2021 APDU Candidate Statements
Candidate for Secretary: Beth Jarosz, Senior Research Associate, Population Reference Bureau
At PRB I work on a wide range of U.S. demographic topics, with a focus on subnational analysis. Prior to joining PRB, I served as Senior Demographer at the San Diego Association of Governments and later taught sociology at Pensacola State College. My publications are cross-disciplinary and span topics from inequality to mortality, as well as forecast and estimation methods—all have relied heavily on public data. Throughout my career I have been a champion of public data.
Over the past few years, as a member of the APDU Board, I served on the conference planning committee, helped to brainstorm and organize webinars, and assisted in advertising APDU events through a variety of social media channels. In addition, in my role as Secretary I have recorded APDU Board motions and outcomes. In a second term I will continue my work to add value for existing members and to grow the organization.
Candidate for At-Large Director: Lori Turk-Bicakci, Ph.D., Director, Lucile Packard Foundation for Children’s Health
Lori Turk-Bicakci, Ph.D., is Director for Kidsdata, a program of PRB. She promotes data-based decision making and action to improve children’s health and well-being, and she contributes to the quality, relevance, and utility of the data and content on kidsdata.org. Before joining PRB, Dr. Turk-Bicakci was KidsData’s director at the Lucile Packard Foundation for Children’s Health and a senior researcher at American Institutes for Research. She has extensive experience with data collection, analysis, and reporting for education, social services, and other research projects that support children’s long-term health and development. Prior to her work in research, Dr. Turk-Bicakci was a middle school social studies teacher.
I have been an APDU member for the past six years and joined the board last year. During my first year as an APDU board member, I served on the conference committee helping to organize sessions. As a member, I have enjoyed the conferences very much because the speakers offer valuable information and perspectives on national data sets and novel uses of data. My interest as an APDU member is to increase awareness of APDU and its conference and webinars so that others may benefit from the wealth of knowledge it brings together.
Candidate for At-Large Director: Xan Wedel, Senior Research Data Engineer, Kansas State Data Center, Institute for Policy & Social Research (IPSR) at the University of Kansas
Xan Wedel is a Senior Research Data Engineer and lead of the Kansas State Data Center for the Institute for Policy & Social Research (IPSR) at the University of Kansas. The State Data Center (SDC) is a partnership with the U.S. Census Bureau. Xan served on the national SDC steering committee from 2005 to 2008. She is the primary liaison for data requests received by the Institute from the public or members of the university community. Xan is on the editorial board of the Kansas Statistical Abstract, an annual compendium of data on Kansas and Kansas communities. She also serves as web application developer and GIS analyst for the Institute. In addition to these duties, Xan advises students and researchers on Census and other public data and data visualization techniques. She holds a B.S. in mathematics from the University of Kansas.
I have been working with public data for over two decades and a member of APDU for the past nine years. I value the depth of knowledge and experience shared in APDU webinars and the annual conference. While my experience has primarily been with Census data, I also frequently utilize data from BEA, BLS, CDC, FDIC, USDA, DOT, FCC, and numerous state-level agencies for a varietal alphabet soup of public data sources. If elected, I bring a rural perspective to the table. Of Kansas’s 105 counties, only eight are large enough to have one-year ACS data and thirty-one counties are single Census tracts. The modernization of the Census Bureau’s disclosure avoidance system and its impact on rural geographies is of great interest to me. I am also passionate on how we can improve the story of the value and utility in public data and the integration of public data for equity and inclusion in our public programs and policies.
Candidate for At-Large Director: Michelle Riordan-Nold, Executive Director, Connecticut Data Collaborative
Michelle Riordan-Nold has served as Executive Director of the Connecticut Data Collaborative (CTData) since 2014. In her current role, Ms. Riordan-Nold leads CTData, whose mission seeks to democratize access to public data and build data literacy skills to increase data informed decision making in Connecticut. CTData is also the designated Census State Data Center for Connecticut. In addition, the organization holds monthly public data literacy workshops; creates maps and other visualization tools for community organizations to access and use data; and is building an integrated data system in Hartford. In 2020, the organization was the winner of the CT Entrepreneurial Award in Education.
Prior to leading CTData, Ms. Riordan-Nold worked as a research analyst for the CT Economic Resource Center and before that for the Connecticut Legislature in the Program Review and Investigations Committee. Ms. Riordan-Nold has a Bachelor degree in Mathematics from Boston College and a Masters in Public Policy from the University of Chicago.
I have been both an attendee and a presenter at the APDU conferences for the past five years. It is great to be a part of a community that is working on improving public access to data and sharing new ways to access and improve its use. I am always amazed at the initiatives happening at the federal level and leave each conference with new ideas and data to share with the community of data users we serve in Connecticut.
If elected, I would be interested in finding ways to increase the membership to include more state level data users. Federal data is critical to much of the work at the state level and I see an opportunity for sharing and increasing the knowledge of both state and federal data users to help improve the work at all levels of government.
I also see an important role of the APDU in staying connected and informed about the evolving Disclosure Avoidance Policy implementation. I believe this should be at the forefront of all data discussions and was encouraged by the attention it received during this year’s conference. The APDU plays an important role in guiding the data user community on how to use the data but can also advocate to make sure the data is provided in such a way that it can be used for informed decision making at all levels of government. I would encourage the APDU to take a more active role in advocating for transparency around the implementation.
If elected, I hope to provide a state level perspective and contribute to the growth of the organization by helping to broaden the membership to include a more diverse group of data users.