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Financial Security and Mobility

Karen Kavanaugh

Project Director

Karen Kavanaugh directs Pew’s financial security and mobility project, which conducts original research to assess family balance sheets and their effect on economic mobility across diverse U.S. households.

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Sheida Elmi

Associate Manager 

Sheida Elmi is an associate manager with The Pew Charitable Trusts’ family financial security and mobility project. The project conducts original research on the balance sheets of diverse U.S. households to assess the degree to which short-term financial security relates to longer-term economic mobility. Elmi leads quantitative analyses, interviews, and focus groups to explore how families fare across different measures of financial health and synthesizes the findings for a variety of audiences, including the public and policymakers. Before joining Pew, she was a research analyst at MEF Associates, where she helped evaluate federal programs aimed at promoting family self-sufficiency. Elmi has a master’s degree in public policy from the University of California, Berkeley and a bachelor’s degree in political science and international studies from Northwestern University.

Clinton Key

Research officer

Clinton Key, is research officer for savings and financial security and develops rigorous data collection and analysis strategies to create a better understanding of household saving behavior and the role of savings in people’s lives. Key previously served as research officer with Pew’s safe checking in the electronic age program studying transaction accounts and consumer safeguards in financial products. 

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Joanna Biernacka-Lievestro

Senior Associate, Research

Joanna Biernacka-Lievestro is a senior associate, research, with Pew’s financial security and mobility project, which examines balance sheets across diverse U.S. households and assesses the degree to which short-term financial security relates to longer-term economic mobility. She designs and conducts original research to learn which families are falling behind and which parts of their finances are the most fragile, focusing on comparisons by neighborhood and across the urban-rural continuum.

Before joining Pew, she was a graduate research assistant at George Mason University’s Center for Regional Analysis, where she analyzed economic and demographic conditions in the Washington metropolitan area.

Biernacka-Lievestro holds a master’s degree in European studies from Jagiellonian University in Krakow, Poland, and a doctorate in public policy from George Mason University.