Lauren (she/her) has spent her life and career at the intersection of competing identities, and her personal experiences navigating broken systems have had a profound impact on her awareness of privilege, oppression, and inequity.

 

After growing up on a beef cattle farm about an hour outside Washington, D.C., Lauren became a first-generation college graduate with aspirations to become a lobbyist. As a young single mom, she worked her way toward four degrees with limited help and resources, and did so while locked in a decade-long battle for custody and child support. She experienced firsthand how systems narrowly controlled by a few can punish those they ostensibly intend to protect.

 

Her graduate studies at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst focused on how the political agency of disenfranchised groups was represented in early modern English literature. She also spent a decade teaching and mentoring mostly Black and brown students at community colleges and HBCUs. In those settings, economic, racial, and gender injustices were obvious and persistent despite various public initiatives to address them.

 

In 2016, responding to the increasingly rancorous political environment, Lauren returned to her public policy roots by taking a job overseeing the research publications and editorial functions at a think tank in DC. There, she eventually became the executive in charge of the policy team, giving her a bird's eye view into how political corruption, financial self-interest, and a dearth of diversity in leadership makes evidence-based policymaking obsolete and harms people from historically excluded or marginalized groups.

 

Now, when she isn't working with EBDI, she's founding a new model of grassroots public policy school, think tank, and community assistance center. Her work aims to inclusively redefine expertise and impact in policy-making while directly resourcing and privileging those who have been historically or systematically excluded from power and influence.
 

Lauren lives in Western Massachusetts with her family, chosen family, and three tuxedo cats.

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Lauren Rollins

Director of Research & Assessment