Spencer Allen Shanholtz

Photo of Spencer Allen Shanholtz
Research and Policy Analyst

Spencer Shanholtz is a Research and Policy Analyst for the Demographics Research Group at the University of Virginia Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service. His expertise is in statistical and economic analysis and data visualization with special focus on regional and geospatial information. He has demonstrated experience related to housing, transportation, demographics, policy analysis, and economic development.

Prior to joining the Demographics Research Group, Spencer worked for the Center for Regional Analysis at George Mason University and the Virginia Center for Housing Research at Virginia Tech. Spencer earned his B.A. in Geography, B.S. in Environmental Science, and Master of Urban and Regional Planning (M.U.R.P.) from Virginia Tech.

Where are you from?

Winchester, Virginia.

What brought you to the Cooper Center? 

In 2016, I graduated from Virginia Tech with my master’s degree in Urban Planning. I then landed a research analysis position in Washington, D.C. At this job, I used many of the Cooper Center’s resources. I also became more engaged in Central Virginia, visiting many of its wineries. After several visits, I thought about how it nice it would be to live here. I later found out that the Cooper Center was hiring and, now, here I am! My fiancée and I moved here last September, and I’ve been working here for almost a year.

What is something you are passionate about?

Data and data transparency. I use and analyze high quality, honest data to help people make better decisions. 

Where is the next place you would like to travel?

I will be traveling to Greece and the Greek Islands for my honeymoon in September.

What is your most unusual talent?

I am really good at Jeopardy!

Who is your hero or inspiration?

My mom. She was a single parent and was unable to go to college. As she raised me, she always gave me everything I needed and pushed me to become the person I am today. 

What is something people would never guess about you?

I love wine and wine tasting! I work part-time at a wine bar.

What is one food you could eat for the rest of your life?


What is your favorite memory at the Cooper Center?

My first ever staff meeting. I felt very comfortable and supported. I knew that the Cooper Center was truly a collaborative team.

What does public service mean to you?

Providing information to help the public make more informed decisions and, overall, make their lives better.