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Meet Ann Wacker

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Butler Institute for Families

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Butler Staff Spotlight - Ann Wacker

What interested you in working for Butler?

After earning my master's degree in sociology, I was interested in a career where I could use my training in research to support social services programs and promote social justice. I started my career as a program evaluator in public health, and when I discovered a job opportunity at Butler, I felt that it would be the perfect fit for me. I've been at Butler for 12 years now and pursued a PhD in Research Methods and Statistics at DU along the way.

What is your position at Butler? What do you enjoy most about your position?

I am a senior research associate at Butler and lead research and evaluation projects related to early care and education (ECE). I love many things about this position, including the amazing people I work with, both within and outside Butler. I am also grateful that I get to take part in all aspects of the research process, including proposal development, developing data collection instruments, analyzing data and sharing study findings.

What projects are you working on currently? 

I am the principal investigator of the Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS) Validation study. We are conducting this study on behalf of the Colorado Department of Early Childhood to evaluate whether Colorado has the right standards in place to measure childcare quality. I am also partnering with Colorado Evaluation and Action Lab at DU to evaluate the Child Care Stabilization and Workforce Sustainability grants in Colorado. Finally, I am the principal investigator of an Administration for Children and Families (ACF) secondary analysis study examining the support, well-being and practices of home-based childcare providers.

What are the outcomes you hope for with this project? How will this project impact the community?

Overall, I hope that these projects provide actionable insights for program and policymakers in their work to support childcare providers, the ECE workforce and families.


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