Vanessa Williamson is a fourth-year PhD student in Government and Social Policy. She is the co-author, with Theda Skocpol, of The Tea Party and the Remaking of Republican Conservatism (Oxford University Press, January 2012). Her primary research interest is the politics of taxation in the United States.
Before coming to Harvard, she served at the Policy Director for Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America. Williamson lobbied to improve the benefits and support available to military veterans, including for the passage of the 2008 GI Bill, a $60 billion investment in veterans’ college education. She is also the author of Supporting Our Troops, Veterans and Their Families: Lessons Learned and Future Opportunities for Philanthropy, an analysis of almost $250 million in philanthropic spending by the California Community Foundation.
Her work has been cited in diverse media outlets, including the New York Times, the Economist, the Associated Press, Reuters, the Washington Post, CNN, NPR, MSNBC's "The Rachel Maddow Show," McClatchy, the Guardian, and Mother Jones. She has also testified before the House Veterans Affairs Committee regarding outreach to new veterans.
She received her B.A. in French language and literature from NYU, and her MA from NYU's Institute of French Studies. Vanessa also manages the website I Heart Taxes, a pro-tax project that donates its proceeds to the United States Treasury. In her spare time, Vanessa is an amateur aerialist at Aircraft Aerial Arts.