Robbin Gonzalez, Research Associate
How long have you been at ICPSR, and what different positions have you held here (if any)? Where were you before coming here, and what were some of the factors that led you to come to ICPSR?
I originally joined the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Data Archive (SAMHDA) team as project manager in June 2007. In January 2009, I became the Education Archive manager overseeing the Research Connections project and the development of several new proposals. In August 2010, I accepted a half-time position as Assistant Director of the National Quality Improvement Center on the Representation of Children in Child Welfare, a research project at the U-M Law School. I now split my time evenly between these two roles. I graduated from the U-M Law School and Ford School of Public Policy in the winter 2005 and took the next 18 months off to take care of my two young sons, study for the bar exam, finish research papers I began as a student, and generally recover from graduate school. When I was ready to return to work, ICPSR was very appealing. I believe in its data sharing mission, I am able to work in substantive areas I care about, and I have opportunities to learn new skills. Plus, ICPSR is an organization that values and supports the needs of working families, and it was a priority of mine to find a job where I could maintain a healthy work/life balance.
What are your current research interests/job duties?
At ICPSR, I manage five education-related sponsored projects: Child Care and Early Education Research Connections, the NCAA Student-Athlete Experiences Data Archive, the American Educational Research Association (AERA) project, the PreK-3rd Data Resource Center, and the Measures of Effective Teaching (MET) project. I'm responsible for establishing project work plans in collaboration with the sponsors, then ensuring that our team accomplishes those goals. All of these projects involve promoting data sharing to better inform education policy. My primary research interest is in disadvantaged children and youth. Along with my work at ICPSR, I am currently part of a research team at the U-M Law School that is conducting the first ever experimental research design evaluating the impact of child attorneys. Specifically, randomly assigned treatment attorneys will be trained in a national best-practice model, and the outcomes for the children and youth they represent in the child welfare system will be compared to a control group.
How has ICPSR influenced your career?
I've learned that I really enjoy leading projects and teams, supervising and developing staff, envisioning new work, and developing proposals and project work plans. I also enjoy the collaborative nature of my work, interacting with a diverse group of people at ICPSR, across the university, and externally through my various projects. I am fortunate to be able to pursue several opportunities at once and feel supported here at ICPSR to do so.
What are some of your best memories of your time at ICPSR?
One recent memory that jumps out at me is the day we conducted NCAA Data Archive introduction webinar. Chris Greene and I were presenting this webinar to an external audience, during which my new laptop began to force a shut down that I couldn't stop. Luckily, it was Chris' turn to present and he was on his own laptop. But, we were in my small office along with Sara Achauer and Chris Tracy who were standing by to help. Sara, Chris T. and I were in a panic about how to keep my laptop on and were in and out of my office with various other people to help. Through all the craziness, Chris G. had to keep on task and somehow he successfully managed to pull off the rest of the webinar without knowing what was going on and without being distracted. It wasn't fun while it was happening, but we all laugh about it now.