Rachel Polivka is a Research Assistant at the Urban Strategies Council. She has five years of experience in non-profit research and uses data to improve and inform our social systems. Specifically, Rachel worked for the nation’s oldest non-profit research institute that specializes in justice-related policy. She assisted in the evaluation of federal Title IV-E funds put towards child welfare and juvenile probation programming in California, various projects working alongside San Diego County Child Welfare, and monitoring of the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department and Kern County Sheriff’s Office.
She holds a B.A. in psychology with a concentration in criminal justice from San Francisco State University. Here, Rachel conducted research in various on-campus labs. In the Psychology and Law lab, she collected and analyzed data obtained from juvenile court documents to determine whether there is a correlation between childhood trauma and specific juvenile charges. Rachel assisted in the research efforts of the Personality and Well-Being lab where she gathered primary data from participants to determine how human purchasing behaviors relate to the hedonic treadmill, the human tendency to pursue one pleasure after another.
Rachel is currently pursuing a M.S. in Data Science from the University of Texas, Austin. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her family, friends, and pets, tending to her houseplants, and spending time outdoors.