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.


The Purdue Policy Research Institute (PPRI) catalyzes and leverages extant policy-relevant transdisciplinary research among members of the Purdue research community, facilitates enduring connections among local and global actors, and generates impact on policymaking and beyond. We are guided by the principle that policy development must consider the interdependencies among technological, economic, ethical, and social factors.


Together with collaborators in academia and the public and private sectors, PPRI inspires the development of non-partisan policies that solve pressing global challenges.

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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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Stacey Connaughton

Director of the Purdue Policy Research Institute


Stacey L. Connaughton (Ph.D. The University of Texas at Austin, 2002) is an Associate Professor at the Brian Lamb School of Communication at Purdue University. Her research examines leadership and identification in geographically distributed contexts, particularly as these issues relate to virtual teams/organizations, political parties, and peacebuilding. Dr. Connaughton also serves as Director of the Purdue Peace Project, an externally funded initiative that seeks to reduce, and enhance what is known about how to reduce, the likelihood of political violence in West Africa. Her published work has appeared in Small Group Research, Journal of Communication, Management Communication Quarterly, Communication Studies, Communication Yearbook, The Howard Journal of Communications, Corporate Communication: An International Journal, Knowledge Management Review, and her book, Inviting Latino Voters: Party Messages and Latino Party Identification, was published in 2005 by Routledge. Dr. Connaughton’s work has been supported by the National Science Foundation, the Carnegie Corporation, and the Russell Sage Foundation. She has been invited to present her research on virtual teams and virtual leadership to industry, military, and higher educational audiences, and has facilitated workshops and written guidebooks in the areas of virtual teams, leadership, team-building, and strategic planning in the United States, Canada, and China. At Purdue, Dr. Connaughton teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in organizational communication theory, leadership, and research methods and is the recipient of several teaching awards.

Krista Kelley

Operations Manager


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


Dr. L. Allison Roberts holds a Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Portsmouth, United Kingdom, and a B.A. and M.A. from Purdue University. Her Ph.D. research focused on the military and veteran community, specifically life experiences after being traumatically wounded and medically discharged. Dr. Roberts also has a National Health Service (NHS England) project, which is civilian-focused. Allison's main PPRI responsibilities are serving as a co-instructor for the new Centuries of War Honors College Fall 2020 course (HONR 39900), creating interdisciplinary faculty programming, and leading focus groups for new Purdue PPRI research. She worked with Dr. Dwaine Jengelley on a Spring 2020 pilot course in the Honors College, Security: Technology, and Society, led three sociology courses at Portsmouth, and served as a graduate teaching assistant for two courses at Purdue.

Dr. Roberts previously worked with Dr. Laurel Weldon on the interdisciplinary Diversity and Inclusion Research Project from 2013-2016, and the 2016-2019 Andrew Mellon Foundation funded research grant, Breaking Through: Developing Interdisciplinary Solutions to Global Grand Challenges. 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.

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 Post-Doctoral Fellow, Associate Director of the Purdue Peace Project


Elis Vllasi serves as PPRI Post-Doctoral Fellow, Associate Director of the Purdue Peace Project, and 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 holds a Ph.D. in international relations. His 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.

Nadia Gkritza

PPRI Faculty Policy Fellow


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.

Tyler Spence


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.

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
  • Joe Balagtas
  • Wally Tyner
  • Rosie Clawson
  • Maureen McCann
  • Wendy Kline
  • Rhonda Phillips
  • Ali Shakouri
  • Tithi Bhattacharya
  • Linda Prokopy

External Advisory Committee

The external advisory committee offers advice, support, and strategic connections to PPRI in order to advance our research and outreach goals.

  • Mayor Gregory Ballard
  • Arden Bement
  • Charles Day
  • Theresa Day
  • Juan Ernesto de Bedout
  • Mark West