Research Consultants


University of Richmond

Bob Schmidt, Ph.D.
Professor Emeritus of Economics
Project’s Research Coordinator

Bob is a Professor Emeritus of Economics in the University of Richmond’s Robins School of Business where he taught for 36 years. Over that period, he served as department chair for eleven years and interim dean of the Business School for one year. He has researched for over thirty years on the economics of disability. He worked closely with Dr. David Dean until his untimely death in 2013 receiving research grants from the Virginia Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services as well the Department of Medical Assistance Services. He served as co-PI (PI after Dr. Dean’s death) on a 2010-2015 NIDILRR FIP development grant and PI on a 2014-2021 NIDILRR DRRP research grant. Both grants were awarded to the University of Richmond. Published research related to these grants is listed on the Research page.


University of Chicago

Chris Clapp, Ph.D.
Assistant Instructional Professor, Harris School of Public Policy

Dr. Clapp is an Assistant Instructional Professor at the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy teaching econometrics and data science classes in both the traditional MPP/MA and Evening Master’s programs. Research interests include applied microeconomics, primarily the fields of public, urban, environmental, and labor economics. Additional interests include work related to health and sports economics topics.


University of Montana

Catherine Ipsen, Ph.D.
Associate Director, Rural Institute for Inclusive Communities
Director of Rural Employment Research for the Research & Training Center on Disability in Rural Communities

Dr. Ipsen holds a Ph.D. in Multidisciplinary Studies and an M.A. in Economics, both from the University of Montana. She has worked at the Rural Institute for Inclusive Communities (RIIC) since 1992, and with RTC:Rural since 1999. She currently serves as the Associate Director for RIIC and Director of RTC:Rural.

Dr. Ipsen has over 20 years of experience conducting disability research and evaluation, with funding through the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR), Centers for Disease Control and Preventions (CDC), and U.S. Department of Education.  Her primary research interests focus on strategies to support rural consumers in securing and maintaining employment and participating in the community.


University of Virginia

John Pepper, Ph.D.
Professor, Department of Economics

John V. Pepper is a Professor of Economics at the University of Virginia. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin in 1996, and his B.A. in Quantitative Economics from Tufts University in 1987. His work examines identification problems that arise when evaluating a wide range of public policy questions including such subjects as health and disability programs, welfare policies (e.g., SNAP), and drug and crime policies. He has served as the study director of the National Research Council Committee for Improving Research Information and Data on Firearms, and as member of Committee on Improving Evaluation of Anti-Crime Programs.


Stony Brook University

Steven Stern, Ph.D.
Professor, Department of Economics

Steven Stern is an expert in labor economics, health economics, economics of aging, mental health, long-term care and the family and industrial organization and econometrics. His research involves increasing our understanding of some phenomenon in the real world by using innovative econometric methods. He has recently been cited in the news for his research that can help predict divorce.

VR-ROI Web Development Team


Employment Resources, Inc. (ERI)

Theresa Kulow, Assistant Director

Employment Resources, Inc. (ERI) is a private, nonprofit organization located in Madison, Wisconsin. ERI provides a variety of services throughout Wisconsin and beyond. Since 1990, our mission is to practice and promote innovative services to advance employment opportunities, support personal choices, and enhance the well-being of people with disabilities. Our services include employment and benefits counseling services to people with disabilities who are considering or pursuing employment. ERI offers consultation, training and technical assistance to employers, human service professionals, disability advocates, government agencies and the public regarding disability and employment issues.

Theresa Kulow is a long-time promoter and advocate for programs and services for people with disabilities. She brings extensive experience in marketing, design, and promotion; information management; website administration and design; and online learning development and training. She currently oversees ERI’s information management, marketing, communications, and training activities. Theresa speaks on a variety of technology, social media, and e-learning topics at local, state and national conferences with a disability focus. With degrees in English and Education, Theresa has a real passion for learning and enjoys sharing her experiences and expertise in this area.