Congratulations to Natasha Pilkauskas and Kaitlin Raimi, both now associate professors, with tenure

May 21, 2021

Professors Natasha Pilkauskas and Kaitlin Raimi have received promotions to associate professor, with tenure, at the Ford School. Their status was approved by the U-M Board of Regents at their meeting on May 20. 

"Natasha Pilkauskas is deepening our understanding of multi-generational families, as well as social policies such as the Earned Income Tax Credit, designed to help low-income working families make ends meet," says Ford School Dean Michael Barr. "Her promotion and tenure continued to deepen the Ford School's expertise in social policy and our ability to have a major impact on federal policy."

Pilkauskas’s research considers how demographic, social safety net, and economic shifts in the U.S. affect families and children with low-incomes. A large area of her research focuses on the living arrangements of children – especially those who live in shared and multigenerational households. Much of her research also considers economic insecurity and how social policies, like the Earned Income Tax Credit, might improve the developmental and life trajectories of children living in poverty. Some of her current research projects include an evaluation of a cash transfer program, several studies of the Earned Income Tax Credit, and a few projects examining employment quality/low-wage work. She earned her BA in sociology and economics from Northwestern University, her Master of Public Policy from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, and her MA and PhD in social welfare policy from Columbia University’s School of Social Work.

"I'm beyond excited to stay at the Ford School!," Pilkauskas says. "I really love our students. I feel so lucky to get to teach the next generation of policy makers and to continue to get to work with my great U-M colleagues. This past year I've had the opportunity to work more closely with a few of my Ford colleagues. We are currently working on several research projects examining the effects of social policies on low-income families and I look forward to continuing this important line of policy research." 

"Kaitlin Raimi is providing important insights about how people think about climate change and efforts to mitigate it," says Barr. "Her work is critical to coming together as a society to make progress on this pressing challenge. Her promotion and tenure continue to build the Ford School's expertise in energy and the environment, and collaborations across the University on climate change."

As a social/environmental psychologist, Raimi’s interests center on how individuals can promote or prevent sustainable behaviors and policies. She has three broad areas of research: (1) how people compare their own beliefs and behaviors to others, (2) how adopting one pro-environmental behavior affects later action, and (3) how climate change communication affects people’s understanding, behaviors, and support for climate policies and technologies. She recently published an article showing that private sector initiatives may be the key to spurring climate action across the political spectrum, particularly among moderates and conservatives. Before joining the Ford School completed a PhD in social psychology from Duke University and a postdoctoral fellowship at the Vanderbilt Institute for Energy & Environment.

She says, “I'm so grateful for this opportunity and look forward to many more years at the Ford School. Now that I have tenure, I am excited to branch out a bit with some more interdisciplinary research projects that allow me to delve into new topic areas like intersection of climate change and immigration or that allow me to use different research methods than I have in the past. But mostly I'm just happy that I get to continue to be surrounded by all my inspiring Ford School colleagues and students."

Congratulations Natasha and Kaitlin!

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