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Self Sufficiency Standard


Center for Women's Welfare Staff

Dr. Diana Pearce

Dr. Diana Pearce, PhD | Director

Dr. Pearce is the Director of the Center for Women’s Welfare and is currently on the faculty of the School of Social Work at the University of Washington. She received her MSW and Ph.D. in Sociology and Social Work from the University of Michigan. She has held academic positions at the Universities of Michigan and Illinois, and American University. Dr. Pearce has been a Fulbright Professor twice, in Tashkent, Uzbekistan (1996-7) and in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan (2006). She has been a Visiting Scholar at the Institute for Research on Women and Gender, Stanford University and at George Washington University. Dr. Pearce founded and directed the Women and Poverty Project at Wider Opportunities for Women in Washington, D.C, and was a member of the founding Steering Committee of the Institute for Women’s Policy Research.

Widely recognized for coining the phrase, "the feminization of poverty", Dr. Pearce has written and spoken widely on women’s poverty and economic inequality—including low-wage and part-time employment, unemployment insurance, homelessness, and welfare reform—and has testified before Congress and the President’s Working Group on Welfare Reform. She also has done research and been an expert witness in the areas of school and housing segregation/ desegregation. Dr. Pearce has helped found and lead several coalitions, including the Women and Housing Task Force, the Women, Work and Welfare Coalition, the Women and Job Training Coalition, the Ad Hoc Task Force on Housing/Homeless Issues in Welfare Reform, and the Practitioners’ Panel on Welfare Reform.

Lisa Manzer, MPA | Senior Research Coordinator

Lisa Manzer manages the Center for Women’s Welfare and oversees all aspects of publications produced by the Center. Lisa works closely with our partners during the production of the Self-Sufficiency Standard reports. She has worked for the Center since 2001. Lisa received a Master of Public Administration from The Evergreen State College in 2006.


Lisa Mikesell, MPA | Research Coordinator

Lisa aids in report research, editing, and website management for the Center for Women’s Welfare. She received a Master of Public Administration from the University of Washington’s Evans School of Public Policy and Governance with a focus on the nonprofit sector and policy analysis in 2015. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Politics from Occidental College in 2008.


Devon Bushnell | Program Coordinator

Devon is a new addition to our staff and manages the budget for the Center for Women’s Welfare.  She earned her Bachelor's degree in Sociology from Western Washington University and has been working for the UW for 15 years.


Laura Sullivan | Student Assistant

Laura aids in report research and editing. She is a second-year Master of Public Administration student at the University of Washington's Evans School of Public Policy and Governance. Laura earned her Bachelor's degree in Human Physiology from Gonzaga University in 2015.