Data Fellows

Faculty from varying disciplines can participate and collaborate with the Data Accelerator.

Data Fellows

Faculty from varying disciplines can participate and collaborate with the Data Accelerator.

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Home / What We Do / Data Accelerator / Data Fellows

Data Fellows Program

Faculty from varying disciplines can participate and collaborate with the Data Accelerator. The Data Fellows program allows faculty at Penn State to utilize the Data Accelerator’s infrastructure for streamlined access to, and support with, the acquisition of administrative data records for use in research. Data Fellows have the opportunity to engage with stakeholders and sponsors internal and external to the university including policymakers, state administrators, other universities, and more.

Data Faculty Fellows

Christian Connell

Associate Professor of Human Development and Family Studies; Associate Director, Child Maltreatment Solutions Network

Dr. Connell is an Associate Professor in the Department of Human Development and Family Studies and Associate Director of the Child Maltreatment Solutions Network. He is a clinical-community psychologist with over 20 years experience in community-based and applied research in systems that work with at-risk child and family populations. His research primarily focuses on the experiences of youth who have been maltreated, as well as those who become involved in the child welfare system and other child-serving systems (e.g., mental health, juvenile justice). He makes extensive use of administrative data systems to identify factors that impact child behavioral health and wellbeing following incidents of maltreatment or child welfare system contact, as well as community-based efforts to prevent or treat the negative effects of maltreatment and other traumatic experiences in children and adolescents. Dr. Connell’s research has been supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health, Administration for Children and Families, the National Traumatic Stress Network, and State and local contracts.

Sarah Font

Assistant Professor of Sociology

Dr. Font is an Assistant Professor of Sociology with a PhD in Social Welfare. She has substantive expertise in child protection and foster care systems as a researcher and former practitioner. Sarah’s work largely focuses on the use of administrative data to inform child welfare policy and practice, with particularly emphasis on improving causal inference and measurement. Her work is currently funded by the National Institutes of Health.

Elisa Giannone

Assistant Professor of Economics

Dr. Giannone is an Assistant Professor of Economics at Penn State University. She received her PhD in Economics from the University of Chicago in 2017 and was a Post-doctoral fellow at the International Economics Section at Princeton University from 2017-2018. Dr. Giannone’s research interests are macroeconomics, regional and urban economics, international trade and development economics. View Dr. Giannone’s CV

Alexis Santos

Assistant Professor of Human Development and Family Studies

Dr. Santos is an Assistant Professor of Human Development and Family Studies, an applied demographer, population health scientist, and quantitative sociologist. Dr. Santos’s recent research includes a study of the effects of Hurricane María on Puerto Rican families. His work has been critical in providing an accurate calculation of the death rate attributable to the hurricane

Kenneth Shores

Assistant Professor of Human Development and Family Studies

Dr. Shores is Assistant Professor at Pennsylvania State University studying education inequality and policy tools for its remediation. Relying on quantitative methodologies, this research includes both description and prevention/intervention. On the descriptive side, he is primarily interested in using large datasets to document racial/ethnic and socioeconomic disparities in student learning and educational policy (e.g., school disciplinary policy). Dr. Shores has additional work using conjoint survey designs to describe individual understanding of and preferences for social inequality. On the prevention/intervention side, he uses quasi-experimental methods to identify the effects of environmental contexts on student outcomes as well as policies that are effective at remediating outcome inequality.

Leveraging administrative data to accelerate the research-to-impact process


Leadership in the acquisition, use, and secure storage of administrative data for the use in research.


To create a community that leverages streamlined process and policy to advance the impact of applied computational social sciences to benefit the health and development of children and families. This includes:

  • Leadership in the acquisition and use of administrative data

  • Strategic state and federal partnerships

  • Expertise in privacy & protection of data


While the Data Accelerator participates in University-wide partnerships and collaborations, our secure data enclave is located within the Henderson Building at Penn State University Park campus.

The Administrative Data Accelerator is made possible by the generous support of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child & Human DevelopmentNational Institute on Drug AbuseLaura & John Arnold FoundationAnnie E. Casey FoundationRobert Wood Johnson Foundation as well as institutional funding from the Penn State College of Health and Human Development and the Social Science Research Institute.  The Data Accelerator team is housed within the Edna Bennett Pierce Prevention Research Center at Penn State University.


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