Vera’s experts conduct research and analysis and develop policies and programs in a variety of criminal and social justice fields. Their varied knowledge, background, and experience enable Vera to address the full spectrum of national and local justice issues.
Ryan Shanahan started at Vera in the Family Justice Program working with corrections departments, juvenile justice agencies, and faith- and community-based organizations to support them in adopting family-focused and strength-based approaches to their work. Ryan joined the Center on Youth Justice in 2014 bringing with her a focus on collaborative research to ensure the people most affected by justice research have a voice in the process. Ryan's research interests are at the intersection of the justice system and social identity—specifically race, gender, class, and sexual orientation. Her areas of expertise are conducting research in prisons, on family engagement, with LGBTQ youth, and with youth involved in street prostitution. Ryan holds a BA from the University of Connecticut and an MA and PhD in women's studies from the University of Maryland.