PhD, Social Welfare, University of Wisconsin-Madison (2016)
Cohort Four Fellow

Academic Mentor
Lonnie Berger
Professor, School of Social Work, University of Wisconsin-Madison and Director, Institute for Research on Poverty, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Policy Mentor
Ken Taylor
Executive Director, Wisconsin Council on Children & Families

Current Institutional Affiliation
Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago: Researcher

Areas of Expertise

Child Welfare and Foster Care Systems, Economic Supports for Families, Program Evaluation, Regression Modeling, Survival Analysis or Hazard Models, Adolescents and Young Adults, Low-Income Families and Individuals, Criminal Justice, Experimental Research, Foster Care Alumni, Poverty, Randomized Control Trials, Social Policy


Dr. Leah Gjertson is researcher with Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago. Chapin Hall conducts policy research that benefits children, families, and their communities. Her research interests focus on child welfare system outcomes and the economic security and well-being of low-income families. Prior experience includes working as a project assistant at the Center for Financial Security and the Institute for Research on Poverty at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, a program and policy analyst for the Wisconsin Department of Corrections, and a law clerk for the Department of Human Services Division of the Iowa Office of the Attorney General. Dr. Leah Gjertson has a PhD in Social Welfare and a Masters in Social Work from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and a Juris Doctor from Drake University Law School.