Michelle Ernst, PhD

Senior Researcher

A developmental psychologist by training, Michelle Ernst brings expertise in survey research and behavioral economics to Slover Linett’s cultural clients, providing a rigorous foundation for data-driven change and growth. Her work focuses on understanding and tracking audience behavior, community perceptions, motivations and decision-making, and engagement outcomes. Michelle’s analytical depth and commitment to ethnically representative sampling methods have generated critical insights for Washington National Opera, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Cleveland Play House, Museum of Science Boston, Folk Alliance International, CalArts, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Alliance for California Traditional Arts, among other cultural nonprofits.

Michelle’s interest in how social research can contribute to equity, diversity, and inclusion has shaped her career, including her role as a senior research scientist and survey director at NORC at the University of Chicago, where she led or worked on large national studies of runaway and homeless youth, youth in out-of-home care, and new immigrants to the U.S. Michelle also served as a senior researcher at Chapin Hall, a research and policy center focused on children and families. She has published on question wording in survey research and other topics, has presented at the American Association for Public Opinion Research and other conferences, and has taught research methods and statistics to undergraduates and graduate students. Michelle earned her Bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Missouri and her M.A. and Ph.D. in developmental psychology, with a concentration in statistics, from Loyola University of Chicago. She plays Irish fiddle, has run seven marathons, and is the mother of three school-age children.