Center on Poverty, Inequality, and Public Policy

Our Team

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Faculty Director

Professor Peter Edelman

Professor Peter Edelman

Peter Edelman is the Carmack Waterhouse Professor of Law and Public Policy at Georgetown University Law Center, where he teaches constitutional law and poverty law and is Faculty Director of the Georgetown Center on Poverty and Inequality. On the faculty since 1982, he has also served in all three branches of government. During President Clinton's first term he was Counselor to HHS Secretary Donna Shalala and then Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation. 

Professor Edelman has been Associate Dean of the Law Center, Director of the New York State Division for Youth, and Vice President of the University of Massachusetts. He was a Legislative Assistant to Senator Robert F. Kennedy and Issues Director for Senator Edward Kennedy's 1980 Presidential campaign. Prior to working for RFK, he clerked for Supreme Court Justice Arthur J. Goldberg and before that for Judge Henry J. Friendly on the U.S. Court of Appeals. He also served as Special Assistant to U.S. Assistant Attorney General John Douglas, and was a partner in the law firm of Foley & Lardner. 

Mr. Edelman's newest book is So Rich, So Poor: Why It's So Hard to End Poverty in America, published by The New Press. A previous book, Searching for America's Heart: RFK and the Renewal of Hope, is available in paperback from the Georgetown University Press. His article in the Atlantic Monthly, entitled "The Worst Thing Bill Clinton Has Done," received the Harry Chapin Media Award. 

Professor Edelman has chaired and been a board member of numerous organizations and foundations. He is currently chair of the District of Columbia Access to Justice Commission and board chair of the National Center for Youth Law. 

Executive Director

Rebecca Epstein

Rebecca Epstein

Rebecca Epstein is the Executive Director of the Georgetown Law Center on Poverty and Inequality. She has over 20 years’ experience in litigation and policy development, and she has maintained a special focus on race and sex discrimination and the policies and practices that support marginalized girls.  Rebecca was the lead author of Blueprint:  A Multidisciplinary Approach to the Sex Trafficking of Girls (2013) and co-author of The Sexual Abuse to Prison Pipeline:  The Girls’ Story (2015), both published by the Center on Poverty and Inequality. She serves as the Associate Director of the National Girls Initiative, a program run by the USDOJ’s Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Programs, and is a member of the Steering Committee of the Girls @ the Margin National Alliance and the Advisory Board of The Art of Yoga Project.

Previously, Rebecca served as a senior trial attorney in the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice, and worked as a staff attorney at Public Justice, a national public interest law firm in Washington DC. She also served as Policy Counsel at the National Partnership on Women and Families through a fellowship awarded by the Women's Law and Public Policy Fellowship Program at Georgetown Law.

Rebecca received her B.A. in history with honors from Brown University and her J.D. from New York University School of Law. She clerked for the Honorable Raymond A. Jackson in the Eastern District of Virginia, and is a member of the District of Columbia, New York, and Supreme Court Bars.   

Heashot of ShopiroAssistant Director of Administration

Becca Shopiro

As the Assistant Director of Administration, Becca Shopiro manages the administrative and operational tasks for the Georgetown Law Center on Poverty and Inequality. To this end, Becca works directly with Executive Director, Rebecca Epstein, to run events, manage finances, engage stakeholders, and advance the research and work of the Center. While working full-time for the Center on Poverty and Inequality, Becca is also pursuing her MBA at the Georgetown McDonough School of Business.

Prior to joining Georgetown, Becca spent three years as a climate change consultant, where she supported a variety of federal programs, including the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Better Buildings Residential Network and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) WaterSense, Responsible Appliance Disposal, and GreenChill programs.  She graduated with B.A. in environmental studies with honors from Bucknell University.

Senior Scholars Banner

Headshot of Dr. Jamilia BlakeDr. Jamilia Blake

Dr. Jamilia Blake is an Associate Professor in Educational Psychology at Texas A&M University. Dr. Blake’s research examines the developmental trajectory of peer-directed aggression, bullying, and victimization in socially marginalized youth and racial/ethnic disparities in school discipline.  Dr. Blake has published studies examining the social and psychological consequences of aggression and victimization for African-American girls and students with disabilities and the disparate impact of school discipline for African-American girls. She is author to more than 40 publications.  Her work on the inequitable discipline experiences of Black girls has been featured in the New York Times, Huffington Post, on NPR, and CBS.  She is the co-PI of a federally funded grant to examine the relation between school discipline and disproportionate minority contact in juvenile justice centers for immigrant youth. Dr. Blake is the co-editor of the American Psychological Association book, Psychological Assessment and Intervention for Ethnic Minority Children, and is the lead researcher for the Center's report, Girlhood Interrupted: The Erasure of Black Girls’ Childhood.  In her role as a Senior Scholar at the Center, Dr. Blake is continuing to explore the perception of Black girls’ innocence and stereotype-based experiences.

Gonzalez headshot

Professor Thalia Gonzalez

Thalia González is an Associate Professor in the Politics Department and Anderson Center of Public Policy at Occidental College. She is a nationally recognized expert in restorative justice with more than a decade of experience in law and policy. Thalia's work centers on intersectional issues of civil rights, the school-to-prison pipeline, race and inequality, and juvenile justice. On these topics, she conducts research, publishes articles and reports, and provides guidance to policymakers, educators, lawyers, and advocates at the local and national level. She has published in leading journals including the New York University Review of Law & Social Change, Howard Law Journal, Cardozo Journal of Conflict Resolution, Fordham Urban Law Journal, Ecology Law Quarterly, and the Journal of Law and Education. She is a frequent expert speaker at conferences and commentator on legal issues and educational and juvenile justice policy, and her work on restorative justice has been featured on NPR, in the Atlantic, the Washington Post, and Huffington Post. In her role at the Center, Thalia leads the Center’s research in restorative justice outcomes, implementation, practice, and policy. 

Headshot of Dr. Kimberyln Leary

Dr. Kimberyln Leary

Kimberlyn Leary is an associate professor of psychology at Harvard Medical School and an associate professor in the department of health policy and management at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, where she is the "Enabling Change" program director. Leary is also the executive director of policy outreach at McLean/Harvard Medical School and a fellow New America’s International Security Program. As a Robert Wood Johnson health policy fellow, she served as an advisor to the White House Council on Women and Girls for one year, developing the "Advancing Equity" initiative, which focused on improving life outcomes for women and girls of color, and for an additional six months, as an advisor to White House Office of Management and Budget’s Health Division. 

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