Ryan Ruggiero is a researcher in Mathematica's Human Services Division. She specializes in working with organizations to expand their capacity to use evidence in making decisions about policies and programs. The ultimate focus of her work is changing the systems that perpetuate poverty. She understands the value and importance of including people with lived experience in the research process, a lesson she learned serving as a Peace Corps volunteer in KwaZulu Natal, South Africa, for three years. At Mathematica, she provides evaluation and evidence-based technical assistance and uses mixed-methods research techniques, including rapid-cycle evaluations, to improve programs.
Ruggiero emphasizes disseminating research to practitioners in accessible, actionable ways. For the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation's Secondary Writing and Middle Years Math projects, she developed a series of practitioner-friendly videos on Mathematica's approach to right-sizing research to inform research design and decision making. She also provides evaluation technical assistance to a grantee on the project, working in partnership to develop the grantee’s theory of change and evaluation plan for an upcoming randomized controlled trial. The study will assess the impact of the grantee’s automated essay scoring program on improving writing and educational outcomes for Black and Latino students living in poverty.
Her program improvement work is informed by her on-the-ground experience working with nonprofit organizations and local and federal government agencies. She is a site coach for the Iowa Department of Human Rights on the Building Evaluation Capacity in Technical Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) project. As a coach, she is working closely with the site to use evidence to promote families’ self-sufficiency. She also recruits workforce agencies to participate in impact evaluations that test how effective apprenticeship programs are in improving earnings and employment outcomes.
Ruggiero, who joined Mathematica in 2020, previously worked for the federal government as a lease contracting officer for the General Services Administration. She holds an M.P.P from the University of Michigan, specializing in social policy and analysis, with a certificate in diversity, equity, and inclusion and a B.A. in journalism from Lehigh University, with a certificate in global citizenship.