Laura Van Berkel, Ph.D.

Technical Specialist III, Social and Behavioral Science

Laura Van Berkel is a Technical Specialist in Social and Behavioral Science at Democracy International. She leads the integration of behavioral insights into the design, implementation, and evaluation of DI’s international development, democratization, and peacebuilding programs. Prior to joining DI, Dr. Van Berkel was an AAAS Science and Technology Policy Fellow at the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) where she served as a Social and Behavioral Change Advisor. In this role, she helped the agency integrate insights from social and behavioral science into programming advancing democracy, human rights, and good governance. Dr. Van Berkel’s experience at USAID included work with partners in South Africa, Ghana, Mali, the Philippines, and Haiti. Dr. Van Berkel was previously an APA Executive Branch Science Fellow at the National Science Foundation, where she worked on public access to research and diversity in science. She earned her PhD in Social Psychology from the University of Kansas with a concentration in Quantitative Psychology and completed a postdoctoral research fellowship at the University of Cologne in Germany. She holds a B.A. in Psychology with minors in Spanish and History from Saint Louis University. She is proficient in Spanish and speaks basic German.

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