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Susan M. Sterett

Professor of Public Policy, University of Maryland, Baltimore County

I research how people engage with legal systems, including how people make law meaningful. I especially focus on social welfare programs, looking at interpretation at multiple levels, including recipients, caseworkers and judges.

I have done extensive work on long term displacement and accessing benefits after Hurricane Katrina. I continue to work on how cities use information concerning expectations about displacement, particularly with regard to sea level rise.

In addition, I have been working on ethics in big data as translational social science for public policy.

Finally, I work on advancement of women in the academy, with a particular focus on storytelling as a diagnostic method.

I also co-edit an interdisciplinary peer reviewed social science journal, Law and Society Review.


  • –present
    Professor of Public Policy, Virginia Tech


  • 1987 
    University of California, Berkeley, Ph.D./Jurisprudence and Social Policy