#2019APPAM - Rising to the Challenge Conference Activities



Rising to the Challenge:
Engaging Diverse Perspectives on Issues and Evidence

November 7 - 9, 2019  | Sheraton Denver Downtown Hotel |  Denver, Colorado


Conference Activities


As our 41st annual meeting, the APPAM 2019 Fall Research Conference will be a multi-disciplinary research conference attracting the highest quality research on a wide variety of important current and emerging policy and management issues.  The current political context underscores the value of bringing together researchers and practitioners with a wide range of perspectives to engage the evidence and discuss how best to improve public policy.  We hope that the theme, Rising to the Challenge: Engaging Diverse Perspectives on the Issues and Evidence, will encourage a conference with conversations that reach across disciplinary, methodological and ideological divides.  

This page details the activities that are most highly anticipated at this year's conference, including the Preliminary Program, Pre-Conference Workshop, Innovation Lounge, Networking Opportunities, Special Events, and Student Resources. 


Pre-Conference Workshop   Innovation Lounge Positions in Policy Networking Opportunities Special Events Student Resources



Pre-Conference Workshop

Deploying Machine Learning Tools for Public Policy Impact

Wednesday, November 6, 2019
11:00 am - 4:30 pm
Sheraton Denver Downtown

Join us the day before the Fall Research Conference kicks off for this year's pre-conference workshop: Deploying Machine Learning Tools for Public Policy Impact.  Attendees can register for the workshop during the full conference registration process, opening on July 15th.  Registration for the workshop will be $50 for APPAM members and $65 for non-members.
Workshop Description:
Organized by: Alexandra Chouldechova, Carnegie Melon University; Jens Ludwig, University of Chicago; and Sendhil Mullainathan, University of Chicago
Speakers: Jason Anastasopoulos, University of Georgia; Peter Bergman, Columbia University; George Chen, Carnegie Mellon University; Alexandra Chouldechova, Carnegie Melon University; Jennifer Doleac, Texas A&M University; James Evans, University of Chicago; Jens Ludwig, University of Chicago; Sendhil Mullainathan, University of Chicago; Aaron Roth, University of Pennsylvania; Chenhao Tan, University of Colorado, Boulder; Stefan Wager, Stanford University
While public policy analysis as a field has had considerable impact by helping to answer key causal questions, many policy decisions hinge not on a causal inference but instead on a prediction: Which defendants are too high risk for a judge to release from jail as they await adjudication of their case? Which calls of potential child abuse are most likely to reflect actual abuse? Which students are at elevated risk for dropping out of school, and so should be prioritized for academic supports? Which households are most likely to be eligible for social services but unlikely to be enrolled in them? Which chronically ill low-income patients are most likely to miss doctor’s appointments or forget to refill or take their prescription medications, and so might particularly benefit from home visits or reminders?

The growing availability of government administrative records (‘big data’) combined with new tools from the computer science field of machine learning create important new possibilities for substantial impact across a broad range of policy problems. These new machine learning tools share some similarities with the usual policy analysis tool-kit (regression, matching, etc.), but do have some important differences in their goals and methods. They also make it possible to draw on new sources of data that policy analysts historically have not even recognized as data, such as written text, audio clips, or video images.

At the same time, re-deploying these machine learning tools to policy problems raises new challenges that are quite different from those associated with canonical computer science applications, which create important opportunities for the field of policy analysis to add value. These include: challenges in evaluating the social impact of algorithms in the presence of outcome data that is non-randomly missing, as the result of the decisions of humans in the existing policy system; potential mis-alignment between what is being predicted and the objectives that policymakers are trying to optimize; and the possibility of algorithmic bias, and how that compares to human bias.
The workshop seeks to provide an accessible introductory overview to machine learning tools, illustrate the range of policy problems to which they can be applied, develop understanding of what makes for a good policy application for these tools, what can go right (and wrong), and where and how policy analysts can add value to making progress on these problems. We will also include some discussion about how machine learning tools can be useful for solving the sort of causal inference problems that have traditionally been the focus of policy analysis work.

Innovation Lounge

Introduced at the 2018 Fall Research Conference, the Innovation Lounge is an easy-to-access space where experienced researchers are invited to meet and share cutting-edge research with conference attendees. Innovation through diversity will be a major theme of this conference, so we strongly encourage our attendees to do just that in the Innovation Lounge!

Sessions are 45-minutes and will be scheduled throughout the full three-day conference. This year, the Innovation Lounge will be held in a closed room near registration to make it easier to network and collaborate. Please note that the programming featured in the Innovation Lounge will be discussion based and informal. No presentation technology will be available.

Submission requirements: Each submission should include a brief description of the innovative research and why it is cutting edge, the intended policy impact of the research, three or four individuals who will attend or aid in the presentation, and any other additional details you'd like to share about the work.  View the #2018APPAM Innovation Lounge page for examples of past sessions.

Submissions for Innovation Lounge sessions close on September 27, 2019.  The slate of Innovation Lounge sessions will be presented the second week of October.


Submit Your Proposal Here!



Positions in Policy

APPAM is pleased to announce the APPAM Positions in Policy (PIP) program.  The program connects job seekers who plan on attending the Fall Conference with organizations who will be conducting interviews and potentially hiring at the conference. The employers will contact job candidates directly to set up onsite interviews at the conference for open positions.  Those positions may be for a variety of job functions, both academic and non-academic, to appeal to job seekers at all levels including students, postdocs, and early- and mid-career professionals.  When available, the positions being interviewed for at the conference will be noted on our Job Listings page.


As a complimentary service to all APPAM Institutional Members and $150 for non-Institutional Members, simply send us your open positions and we'll include them on our Job Listings page.  We can post both positions that will be interviewed for at the conference and those that will have a separate interview process.  To post a position, please send the title, a brief description, and the link back to the position on your website to Gabbie Sylvester, gsylvester@appam.org

APPAM will also provide complimentary, private space for PIP participants to host interviews. There will be three interview rooms at the confernece that may be reserved in one-hour increments throughout the conference days.  Once you reserve the space, you have access to the room for the entire time on the date of your reservation. At the conclusion of the reservation times each day, the room will be refreshed for use by the next organization. Each organization may reserve up to three time slots.  To reserve space, please complete this form and return it to Gabbie Sylvester, gsylvester@appam.org.

For more information, please visit our Employer FAQ Page.

Job Seekers

Interested in participating?  Job seekers can sign up when registration for the Fall Conference opens on July 15th.  Registrants who opt into the program will be contacted within one week to collect participant information including a contact information, career level, primary policy area, CV/resume, and a brief biography.  This information will be shared directly with the hiring organizations who can then reach out directly to set up interviews.

For more information, please visit our Job Seeker FAQ Page.



Networking Opportunities

Opportunities to network at the conference will be plentiful through our educational programs, social events and special programs. 

Introducing APPAM Communities!  APPAM Communities will support opportunities for any group of people to meet at the conference and discuss the topics most important to them. These get-togethers may focus on any number of shared interests or experiences, including, but not limited to, the following: race, ethnicity, gender, geographical location, methodology, or approach. This initiative builds on suggestions made by APPAM’s Diversity Committee, and other requests for additional networking opportunities in the context APPAM’s growth. Check back in September for a full listing of the Community Gatherings at #2019APPAM.



Special Events

Wednesday, November 6

Thursday, November 7

  • Welcome Breakfast
    7:00 am - 8:15 am
    Plaza Ballroom DE, Plaza Building, Concourse Level
    sponsored by University of Colorado, Denver and University of Denver
  • Opening Lunch: How Migration is Changing the World?
    12:00 pm - 1:30 pm
    Plaza Ballroom DE, Plaza Building, Concourse Level
  • Mentor Meet Up (Invite Only)
    5:00 pm - 6:00 pm
    Governor's Square 17, Plaza Building, Concourse Level
  • Welcome Reception with Posters
    5:00 pm - 7:00 pm
    Exhibit Hall, Plaza Building, Concourse Level
  • Equity and Inclusion Fellowship Meet Up (Invite Only)
    6:30 pm - 7:30 pm
    Plaza Court 2, Plaza Building, Concourse Level

Friday, November 8

  • Membership Breakfast
    7:00 am - 8:15 am
    Plaza Ballroom DE, Plaza Building, Concourse Level
  • Institutional Representatives Meeting
    8:30 am - 9:30 am
    Plaza Ballroom F, Plaza Building, Concourse Level
  • Equity and Inclusion Fellowship Luncheon (Invite Only)
    12:00 pm - 1:15 pm
    Plaza Ballroom DE, Plaza Building, Concourse Level
  • PhD Program Fair
    12:00 pm - 1:15 pm
    Plaza Ballroom F, Plaza Building, Concourse Level
    Reserve a table for your program here!
  • Presidential Address & Happy Hour
    5:00 pm - 6:30 pm
    Plaza Ballroom DE, Plaza Building, Concourse Level
  • Spencer Foundation Reception
    6:30 pm - 7:30 pm
    Plaza Ballroom F, Plaza Building, Concourse Level
  • Student Mixer
    7:30 pm - 9:00 pm
    Governor's Square 16, Plaza Building, Concourse Level

Saturday, November 9

  • Poster Luncheon
    12:00 pm - 1:30 pm
    Exhibit Hall, Plaza Building, Concourse Level


Student Resources

Students are an important part of APPAM. Because we value your contributions to the association, we are planning student specific events to be held during the Fall Research Conference. Mentorship programs, a Student Lounge, networking opportunities with policy experts, the PhD Program Fair, the Equity & Inclusion Fellowship, and student-focused content are what you can anticipate for this fall.  To help allow more students to attend the event, we also have volunteer roles available that include a complimentary registration.

Volunteer Opportunities

APPAM is accepting 25 student volunteers to assist at the conference.  Roles are available for both logisitcal roles, such as registration assistance, session attendance counts, and ticket collection, as well as editorial roles such as social media and blog writing.  Volunteers are asked to dedicate three hours of time at the event in exchange for a complimentary registration.  

If interested in volunteering, please review the Volunteer Guidelines and complete a volunteer application through the link below. Please note that you must have an active student membership to qualify. Editorial roles will require you to submit your Twitter account handle and a sample writing piece. Every effort will be made to accommodate the roles and days you select on the application. Volunteer roles are limited and will be offered on a first come, first served basis. 

Sign Up as a Volunteer Here!


Student Events at the Conference

  • Student Lounge
    Thursday, November 7: 8:00 am - 5:00 pm
    Friday, November 8: 8:00 am - 5:00 pm
    Saturday, November 9: 8:00 am - 3:00 pm
    Plaza Building, Concourse Level

The Student Lounge has charging stations, refreshments, and seating areas for students to network with other students, schedule time to meet with professionals, or answer a few quick emails.

Thursday, November 7

Participants in the 2019 Mentor Match Program are invited to connect at this meetup. Enjoy food and drink from the Welcome Reception, network with fellow participants, and meet your mentor/mentee in person.

Exclusive to the fellowship recipients, this new event offers another opportunity for fellows to meet and network.  This event is invite only.

Friday, November 8

The recipients of the 2019 APPAM Equity & Inclusion Fellowship are invited to formally network with each other and members of the Policy Council during this luncheon. Recipients will be recognized for their accomplishments and bright futures.

  • PhD Program Fair
    12:00 pm - 1:15 pm
    Plaza Building, Concourse Level, Plaza Ballroom F

Come meet individually with PhD program representatives and learn about the differences between programs, what being a PhD student is like, what courses a particular program offers and what kinds of benefits and services are offered to students. Talk to staff from programs across the country and get more information on whether a PhD program might be the right choice for you. A light lunch is available at this event.

The PhD Program Fair is open only to students not currently enrolled in a PhD program and professionals who do not hold a PhD.

PhD Programs: To have a table at this year's PhD Program Fair, please complete this application and return it to soliver@appam.org

Students and recent graduates are encouraged to attend the annual APPAM Student Mixer. The event will be an informal opportunity to network and collaborate with other student attendees. Wine, beer, and hors d'oeuvres will be provided.

Saturday, November 9



Questions about the conference should continue to be directed to Tristanne Staudt

Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management (APPAM)
NEW ADDRESS! 1100 Vermont Avenue, NW, Suite 650 Washington, DC 20005
Phone: 202.496.0130 | Fax: 202.496.0134
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