization outcomes—the presence of an ethno-nationalist homeland. Findings suggest that national homelands are often spoilers of democratization in target countries with whom they share transnational ethnic kin.

Vllasi's work speaks directly to the global challenges facing liberal western policymakers as an assertive Russia continues to reclaim Russian populated regions from former Soviet republics; a rising China asserts that South China Sea was historically theirs; and other middle powers seek to redraw their political borders to match the ethnic boundaries under the guise of correcting historical injustices.

Elis Vllasi has also taught introductory courses on international relations and international political economy, as well as an upper level class on nation-building and war. He is a recipient of numerous fellowships and awards, including Ludwig Kruhe and Ross fellowships, Purdue Research Foundation grant, and Purdue Teaching Academy Award, amongst others.

Faculty Leadership Committee

The Purdue Policy Research Institute aims to include input from a broad representation of faculty through the Faculty Leadership Committee. The Faculty Leadership Committee (FLC) is the “voice of the faculty” in advising PPRI on its vision, goals, plans, programs, and faculty and student outreach. Members of this committee are active partners who assist in fulfilling PPRI’s strategic plan and mission. FLC members serve for two academic years. They represent Health, Transportation, Data Science, Food Security, Political Science, and other areas within Purdue University.

  • TJ Boisseau
  • Gebisa Ejeta
  • Leigh Raymond
  • Jeff Dukes
  • Shelley MacDermid Wadsworth
  • Jerry Shively
  • Peter Froehlich
  • Wally Tyner
  • Rosie Clawson
  • Maureen McCann
  • Tithi Bhattacharya
  • Linda Prokopy
  • Suzanne Nielsen
  • Wendy Kline
  • Rhonda Phillips
  • Ali Shakouri
  • Melba Crawford
  • Patrice Buzzanell

External Advisory Committee

PPRI invites key external leaders to be a part of our External Advisory Committee (EAC). The role of the EAC consists of offering advice, support, and strategic connections to PPRI in order to advance our research and outreach goals. This committee will meet once a year at Purdue University during the Spring semester.

Contact Us

Purdue Policy Research Institute


Gerald D. and Edna E. Mann Hall, Room 166
203 S. Martin Jischke Drive
West Lafayette, IN 47907-1971

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