Associate Director of Research

Areas of Expertise: Access to Higher Education, Civic & Political Engagement, Economic Security for Survivors, Immigration, Job Training Success, Politics, Religion & Women's Public Vision, STEM and Innovation, The Status of Women and Girls, Violence & Safety, Workforce Development & Job Training

Cynthia Hess is the Associate Director of Research at IWPR and Scholar in Residence at American University. In this capacity, she oversees IWPR research on numerous issues including recent projects on workforce development and job training.

Under her tenure, IWPR expanded its longstanding Status of Women in States project and launched an accompanying website, While at IWPR, Cynthia has directed several projects, including on Social Security and immigration, and has contributed to research on women’s activism and leadership, women in STEM, and other topics. Cynthia’s wide-ranging is a sought after expert and has been quoted in a number of media outlets including The Washington Post, Fortune, Governing magazine and, The Boston Globe.

Prior to joining the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, Dr. Hess taught for two years as a visiting faculty member in the Philosophy and Religious Studies Department at St. Mary’s College of Maryland. Her scholarly work has focused on the intersection of feminist theory, theology, and peace studies, and her publications include Sites of Violence, Sites of Grace: Christian Nonviolence and the Traumatized Self as well as articles on terrorism, traumatic violence, and religious peacemaking. Dr. Hess received her Ph.D. from Yale University and her A.B. from Davidson College.