The National Academy of Social Security (NASI) endorsed the selection of Maria Fitzpatrick in recognition of her national prominence as a scholar in the fields of child and family policy, the economics of education, and retirement policy.
Fitzpatrick is senior associate dean for academic affairs at Cornell’s Jeb E. Brooks School of Public Policy. She is one of 52 experts selected by NASI and the only Cornell University Fellow in this year’s group of honorees. Brooks School Dean Colleen Barry was elected in 2022.
The national nonprofit offers solutions to challenges facing the nation by increasing public understanding of how Social Security contributes to economic security. This mission covers established social security programs—Social Security, Medicare, workers’ compensation, and unemployment insurance—as well as related policy areas, including Medicaid, long-term services and supports, paid leave, other social assistance programs, and private employee benefits. .
“We welcome our 2,023 members at a pivotal moment for social security policy. We will count on our newest members to contribute their expertise to building a more robust social security policy ecosystem that supports opportunities for economic security for all and to collaborate with current Academy members in pursuit of the same,” said CEO William Arnoun.
New members are nominated by existing members in recognition of their professional contributions, such as improving the quality of social security research, administration or policy development. Members make significant contributions to NASI’s research, education, and leadership initiatives.
Fitzpatrick’s research focuses on early childhood education policies, higher education, teacher compensation, benefits and labor supply, teacher pensions and retirements, child maltreatment, the effects of incarceration on children and mothers, and the effects of retirement on the health of older Americans.
For example, she recently published research demonstrating the impact of forced school closures due to the pandemic on child maltreatment. Fitzpatrick has been called an “academic hero” for helping develop a Cornell course that helps high school students prepare for college.
In addition to his leadership role at the Brooks School, Fitzpatrick is a professor in the Department of Economics and associate vice provost for the social sciences in Cornell’s Office of the Vice President for Research and Innovation. Fitzpatrick is a research fellow at the National Bureau of Economic Research, as well as a partner in the CESifo Research Network, the Cornell Population Center, and the Center for the Study of Inequality.
This research was one of the factors cited in Fitzpatrick’s NASI nomination: “She continues to conduct high-quality research in the areas of retirement and social security policies. She actively mentors future leaders and researchers as a member of the dissertation committee of many students. In her senior administrative roles at Cornell, she has been instrumental in building and shaping degree programs that train students in public policy at the undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral levels.”
Before arriving at Cornell, Fitzpatrick was a Searle Freedom Trust Postdoctoral Fellow at the Institute for Economic Policy Research at Stanford University. After earning her bachelor’s degree at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, she earned her Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Virginia, where she was both an Institute of Education and Spencer Foundation Fellow.
Jim Hanchett is Associate Dean for Communications at the Cornell Jeb E. Brooks School of Public Policy.