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

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Stacey L. Connaughton (Ph.D., The University of Texas at Austin) is a Professor in the Brian Lamb School of Communication at Purdue University and the Director of the Purdue Policy Research Institute in Purdue’s Discovery Park. Her published research examines leadership, community-based organizing, and communication campaigns, most recently in the context of political violence prevention initiatives. Dr. Connaughton serves as Director of the Purdue Peace Project (PPP), housed in the Purdue Policy Research Institute. As Director of PPP, Dr. Connaughton has led the multi-stakeholder relationship building, project development, and monitoring and evaluation for locally led political violence prevention initiatives in Ghana, Liberia, and Nigeria. In that work, she has worked closely with government, private sector, media organizations, NGOs, civil society, and everyday citizens – both those who affect violence and those affected by violence. From that body of work, she has developed what she calls the Local Leadership Model of political violence prevention and the Relationally Attentive Approach to doing engaged scholarship (i.e., academic-practitioner political violence prevention collaborations). Her published work has appeared in the Journal of Applied Communication Research, Small Group Research, Journal of Communication, Management Communication Quarterly, JASIST, Health Communication, Public Relations Review, Conflict Resolution Quarterly, Cross-Cultural & Strategic Management, Military Psychology, among other outlets. She is the author of three books, Inviting Latino voters: Party messages and Latino party identification (2005); Locally led peacebuilding: A closer look (2019) with chapters from scholars, practitioners, and donors in Africa, Asia, the Americas, Europe, the Middle East, and the United Kingdom; and Transforming conflict and building peace: Community engagement strategies for communication scholarship (forthcoming). She has also published in The Conversation, The Diplomatic Courier, and the G20 Executive Talk Series.

Dr. Connaughton’s work has been supported by the National Science Foundation, the Carnegie Corporation, and the Russell Sage Foundation and she has secured more than $3 million in gift funds. Dr. Connaughton served as a thought leader on distributed leadership for the U.S. Army Research Institute’s Leader Development Unit (Crystal City, VA). She is a consultant to USAID’s Liberia Strategic Analysis program where she leads the development of a mentorship program and leadership curriculum designed to develop the next generation of Liberian leaders. 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, teambuilding, strategic planning, and effective communication in the North America, Europe, Asia, the Middle East, and Latin America. At Purdue, Dr. Connaughton teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in qualitative research methods, leadership, and political violence prevention. She is the recipient of several teaching awards, Purdue’s 2017 Faculty Engaged Scholar Award, the 2020 Purdue Provost’s Graduate Mentor Award, and Purdue’s 2018 Trailblazer Award – an award given to a midcareer tenured faculty member for innovation and impact in research. Dr. Connaughton has served as the Associate Head and the Director of Graduate Studies in the Brian Lamb School of Communication at Purdue and as the Associate Chair of Purdue University’s Social Sciences Institutional Review Board.

Ashima Krishna

Associate Director


Ashima Krishna (PhD, Cornell University, 2014) is Associate Director of the Purdue Policy Research Institute and Assistant Professor of Practice in the Global Studies Program. She is an architect and historic preservation planner whose research spans the management of historic urban landscapes and adaptive reuse of religious historic structures and landscapes, with a particular focus on intersection with community development issues and resulting policy challenges. Dr. Krishna has examined issues related to historic preservation planning and urban conservation in United States and India and continues to highlight the ways in which the historic built environment can be preserved, managed, and planned for. Her published work has been featured in Journal of Urbanism, Preservation Education and Research, Change Over Time, and Journal of American Planning Association among others. Her forthcoming book, co-edited with Manish Chalana, will be published by Routledge in 2020.

Krista Kelley

Operations Manager

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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).

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.

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