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Fighting Fear with Data

Lisa SaccoLisa Sacco, class of 2001

When the World Trade Center towers were attacked by terrorists in 2001, Lisa Sacco watched in horror with the rest of the world. She had just started her master's degree at the State University of New York at Albany, and her classmates included several New York City police officers.

Like many Americans, Sacco was profoundly influenced by the event. She continues to be fascinated by the way people responded to the fear that was born that day, and that fascination inspired her doctoral degree research in criminology/criminal justice at SUNY Albany.

Sacco gathered data to help replace those fears with knowledge. She worked on several research projects and wrote a chapter on the Sacco-Vanzetti trial for the book Crimes and Trials of the Century. Her dissertation detailed how each of the 50 states spends grant money from the Department of Homeland Security.

Sacco moved from Albany to Washington, D.C., after she was hired as a crime policy analyst with the Congressional Research Service at the Library of Congress. The Congressional Research Service is a legislative branch agency within the Library of Congress, providing policy information and legal analysis for committees and members of the House and Senate. She works in the Domestic Social Policy Division, in the areas of drug policy, victims of crime, and violence against women.

"I love being involved in relevant policy research at the federal level, and Capitol Hill is an exciting place to work," she says. She enjoys conducting research that will ultimately inform policy makers. She would like to become a professor and inspire students the way she was inspired by her criminal justice professors at Saint Anselm College.

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