Review Board Member Bios

Auburn University

Nicolas Ziebarth is the Ekelund and Herbert Associate Professor of Economics at Auburn University and a faculty research fellow at the National Bureau of Economic Research. His research is focused on American economic history, particularly the first half of the 20th century. Nicolas wrote his dissertation under Joel Mokyr at Northwestern University on the Great Depression drawing on hand-collected establishment schedules from the Census of Manufactures in the 1930s. His work has appeared in such journals as AEJ: MacroJournal of Economic History, and Journal of Law and Economics among others. As an undergraduate, he majored in economics, mathematics, and philosophy at University of Wisconsin, Madison.


Emory University

Elena Pesavento is Associate Professor in the Department of Economics at Emory University. She is an Econometrician specialized in Time Series Analysis. Her research interests are in the area of non-stationary variables, structural breaks, unit roots, near unit roots and cointegration with applications to the fields of international finance and macroeconomics.  Dr. Pesavento received a bachelor degree in Statistics from University of Padova in Italy and a Ph.D. in Economics from University of California San Diego. She has been at Emory since 2000.  She is currently on the editorial board of Empirical Economics.


Benjamin Druss is the first Rosalynn Carter Chair in Mental Health at Emory University.  He is working to build linkages between mental health, general medical health, and public health, and works closely with Carter Center Mental Health Program, where he is a member of the Mental Health Task Force and Journalism Task Force. He has been a member of two Institute of Medicine Committees, and has served as an expert consultant to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, the Centers for Disease Control, and the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation.


Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta

John Robertson is a senior policy adviser and economist on the macroeconomics and monetary policy team in the research department at the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta. His research has been widely published, covering a variety of macroeconomic and microeconomic topics, and he is one of the Bank’s senior monetary policy advisers. He also contributes to the Atlanta Fed’s macroblog, which provides commentary on economic issues, including monetary policy, macroeconomic developments, and the Southeast economy, and he gives public talks on a range of economic subjects. Dr. Robertson joined the Atlanta Fed’s research department in December 1997 from the Australian National University in Canberra, Australia. A native of Dunedin, New Zealand, Dr. Robertson holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Canterbury in New Zealand and earned his PhD in economics from Virginia Tech in 1992.


Veronika Penciakova is a research economist and assistant adviser on the macroeconomics and monetary policy team in the Research Department at the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta. Her major field of study is macroeconomics with a focus on firm dynamics, financial frictions, and innovation. Prior to joining the bank in 2019, Dr. Penciakova was a pathways intern at the U.S. Census Bureau and research assistant and instructor at the University of Maryland while pursuing her graduate degree. Dr. Penciakova received her PhD in economics from the University of Maryland, her master’s degree in development studies from the London School of Economics and Political Science, and her bachelor’s degrees in economics and international affairs from George Washington University.


Florida State University

Mark W. Horner is Professor of Geography at The Florida State University. Mark earned the Ph.D. in Geography from The Ohio State University (2002), where he was honored with the Willard and Ruby S. Miller fellowship for Outstanding Geography Graduate Student (2002).  In 2009, Mark was given a Developing Scholar Award (DSA) from the Florida State University Council on Research and Creativity. In 2014, Mark was appointed Associate Director of the Center for Accessibility and Safe Transportation for an Aging Population at Florida State University; a Tier I University Transportation Center (UTC) funded by the U.S. Department of Transportation. Mark is a past Chair of the Spatial Analysis and Modeling Group (SAM) of the Association of American Geographers. He serves as a U.S. Editor for the journal Transportation (Springer) and serves on the editorial boards of Computers, Environment, and Urban Systems (Elsevier), Travel Behaviour and Society (Elsevier), Journal of Transport Geography (Elsevier) , and the Journal of Transportation and Land Use. He is immediate past chair and a member of Transportation Research Board (TRB) standing committee ADD20 – Social and Economic Factors of Transportation. He also serves as a member of TRB standing committee ADD30 – Transportation and Land Development and committee ABR30 – Emergency Evacuations.


Georgia Institute of Technology

Sudheer Chava received his Ph.D. from Cornell University in 2003. Prior to that he has an MBA degree from Indian Institute of Management – Bangalore and worked as a fixed income analyst at a leading investment bank in India.  He has held academic positions at University of Houston and Texas A&M University before joining Georgia Tech in 2010. His research interests are in Credit Risk, Banking and Corporate Finance.  He has published extensively in all the top journals in Finance including Journal of Finance, Journal of Financial Economics, and Review of Financial Studies. His research has won a Ross award for the best paper published in Finance Research Letters in 2008, was a finalist for Brattle Prize for the best paper published in Journal of Finance in 2008 and was nominated for the Goldman Sachs award for the best paper for published in Review of Finance during 2004.


Rachel Cummings is an Assistant Professor in the H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering at Georgia Tech. Her research interests lie primarily in data privacy, with connections to machine learning, algorithmic economics, optimization, statistics, and information theory. Her work has focused on problems such as strategic aspects of data generation, incentivizing truthful reporting of data, privacy-preserving algorithm design, impacts of privacy policy, and human decision-making. She received her Ph.D. in Computing and Mathematical Sciences from the California Institute of Technology, her M.S. in Computer Science from Northwestern University, and her B.A. in Mathematics and Economics from the University of Southern California. She is the recipient of a Google Research Fellowship, a Simons-Berkeley Research Fellowship in Data Privacy, the ACM SIGecom Doctoral Dissertation Honorable Mention, the Amori Doctoral Prize in Computing and Mathematical Sciences, a Caltech Leadership Award, a Simons Award for Graduate Students in Theoretical Computer Science, and the Best Paper Award at the 2014 International Symposium on Distributed Computing.   Dr. Cummings also serves on the ACM U.S. Public Policy Council’s Privacy Committee.


Georgia State University

Barry Hirsch is the W.J. Usery Chair of the American Workplace and Professor of Economics, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University, and currently serves as Chair of the Review Board. His research focuses on wage determination in U.S. labor markets, including studies of union effects on wages and economic performance, survey nonresponse, discrimination, area wage differentials, and labor markets in airlines, trucking, and nursing. Hirsch is past president of the Southern Economic Association, a Research Fellow at IZA Bonn, and on the editorial boards of Industrial and Labor Relations Review, Industrial Relations, the Journal of Labor Research, and the Southern Economic Journal. He has authored The Economic Analysis of Unions: New Approaches and Evidence (with J. Addison, 1986), Labor Unions and the Economic Performance of Firms (1991), Union Membership and Earnings Data Book (annual, with D. Macpherson), and is co-editor of Lives of the Laureates (5th ed., MIT Press, 2009, with W. Breit). Along with D. Macpherson, he maintains the website, Union Membership and Coverage Database from the CPS (www.unionstats.com). Hirsch received his Ph.D. from the University of Virginia.


Amy Spring joined the Sociology Department at GSU in 2015 after completing her Ph.D. from the University of Washington and a research fellowship at UW’s Center for Studies in Demography and Ecology. Her primary research centers on neighborhood context, residential mobility, and spatial inequality in the city. Her recent work examines processes of residential mobility and neighborhood selection, utilizing data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics. In collaboration with colleagues at several other universities, she is examining how the location and characteristics of neighborhoods inhabited by nuclear and extended family members influences the likelihood of moving between poor and nonpoor neighborhoods and between neighborhoods of varying racial composition. She is also investigating how neighborhoods affect health and wellness, especially at older ages. She is also collaborating with colleagues at several other universities to assess the ongoing impacts of the recent foreclosure crisis on racial residential segregation.


Tulane University

Steven M. Sheffrin is Professor of Economics and the Director of the Murphy Institute. He has had previous positions at UC Davis where he was on faculty from 1976 and served as dean of the division of social sciences from 1998 to 2008. He has been a visiting professor at Nuffield College, University of Oxford, a postgraduate college specializing in the social sciences; the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE); Princeton University; and Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. Sheffrin holds a BA from the College of Social Studies, Wesleyan University, and a PhD in economics from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Sheffrin’s research in tax policy focuses on practical, policy-oriented issues, including property taxation, state corporate taxation, tax fairness and compliance. He has also served as a financial economist with the Office of Tax Policy Analysis, U.S Department of the Treasury and as a member of the Board of Directors of the National Tax Association. He is currently pursuing research on the foundations of fairness in taxation.


University of Georgia

Ian M. Schmutte is Assistant Professor in the Department of Economics at the University of Georgia’s Terry College of Business. Prior to coming to Georgia, Dr. Schmutte received his Ph.D. in Economics from Cornell University.  During his doctoral studies, he worked for the U.S. Census Bureau as an economist with the Longitudinal Employer-Household Dynamics program, and as Administrator of the New York Census Research Data Center at Cornell.


Rebecca Nesbit is an Associate Professor in the Department of Public Administration and Policy at the University of Georgia. She received her Ph.D. in Public Affairs from Indiana University’s School of Public and Environmental Affairs in 2008, specializing in nonprofit management, volunteerism and philanthropy. She also holds a Master of Public Administration degree from Brigham Young University. Dr. Nesbit’s research explores issues of philanthropy and volunteerism, public policy and management in the public and nonprofit sectors.


University of Tennessee

Nicholas Nagle is a GIScientist and population scientist whose research centers on spatial data science and on the design and analysis of population surveys.  Prof. Nagle holds a joint faculty appointment with the Geographic Information Science and Technology group at Oak Ridge National Laboratory.  He serves on a National Academy of Sciences Committee focused on the 2020 Decennial Census.  He is currently working on projects improving the availability and reliability of data from the US Census Bureau and the US Department of Agriculture and on projects related to population and health, both in Tennessee and in developing countries. He is particularly interested in the design of statistical methods that integrate information for multiple sources.


Stephanie Bohon is Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Tennessee, Director of Graduate Studies, and founder of the Center for the Study of Social Justice.  She is the author of Latinos in Ethnic Enclaves and Immigration and Population.  Bohon’s research examines the integration of immigrants into the US labor market.  Making use of advanced computing resources at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, she works with physicists and others to create new visualization and computational methods using big data to understand how and how well metropolitan areas absorb immigrants.  


Vandervilt University

Gilbert Gonzales is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Health Policy at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. Prior to joining the department, he was a research assistant at the State Health Access Data Assistance Center (SHADAC) where he used federal surveys to report state-level measures of population health and health care. Dr. Gonzales’ research examines how state-level social policies and health reforms affect health and access to medical care in vulnerable families and children. His dissertation, for instance, examined the impact of same-sex marriage laws on health insurance coverage among lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) couples and their children. His research has appeared in the American Journal of Public Health, Pediatrics, JAMA and the New England Journal of Medicine. Dr. Gonzales completed his Ph.D. in Health Policy at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health, a Master of Health Administration from the University of North Texas Health Science Center and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Biology from Baylor University.


Community Member

Annette Tower joined the Marketing Department at Clemson University in 2019 and holds a Ph.D. in Marketing from the University of Tennessee. In her research, she leverages econometric models and innovative datasets to investigate strategic marketing issues such as resource allocations, inter-firm relationships and global marketing strategies. Annette has work experience in PR, sales, small business development, and is a native of Germany.