Kazmiera Breest

Kazmiera Breest

Economic and Public Policy Research Analyst

UMass Amherst

Hi there!

I’m Kassie, I’m a mixed-methods social science researcher with a background in Economics and Data Analytics. At heart I’m an organizer; I sort data, behaviors, and ideas to create knowledge and give data-driven answers to public policy questions. I study economics and behavioral trends and I use statistical analysis, writing, and design to describe, understand, and draw conclusions about these phenomena. I am driven by my desire to reconsider academic writing and make data accessible to all readers which I hope to do through report writing, synthesizing complex concepts and data visualizations.

  • Workforce and Labor Force Issues
  • Housing and Transportation Issues
  • Social Determinants of Health
  • MS in Data Analytics and Computational Social Science, 2021

    University of Massachusetts Amherst

  • BA in Economics, minor in Statistics, 2020

    University of Massachusetts Amherst



Macro, Micro, EI Models


Econometrics, Applied Linear Statistical Models

Data Analysis

R, STATA, Excel

Public Policy

Economic Development, Workforce Development, Diversity and Inclusion


Interviews, Focus Groups, Nvivo


ArcGIS Pro

Survey Research

Instrument Design, Collection, Analysis


Lit Reviews, Reports, Summaries


ggplot, Canva, MS Office


UMass Donahue Institute
Research Analyst
UMass Donahue Institute
February 2021 – Present Boston, MA

Responsibilities include:

  • Statistical analysis using R, STATA, Excel and ArcGIS.
  • Survey design, collection and analysis using Qualtrics and Google Forms.
  • Focus group and interview design, facilitation and analysis in Nvivo.
  • Report conceptualization, writing, and editing using Microsoft Word.
UMass Donahue Institute
Student Research Assistant
UMass Donahue Institute
June 2019 – November 2020 Hadley, MA

Responsibilities include:

  • Assist with data analysis, data cleaning, and auditing.
  • Assist with surveys, key informant interviews, focus groups, and literature reviews.
  • Assist with writing report sections.
  • Prepare charts, tables and graphs for reports.
UMass Amherst Writing Center
Peer Tutor
UMass Amherst Writing Center
September 2017 – May 2020 Amherst, MA

Responsibilities include:

  • Host 45 minute 1-on-1 tutoring sessions for undergraduate, graduate, and professional writers.
  • Provide editorial, organizational, and technical advice for writing across disciplines at any stage in the writing process.
  • Provide tutees with actionable next-steps to improve their writing independently.
  • Study pedagogy on the social construct of writing to reconsider academic writing.


Engaging Hidden and Future Workers to Grow the Local Economy
As a part of the ‘Engaging Hidden and Future Workers to Grow the Local Economy’ for the North Central Chamber of Commerce, I created a taxonomy to describe the different barriers to work that we found through interviews with businesses and literature reviews. By categorizing the reasons that workers were not entering the workforce, we were able to suggest strategies at the short, mid and long term to help bring hidden and future workers into the workforce. The study was scoped to focus on the labor market issues in North Central, Massachusetts, but the reccomendations included can be used as a roadmap for all stakeholders in Massachusetts, or nationally, to overcome shared challenges for employers and workers alike. Being born and raised in Central Massachusetts, I was so thankful to be able to give back to my community in this way.
See certificate
So, How much is Minimum Wage Labor Actually Worth?
For my final semester in the Data Analytics and Computational Social Science program, I conducted a multi-faceted research project to satisfy the final project requirements for my four classes where I chose to investigate minimum wage policy in the United States. My Public Policy class provided the framework for my analysis, where I conducted an Institutional Analysis to analyze how institutions are created and designed and how these institutions affect human choices and societal outcomes. Text-as-Data acted as a tool for this analysis, where I created a corpus of minimum wage legislation and used an Institutional Grammar framework to analyse the rules, norms, strategies, and constraints on human behaviors. Regional Planning provided training in ArcGIS pro, which I used to how minimum wage law is distributed spatially across the United States and over time since the 1970s. Finally, in my Data-Driven Journalism class I interviewed family members who worked minimum wage jobs in the 1950s, 2000s, and 2010s to create a multi-media news story supporting my research.
See certificate
Estimating Housing Mismatch at all Income Levels
As a part of the ‘Springfield Housing Report Phase II’ for WayFinders, I created a method ussing ACS data from the U.S. Census to estimate the number of housing units needed at different income levels in the Pioneer Valley’s counties, and then to show where and how the housing stock is divided up among different target tenant types. By identifying the number of households at each income category, this method creates an estimate of what’s needed to compare to what rental stock is available at which prices. The result is a conservative estimate of how many more units are needed and at what prices, gauging only the minimum number of units to be added.
See certificate


Questions? Comments? Ideas? Lets get in touch!