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Hamersma’s research on SNAP access funded by WT Grant Foundation

April 3, 2020

Sarah Hamersma headshot

Sarah Hamersma

Sarah Hamersma, an associate professor of public administration and international affairs, recently won a $140,058 award from the WT Grant Foundation to support her project “Keeping the ‘Great Equalizer’ Fed: SNAP Access and Young Adult’s Educational Engagement.” 

The project, which is funded through WT Grant’s Reducing Inequality program, will examine the effects of the U.S. Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) on post-secondary educational investments. The researchers will rely on data from a nationally-representative longitudinal survey, shorter panel and cross-sectional surveys, and administrative SNAP records from seven states. Hamersma’s hope is that this project will determine whether lifting SNAP restrictions for young adults can increase educational investment, which in turn helps reduce economic inequalities. Rhea Acuña, a doctoral student in public administration and international affairs who specializes in researching social and urban policies, will be assisting Hamersma with this project.

The WT Grant Foundation supports research aimed at improving the lives of people ages 5-25 in the United States. Rather than focus on simply understanding the problems of inequality, the Foundation hopes to help generate effective responses to inequality. It prioritizes research concerning inequalities stemming from race, ethnicity, economic standing, language minority status, or immigrant origins.

Hamersma, who is also a senior research associate in the Center for Policy Research, is an expert in public economics, labor economics, and applied econometrics. Her current research focuses on the effects of health and nutrition programs on food insecurity, health outcomes, and labor supply. Hamersma’s work has been published in journals including the Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, the Journal of Health Economics, Population Research and Policy Review, and Economic Inquiry; and has been cited in popular press outlets including the Boston Globe, New York Times Magazine, and the Washington Post


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