I'm a former long-time academic staff member at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where I was involved in several outreach programs that translated research for policymakers: Wisconsin Family Impact Seminars, Campus Connect, and Office Hours at the Capitol. When I left the university in June 2021, I was Director of Legislative Outreach for the La Follette School of Public Affairs. In a previous position, I worked with governors, legislators, and other education leaders at the Education Commission of the States, a nonpartisan, education policy organization based in Denver.
I launched Above the Fray Consulting in June 2021 because I believe we need more evidence-informed policymaking, but there's a divide, with researchers on one side and policymakers on the other. I help close that gap.
WHAT I DO
I help university researchers, policy organizations, and think tanks create a world in which their research is used in policymaking. I help translate their research so that policymakers (and the public) can understand it and develop strategies so that policymakers will act on it.
I have 17 years of experience writing for and talking to policymakers, and creating nonpartisan programs, events, and communication strategies to close the research-policymaking divide. I have transformed journal articles and research reports into policymaker-friendly issue briefs, articles, and newsletters. I've planned and facilitated numerous events for elected officials and government leaders: highly visible seminars, national conferences, and intimate policy discussions.
I counted them up, and in my 17 years I have worked closely with more than 200 legislators and their staff, four governors and their staff, plus dozens of other state policymakers across the country. I have met with more than 130 faculty (from assistant to emeritus professor) to better undertand their research and experience working with policymakers. I even helped conduct a study on when and how legislators use research. A highlight of my career is the time a governor said to me, "Heidi, you're awesome," as we stepped into an elevator.
My mission is to help researchers feel deep satisfaction by contributing to better public policies and improving peoples' lives. After all, that's probably one of the main reasons you got into academia in the first place.
I understand the culture of academia and research organizations. I understand the culture of policymakers. If you're ready to make a bigger impact with your research, I'd love to talk. You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
University of Wisconsin - Madison
Public Affairs and Public Policy Analysis
University of North Dakota
Political Science and Psychology