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00:00:00 - Start of Interview 00:00:34 - How Steve came to UW-Madison

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Partial Transcript: Alright so as I said just before I hit record...

Segment Synopsis: Steve grew up in Wisconsin, went to Carleton College for undergrad, then went to the US Agency for International Development. He then came to UW-Madison for a graduate degree in Sociology.

Keywords: Minnesota; Sociology; USAID; Wisconsin

00:02:38 - Steve's experience in graduate school at UW-Madison

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Partial Transcript: So I wonder if you could take a little bit more

Segment Synopsis: Steve came to UW-Madison to UW-Madison to join the Sociology of Economic Change program, but the demography program ended up having more funding. So, he decided to combine them. He worked with a professor to study how a single parent households impacted children. This led him to more work focusing on underprivileged Americans. Eventually, he was asked to work full time in 2000 as an academic staff person.

Keywords: Masters Degree; Sociology

00:05:32 - How Steve became involved in the areas he studies now

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Partial Transcript: So now I think I want to back up...

Segment Synopsis: Steve explains going to DC after getting a history degree. Then, he has pursued any opportunity to work in public policy. When the opportunity arose to work at UW-Madison to work in public policy, Steve jumped at the chance.

Keywords: International Relations; Public Policy; USAID; Washington DC

00:08:47 - Steve explains the Institute for Research on Poverty and his work inside the institute

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Partial Transcript: So I think this will lead into the next question...

Segment Synopsis: Steve explains what the Institute for Research on Poverty (IRP) is and how it has changed over time. He explains that the IRP is considered to be the national poverty research center. Specifically, Steve works on the way poverty policies affect actual people. Sometimes he is evaluating policy outcomes or trying to come up with new ideas for poverty alleviation. On a personal level, Steve works on his own research on the relations between poor families and children. He additionally works on creating a large administrative data resource, the Wisconsin Administrative Data Core, for other people to do research.

Keywords: Adoption; Child Welfare; Economic Inequality; Institute for Research on Poverty; Lyndon B. Johnson; War on Poverty; Wisconsin Administrative Data Core

00:16:09 - How changes in the state government has impacted Steve's work

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Partial Transcript: Since you're working with state agencies...

Segment Synopsis: Steve explains that fortunately he has managed to avoid large changes in data sharing as state administration has changed. He says that he tries to emphasize the academic value rather than the political implications of his work to state agencies.

Keywords: Democrat; Governorship; Republican; State Administration

00:19:05 - Steve's "typical day"

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Partial Transcript: So I want to give you space to talk a bit more...

Segment Synopsis: Steve works a lot with statistics, changing variables/policies to affect outcomes. He writes a lot of code and runs many statistical models. Otherwise, he also goes to lots of meetings with people at state agencies, faculty, etc. He also has been asked to work on some policy forming committees through the years.

Keywords: Quantitative Analysis; State Agencies; Statistics; Welfare

00:23:43 - How the Covid-19 pandemic has changed Steve's work

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Partial Transcript: Since you mentioned Covid, I'm wondering...

Segment Synopsis: Steve says overall not that much has changed besides having meetings go online. He gives lots of credit to the university, which helped him continue his work from home. However, he says working with the state agencies has been harder since they aren't supported in the same way.

Keywords: Covid-19; Pandemic; State Agencies; State of Wisconsin; UW-Madison

00:26:18 - How changes in technology have impacted Steve's work

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Partial Transcript: I want to ask you this technology question...

Segment Synopsis: Steve recalls first starting to use email in graduate school. He says the IRP has continued to expand their access to technology. The Social Science Computing Cooperative, an IT department that existed before DoIT, has been very helpful and cutting edge since the time it was founded/used. Steve acknowledges that technology has changed rapidly to allow him to process big data sets. All that said, Steve says there are growing issues of confidentiality and privacy that the IPR has worked hard to address.

Keywords: Big data; Confidentiality; DoIT; Email; FERPA; HIPAA; Privacy; Social Science Computing Cooperative

00:32:07 - Steve's involvement in academic staff governance/groups

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Partial Transcript: Ok Steve I want to switch to a few questions...

Segment Synopsis: Steve says that he regrets not becoming involved in academic staff governance, but when he was hired, he said he still was thinking of himself as a student.

Keywords: Academic Staff Governance

00:33:17 - Academic Staff/Faculty Relations from Steve's perspective

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Partial Transcript: So then the next question is a general...

Segment Synopsis: Steve says that he has felt very well treated by faculty overall and has really liked the faculty directors at IRP. However, he says sometimes he does run into faculty that are more entitled. Mostly, Steve emphasizes a positive and valuable relationship between faculty and himself.

Keywords: Faculty; Institute for Research on Poverty; Staff

00:37:15 - Steve's experience winning the Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Research

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Partial Transcript: So the last question before I ask you if you have anything...

Segment Synopsis: Steve says that he kind of pushed for people to nominate him, but he said he was very surprised to have won it the first time he was nominated. He says the virtual reception was a little bit disappointing and would have liked to have the reception happen in person. However, he was still very appreciative of the reception.

Keywords: Academic Staff Award; UW-Madison

00:41:14 - Steve's journey to deciding to work on the underprivileged members of our society

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Partial Transcript: So before I ask you if there's anything about your time...

Segment Synopsis: While he does not have a personal experience with poverty, Steve says that coming to terms with his own privilege drove him toward his work helping the underprivileged. He says he truly believes that the government should help people have the resources to achieve their full potential and a happy life.

Keywords: Poverty; Poverty Alleviation; Public Policy

00:44:45 - Final thoughts on his job

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Partial Transcript: So the last question is to really see if there's...

Segment Synopsis: Steve says that he really thinks his job is ideal. He likes being hands-on in terms of policy creation while also being in an academic environment. He finds the university campus to be very intellectually stimulating.

Keywords: Academics; College Students; Public Policy; UW-Madison

00:48:37 - End of interview