Wendy Naus became the fourth Executive Director of COSSA in 2014 following a decade of lobbying for the federal research and policy interests of scientific societies and U.S. universities. Over her career, she has worked to shape legislation, programs, and regulations important to the research community and has advocated for increased research funding across federal agencies. In her role at COSSA, Wendy serves as the lead advocate for federal funding and policy that positively impact social and behavioral science research across the federal government, representing the breadth of the social science research enterprise. She is also responsible for the day to day operations of COSSA and member engagement. A native of Buffalo, New York, Wendy holds a B.A. in political science and urban studies from Canisius College, graduating magna cum laude from the All-College Honors Program.
Elyse Bailey Director of Public Affairs
Elyse Bailey joined the COSSA team as Director of Public Affairs in April 2023. Over the course of her career, Elyse has worked in communications roles throughout a wide variety of industries and comes to COSSA after three years with VisitBritain, the tourist board of Great Britain. In her role at COSSA, Elyse develops and executes key communications strategies and works to support additional advocacy and policy efforts to promote COSSA’s mission in supporting social and behavioral science research. A native of Northern Virginia, Elyse holds a B.A. in Anthropology with a double minor in IT and Biology from George Mason University.
Ian Gaines Government Relations Assistant Director
Ian Gaines is a Government Relations leader with policy expertise that lays at the intersection of technology, justice, and social impact. At his previous role, Ian led the development of grassroots initiatives that taught digital financial literacy to communities in over 40 cities across the United States. This work led to further advocacy on Capitol Hill, where he educated policymakers on the inclusive and empowerment utility of emerging technologies. At COSSA, Ian is responsible for expanding the organization's advocacy reach to critical emerging and innovative policy areas. He is also working to develop new partnerships that will help to advance the field of social and behavioral science in U.S. policy. Ian is a native of New Jersey and holds a B.A. in political science from the University of Chicago.
Kenzie Shelstad Government Relations Associate
Kenzie Shelstad joined the COSSA team in August 2022 as a Government Relations Associate after graduating from the University of Missouri with a B.A. in international studies. In her role at COSSA, Kenzie is responsible for monitoring and analyzing Congressional activities and legislation, observing research directions and policy changes of Federal agencies, and contributing to the production and distribution of COSSA’s written and online products. Previously, Kenzie has completed advocacy internships with Her Bold Move, a non-profit political organization focused on electing women into government positions, and Resilience, Inc., a non-profit dedicated to expanding social emotional learning access throughout the United States.
COSSA accepts undergraduate interns on a rolling basis. Interested individuals, particularly from COSSA member institutions, should apply by emailing a resume and cover letter to Kenzie Shelstad. Read the internship description for more information.