Guest Blogger

From time to time, Third and State invites guest bloggers to contribute their content.

Diana Polson

Diana Polson joined the Keystone Research Center team in 2012. She recently earned her Ph.D. from CUNY Graduate Center in New York City, where she completed her dissertation on care work and the low-wage economy. Previously, Diana served as a policy analyst at the National Employment Law Project where she coordinated a survey of more than 4,300 low-wage workers in NYC, Chicago and LA. She has co-authored several reports and articles on the research findings, including Working Without Laws: A Survey of Employment and Labor Law Violations in New York City and the Social Forces article All Work and No Pay. Diana has more than a decade of experience partnering on research initiatives and organizing campaigns on a range of economic justice issues, including wage theft, cross-national family leave policies, working conditions of care workers and labor-community alliances. She enjoys working at the nexus of applied research and low-wage worker organizing. She currently lives in Pittsburgh, PA with her partner and two sons.

Jan Jarrett


Jan Jarrett is a communications, outreach and policy consultant for progressive issues with a specialty in environmental policy. For 13 years, Jarrett was with PennFuture, leading the organization as its president and CEO from 2008-2010. Prior to that, she coordinated the Campaign for Clean, Affordable Energy which intervened in utility restructuring cases to ensure that consumers and the environment would benefit from competitive retail electricity markets. She also worked for the Pennsylvania Office of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation for 10 years as the grassroots coordinator. Jarrett is a graduate of Penn State University and lives in the Village of Lisburn in Cumberland County.

John Neurohr

Communications Director
John Neurohr is the Communications Director for PBPC. John holds a master’s degree in Political Management from the George Washington University’s Graduate School of Political Management, where he was a University Fellow, and a bachelor’s degree in Television-Radio from Ithaca College, where he was a Leadership Scholar.
Before joining PBPC, John was the Communications Director at Keystone Progress, a multi-issue statewide progressive organization, and the National Communications Director for ProgressNow, a network of 22 state-based communications organizations that conduct year-round, hard-hitting activities for progressive political and policy changes.  Prior to joining the ProgressNow family, John was the Communications Director for America Votes and, before that, a Strategic Communications Manager and Deputy Press Secretary at DC’s leading progressive think tank, the Center for American Progress.

Susan Spicka

Director, Education Voters of Pennsylvania

Susan Spicka is the director for Education Voters of PA and a recently-elected school board member in Shippensburg. She became involved in education advocacy in 2011 after Governor Corbett announced his plan to cut more than $1 billion from public education funding. Susan joined together with members of her community to raise awareness of the impact these funding cuts would have on the education of children in area communities. She co-founded Education Matters in the Cumberland Valley, a grassroots organization that is dedicated to advocating for policies that support quality public education.

Susan has been an active volunteer in her children’s public schools since her oldest daughter entered kindergarten in 2007. After seeing the impact that state budget cuts had on the Shippensburg Area Middle School, she joined with parents to found the Shippensburg Area Middle School PTO with the goal of increasing educational opportunities for children at the school.

Prior to moving to Shippensburg in 2002, Susan taught English in a high school with a high number of economically disadvantaged students in Columbus, Ohio. During this time, she witnessed first-hand both the incredible power of public education to change the lives of students and the challenges facing our public schools. 

Susan has two daughters who attend public schools and her husband teaches history at Shippensburg University. She holds a B.A. in Classics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a M. A. in Ancient Greek and a M.Ed. in English education from The Ohio State University.

Sheila Christopher

Executive Director, Hunger-Free PA

In 1987, Sheila began her food banking career with the Washington – Greene Community Action Agency overseeing the food bank program and child and adult care food program. In 1992, she left to operate the Greene County Food Bank later to be known as the Corner Cupboard Food Bank.  In early 2001, the membership of Pennsylvania Association Regional Food Banks dba Hunger-Free PA [state association of food banks and charitable food organizations] hired Sheila as their first employee. In 2002, the Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP) was piloted in Southwest Pennsylvania with a caseload of 5,000.  In 2003, the program grew to 30 counties and a caseload of over 15,000.  The program remained stagnant until 2010, when it expanded to all 67 counties targeted to serve 10% of the seniors eligible for the program.  Today the CSFP serves 34,619 seniors each month. Sheila served on the National CSFP Association Board of Directors from 2005 through 2007 and then again elected as Treasurer for the association in 2015.  Sheila also served on the board of Hunters Sharing the Harvest as the Secretary/Treasurer from 2002-2008. Most recent Sheila had the honor to serve on Governor-elect Wolf’s Agriculture Transition Team. Sheila received her Bachelor of Science degree from Washington and Jefferson College in 1982 and her Masters in Non-profit Management from Robert Morris University in 2008. Sheila is married to David, they have two sons.  Kyle is 33-years of age and lives in Ft. Lauderdale, FL, while Eric is 16-years of age living with his parents in Canonsburg, PA.

Marc Stier

Director, Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center

Marc Stier has had an illustrious career as an activist, teacher, and writer. Prior to joining PBPC as Director in 2015, Marc has served as the executive director of Penn ACTION, where he worked to protect funding for education and women’s health care and expand Social Security; the Pennsylvania Director of Health Care for American Now, which led the grassroots effort in support of what became the Affordable Care Act in the state; and the Health Care Campaign Manager for SEIU Pennsylvania State Council. Stier was an academic for 25 years. He has a bachelor’s degree from Wesleyan University and a doctorate from Harvard University, both in political science. He has taught at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks; City College of New York; the University of North Carolina, Charlotte; and Temple University, where he was the associate director and internet coordinator of the Intellectual Heritage Program. Stier is the author of numerous papers on political philosophy, the history of political thought and American politics. He is the author of the book Grassroots Advocacy and Health Care Reform, published in 2013. He recently finished two new books, Liberalism and Communitarianism Revisited and Civilization and Its Contents: Reflections on Sex and the Culture Wars. He also is co-editor of Ambiguity in the Western Tradition.