About Us

The Judy Ford Wason Center for Public Policy was established in 2007 to provide unbiased and non-partisan scientific research about public policy issues facing Virginia. Without such information, Virginia’s elected leaders face increasingly difficult decisions with little guidance and feedback from the citizens they represent. This dialogue between the public and policy makers on important issues facing the Commonwealth is fundamental to the development of good public policy.

The Wason Center’s activities focus on two areas:

  • Conducting statewide and regional scientific polls focusing on matters of policy and politics. Scientific polls measure the public’s preferences on policy choices and advance the public’s voice enabling citizens to evaluate government and elected officials.
  • The Wason Center hosts community forums at Christopher Newport University on topics of relevance to public policy in Virginia.

Center Leadership

Quentin Kidd, Director of the Judy Ford Wason Center for Public Policy

Dr. Quentin Kidd, Director (qkidd@cnu.edu)

Kidd is Dean of the College of Social Sciences, professor of political science, and director of the Judy Ford Wason Center for Public Policy at Christopher Newport University in Newport News, Virginia. He holds a PhD in Political Science from Texas Tech University and a BA and MA from the University of Arkansas. Born and raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Kidd’s teaching and research focuses on American civic and political behavior of the American South. He has received numerous teaching awards including the Outstanding Faculty Award from the State Council of Higher Education in Virginia, the Christopher Newport Faculty Award for Excellence in Scholarship, the Christopher Newport Alumni Society Award for Excellence in Teaching and Mentoring, and was named “Professor of the Year” three times by the students at Christopher Newport.

alt=Dr. Rachel Bitecofer, Assistant Director, Wason Center Survey Research Lab (rachel.bitecofer@cnu.edu)

Bitecofer is assistant director of the Wason Center for Public Policy at Christopher Newport University where she teaches classes on political behavior, campaigns, elections, and political analysis. In her position with the Wason Center she conducts survey research on public policy issues and election campaigns. She has been featured in many media outlets such as The Washington Post, Huffington Post, NPR, and she is a regular contributor on CBC Radio. Her book, The Unprecedented 2016 Presidential Election (Palgrave McMillan) releases in October 2017.

Tom Kramer, Director of External Relations (tkramer@cnu.edu)

Board of Advisors

Richmond Regional Advisory Board

The Richmond Regional Advisory Board is made up of statewide civic and business leaders who are interested in good public policy for the Commonwealth. The board acts as a “kitchen cabinet” in terms of advising the Wason Center’s statewide survey and public policy research while working with the Wason Center staff to host the annual Eggs & Issues breakfast in Richmond.

Richmond Advisory Board members include:

  • Wyatt Durrette of Richmond, VA
  • Eva Teig Hardy of Richmond, VA
  • Jay Joseph of Hampton, VA
  • Grant Neely of Richmond, VA
  • Bryce Powell of Manakin Sabot, VA
  • Harry Wason of Williamsburg, VA
  • Judy Wason of Williamsburg, VA

Peninsula Regional Advisory Board

Our Peninsula Regional Advisory Board is made up of a group of regional civic and business leaders who are invested in helping the Virginia Peninsula thrive. The board helps guide the Wason Center’s local research and public engagement activities.

Peninsula Regional Advisory Board members include:

  • Joe Witt of Newport News, VA - Board Chair
  • Stephen Abbitt of Williamsburg, VA
  • Julia Collier of Williamsburg, VA
  • Wendy Drucker of Newport News, VA
  • Kasia Grzelkowski of Hampton, VA
  • Janet Green of Norfolk, VA
  • Jemal Harris of Newport News, VA
  • Chavis Harris of Newport News, VA

Judy and Harry embody the meaning of active and engaged citizens. The Peninsula, the Commonwealth and nation have benefited from their energy, vision and wisdom. They have advised governors, senators and presidents. They have also advocated for good government reform and supported the development of dozens of strong community-based nonprofit organizations. Their vision for the Wason Center is to give citizens a voice in public policy debates and to engage students in civic life through research and engagement opportunities.

Judy and Harry Wason with former student management team, Shelbi Pullen on left and Rachel Barranco on right.

Judy and Harry Wason with two of the 2016-17 Wason Center’s student management team: supervisor Shelbi Pullen (left) and lab manager Rachel Barranco (right).

Our Research Fellows

Collin Buchanan, Political Science, '19

Ali Nayyef, Political Science, '18

Lab Management

The survey research lab is staffed by a student lab manager, five student supervisors and more than 100 student researchers. All student researchers are trained specifically in survey interviewing.

  • Lab Manager
    • Jillian Corvin
  • Lab Supervisors
    • Thomas Arentz
    • Moriah Poliakoff
    • Darius Hurrt
    • Isabella Terrono
    • Lindsey Friday
    • Dawson Brown