University of Wisconsin–Madison

DreamUp Wisconsin Leadership Team

The DreamUp WI Leadership Team is charged with reviewing & selecting the top 5 proposals that could help 10,000 Dane County families increase their net income by 10% by 2020.

Lawrence Berger

School of Social Work and Institute for Research on Poverty
University of Wisconsin–Madison

Lonnie Berger is the Director of the Institute for Research on Poverty and Vilas Distinguished Achievement Professor and Ph.D. Program Chair at the School of Social Work at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. He is engaged in studies in three primary areas: (1) examining the determinants of substandard parenting, child maltreatment, and out-of-home placement for children; (2) exploring associations among socioeconomic factors, parenting behaviors, and children’s care, development, and wellbeing; and (3) assessing the influence of public policies on parental behaviors and child and family well-being.

Hilary Shager

Institute for Research on Poverty
University of Wisconsin–Madison

HILARY SHAGER is the Associate Director for Programs and Management at the University of Wisconsin Institute for Research on Poverty. From March 2014 to March 2018, she served as the Associate Director of the La Follette School, responsible for administrative oversight of the school’s activities; educational programming; and teaching professional development, evidence-based policymaking, and program evaluation. While at La Follette, she also directed the Wisconsin Family Impact Seminars and Committee Connect, outreach programs with the Wisconsin State Legislature. Previously, she worked as a research analyst at the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families, where she designed and conducted evaluations of the state’s early care and education, child welfare, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), and child support programs. She is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she received her Ph.D. in public policy with a minor in education sciences in 2012, and is also a proud La Follette School alumna who received her Master of Public Affairs in 2005. Prior to her graduate studies, she taught high school and middle school language arts and social studies in Fort Atkinson and Madison, Wisconsin.

Hilary Shager’s CV

J. Michael Collins

Department of Consumer Science and La Follette School of Public Affairs
University of Wisconsin–Madison

J. Michael Collins is an Associate Professor of Public Affairs and Human Ecology, as well as the Faculty Director of the Center for Financial Security at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. Collins studies consumer decision-making in the financial marketplace, including the role of public policy in influencing credit, savings and investment choices. His work includes the study of financial capability with a focus on low-income families. He directed the Social Security Administration Financial Literacy Research Consortium site at Wisconsin (2009–2012) and is involved in studies of mortgage foreclosure and family well-being supported by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, financial counseling supported by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, and emergency savings policies for the C.S. Mott Foundation.

Laura Dresser

Department of Sociology, COWS
University of Wisconsin–Madison

Laura Dresser is Associate Director of COWS (Center on Wisconsin Strategy) and is an Assistant Clinical Professor of Macropractice at the University of Wisconsin–Madison School of Social Work. Dresser is a labor economist and expert on low-wage work and workforce development systems, and has written about ways to build stronger labor market systems and worked extensively with labor, business, and community leaders in building them. Laura has also written about low-wage jobs, care work,  inequality, and labor market reform. A co-editor of The Gloves-Off Economy: Workplace Standards at the Bottom of America’s Labor Market, she is currently working issues on the connections between quality care, quality jobs, and minimum wages.

Peng Her

Institute for Research on Poverty
University of Wisconsin–Madison

Her, an IRP Community Relations Coordinator, has worked with officials, residents, and service providers to remove barriers to success for 15 years. He helped establish Hmong American studies at UW–Madison and Edgewood College and was associate director of the Center for Resilient Cities. He is on the Morgridge Center Advisory board, Badger Rock Middle School board, and several other boards in the community.

Rebecca Schwei

Institute for Research on Poverty
University of Wisconsin–Madison

Schwei, Research and Policy Coordinator at IRP, is responsible for publications and coordinates much of IRP’s work as the National Poverty Research Center funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Prior to joining IRP, Schwei worked for over 25 years in social services through various positions in direct service, government, and research organizations at the local, state, and national levels.

Bridgit Van Belleghem

Institute for Research on Poverty
University of Wisconsin–Madison

Van Belleghem brings more than 10 years of experience in public service and outreach to her role as Community Relations Coordinator. She won several awards as a land use planner for Marin County, CA, and a senior planner at the Capital Area Regional Planning Commission in Dane County. Her background includes collaborative land use planning, public participation, communications, and events.

Vee Yeo

Institute for Research on Poverty
University of Wisconsin–Madison

Yeo is the Research Lab Manager at the IRP. She provides administrative assistance and research support for IRP faculty, staff, and students. She has a wide range of experiences, including working for state agencies, non-profit organizations, and administrative offices. Yeo holds a B.A. in legal studies from UW–Madison.