Jessica Santos

Lecturer and Scientist

Jessica  Santos's photo


Office: Heller-Brown Building 358
Phone: 781 736-8680
Brandeis Directory


Empowerment economics, workforce development and career pathways, racial inequality, immigrant integration, policy processes that drive equity, qualitative research methods, community-based and participatory research methods.


  • HS 307a - Immigrant Integration in the United States: Policy, Practice and People
  • HS 323f - Participatory Action Research
  • HS 534b - Assets and Social Policy
  • HSSP 114b - Racial/Ethnic and Gender Inequalities in Health and Health Care


  • Brandeis University
  • School For International Training
  • Middlebury College

Jessica Santos

Lecturer and Scientist


Jessica Santos, Ph.D. is a researcher and educator with expertise in social inequality, workforce development and diversity, refugee and immigrant integration, and empowerment economics. She is a Scientist and the Director of Community-Engaged Research at the Institute on Assets and Social Policy (IASP) at Brandeis University and a Lecturer at the Heller School. Prior to joining IASP, she worked at the NH Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Minority Health and Refugee Affairs where she developed and managed projects to further health and equity in New Hampshire. Jessica spent 10 years designing and implementing projects to improve the well-being of families and communities in New England and Latin America. She also worked with partners to secure millions of dollars in public and private funds for public health and economic inclusion in New Hampshire. Her current work is focused on learning from the intersections of research and practice to reduce inequality and bring innovative policy and program solutions to scale.


  • Santos, J., Gantla, S., Chun, D., You, N., & Aguilera, C.. Root to Fruit: Empowerment Economics and Community Growth at Chicago's HANA Center. Institute on Assets and Social Policy: 2019.
  • Santos, Jessica Harper. "Evaluating Empowerment Economics: A Preliminary Framework for Assessing Innovations in Financial Capability." Open Access Solutions 3. (2019): 1-11 <>.
  • Shapiro, T., Santos, J., & Stewart, S.. The Black-White Racial Wealth Gap. NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. Thurgood Marshall Institute: 2019.
  • Wright, G., Loya, Rebecca., Meschede, T., Santos, J., & Shapiro, T.. Redefining Risk: Racial Disparities in Entrepreneurship and Financial Wellbeing. Waltham, MA. Institute on Assets and Social Policy: 2019.
  • Aguilera, Cristina & Santos, Jessica Harper. Immigrant and Refugee Wealth Pathways Over the Life Course. Waltham, MA Institute on Assets and Social Policy, Grantmakers Concerned with Immigrants and Refugees, and Asset Funder’s Network: 2018.
  • Lovejoy, M., Santos, J., Vo, A.. Innovations in Financial Capability: Culturally Responsive & Multigenerational Wealth Building Practices in Asian Pacific Islander (API) Communities.. Waltham, MA Institute on Assets and Social Policy.: 2018.
  • Markoff, Shira, Loya, Becca, & Santos, Jessica Harper. Quick Guide to CSA Research: An Overview on Evidence of Children's Savings Accounts. Waltham, MA Prosperity Now & Institute on Assets and Social Policy: 2018.
  • Parish, Anja, Santos, Jessica Harper, & Aguilera, Cristina. Social Justice Funder's Spotlight: Collaborative Field-Building to Advance Immigrant Integration. Waltham, MA Sillerman Center for the Advancement of Philanthropy: 2018.
  • Santos, Jessica Harper, Leiter, Annie, Chaganti, Sara, & Boguslaw, Janet. A Profile of Southwestern Connecticut's Healthcare Labor Market. Waltham, MA Institute on Assets and Social Policy: 2018.
  • Loya, R. & Santos, J.. Cultivating CSAs: the Growth and Spread of Children’s Savings Accounts in New England.. Waltham, MA Institute on Assets and Social Policy: 2017.
  • Loya, Rebecca, Garber, Judith, & Santos, Jessica.. Levers for Success: Key Features and Outcomes of Children’s Savings Account Programs.. Waltham, MA Institute on Assets and Social Policy: 2017.
  • Santos, J., Chaganti, S., & Olson, E.. Evaluation of NH WIOA Assessments: Process, Content, and Recommendations.. Waltham, MA Institute on Assets and Social Policy.: 2017.
  • Santos, J., Vo, A., & Lovejoy, M.. Foundations for the Future: Empowerment Economics in the Native Hawaiian Context.. Waltham, MA Institute on Assets and Social Policy.: 2017.
  • Santos, Jessica Harper, Rachel Steele, and Callie Watkins Liu. "The Consciousness Raising Classroom.." Risk-Taking in Higher Education: The Importance of Negotiating Intellectual Challenge in the College Classroom., 2017
  • Boguslaw, J., Gaiser, M.D., Nsiah-Jefferson, L., Santos, J., & Venner, S.. Good Jobs Good Health: Diversifying the Workforce through Policy and Practice. Waltham, MA Institute on Assets and Social Policy: 2016.
  • Santos, J., Venner, S., Boguslaw, J., Tarahija, S., and McCracken, K.. Becoming a Culturally Effective Organization: A Case Study of the Manchester Community Health Center.. Waltham, MA Institute on Assets and Social Policy.: 2016.