Our Philosophy

Evidence matters.

While we bring our collective experience into this work, we believe having data to back up our actions is important. Our original research complements ongoing studies being conducted by others in the field. Data informs our strategies and policy positions to ensure they align with our organizational mission.

Areas of Research

Voter Fraud
The fear of voter fraud has been a regular topic in our recent national narrative. It dominated political discussion following the last presidential election.

Public Wise conducted a series of non-voter focus groups after the 2020 election cycle in our four priority states: Arizona, Georgia, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania.

Voting Ease
Public Wise conducted a study to understand the relationship between voting laws and voter turnout.

Our Team

The Public Wise research department is exclusively staffed by PhDs who have studied poverty, economic insecurity, race and inequality, neighborhood change, and social control.

Jessie Kalbfeld, PhD | Research Director

Jessie holds a doctorate in sociology from New York University, where she was an NSF Graduate Research Fellow and an inaugural NYU Furman Law Fellow at NYU Law School 2015-2016. Her research interests include race and inequality, neighborhood change, and social control. Some of her recent research projects include an investigation of court reporter mis-transcription of African American English, coauthored with an interdisciplinary team, which was the top downloaded article in Language in 2019-2020; an interrogation of critical mass as it relates to Affirmative Action, published in the Law & Society Review; and an analysis of complaints made against police in Chicago, co-authored with Jacob Faber and published in City & Community. Her dissertation research focused on the impact of racial and socioeconomic neighborhood change on social control in New York City.  Her recent research on court reporters has been covered by the Philadelphia Inquirer, the New York TimesNPRVice News TonightVice MediaDaily KOS, and more.

Jessie has worked as a research and data consultant for the Southern Poverty Law Center of Mississippi and Planned Parenthood of Metropolitan Washington D.C., among others. She is a founding member of CulturePoint LLC, a research and consulting firm that provides evidence-based approaches to developing leadership and high-performance in organizations through effective management of diverse workforces and creation of inclusive environments. Through CulturePoint, Jessie has consulted with clients such as the US Navy, the Department of Energy, and the Environmental Protection Agency on organizational metrics for diversity and inclusion, skills for public-facing scientific presentations, and cognitive processes of decision making in diverse organizations.

Sara Moore, PhD | Senior Research Associate

Sara is a Senior Research Associate at Public Wise. She holds a Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Florida. Prior to joining Public Wise, Sara worked as a Regional Director for the American Voices Project at the Center on Poverty and Inequality at Stanford University. Her research and teaching interests include inequality, poverty, and economic insecurity.

Outside of work, Sara is almost always knitting, dyeing yarn, or reading about antique glass.