Seth Carpenter, Federal Reserve Board
Larry Chavis, University of North Carolina
Lisa D. Cook, Michigan State University
Sheldon Danziger, University of Michigan and National Poverty Center
Philip N. Jefferson, Swarthmore College
Marie T. Mora, Texas-Pan American
Samuel L. Myers, University of Minnesota
Ronald Oaxaca, University of Arizona
Lashawn Richburg-Hayes, MDRC
Cecilia Elena Rouse, Princeton University
Steve Trejo, University of Texas at Austin
Current Profile: Margaret C. Simms, Institute Fellow and Director of the Low-Income Working Families Project, Urban Institute, Washington, D.C.
“We really are a product of the time in which we came along.” So says Margaret C. Simms, one of the nation’s top economists. A leading expert in the economic well-being of African American families and children, Simms was a product of her time but also took advantage of every opportunity it offered to blaze an exceptional career.
In the 1960s, she was one of the few African American women to graduate from high school and complete college. Of the 1,400 students at Carleton College during her freshman year, only four were African American, and among economics majors only five were women. When Simms began graduate work at Stanford in 1967, there were no African American students in the graduate economics program, no woman had yet earned a PhD in economics, and there were no female or African American professors in the department. In Simms’ first year at Stanford, Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated and riots broke out. Although she was on a fellowship from the Foreign Affairs Scholars Program, her focus quickly shifted to domestic issues and policies, where, in the turbulent but optimistic 1960s, she hoped to make a difference. Consequently, Simms has chosen or accepted professional roles based on her interests in...