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Christine Robertson, Associate Director

Prior to joining the institute, Christine held senior staff positions in California's State Capitol including Chief of Staff to the Assembly Minority Caucus, Chief of Staff in the California State Senate, and Chief of Staff in the California State Assembly. In these roles she was responsible for managing more than 50 professional staff and exercised direct authority over budgets and operations of the Assembly Minority Policy Office, the Fiscal Office, the Office of Member Services, and coordinated the interactions between the Minority leader and 29 individual Assembly member offices. She established and implemented policy, political, and communications priorities on behalf of the caucus. Christine earned Bachelors degrees in both Political Science and History at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo and a Masters degree in Philosophy, Policy and Social Values from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE).


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Hans Poschman, Fellowship and Program Director

Prior to joining the Institute’s team, Hans served as a Policy Analyst for the Council of State Governments West overseeing the organization’s water, environmental, fiscal and agricultural policy initiatives in the thirteen western United States. In this role he was the liason to the Arizona, Oregon, and California legislature. Additionally, he oversaw communications for the western region. He previously spent four years working as a District Director in the California State Assembly and State Senate. He earned a Bachelors degree in Political Science and a Masters of Public Policy, both from Cal Poly.


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Elise St. John, Senior Research Fellow

Prior to joining the institute’s team, Elise held positions in governmental, intergovernmental and non-profit research organizations, as well as other academic institutions. With a background in Political Science, Sociology, and Educational Policy, her research spans various public policy areas. Her current research agenda focuses on the political and organizational dynamics of educational reform, with a particular attention to the implications of accountability policies and issues of equity. She is an expert in applied, mixed-methods research, and has extensive experience with cross-disciplinary collaboration within and across academic and non-profit research institutions. Elise earned a Ph.D. in Educational Policy, Organizations and Leadership from the University of Washington in 2014, where she was a U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences (IES) Predoctoral Fellow, and her dissertation won the 2015 Outstanding Dissertation Award from the Mixed Methods Research group of the American Educational Research Association (AERA). She also holds degrees in Sociology and Political Science from San Jose State University and Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo.

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Richard Mersereau, Visiting Scholar

Richard Mersereau is an experienced public policy, legislative and regulatory specialist who for nearly 30 years has been delivering expert, real-time outcomes at every level of state and federal government. For more than 15 years, Richard served as senior staff in leadership offices of the California State Assembly, directing a team of policy analysts and advising legislators and staff on policy, procedural, legislative and regulatory issues. Richard served as Chief Consultant to standing committees in both the state Senate and Assembly – the Senate Constitutional Amendments Committee and the Assembly Revenue and Taxation Committee. Richard served as the Director of Government Relations for the California Credit Union League, the nation's largest state trade association representing not-for-profit consumer financial institutions. As an expert in tax and fiscal policy, he has taught courses for lawyers and accountants in the area of tax and financial institution law and policy. He is a sought after speaker on issues of legislative policy and procedure.


Lisa Nunes, Operations Manager

Prior to joining the Institute, Lisa worked 12 years as a Senior Grants Analyst for the Cal Poly Sponsored Programs where she was responsible for administration, budgets and compliance of grant funded projects. She worked closely with principal investigators and collaborating faculty, as well as government and private sponsors, to advance Cal Poly’s commitment to high quality research. She previously spent five years administering gifts for the University as the Cal Poly Campus Programs Analyst. She holds her degree in Applied Development Psychology from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo.


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