Kirstin C. Appelt
Decision Science Research Consultant

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Researcher with a proven track record of both creating user-friendly decision support that helps consumers make the best decisions for themselves, and communicating research findings to expert and lay audiences. Able to apply and adapt skillset across domains, including consumer finance, sustainability, healthcare, and interpersonal negotiation. Skilled at working with and leading multidisciplinary teams. Reputation for strong work ethic, attention to detail, high energy level, positive attitude, and commitment to problem-solving.

  • Oral & written communication
  • Designing decision aids
  • Project management
  • Research design
  • Quantitative data analysis
  • Teamwork & leadership
Adjunct Professor • Sauder School of Business, University of British ColumbiaJanuary 2015 - present
  • Teach multiple sections of “Introduction to Marketing”, an undergraduate business course with approximately 55 students per section. Average rating by students: 4.1 out of 5.
Decision Science Research ConsultantJanuary 2012 - present
    Pacific Business Group on Health
  • Led research design, data collection, and data analysis of 10 studies with 2,800+ participants to improve design of decision aid to help consumers choose choice option that best meets their needs; targeted to 13+ million consumers using online exchanges to purchase health insurance from October 2013 onward.
  • Lead author of 10 issue briefs ( translating research findings into guidelines for how to design user-friendly decision support.
  • Conducted 15+ webinars and presentations for policymakers and stakeholders to share decision support guidelines.
    California Health Benefit Exchange
  • Worked with IT and design vendors on tight timelines to implement research findings into design of user-friendly decision support.
    Google, People Analytics
  • Researched and evaluated 200+ measures used to evaluate organizational behavior.
    Center for Decision Sciences, Columbia Business School
  • Lead research design, data collection, and data analysis of 3 studies to improve design of decision aids to help consumers with decisions about their future.
  • Lead author of 2 papers targeted toward top journals and 3 presentations at international academic conferences.
Postdoctoral Research Scientist & Research Fellow • Columbia University2004 - 2011
  • Worked with the Center for Decision Sciences, Center for Research on Environmental Decisions, and Motivation Science Center to lead research design, data collection, and data analysis of 30+ studies with 5,500+ participants. Notable projects:
    • Designed and tested decision aid that encourages seniors to make better financial decisions; targeted to 31+ million consumers who will retire in the next 10 years.
    • Created comprehensive database ( that describes 175+ measures used in decision research; 125,000+ unique site visits in 18 months; acquired by Society for Judgment and Decision Making.
  • Lead author on 5 papers in top journals and 22 presentations at international academic conferences. Co-author on 6 papers in top journals and 15 conference presentations.
  • As part of the Center for Research on Environmental Decisions, translated research results into guide for how to communicate climate change issues and solutions (; over 30,000 unique site visits since launch.
  • Hired, trained, and managed teams of 1-4 research assistants to run participants through interactive studies.
  • Taught “Thinking and Decision Making”, an undergraduate psychology course with 20 students. Average rating by students: 4.5 out of 5.
  • Teaching assistant for undergraduate and MBA courses in research methods, psychology, marketing, and management (15-150 students). Led lab sections and review sessions to help students learn class materials.
Investment Banking Analyst Intern • Lehman Brothers winter 2002
  • Worked independently and with all levels of Financial Institutions Group to research and create informative client presentations in highly time-sensitive environment.
Acting General Manager, Manager, & Sales Associate • Skate Estate Family Fun Center 2002 - 2004
  • Managed staff of 30 (incl. scheduling, payroll, hiring, and firing), balanced books, and assisted with marketing.
  • Quickly promoted from sales associate to manager (after 3 months) to acting general manager (after 10 months).
Student Supervisor & Student Fundraiser • Dartmouth College Fund2000 - 2003
  • Trained and supervised staff of 100 during period of aggressive growth (approx. $2 million annually).
  • Quickly promoted from student fundraiser to student supervisor (after 9 months).
Columbia UniversityPhD in Psychology2009
Dartmouth CollegeBA in Economics, magna cum laude2003

Grants: Co-authored 2 private grants & 2 federal government grants
Awards: Phi Beta Kappa, International Association for Conflict Management Dissertation Award Honorable Mention

Consumers often struggle with important decisions about their future. My research indicates that changing how these decisions are presented and training consumers to approach them differently helps consumers make the best decisions for themselves across many domains.
  • Consumer finance: Knoll, M. A. Z., Appelt, K. C., Johnson, E. J., & Westfall, J. E. (2015). Time to retire: Why Americans claim benefits early and how to encourage delay. Behavioral Science and Policy, 1(1), 53-62.
  • Sustainability: Handgraaf, M. J. J., van Lidth de Jeude, M. A., & Appelt, K. C. (2013). Public praise vs. private pay: Effects of rewards on energy conservation in the workplace. Ecological Economics, 86, 86-92. doi: 10.1016/j.ecolecon.2012.11.008
  • Healthcare: Appelt, K. C., Gao, J., Johnson, E. J., & von Glahn, T. (2014). Choosing how to choose: Can people choose the best choice architecture? Manuscript in preparation.
  • Interpersonal negotiation: Appelt, K. C., & Higgins, E. T. (2010). My way: How strategic preferences vary by negotiator role and regulatory focus. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 46, 1138-1142. doi: 10.1016/j.jesp.2010.05.010
Computer: SPSS, html, LimeSurvey & SurveyMonkey; experience with php, CSS, MySQL, R, & Salesforce
Stats: General Linear Models (incl. ANOVA, linear, & logistic regression), Mixed Models, & factor analysis

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