AAPOR
The leading association
of public opinion and
survey research professionals
American Association for Public Opinion Research

Candidates for Vice President/President Elect
Mary Losch Bio and Platform Positions
Nora Cate Schaeffer Bio and Platform Positions

Candidates for Associate Secretary-Treasurer
Mike Dennis Bio and Platform Positions
Lydia Saad Bio and Platform Positions

Candidates for Associate Communications Chair
Josh DeLaRosa Bio and Platform Positions
Quin Monson Bio and Platform Positions

Candidates for Associate Conference Chair
Brad Edwards Bio and Platform Positions
Mandy Sha Bio and Platform Positions

Candidates for Associate Education Chair
Lonna Atkeson Bio and Platform Positions
Allyson Holbrook Bio and Platform Positions

Candidates for Associate Membership and Chapter Relations Chair
Ashley Hyon Bio and Platform Positions
Tamara Terry Bio and Platform Positions

Candidates for Associate Standards Chair
René Bautista Bio and Platform Positions
Ting Yan Bio and Platform Positions

Candidates for Councilor-at-Large
Paul Schroeder Bio and Platform Positions
G. Evans Witt Bio and Platform Positions


Mary Losch
 
Mary Losch is Professor of Psychology and Director of the University of Northern Iowa (UNI) Center for Social and Behavioral Research (CSBR). The Center conducts applied research utilizing numerous types of survey and other quantitative and qualitative methods to support academic research, evaluate programs and inform policy decision-making at the local, state and national level. Mary received her PhD at the University of Iowa (UI) studying attitudes and psychophysiology with John Cacioppo and then entered the private sector as a survey research analyst. From 1988-1998 she was the Program Director at the UI Social Science Institute. At UI, she served as vice-chair of the social science IRB and served on the Ad Hoc Conflict of Interest Committee. In 1998, she joined the faculty at UNI and became Assistant Director of the Center for Social and Behavioral Research where she was named Director in 2014. Mary’s service at UNI has included chairing the IRB committee from 2001-2006. In 2008, she served on the steering committee to establish the Association of Academic Survey Research Organizations (AASRO).
 
Mary has directed dozens of survey and applied research projects in the areas of public policy, health behavior, and program evaluation among others. She serves as a reviewer for a several academic journals including Public Opinion Quarterly and has contributed to Survey Practice and many other social science and public health journals.
 
An active member of AAPOR since 1991, Mary has contributed to the organization in a variety of roles. At annual meetings, she has been a conference presenter, session chair, and discussant. She has served two terms on AAPOR’s Executive Council and on numerous committees. On the Executive Council, she has served as Standards Chair (2008-2009) and in 2014-2015 as Secretary-Treasurer. As a member of the Standards Committee (2001-2009), she chaired the IRB Task Force and led the effort to revise and update the AAPOR Statement to IRBs. While Secretary-Treasurer, she also served on the Conference Steering Committee, Development Committee, Financial Oversight Committee, Investment Committee and Ad Hoc Sustaining Sponsorship Committee. Other AAPOR service includes chairing the Ad Hoc Committee to Review the Code of Professional Ethics and Practice (2009-2010) and serving as a member of the same committee in 2014-2015. During 2014-2015 she served as a member of the Ad Hoc TCPA Committee and has served on the AAPOR Transparency Initiative Coordinating Committee since 2012. She was a member of the AAPOR Award Committee in 2014-2015 and is currently a member of the 2018 Policy Impact Award Committee.
 
Mary writes: I believe that how we spend our time truly reflects our values. I have invested my time in AAPOR because I believe in its mission and am committed to its continued growth and success. AAPOR’s steadfast commitment to advancing survey science and advocating for methodological excellence has provided the foundation for my career. AAPOR has been and will always be my professional home. In my early career, AAPOR taught me the fundamentals and in recent years, it continues to guide me as we face challenges to our methods and empirical assumptions. This organization provides an invaluable service to the profession. AAPOR members – strengthened by their diverse cross-sector foci -- possess a formidable breadth and depth of knowledge that they generously share to the benefit of their colleagues and the larger discipline. AAPOR is a rare and special organization; I routinely get sappy talking about its many virtues. I am deeply honored to be nominated as Vice President/President Elect. If elected, it would be my privilege to focus my energies and work once more with the Executive Council to serve the organization and its members.
 
What are the key challenges and opportunities facing our field, and how can the Vice President/President-Elect help address them?
We are in a time of significant “disruption” in our profession and in the world. One of the key challenges to the field is determining how best to identify and maintain what is most valuable from our traditional survey methods while simultaneously creating, learning and incorporating new methods/technologies/approaches to advance survey science. The speed of technological innovation threatens to outpace our ability to adequately develop and test new methods and build theoretical foundations that provide our empirical moorings. However, as we are forced to keep pace, these same pressures provide opportunities for significant advances. While I often lament those more predictable times (and higher response rates), I can say that I have never felt more excited about the work we do and what we can bring to the table to increase the precision and value of our measures.
 
Along with the Executive Council, the Vice President/President Elect provides leadership for the organization. If elected, I would work to assure that AAPOR continues to be both a vehicle for the creation of high impact information and an advocate for the highest methodological and ethical standards in survey science. Serving as a unique source of professional development for our profession, I think it is more important than ever to ensure that AAPOR continue to provide timely, substantive and intelligent content to its members and the broader community. A second area of focus that addresses these challenges/opportunities is assuring that AAPOR create and implement strong programs aimed at the development and mentoring of early career members. I believe the association must ensure that newer members have opportunities to grow professionally and contribute to organizational vision and priorities. By investing in these members, we position them to make important contributions to AAPOR and the broader survey science community which ensures the continued vitality and growth of the organization.
 
How does your background and experience prepare you to handle the job of Vice President/President-Elect?
I believe my experiences both inside and outside of AAPOR have prepared me for the responsibilities of Vice President/President Elect. I began my career in a market research firm and then shifted to applied work in an academic setting. Designing and leading research projects has provided numerous opportunities to understand the varied dynamics and research needs of private sector, government, and non-profit agencies. My work as an administrator of an academic research center has helped me hone my management skills and has underscored the importance of having future focus and a commitment to ongoing learning. Additionally, my experiences throughout my career have made me more self-aware – I have a good sense of what I do well and when I need to seek the talents of others to assure a successful outcome. I believe this is critical to successful leadership.
 
Over twenty-five years, my work chairing and contributing to numerous AAPOR committees coupled with my previous terms on Council have provided me with a deep understanding of this organization and its history – its many successes as well as challenges it has faced. I believe that my breadth and depth of organizational knowledge position me well to advocate for and champion AAPOR to both internal and external audiences. In sum, I believe much of my experience both inside and outside the association have positioned me exceptionally well to help lead AAPOR.
 
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Nora Cate Schaeffer
 
Nora Cate Schaeffer is Professor of Sociology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Faculty Director of the University of Wisconsin Survey Center (UWSC). She is a Fellow of the Midwest Association for Public Opinion Research and of the American Statistical Association.

She studies measurement in surveys, focusing on instrument design and interviewer-respondent interaction. In addition to teaching at UW, she has taught short courses for the Joint Program in Survey Methodology, the Summer Institute in Survey Research Methods at the University of Michigan, and the AAPOR Annual Conference.

When she first attended AAPOR, Nora Cate was impressed with the generosity and accessibility of AAPOR members, who set a high standard for how a professional community can support future practitioners. In that spirit, she has served AAPOR over many years: as Communications Chair– editing the paper AAPOR newsletter in the pre-internet world — and on the Public Opinion Quarterly Advisory Committee, the Transparency Initiative, the Annual Conference Program Committee, the Student Paper Competition, and the committee that founded Survey Practice.

She has also served the field on the Committee on National Statistics and in advisory roles at the National Science Foundation, the Bureau of the Census, approximately a dozen panels for the National Academies, and the editorial boards for Public Opinion Quarterly, and other journals.  Before receiving her doctorate from the University of Chicago, she worked at the National Opinion Research Center (NORC).

Nora Cate writes: “I’m honored to be asked to serve an organization that has been critical to developing and sustaining the practices and standards of opinion and survey research. AAPOR’s future relevance depends on providing a home where researchers from diverse contexts can share goals and approaches to common challenges. AAPOR’s strength is its talented and committed members, who contribute to AAPOR’s active traditions: monitoring the legal and institutional environment, using the task force structure to focus the energy of volunteers on specific critical issues, and providing professional growth through the conference, publications, and chapter activities. Our tradition of welcoming and providing resources for new practitioners renews the profession and can be deployed to bring new voices to AAPOR. I would welcome the opportunity to play a larger role in this extraordinary organization.”

What are the key challenges and opportunities facing our field, and how can the Vice President/President-Elect help to address them?
Although the boundaries of “our field” are unclear, in important ways, our “field” is united by a commitment to data — to understand what we know, we must understand how we know. The challenges of “data” are likely to be especially prominent in polling for the upcoming midterm elections. In addition, as an organization, we recognize that social processes shape who gets to ask the questions--both for AAPOR and the field, having a truer picture of the world may require that we listen to new voices asking questions that are challenging to answer. Some ways in which I would focus on the future if elected: monitoring the legal context within which we work, in collaboration with other organizations if possible; continue to develop the Task Force Reports and webinars, which have made the expertise of AAPOR members available to others; build on the increasing size and diversity of the membership, providing the opportunity to foster new voices in the profession.

How do your background and experience prepare you to handle the job of Vice President/President-Elect?
In addition to my involvement with the field through my research agenda and teaching, I have worked in non-academic contexts — almost a decade at NORC, 15 years with UWSC, a year at Census. The variety of my experiences has given me an appreciation of the challenges faced by both large and small organizations as they solve the problems of field operations, instrument design, technology, project management, and more. Like most of our organizations, AAPOR must solve small daily problems, prepare for an uncertain future that we can expect to be massively different from the present, and be prepared to respond quickly to a current crisis. I have been fortunate in having time in the ivory tower (neither as “ivory” nor as “tower” as it once was!), on the front lines, and in close supporting management roles —solving daily problems, preparing for the future, and responding quickly to crises — all experiences I would bring to this job.
 
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Mike Dennis
 
Mike Dennis is a nationally recognized expert on survey research methods, with a particular focus on online surveys and household panels. He is currently senior vice president and executive director for AmeriSpeak®, NORC’s breakthrough panel-based research platform, and oversees all aspects of operations.
 
Mike’s deep expertise in panel research spans 18 years, including multiple executive positions at Knowledge Networks (formerly InterSurvey, later GfK). Prior to that, he
was a senior scientist at Abt Associates where he managed telephone and in-person surveys funded by the CDC (National Immunization Survey), NCI, and other federal agencies.
 
Early in his career, Mike’s methodological work focused on increasing efficiency of telephone data collection, call pattern research, and measuring non-response bias in phone surveys. This background was integral to the start-up of InterSurvey, where he directed panel recruitment operations before founding the Government and Academic Research Unit for what became Knowledge Networks.
 
More recently, his interests have focused on mixed-mode data collections, measurement of and statistical corrections for self-selection bias, panel conditioning, uses of administrative data for enhancing survey sampling and analysis, and passive measurement of digital behaviors.
 
Mike brings a wealth of experience to his candidacy for the Secretary-Treasurer position. For the past 3 years, he has overseen all financial and contractual aspects of AmeriSpeak for NORC and prior to that held a similar role as a managing director at Knowledge Networks/GfK. He also served 8 years in the role of CFO for his local homeowners association, volunteering his time for them.
 
He has been attending national AAPOR meetings since 1995. His past service includes his work on the AAPOR Task Force on Online Panels, the Book Award Committee, and advising AAPOR policy on protecting the rights of research subjects. He has authored or co-authored over 30 AAPOR conference presentations, as well as more than 60 articles, book chapters, and conference and seminar papers. He holds a B.A. and M.A. from the University of Texas and a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago.
 
What are the key challenges and opportunities facing our field, and how can the Secretary-Treasurer help to address them?
AAPOR members recognize the threats to our field: declining public acceptance of our work, technical challenges in reaching respondents, budget pressures and more. We also see the potential for opportunities in social media, administrative data, and passive digital measurement.

So how do we move forward? We can start by diversifying our fundraising, targeting private sector firms in fields where we are increasingly dependent on innovation (e.g., technology, marketing science, consumer data, and data analytic companies).

Diversifying our fundraising will, in turn, help us diversify our membership, targeting both traditional survey researchers and non-traditionalists coming up in computer science and high technology. We need both to create tomorrow’s solutions for our industry.

Lastly, to keep our own house in order, we can improve the transparency of AAPOR’s finances. This will give our membership confidence that AAPOR’s spending is aligned with our priorities and our long-term commitments to our community.

How does your background and experience prepare you to handle the job of Secretary-Treasurer?
For most of my professional career, I have comfortably straddled the worlds of business and survey research. Similarly, in this position, I expect to bring financial acumen to a membership organization passionate about research.
 
Over the past 18 years, I have had financial and contractual oversight responsibilities for both commercial and non-profit firms. The departments that I founded were essentially research start-ups without an existing backlog of business. I was responsible for creating and implementing business plans for new products and services involving large capital investments, and then sustaining the businesses with prudent fiscal management and aligning expenditures with strategic priorities.

In the role of Secretary-Treasurer, I would apply my knowledge and experience to provide the organization with: Return to Top
 
Lydia Saad
 
Lydia Saad plays multiple research and project management roles at Gallup where she has been a core member of the Gallup Poll team since 1992. As Senior Editor she shares responsibility with other team members for designing Gallup’s ongoing U.S. public opinion surveys, conducting in-depth analysis, and writing twice-daily public opinion articles for Gallup.com. The work is fast moving, requiring constant attention to data-collection and writing deadlines. At the same time, Gallup team members work closely to ensure that Gallup’s polls and news reports amplify the voice of Americans on the most important issues of the day.

Lydia’s fascination with long-term trends led her to develop the Gallup Poll Social Series (GPSS) in 2001. This is a set of 12 annual surveys -- each focused on a different public opinion theme, which maintain Gallup’s most important social, economic and behavioral trends in a standardized survey instrument. The GPSS includes monthly measurement of a core set of political and economic questions, facilitating the establishment of Gallup’s Economic Confidence Index as a monthly metric in 2001.

In addition to her work with the Gallup Poll team, Lydia is an Advanced Consultant at Gallup. In this client-facing role she is responsible for the Wells Fargo/Gallup Investor Optimism and Retirement Optimism Index, designing this quarterly public release study, analyzing its results, and keeping the project within budget. Lydia has also served as a Gallup consultant for U.S. public opinion surveys sponsored by Melissa & Doug, The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the National Science Foundation, and many others.

A member of AAPOR since 1994, Lydia served on the Executive Council from 1998-1999 as associate chair/chair of the Publications and Information Committee. More recently she served on the 2016 Election Review Committee and the 2018 AAPOR Policy Impact Award Committee. Her numerous AAPOR conference papers have focused on election polling, consumer attitudes, and survey methodology.

Lydia received her bachelor’s degree in political science from Villanova University and her master’s degree in political science/survey research from the University of Connecticut.

What are the key challenges and opportunities facing our field, and how can the Secretary-Treasurer help to address them?
Survey research has been at a crossroads for about a decade, and the future is still not clear. The telephone methodology that has served the industry well for decades is being squeezed by technology-driven changes in consumer behavior (avoidance of phone calls in a scam-fraught world), economics (it’s cheaper to conduct web polls), the emergence of alternative data sources (big data doesn’t lie), and federal regulators (is it still legal to randomly dial cell-phones?).

We are simultaneously being pushed and pulled in new directions. The challenge, of course, is to make sure that we retain high validity in the measurement of behavior and public opinion. AAPOR has several task forces and committees working on all aspects of this, and making recommendations. The new council must review what’s been done, communicate outcomes to the industry and public at large, and keep the momentum going.

How does your background and experience prepare you to handle the job of Secretary-Treasurer?
I know from my past time on Council that it requires members who can work well in a team environment. This means knowing how to share and delegate responsibility, but also taking initiative and following through on important tasks. These are all skills I have honed at Gallup, particularly on the Gallup Poll which is entirely team run. In terms of tending to AAPOR’s finances, this requires a good understanding of budgeting and investments, which I have, as well as a love of spreadsheets and attention to detail. AAPOR starts 2018 in a strong position financially, with its budget balanced, money in the bank and membership up. However, we have to be concerned that any economic downturn or erosion of the practice of survey research could quickly threaten that financial stability. Therefore, my focus would be on finding ways to add to AAPOR’s financial cushion, including working with Membership to keep our numbers strong.
 
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Josh DeLaRosa

Josh DeLaRosa has a Masters in Applied Social Research from the City University of New York, Queens College. Over his thirteen year career Josh has worked for both public and private organizations including non-profits, government statistical agencies and private research companies. Josh currently works for Con Edison as a senior market research specialist. Josh also teaches research methods within the Data Analytics and Applied Social Research program at Queens College. Josh is also the Communications Chair for the New York chapter of AAPOR (NYAAPOR). His research interests include hard-to-reach populations, the use of emerging technologies to enhance data collection and evidence-based policy making.

Josh joined AAPOR as a student eleven years ago and has been active at the national and chapter levels. For the past three years he has been a member of the Communications Committee. Josh cites AAPOR’s communication mechanisms, including Public Opinion Quarterly, Survey Practice, listserv and newsletter as key tools that have contributed to his professional development. With his background and appreciation for AAPOR’s communication tools, Josh feels that he has the appropriate skill set to serve as the Associate Communication Chair.

What are the key challenges and opportunities facing our field, and how can the Associate Communications Chair help to address them?
Interest for public opinion data has continued to increase over the past few years. Policy makers, private clients and the public at large have greater expectations for the data AAPOR members collect and analyze. However, the cost to produce valid and reliable public opinion data has also increased rapidly over time. I believe practitioners look to AAPOR to be proactive in facilitating and disseminating timely information relevant to our practice. If elected as the Associate Communication Chair, the Communications Committee and I will work with the other AAPOR committees and local chapters to keep members updated. This includes the latest information regarding public opinion, research methodology and the AAPOR organization itself. Along with our current communication tools, I will explore opportunities to leverage new methods of keeping members informed.

In addition to supporting AAPOR’s communication efforts to its members, as the Associate Communication Chair I will work with our members to meet AAPOR’s mission of educating the general public on how to get the most out of surveys and survey findings.

How does your background and experience prepare you to handle the job of Associate Communications Chair?
AAPOR is comprised of members from a wide range of organizations, disciplines and backgrounds. My experience working in both the public and private sectors as well as small and large organizations has given me a well-rounded understanding of the different perspectives of members within AAPOR. With this understand I aim to tailor AAPOR’s commutations to its member’s needs. My background with AAPOR’s traditional communication tools as well as my professional experience utilizing emerging technologies would also enable me to enhance AAPOR’s communication capabilities.

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Quin Monson
 
Quin Monson is an Associate Professor of Political Science and a Senior Scholar (and former Director) at the Center for the Study of Elections and Democracy at Brigham Young University. He is also a partner at Y2 Analytics, a polling and data analytics firm based in Salt Lake City.
 
Quin’s academic research is in public opinion; campaigns and elections; election polling methods; and religion and politics. He has fielded numerous political, academic, and professional surveys via traditional telephone interviews, novel internet modes, and even increasingly rare in-person interviews. His professional work ranges from political work for candidates and numerous local school bond referenda to the Sundance Film Festival and corporate clients. His academic publications appear in a variety of outlets including Public Opinion Quarterly, the American Journal of Political Science, Political Analysis, and books with Brookings Institution Press and Cambridge University Press.
 
Quin received his PhD from The Ohio State University. After attending his first AAPOR meeting as an undergraduate student in 1996, Quin has been a regular participant in AAPOR conferences. He has also participated in MAPOR and more recently has been an active member of PAPOR, serving on the PAPOR Executive Council from 2006 to 2010 (including two years chairing PAPOR’s student paper competition). He also served as a member of AAPOR’s 2012 Election Polling Rapid Response Team to advise AAPOR Council on controversies involving election polling during the 2012 election cycle.
 
Quin has appeared frequently in the media as an expert on public opinion, elections, and religion and politics. He has been a frequent invited speaker including numerous state and local party organizations, the Council of State Governments, local boards of elections, and statewide associations of election officials.

What are the key challenges and opportunities facing our field, and how can the Associate Communications Chair help to address them?
Two key challenges face AAPOR: 1) a constantly changing landscape for adapting our methodology to conduct accurate and useful survey research, and 2) communicating beyond our membership what we collectively do as we adjust to new realities for collecting data and disseminating our findings. I am well versed in the orthodox methodologies of survey research, but I am experienced with innovation and change as we adjust to the realities of traditional methods. Communicating what we do as survey researchers beyond our AAPOR membership should focus not only on problems or shortcomings of survey methods, but also on the many positive things that surveys help the public and private sector accomplish. I will draw more positive attention to the peer reviewed work published in AAPOR’s three journals. AAPOR could do much more to promote the good work produced by its members.

How does your background and experience prepare you to handle the job of Associate Communications Chair?
My biggest strength is a large breadth of experience in both academia and the private sector. My work includes peer reviewed academic publications, private political clients, large public institutions, and private corporations. My methodological approaches include both quantitative and qualitative work, and my public opinion and survey research experience includes a broad range of topics, modes, and target populations. This breadth of experience allows me to accurately and fairly represent the broad range of the AAPOR membership. My research experience has also afforded me the opportunity to work with the media on many occasions including National Press Club events, election night interviews on live television, and dozens of interviews with both American and international journalists. I am also comfortable with social media and other channels and can represent AAPOR and survey research in ways that are positive and understandable as well as representative of AAPOR’s diverse membership.
 
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Brad Edwards
 
With all due respect, Brad Edwards wonders how many other AAPOR members actually read these blurbs. He’s a Westat vice president who’s been designing and managing large, complex surveys for several decades now, with a persistent focus on face-to-face interviewing. (First job: field interviewer for NORC in Chicago, a galaxy far, far away.) Three recent project highlights: (1) Project director, Westat’s work on the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey, the “go-to” data source for understanding the use and cost of health care in the U.S. – about 18% of the nation’s economy. (2) Senior manager and investigator, National Health and Aging Trends Survey, producing annual data since 2011 on U.S. disability trends, deepening our understanding of caregiving through 3 piggyback phone surveys of helpers identified by sample respondents, and building a user community more than 2,500 strong. (3) Senior management and methods guidance, 2016 American National Election Survey, with parallel face-to-face and web components in a challenging, highly charged election environment (understatement) for this gold standard of political science data on voter behavior. Besides project work, Edwards directs Westat’s field services unit, providing human resource services for thousands of field interviewers, developing the company’s field policies and protocols, and fostering technical innovation in survey data collection. He pioneered Westat’s approach for a number of systems: audio computer assisted self-interviewing (ACASI), computer assisted recorded interviewing (CARI), mobile devices for capturing paradata in the field, and performance dashboards for monitoring remote field staff.
 
Research interests include multicultural studies, panel survey design, nonresponse, and data collector training and management. He co-chaired the 2015 conference “Total Survey Error: Improving Quality in an Era of Big Data,” and co-edited Total Survey Error in Practice (2017). He also co-edited Survey Methods in Multinational, Multiregional, and Multicultural Contexts (2010; AAPOR Book Award, 2014) and Hard-to-Survey Populations (2015). Edwards has authored or co-authored many book chapters, journal articles, short courses, and presentations at AAPOR, ESRA, JSM and other conferences. He co-teaches a short course on survey management each spring for the Joint Program in Survey Methodology, and this April will be giving a talk in the NatCen-ESS ERIC-City methodology seminar series on “Managing Survey Change: Resource Tradeoffs and Quality Metrics”.
 
AAPOR activities: many and varied. Most significant and memorable, reverse chronological order: Chair, Harkness Student Paper Award Committee; eager participant, GAAPOR; creator, Speed Networking; Membership Chair and Associate Chair, Executive Council; Chair, Endowment Committee; member, Heritage Committee; co-founder, Multicultural affinity group; President, DC AAPOR. If you’ve read this far, hit him up at BradEdwards@westat.com or https://www.facebook.com/1650196048, or send him a tweet @brad1723 – he’d enjoy hearing from you.
 
What are the key challenges and opportunities facing our field, and how can the Associate Conference Chair help to address them?
How can we, as a community of survey researchers and public opinion pollsters, continue to do work that is meaningful and relevant? That’s an uncomfortable question these days. Facts are not what they used to be. Expertise is valued less, often derided. We struggle to keep pace with the evolving ways people engage with others, with businesses, and with technology. Ours is an old paradigm. We grope to find new solid ground in data science. We are a small community, and tend to look inward. I would like to turn our gaze outward: Look at disciplines that may be in different places with respect to change and relevance – market research? Informatics? human-computer interaction? behavioral economics? GIS and sensor technology? machine learning? Encourage interdisciplinary work, and case studies of emerging work in our field with new methods, technologies, data sources that are creating information of great value.  
 
How does your background and experience prepare you to handle the job of Associate Conference Chair?
We’ll be in Atlanta in 2020, home of Dr. King’s church, a wellspring for the civil rights movement. Celebrating diversity and nurturing potential for everyone are two of its long-lasting dreams. I would draw a theme for Atlanta from my work and life experience that ties to the city in some way. Beyond the theme, a much bigger part of the Associate’s job is to learn the Chair’s job, and to help the Chair. I have organized several international conferences, giving me a good running start. I worked extensively with Kellan (the firm that provides AAPOR’s conference support) preparing for the 2015 Total Survey Error conference. One last thing: From my previous term on Council I know the two years will pass in a flash, and success requires great clarity of purpose and focus. I have the experience to bring that focus to the conference, and would relish the opportunity.

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Mandy Sha
 
Thanks to 10 conferences, I’ve led or supported in official capacity virtually all aspects of AAPOR conference planning, programming, and evaluation. I am very proud of the close collaborations I’ve had with new and veteran AAPORites and the AAPOR management company Kellen, such as successfully creating more than 400 opportunities for conference attendees to network one-one-one with potential employers in the industry. I love cultivating synergy within AAPOR! For example, I developed a tool for the Transparency Initiative to document the results of TI compliance among member organizations to encourage continual openness in the reporting of research methods. I also serve on the committee that coordinates AAPOR’s Diversity Initiative and I am passionate about empowering AAPOR colleagues to reach their goals. Seeing that many researchers need more opportunities to publish, I spearheaded an affinity group with AAPOR collaborators. In 2017, this group contributed to a Survey Practice special issue dedicated to cross-cultural and multilingual research and the issue was edited by me. At my regional chapter MAPOR, I am a very active Council member and thought leader and participated in MAPOR’s strategic planning in 2014 and 2017 that set the stage for MAPOR’s growth.
 
For the past decade, I led large-scale research studies that focused on content, technology, and hard-to-reach populations to improve coverage and data quality of the US Census. I have extensive experience leading diverse research teams, winning multi-million dollar proposals and achieving the proposed approach and budget, and customizing quality assurance solutions appropriate to the research objectives. My resourcefulness and approaches are enriched by the many advisers and collaborators I’ve had, and more than 17 years of professional experience at NORC, the University of Chicago Survey Lab, and RTI International. As an independent consultant, I strive to advance the understanding of underrepresented populations and issues in survey and public opinion research.
 
I routinely contribute to the literature about reducing language barrier and mistrust to encourage research participation. My recent coauthored articles appeared in the Survey Practice, Field Methods, and the Journal of Official Statistics. In addition to guest editing Survey Practice, I am guest co-editor of refereed international journal Translation & Interpreting’s 2018 special issue on questionnaire translation. I also give in-person seminars on quality management for social science research, most recently at the Academia Sinica and the World Bank. In addition, I was the lead instructor of a 2016 MAPOR Webinar which for the first time introduced to the members quality concepts related to qualitative, questionnaire pretesting in multiple languages. I received my M.A. from the University of Chicago and B.A. from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. I am proficient in Spanish and Chinese and won first place in a competitive and very funny 2014 humorous speech contest in Chicago!
 
What are the key challenges and opportunities facing our field, and how can the Associate Conference Chair help to address them?
One of the key challenges facing our field right now is creating the most impactful opportunities to stand up to those who spread misinformation about public opinion and survey research results and methods. AAPOR has been reinforcing these opportunities through clear, timely, and relevant communications and publications. If elected Associate Conference Chair, I would continue making the annual conference a “safe place” to discuss and debate how we can shape these communications and publications and what the impacts and consequences are. Coming together at the collegial yet stimulating annual AAPOR conference, we share in the resolve to use the practice of transparency, data quality, and innovation to demonstrate the value of public opinion and survey research to policymakers and the public. While we may be advocates for different research methods or may even be competitors, we all believe in what public opinion and survey research stands for. I want you to come away from the annual conference feeling reenergized! Because at AAPOR, we accomplish more together.
 
How does your background and experience prepare you to handle the job of Associate Conference Chair?
I have directly relevant experience in leading and supporting AAPOR conference planning, programming, and evaluation. While chairing the conference support subcommittee earlier in the decade, each year I led over 40 volunteers and collaborated with the AAPOR management company to make approximately ten conference programs and events a success. Back in 2007, I was directly involved in the conference operations committee’s evaluation of conference sponsor and exhibitor engagement. For the 2016 and 2017 conferences, I was part of the conference chair’s team that made final decisions on abstracts and sessions and I also contributed to specific sections of the program. For the 2019 and 2020 conferences – when the person you elect will be associate conference chair and then the chair - I had collaborated with the AAPOR management company to evaluate several conference sites and our recommendation of Toronto and Atlanta sites became the official locations. Having participated in making these key decisions about the future of AAPOR conference, I am passionate about amplifying the awesome conference structure and traditions established by the 10 past conference chairs I’ve assisted. AAPORites, I would love to help make the Toronto and Atlanta conferences part of your success!
 
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Lonna Atkeson
 
Dr. Lonna Atkeson is a Professor, Regents Lecturer and Director of the Center for the Study of Voting, Elections, and Democracy in the Political Science Department at the University of New Mexico. She also directs the Institute for Social Research an applied research center at the University of New Mexico.
 
She is an internationally recognized expert in the area of survey methodology, public opinion, campaigns, elections, election sciences, and political behavior, and has written several books, over 50 articles and book chapters, and dozens of technical reports, monographs, amicus curiae briefs and other works on these topics. She advocates for a data driven, applied political science, approach to public policy that encourages academics and practitioners to join together to exchange expertise to create an efficient, well managed, transparent, and a citizen focused public sector. During the 2016 election she was KOB-TVs election analyst and is a regular on local commercial and public television and is sought out regularly by journalists both locally and nationally for a wide variety of topics on polling and elections.
 
She is co-editor of the Oxford University Handbook on Polling and Survey Methods (expected publication July 2018). The goals of the Handbook are to outline current best practices and highlight the changing nature of the field in the way social scientists conduct surveys and analyze and present survey data. She has been a strong advocate for survey methodology in the political methodological community and is currently serving as an Associate Editor for Political Analysis, a top methodology and social science journal.
 
She has experience in every stage of the survey process, and has worked in the private, government, and educational sectors. She specializes in mixed mode designs, but also has direct experience in FTF, mail, and online surveys. Over the past decade she has produced the Bernalillo County (BCES) and New Mexico Election Studies (NMES) with a unique over time mixed mode design and has worked closely with partners to provide evaluation research on election administration.
 
She received her BA from the University of California Riverside and her PhD from the University of Colorado Boulder.
 
What are the key challenges and opportunities facing our field, and how can the Associate Education Chair help to address them?
The survey research community faces a number of challenges including very low response rates, rising costs, and an external trust problem. In addition, many new opportunities exist to move the field forward, including: innovations in using surveys to interview experts, alternative contact methods, the extended use of mixed mode designs, social media as public opinion data, the integration of qualitative methods with survey designs, the integration of organic and design data, new methods for displaying data, advances in computing and statistics that translate into new and better methods, and the expanded use of survey experiments.
 
AAPOR has an amazing education product in short courses and webinars. I will build on this strong foundation to bring more and cutting edge knowledge and information to members so they can serve their clients better and so we can better communicate the value of our industry to citizens, journalists, bureaucrats, businesses and others.
 
How does your background and experience prepare you to handle the job of Associate Education Chair?
As an educator, and basic and applied researcher, I have the background necessary to excel as the Associate Chair of Education. As a university professor, I have taught public opinion, statistics, and research design. As an applied researcher, I have experience implementing surveys from start to finish, all of which are done in-house, so that my students and I can gain direct experience with all stages of the survey process. This has provided me with the background to understand the changing nature of the field, the challenges and opportunities within it, and the value of continued education in an ever changing and complex field. In addition, my early experience in industry provides me with other perspectives on the different needs of different types of public opinion researchers and scholars. Therefore, I am in a strong position to build on previous successes and identify new areas where education can be improved.

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Allyson Holbrook
 
Allyson Holbrook is a Professor in Public Administration and Psychology and a Research Professor at the Survey Research Laboratory of the University of Illinois at Chicago. She has been conducting survey research and teaching survey methods courses as a faculty member for more than fifteen years. Allyson’s current research addresses measurement issues in surveys, specifically dealing with response effects and possible errors introduced by survey context. She is also working on projects examining public opinion about policies like workplace policies to increase diversity and a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. constitution. She teaches courses on a variety of topics related to survey methods including questionnaire design, survey nonresponse, ethics in survey research, and the history of survey research. She is the co-director of UIC’s Interdepartmental Graduate Concentration in Survey Research Methods and teaches in its online Certificate in Survey Research Methods program.
 
Allyson first joined AAPOR as a graduate student while obtaining her Ph.D. in social psychology from the Ohio State University. She also has a B.A. in psychology and political science from Dickinson College and an M.A. in psychology from the Ohio State University. She has served as a member of AAPOR’s Conference, Book Award, Nominations, Education, and Standards Committees and as a member of the Survey Refusal Task Force. She previously served on AAPOR council as the (Associate)Secretary/Treasurer. She has also been active in MAPOR, the Midwest chapter of AAPOR, serving for five years as (associate) conference chair and vice-president/president/past president. She is currently an associate editor at Public Opinion Quarterly. Allyson is also the author of numerous conference papers (including many presented at AAPOR), book chapters, and journal articles (in journals such as Public Opinion Quarterly, Political Behavior, and the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology ).
 
Allyson writes: “I believe the Education Committee is essential for AAPOR’s mission and will continue to play an important role as AAPOR moves forward with its current initiatives. I am excited about the possibility of serving in the role of Associate Education Chair and being able to use my skills and experience to contribute to AAPOR’s education mission.”

 What are the key challenges and opportunities facing our field, and how can the Associate Education Chair help to address them?
One of the major challenges to AAPOR’s members is the current environment for conducting survey research and the public’s understanding of survey research and other social science methods used to study public opinion. AAPOR is currently pursuing an initiative to change public perceptions and understanding of the kinds of work that AAPOR members do and education should play an important role in that process. The current AAPOR education committee and subcommittees focus heavily on education for members (in the form of both online webinars and in person short courses) and other researchers as well as journalist education. In addition to continuing the excellent and active education programs in place, AAPOR has an opportunity to grow our efforts to further educate the public about surveys, public opinion research, and their importance.

How does your background and experience prepare you to handle the job of Associate Education Chair?
Teaching and education have been a major focus of my professional life. Part of my service to AAPOR has involved serving on AAPOR’s education committee and online education subcommittee. I also have direct experience giving both an AAPOR webinar and a shortcourse (along with experience giving many workshops and webinars to other organizations and audiences). I have developed and taught multiple graduate level courses on survey methodology and have been part of collaborative efforts to create two interdisciplinary graduate programs focused on survey research methods. My work at the Survey Research Laboratory of the University of Illinois also involves being an active part of its education mission – I routinely give 2-4 workshops or webinars per year on campus and also coordinate a news bulletin published by the lab that is distributed weekly to nearly 1000 current and former University of Illinois students, faculty, and staff.
 
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Ashley Hyon
 
Ashley Hyon is currently the Vice President of Research & Survey Methods at Marketing Systems Group where she celebrated her 20 year work anniversary this past summer. She provides high level consultation on survey methodology and recruitment strategy. She is keenly familiar with all sampling techniques for both quantitative and qualitative research and works closely with clients to determine the best survey design while establishing and maintaining excellent collaborative partnerships. She graduated in 1994 with a Dual Major BBA in Marketing and International Business from Temple University and has recently completed her Masters in Survey Research at University of Connecticut. Moreover, she is active in various professional organizations and is continuously identifying upcoming trends in survey research to provide insight on the development new products and services.
 
She is also the Past President of PANJAAPOR and has served on the board for 5 years as the Associate Chair and then Chair of the Program Committee followed by the various stages of presidency. Ashley also volunteers at the national AAPOR conferences any way she can. At this year’s conference in Denver she’ll be running the Speed Networking Event. In previous conferences she volunteered for various roles such as a student poster judge and a docent, which she found very rewarding and would recommend to everyone because the learning always turns out to be a two way street.

What are the key challenges and opportunities facing our field, and how can the Associate Member and Chapter Relations Chair help to address them?
A main challenge and opportunity for survey researchers right now is big data which is still in its infancy stage. We need to come up with the best way to harness and structure this data so it can work in harmony with survey data. Both approaches have their unique strengths and weaknesses and can each be beneficial and impactful.

As Associate Member and Chapter Relations Chair I will work collectively with members and chapters to find ways to better understand the idiosyncrasy of big data. AAPOR’s tremendous wealth of knowledge and varying generational groups can come together to learn from one another in order to turn big data into a refined tool we can all add to our tool box.

How does your background and experience prepare you to handle the job of Associate Member and Chapter Relations Chair?
My tenure on the PANJAAPOR Executive Board will equip me to understand and relate to the regional chapters. This will enable me to better serve as a liaison between the chapters and the national. I also understand the difficulties in growing membership and look forward to collaborating on ways to draw in more of the younger generations who will be innovators and researchers of the future.

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Tamara Terry
 
Tamara Terry is a Senior Research Manager and Business Development Leader at RTI International with 15 years of experience in project management and survey research. Tamara currently manages the research department within the Division for Research Services and is involved in leading and developing proposals. She provides higher level management and support for study design, strategic project planning, and all additional aspects of data collection management. Throughout her career she has worked on federal, state and foundation research projects across a wide range of topics including education, health, clinical, social welfare and registries.

As a dedicated researcher and survey professional, Tamara has been an active member of AAPOR and SAPOR for many years and has served as a volunteer in a variety of roles over the years; she currently serves as a member of the AAPOR Communications Committee (Education Liaison), Diversity Coordinating Committee, and was the 2016 SAPOR Vice President and 2017 SAPOR President. During her SAPOR leadership she helped plan social events at AAPOR to engage conference attendees, increased SAPOR membership and awareness, and enhanced regional chapter relationships. Tamara regularly presents at the annual meetings for professional associations such as AAPOR, IFDTC, SAPOR, and ESRA. Tamara earned a BA in Political Science and a BS in Family and Consumer Sciences from North Carolina Central University in 2003. While attending North Carolina Central University, she also worked at the RTI Research Operations Center as a telephone interviewer, quality control monitor, and project team leader.
 
Tamara writes: I am truly honored to be nominated for the position of Associate Membership and Chapter Relations Chair, and thrilled by the opportunity to help lead AAPOR in its next endeavors. Attending the national AAPOR conference for almost 10 years has allowed me to create amazing professional and personal relationships that I would not have gained without attending. I have benefited immensely from the professional knowledge and exposure AAPOR has provided me. I look forward to the opportunity, if elected, to bring my optimism, energy, strategic thinking, and innovative skills to the AAPOR council.
 
What are the key challenges and opportunities facing our field, and how can the Associate Member and Chapter Relations Chair help to address them?
Our biggest challenges and opportunities center around educating the public on the importance and value of public opinion research. Through increased knowledge and appreciation of social research, we can chip away at the barriers and “fake news” mentality that is often associated with survey research. In recent years our work has been de-legitimized and associated with scams and high-volumes of phone calls from telemarketers. Our community must find ways to inform the public and continue to provide excellent, reliable, and relevant research. With the persistence of high quality standards, innovation, and inclusion of different opinions, we can overcome these challenges.
 
To strengthen the value of our research, I hope to 1) increase our overall membership through enhanced relations with regional AAPOR Chapters, 2) deepen the pipeline of future social researchers by becoming more active with universities, and 3) ensure we are diverse and inclusive in embracing all opinions and ideas.
 
How does your background and experience prepare you to handle the job of Associate Member and Chapter Relations Chair ?
My experience with the AAPOR Communications Committee, Diversity Coordinating Committee, and SAPOR Leadership roles as the Vice President and President has helped prepare me for this position. My involvement with these groups has provided me the opportunity to gain insight on strategies for increasing and diversifying the membership as well as provide strong leadership and guidance to our AAPOR community.
 
Additionally, in my professional role I am responsible for engaging, retaining, and providing excellent service to our clients. On a more personal note, I have a profound desire to impact the lives of people by turning knowledge into practice. If elected as the Associate Membership and Chapter Relations Chair, I will have a unique opportunity to connect with our future public opinion researchers who will ultimately make impact on our world.

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René Bautista
 
René Bautista is a Senior Research Scientist at the Statistics and Methodology Department at NORC at the University of Chicago. He currently serves as Co-Director of the General Social Survey, and will be recognized as Director upon Tom W. Smith’s planned retirement in 2019. He has been in the field of public opinion and survey research since the year of 2000. He became an AAPOR member in the year of 2004, and has been regularly contributing to AAPOR conferences as presenter ever since. During his tenure at NORC, Bautista has provided guidance on data collection methods, survey questionnaire design, cognitive and usability testing, program evaluation, experimentation, sampling, weighting, variance estimation, and advanced statistical analysis.

His experience covers a full range of major surveys funded by government and private agencies, including the National Survey of Children’s Health and National Survey of Children with Special Health Care Needs, the Census Integrated Communications Program Evaluation, the National Survey on Health Information Exchange in Clinical Laboratories, the Online Emergency Evacuation Response Survey, the National Survey of Early Care and Education, the Medicare Current Beneficiary Survey, the Worker Voice Study, the Survey on Perception of Homeowner’s and Renter’s Insurance in the State of Louisiana, among many others.

Previously, he worked at the Gallup Research Center at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He has also served as Election Night Analyst with Edison Media Research. He has published scholarly work in peer-reviewed journals and books, and is a frequent presenter in major national and international conferences on survey methodology.

Bautista also serves as adjunct faculty at the Irving B. Harris Graduate School of Public Policy Studies at the University of Chicago, and at the Survey Research and Methodology (SRAM) program, teaching graduate-level research methods courses, including survey questionnaire design. He’s currently Associate Editor of Public Opinion Quarterly. He holds a masters and a Ph.D. in Survey Research and Methodology from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

What are the key challenges and opportunities facing our field, and how can the Associate Standards Chair help to address them?
The AAPOR Code of Ethics is the cornerstone of the public opinion and survey research practice, guiding practitioners to make the most appropriate choices for research designs, protecting active and passive participants, and promoting transparency in the dissemination of results. As the industry is increasingly collecting more complex data (e.g., biometric data, information from smart technology such as voice assistants, geolocation services, wearable technology) along with significant capabilities for combining data from diverse sources (e.g., administrative records, probability and non-probability surveys), it is fundamental to understand how our ethical framework can continue to be up to date, avoid misrepresentation of information, and prevent any potential disclosures or misuses of PII data. As Associate Chair/Chair of the Standards Committee, I will work to make sure our Code of Ethics remains current given the technological landscape, and continues to bring credibility to, and confidence in, our research community.

How does your background and experience prepare you to handle the job of Associate Standards Chair?
Over the past decade and a half, I’ve been involved in all aspects of the survey life cycle (discussion of objectives, planning, funding, budgeting, data collection, sampling, editing, weighting, and reporting of findings to various audiences). My affiliation with one of the largest independent social research organizations (NORC) has provided me with an excellent understanding of participants’ concerns, as well as the needs of corporate clients, government agencies, independent sponsors, the public, the media, and academics. I have a deep understanding of both theoretical and practical aspects of public opinion and survey research. I constantly interact with AAPOR members, and keep abreast of scientific developments through teaching activities and editorial work for POQ. In summary, my professional experience has provided me with an appreciation of the functions the survey data serve across the industry, and highlights my commitment to hold studies to the highest standards of ethics and practices.

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Ting Yan
 
Ting Yan is a Senior Survey Methodologist at Westat, where her primary responsibilities involve designing complex surveys, developing innovative data collection methodologies, and evaluating data quality. She is also an adjunct factulty memeber with the Joint Program in Survey Methodology (JPSM), University of Maryland, and the Program in Survey Methodology (MPSM), University of Michigan. She teaches graduate courses on survey methods and advises graduate students for both programs. Ting has more than 18 years’ experience of conducting survey research; she worked in academia (as a faculty member with JPSM and MSPM) and in three major survey organizations (Westat, NORC at the University of Chicago and Abt Associates).

Ting has been an active member of AAPOR since 2004 and has attended all but one annual conference. She served as a Chair for the Diversity Subcommittee, Membership and Chapter Relations Committee in 2015-2017. One of her responsibilities as the Chair for the Diversity Subcommittee is to develop a diversity statement for AAPOR. She contributed to AAPOR in many other roles; for instance, she reviewed conference abstracts and volunteered her time for the conferences.

Ting is a Co Editor-in-Chief for the Journal of Survey Statistics and Methodology since 2016. AAPOR is one of the sponsors for the journal. She is also on the executive committee for the European Survey Research Association since 2017.

Ting has a Ph.D. in Survey Methodology from JPSM, University of Maryland.

What are the key challenges and opportunities facing our field, and how can the Associate Standards Chair help to address them?
Our field is facing many challenges. Response rates continue to decline and the cost of conducting quality surveys is increasing. Advances in big data cast doubt on the utility of surveys among the general public and the public is becoming less friendly to surveys in general. AAPOR should continue its leadership by taking on these challenges. As Associate Standards Chair, I will help AAPOR members understand our tradition, our existing standards, the limitations of the existing standards in addressing today’s everchanging environment, and more importantly, how we can improve the way we conduct surveys in such an environment.

How does your background and experience prepare you to handle the job of Associate Standards Chair?
I have been actively involved in the survey field (and in AAPOR) for more than 18 years. My career has involved work in academia and industry and I have conducted survey research in various settings and for varied clients. This has provided me with a deep understanding of and appreciation for the importance of standards in conducting quality surveys for different research needs. I believe that I have the necessary experience and background to represent the diverse views of all AAPOR members on the Standards Committee.
 
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Paul Schroeder
 
Paul Schroeder has been an active member of AAPOR for 18 years and has attended every annual conference since his first in Montreal back in 2001. He served on the Membership Committee from 2007 to 2011 and has participated in several ad hoc task forces over the years as well. Paul has also been involved in his local chapter, DC-AAPOR having served as Treasurer in 2006 and President in 2009. He writes, “AAPOR has afforded me many opportunities in my career. Opportunities that I would never have had without being an active member of this organization. I have met so many brilliant people and appreciate all that my colleagues have contributed to the profession. I am eager to volunteer my time to help the organization move forward in the coming years and ensure that new researchers are getting the same support and guidance that I was lucky enough to receive.”
 
Paul is Chief Business Officer at EurekaFacts in Rockville, MD where he is responsible for business development and growth strategy for the firm. Before joining EurekaFacts, Paul served as Vice President at Abt Associates, where he led the Transportation and Infrastructure Group focusing on traffic safety, customer satisfaction, travel, environmental, and energy studies. In addition, Paul has conducted international research studies in Latin America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, and the Middle East. Prior to this, Paul was a study manager at Westat focusing on cancer cohort studies for the National Cancer Institute. He began his survey career at UVA’s Center for Survey Research.
 
Paul’s areas of expertise include multi-mode data collection, address-based sampling, questionnaire development, sample design, and quality control. Paul received his master’s degree in Sociology from the University of Virginia, and his bachelor’s degree in Sociology & Philosophy from the University of Tennessee.
 
What are the key challenges and opportunities facing our field, and how can the Councilor-at-Large help to address them?
Our field is exploring new methods of data capture which have been shown to provide insight but may break certain methodological assumptions which we in survey research hold very dear to our hearts. Our greatest challenge at the moment is evaluating these new methods and determining whether they truly contribute to the science of public opinion research or if they are short-lived and will join the trash heap of past methods we no longer engage with. Like most challenges, opportunity is not far behind. AAPOR has long been at the forefront of these questions, starting with cell phones, and most recently looking at non-probability sampling techniques. The Councilor-at-Large will be instrumental in guiding these efforts within AAPOR.
 
How does your background and experience prepare you to handle the job of Councilor-at-Large?
I have been in the industry close to 20 years now. I have worked for a variety of employers from an academic shop to large commercial firms and I understand the concerns of AAPOR members across the spectrum of backgrounds that make up this organization. I know a lot of the members personally and I have a strong desire to give back to AAPOR as I have benefited mightily from being a member. I enjoyed my time volunteering on AAPOR committees and with DCAAPOR, but also learned a lot from being active at both the national and local level. My experience has taught me to listen first, communicate often, and be transparent. These are the core values I will take with me to Council, and enable me to be an effective servant for all AAPOR members.

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G. Evans Witt
 
A member of AAPOR for more than three decades, G. Evans Witt is CEO and principal of Witt Associates LLC, an independent research firm that specializes in studies of opinion and policy in the United States.
 
Witt has specialized in surveys on public policy and politics for more than forty years. In a 22-year career with The Associated Press, he conducted the first public opinion polls by the wire service and pioneered its use of social science research methods. He was a co-founder of the AP/NBC News Poll in 1977. He was an AP national political writer, director of election planning and assistant chief of the AP Washington bureau.
 
In 1996, Witt directed the creation of two award-winning political Web sites, ElectionLine and PoliticsNow, for ABC News, The Washington Post and National Journal. He was executive director of Voter News Service from 1997 through 1998.
 
For more than 20 years, Witt was CEO and principal of Princeton Survey Research Associates International, leading the company in the design and execution of ground-breaking research including the incorporation of cell phones into RDD surveys and in complex, large-scale surveys that provided benchmarks for action nationally and at the community level. He directed the Knight Foundation Community Indicators surveys, which probed the needs and concerns of 26 communities. He directed surveys for the Pew Internet and American Life Project that laid the foundation for understanding Americans’ use of the internet.
 
He has been a consultant to NBC News, working on the NBC decision desk. He served as the president of the National Council on Public Polls.
 
A Morehead Scholar and graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Witt was a National Endowment for Humanities Fellow at Stanford University in 1981-82.
 
Witt is the co-author, along with Sheldon Gawiser, of A Journalist's Guide to Public Opinion Polls from Praeger Press, and of Twenty Questions A Journalist Should Ask About Poll Results, from the National Council on Public Polls. He served as a member of the Ad Hoc AAPOR committee on the 2016 elections and is a member of the AAPOR Investment Committee.
 
What are the key challenges and opportunities facing our field, and how can the Councilor-at-Large help to address them?
Our field faces perhaps its greatest challenges of recent years, both internally and externally. Internally, the increasing difficulties and costs of telephone surveying raise questions about their future as a source of quality data while the field works mightily to develop the tools and methods to create online surveys that can provide consistently reliable and accurate data. With the wide variety of practitioners and clients – commercial, academic, non-profit, governmental – methodological transition is fraught with complexity and risk.
 
Externally, the basic value of survey research is under fire, whether from those who challenge our ability to provide any reliable information or from those who reject all efforts to provide real data for decision-making. Dealing with both sets of challenges as Councilor-at-large, I can work on behalf of Council to provide the judicious application of reasoned discussion and clear positions to move our field forward.
 
How does your background and experience prepare you to handle the job of Councilor-at-Large?
The AAPOR President and Council often tap a Councilor for tasks that might not easily fit into an existing role or to step in where the obligations AAPOR faces require extra assistance. Such a role requires flexibility and a broad perspective on our field and the challenges we face. My work in the field, starting in the news media, moving online and then into a commercial research company, has provided diverse experience in dealing with a variety of issues, clients and circumstances. Working with academic sponsors and corporate clients has sharpened my skills to navigate the intricacies presented by varied situations. Facing internal and external challenges, AAPOR will be called upon more and more to communicate clearly and efficiently to various audiences, a role where my experience can be useful.
 
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