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#2021APPAM Spotlight: Mathematica


The #2021APPAM Fall Research Conference will feature some fantastic sponsors from across the policy research spectrum. Today we're shining a spotlight on Mathematica.


What is the mission of your organization?

Mathematica works to improve public well-being by bringing the highest standards of quality, objectivity, and excellence to bear on the provision of information collection and analysis to our clients. We are shaping an equitable and just world where evidence drives decisions for global impact.

What are your strongest areas of work?

At Mathematica, we are reimagining the way the world gathers and uses data. We uncover evidence that can guide decisions in areas ranging from health, education, child welfare, and family support to nutrition, employment, disability, criminal justice, climate change, and international development.

Our more than 1,500 experts work across the country and around the globe, partnering with federal agencies, state and local governments, foundations, businesses, universities, and professional associations to provide insights that can improve programs, refine strategies, and enhance understanding.

In the past year, what has been the most influential work from your researchers?

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, we recognized how important it is for policymakers, researchers, and the public to have access to accurate and timely information. In response, we developed a suite of tools, resources, and studies that shed light on effective strategies for responding to and recovering from the pandemic, while building resiliency for the future. For example, we created the 19 and Me risk score calculator to help people estimate their risk of contracting the disease and worked with the National Academy of State Health Policy to create an interactive, online repository of COVID-19 contact tracing programs in every state that captures information on hiring and training strategies, funding, technological innovations, and more. We also partnered with the Rockefeller Foundation to provide school officials with recommendations for implementing a COVID-19 antigen testing program in K–12 schools and a data dashboard that compares the effectiveness of testing strategies. In addition, we collaborated with the Pennsylvania Department of Education to predict the spread of COVID-19 in schools, based on different mitigation approaches. As part of our work with the Regional Educational Laboratory Mid-Atlantic, we provided guidance on how culturally responsive practices can enhance learning during school closures. Further, we partnered with federal agencies to identify ways to promote justice and equity across child welfare systems and offered recommendations on using technology to advance health equity.

If you are hiring, what makes your organization a great place to work?

Delivering on a mission and a vision as ambitious as ours requires a staff that is diverse, talented, and driven to contribute exceptional work. The collective voice of our employee-owners resonates in the daily decisions we make about our work and our workplace, shaping Mathematica and the impact we have on the world. We are empowered to direct our development in a supportive environment where we can pursue opportunities that deepen our expertise and broaden our experience, while contributing to work that aligns with the collective interests of the Mathematica community. As a cooperative of employee owners, we come together to solve problems and develop innovative solutions within the context of our shared mission and core values. To ensure Mathematica is a place where staff from all backgrounds can thrive and feel a sense of belonging, we pursue work on a wide range of projects that align with staff interests and employ diverse talent, knowing that inclusion improves our efforts. We integrate varied perspectives, valuing expertise inside and outside the company as we build partnerships around a shared commitment to equity. Creating a safe, welcoming culture where people can bring their whole selves to work is not only critically important to our workplace—it informs and strengthens our work and is vital to our progress.

How many early career professionals do you employ?

We have 551 employees (about 33 percent of our staff) who are early career professionals (with one to three years of experience).

What is your employee breakdown in terms of highest degree achieved (Undergraduate, Masters, Doctorate)?

Thirty-two percent of our employees hold an undergraduate degree; 49 percent hold master’s degrees; and 19 percent hold doctorate degrees.

What is an interesting, unique, or fun fact about your organization?

For more than 50 years, we’ve been known as pioneers in research that led to policy advancements that transformed the world. We conducted the first social policy experiment in the United States, the New Jersey Negative Income Tax Experiment, to test ways of encouraging people with low income to work. In addition to our unique history, we are also proud that women make up 69 percent of our workforce and that 6 of our 10 external board members are women.

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