Robert P. Jones, Ph.D.


Dr. Robert P. Jones is the CEO of PRRI and a leading scholar and commentator on religion, values, and public life. He is the author of two academic books and numerous peer-review articles on religion and public policy. Dr. Jones writes a monthly column at The Atlantic on politics, culture, and religion. His “Faith by the Numbers” segment is also a regular feature on Interfaith Voices, the nation’s leading religion news magazine on public radio, which is carried on NPR stations around the country.

Dr. Jones serves as the Co-Chair of the national steering committee for the Religion and Politics Section at the American Academy of Religion and is a member of the editorial board for “Politics and Religion,” a journal published by Cambridge University Press for the American Political Science Association. He is also an active member of the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion, the Society of Christian Ethics, and the American Association of Public Opinion Research. He holds a Ph.D. in religion from Emory University, where he specialized in sociology of religion, politics, and religious ethics. He also holds a M.Div. from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. In 2013, Dr. Jones was selected by Emory University’s Graduate Division of Religion as Distinguished Alumnus of the Year.

Before founding PRRI, Dr. Jones worked as a consultant and senior research fellow at several think tanks in Washington, DC, and was assistant professor of religious studies at Missouri State University.  Dr. Jones is frequently featured in major national media such as CNN, NPR, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Time Magazine, and others. Dr. Jones’ most recent books are Progressive & Religious: How Christian, Jewish, Muslim, and Buddhist Leaders are Moving Beyond the Culture Wars and Transforming American Public Life and Liberalism’s Troubled Search for Equality. Follow Dr. Jones on Twitter.

Daniel Cox

Director of Research

Dan Website PhotoMr. Cox is the Research Director of PRRI, specializing in survey research, youth politics, and religion. He has coauthored several academic book chapters on topics relating to religious polarization and gay and lesbian issues in the black Church. His work has been cited in numerous national news publications including the New York Times, the Christian Science Monitor, CNN, the Washington Post, and others. Mr. Cox holds an M.A. in American Government from Georgetown University and a B.A. in political science from Union College. Prior to joining PRRI, he served as Research Associate at the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life, where he worked as part of the core research team. He is an active member of the American Association of Public Opinion Research (AAPOR) and the American Political Science Association (APSA). Follow Mr. Cox on Twitter.

Joanna Piacenza

Editor and Communications Associate

0924jpiacenzaMs. Piacenza brings to PRRI professional and academic experience in the fields of journalism, media studies, and religious studies. She earned her M.A. in Religious Studies from the University of Colorado-Boulder, where she worked as an Associate Researcher at the Center for Media, Religion and Culture and the Center of Asian Studies. Ms. Piacenza has spoken internationally and domestically about her research and writing, which explores the intersection of media and religion, specifically digital media and Buddhism. Her writing has appeared in VICE, First Things, Huffington Post, Religion Dispatches, the Tricycle blog, and more. Before joining the PRRI team, Ms. Piacenza served as Web Manager for Tricycle: The Buddhist Review, one of the largest Buddhist magazines worldwide, where she developed and launched the Tricycle Talks podcast and Tricycle magazine app. Follow Ms. Piacenza on Twitter.

Betsy Cooper, Ph.D.

Research Associate


Dr. Cooper is a Research Associate at PRRI, specializing in American politics, public opinion, ideals of citizenship, and sexual orientation. She has also completed research exploring women’s groups within the Religious Right. Dr. Cooper holds a Ph.D. and M.A. in Political Science from the University of Washington, Seattle, and a B.A. in Politics from Hendrix College. She has co-authored several papers on topics ranging from the Tea Party to rights framing, and has presented her work at the American Political Science, Midwestern Political Science, and Western Political Science Associations’ annual conferences. She is an active member of the American Political Science Association (APSA) and the American Association of Public Opinion Research (AAPOR). Follow Dr. Cooper on Twitter.

Rachel Lienesch

Research Assistant and Project Coordinator

Rachel-Lienesch-1Ms. Lienesch comes to PRRI with experience conducting both quantitative and qualitative research about American politics. Prior to joining PRRI, Ms. Lienesch worked as a Polling Fellow at the Huffington Post, where she reported on polling trends and constructed surveys on major national political events. She earned her B.A. in Government from the College of William & Mary. Her senior thesis, titled “Partisan-Colored Glasses? How Polarization has Affected the Formation and Impact of Party Competence Evaluations,” looked at how the formation and effect of party competence evaluations in national elections has changed as the American public has grown more ideologically polarized. At William & Mary, she also assisted with an ongoing project about the Tea Party movement, surveying FreedomWorks subscribers about their political beliefs and hopes for the future of the movement. Follow Ms. Lienesch on Twitter.

Charlotte Gendron

Communications and Development Assistant

Charlotte Gendron Website Photo copy

Ms. Gendron is the Communications and Development Assistant at PRRI. Most recently, she worked as an Administrative Associate with Freedman Consulting, LLC, where she led scheduling for firm principals, contributed to firm business planning and new project development, and supported the firm’s outreach efforts. Prior to Freedman Consulting, LLC, she interned for U.S. Senator Chris Murphy, and previously served as an Organizing Fellow in Virginia during President Obama’s 2012 reelection campaign. Ms. Gendron graduated cum laude from Hamilton College with a B.A. in Psychology and a minor in Women’s Studies.