We know that the qualifications and experience of our staff determine the success of every project for every client. We are committed to developing and retaining a highly skilled and credentialed staff with the experience necessary to meet project goals efficiently. Our staff represents a powerful blend of subject matter expertise and experience:
- Advanced degrees: 19 doctoral degrees and 34 master's degrees;
- Certifications in conference planning, project management, and government meeting planning; and
- IT credentials that include certifications in Information Systems Security, Information Security Management, Risk and Information Systems Control, and Cisco and Microsoft Network Certification.
Learn more about the expertise and contributions of some of our key staff:
Secondary and Post Secondary Education, Teacher Preparation and Training
Dr. Bridget Belknap, Ed.D., M.Ed. is a Senior Research Associate at SEI who works closely with evaluation and technical staff conducting research and providing support on a variety of activities. Dr. Belknap possesses more than 8 years' experience in the education field, where she taught at the secondary and post secondary levels, as well as experience in education research and consulting. As a Research Assistant at The George Washington University (GWU), Dr. Belknap worked primarily on federally funded personnel preparation programs that prepared teachers to teach in low-achieving, high-poverty, inner-city District of Columbia Public Schools. GWU's urban teacher education program involves a community of practice approach intended to achieve significant improvement in student outcomes by preparing effective classroom teachers. Dr. Belknap designed and implemented teacher preparation curricula and administered Praxis III performance-based assessment of pre-service teachers. Dr. Belknap earned an a Ed.D. and M.Ed. from GWU in Washington, DC in Special Education.
HIV/AIDS, Substance Abuse and Addiction, Mental Health
Karen Braxton has more than 15 years of experience providing public health-related technical assistance (TA) and managing complex TA and logistical support contracts. She has a proven track record of directing high-profile projects and providing strategic planning, TA/training, research, facilitation, and logistical solutions to the federal government, particularly the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). She has developed particular expertise in projects related to HIV/AIDS, health disparities, and capacity development. Ms. Braxton has worked with the National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education, the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities, the American Public Health Association, and others in support of federally funded projects. She is Corporate Monitor on four of SEI's SAMHSA contracts. Ms. Braxton is a graduate of Spelman College with a B.S. in Biology. Also, she holds an M.A. in Health Promotion from the University of Maryland, College Park.
Educational Psychology, Social Sciences, Early Childhood Administration
Rhonda Crenshaw is a Senior Program Associate at SEI, and has more than 13 years of experience in social science research, evaluation, and education research focused on K–12 and Title I. Ms. Crenshaw has comprehensive experience in designing, developing, and providing TA on performance measurement and evaluation efforts for the Department of Education and other agencies. In addition to performance measurement, she has designed and carried out program evaluations for federal clients, including the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the U.S. Army, and the U.S. Department of Justice, and nonfederal clients. Specifically, Ms. Crenshaw served as Project Director for the ED Institutional Development & Undergraduate Education Service Performance Measurement project for Title III and V grantees, which was funded under the Higher Education Act. She also served as Deputy Project Manager for the National Science Foundation evaluation of its Computer Science, Engineering, and Mathematics Scholarships program. Ms. Crenshaw has developed several professional guides, training manuals, and other publications designed to support learning and performance. For instance, for the Department of Health and Human Services, she wrote several chapters of the State Handbook for Early Childhood Administrators. Additionally, she has prepared several chapters of a Charitable Choice Manual for state Temporary Assistance for Needy Families administrators that sought information on exemplary collaboratives and best practices in exercising Charitable Choice. She holds a current security clearance from DHS and earned an M.A. in Educational Psychology from Howard University, where she is currently a Ph.D. candidate.
Biostatistics, Clinical Psychology, HIV/AIDS, Behavioral Impairment
Michelle D. Gaugh has more than 7 years' experience in the design and implementation of both National Institutes of Health (NIH)-funded and industry-sponsored clinical trials. She is highly skilled in the construction, compilation, and submission of NIH grants, including preparation of background research, study design, budget construction, selection of measures, and both paper and electronic submission processes. Ms. Gaugh has extensive training in clinical psychology, with a strong proficiency in neurocognitive and projective test administration, scoring, interpretation, and reporting. Also, she has experience working with cognitively, emotionally, and behaviorally impaired children and adults, and subsequent design of experimental therapeutic interventions, both pharmaceutical and behavioral in nature. She has unique experience on an HIV research team, with strong skills in communication and relationship building and maintenance with research faculty, pharmaceutical companies, sponsors, biostatisticians, and student volunteers. She is proficient in all aspects of research development and execution, from creation of grants, research protocols, informed consent, and measures to conducting study visits, maintaining records, and publishing results. Ms. Gaugh earned an M.A. in Psychology from The State University of New York College at Brockport in New York, and a B.A. in Psychology from Nazareth College of Rochester in New York.
Developmental Psychology, At-Risk Youth, Early Childhood Interventions
Brenda Jones Harden, Ph.D. is a psychologist in the early childhood policy, practice, and research arenas. For more than 30 years, she has focused on the developmental and mental health needs of young children at environmental risk, with a specific emphasis on preventing maladaptive outcomes through early childhood intervention programs. Dr. Jones Harden advises SEI on the incorporation of evidence on early childhood education into ongoing projects. She leads a review of the current academic literature on early childhood program quality and afterschool programs and describes the implications of study findings for practice and policy. Dr. Jones Harden also co-leads a Technical Work Group, in consultation with the U.S. Department of Education (ED), and recruits individuals with substantive expertise in both early childhood education and research to serve as expert advisors to the project. In addition, she works with the project director and principal investigator to analyze data and prepare two written reports on finding and implementing best practices. Dr. Jones Harden received a Ph.D. in Developmental/Clinical Psychology from Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, and an M.S.W. in Family and Child Welfare from New York University's School of Social Work in New York.
Public Health Programming, Statistical Analysis, and Data Management
Sayali Harmalkar has more than 15 years of professional experience in programming, statistical analysis, and data management in the public health industry. She has specific expertise in the area of using information technology, including Web programming, data analysis, and mathematical statistics, to enhance health care services and systems. Ms. Harmalkar also has extensive experience analyzing health care and clinical trial databases. Currently, Ms. Harmalkar serves as a Senior Web Programmer in support of SEI's contracts with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and its various institutes and administrations, including the National Institutes of Health and Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), among others. Prior to SEI, Ms. Harmalkar worked for a plethora of public health-based organizations, including Celera Genomics, McKesson HBOC, and the Health Insurance Association of America. In the roles of health research programmer, programmer analyst, senior data analyst, and senior engineer, Ms. Harmalkar was responsible for the development of key information technology tools that aimed to enhance public and private healthcare services. These include a CMS tool designed to measure improper payments in State Medicaid and Children¹s Health Insurance programs and services; a database for Healthcare Effectiveness Data and Information Set, a performance measurement tool used by health care providers; and a testing methodology system for the National Committee for Quality Assurance. She has also used her technical skills to assure the quality of key data elements required in health research studies, clinical trials, and survey databases, and to enhance various Medicare and Medicaid databases, including the Medicare Provider Analysis and Review Hospitalization dataset and several datasets for the Health Care Financing Administration. Her work also extended the CDC's National Center for Health Statistics survey database, including the National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey and National Health Interview Survey. Ms. Harmalkar received an M.S. in Applied Statistics from George Washington University, an M.S. in Mathematics from the Indian Institute of Technology, and a B.S. in Mathematics from Bombay University. She was also awarded a fellowship and full scholarship to expand her merged interests in information technology and health care at George Washington University.
Public Health, HIV/AIDS, Child Health and Infant Mortality, Epidemiological Research
Allen A. Herman, Ph.D., is an internationally-known public health expert with extensive experience across the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in developing and managing public health education programs and large-scale research projects. From 2008 through 2010, Dr. Herman led two field projects supported by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services: the Interventions for a Focused Diabetes and Chronic Kidney Disease Disparities Project and the Mississippi Health First Project were diabetes self-management education programs focused on the Medicare, Medicaid, underinsured, and uninsured populations in communities with increased prevalence of diabetes. Dr. Herman spent 10 years at the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), where he developed and led a number of landmark community intervention projects. This work culminated in Dr. Herman serving as the scientific director of the NIH-DC Infant Mortality Initiative, an NIH-wide program that involved NICHD, the Office of the Director of NIH, and the Office of Research in Minority Health (now the National Institute for Minority Health and Health Disparities). Concurrent with his work at NICHD, Dr. Herman served as a member of the Steering Committee for the Study of Black/White Differences in Cancer Survival of the National Cancer Institute. Following the fall of South Africa's apartheid government, Dr. Herman was selected as the founding Dean of the National School of Public Health, Medical University of Southern Africa of the Republic of South Africa. In this capacity, he designed one of the earliest comprehensive distance education public health programs, and over the course of 8 academic years he managed the education of public health students from 18 African countries. He also worked as the advisor to the South African National Defense Force and helped bring a substantial antiretroviral treatment program to the South African military. Dr. Herman earned an M.B. Ch.B. from the University of Natal Medical School, in Durban, South Africa, and a Ph.D. from the University of the Witwatersrand, in Johannesburg, South Africa.
School Administration, Instructional Leadership, Teaching Strategies, Data Analysis
Harriet Hopkins, Ph.D. has served as an elementary school teacher, principal, and director of professional development in two major school districts. She has worked with multiple groups to plan, develop, and implement programs and strategic plans based on individual school data, both qualitative and quantitative. As Director of Professional Development, Dr. Hopkins applied for and received grants and was responsible for writing summary reports using both formative and summative data. She also designed and facilitated multiple professional development programs for teachers, principals, and support staff. Additionally, she co-facilitated a process involving community members, school administrators, and teachers to develop a plan for a community school, including the collection and analysis of community demographic data, school achievement data, and qualitative data. Her experiences facilitating multiple nonprofit groups resulted in their establishing goals, hiring executives, and developing programs to meet the needs of their constituents. Also, Dr. Hopkins worked on a grant from the U.S. Department of Education that created an online toolkit to assist schools, districts, and their communities in a process to identify technology needs for their students and districts.
Mental Health, Substance Abuse, Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders
Katia Delrahim Howlett, Ph.D. has more than 12 years of clinical and academic research experience in the area of substance use disorders. She has worked in academia, with teaching hospitals and federal agencies, and in private and nonprofit settings. Her work includes health promotion, prevention, and treatment for high-risk populations, and includes outreach and communication efforts. Dr. Delrahim Howlett has extensive experience in designing research programs, initiatives, and evaluation projects. She has published empirical studies and has led the successful implementation of diverse research protocols. She also has a solid understanding of behavioral health as it relates to substance use and mental health disorders. Dr. Delrahim Howlett is widely published in the field of mental health, on topics as varied as schizophrenia, antidepressant treatment, panic disorder, mood and anxiety disorders, the burden of phobias on the health-related quality of life, and minor depression. She has worked on a diverse portfolio of contracts and research grants with federal agencies, including the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), the National Institute of Mental Health, and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. As SEI’s project director for three NIDA contracts, Dr. Delrahim Howlett leads outreach activities, manages contract deliverables, and interacts with clients on a daily basis. She represents the projects to the general public, key stakeholders, and potential partners, including professional organizations such as the American Society of Addiction Medicine, the American College of Physicians, the American Psychiatric Association, the American Academy of Emergency Physicians, and the National Association of State Alcohol/Drug Abuse Directors. Before joining SEI, Dr. Delrahim Howlett served as deputy director of the Underage Drinking Prevention Education Initiatives contract with SAMHSA. Dr. Delrahim Howlett received her Master's in Public Policy from Pepperdine University, her Master of Business Administration from The Johns Hopkins University, and her Ph.D. from the University of California, San Diego, where she focused on prevention of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders and other consequences of alcohol misuse.
Epidemiology, Biostatistics, Health Science, Clinical Trials
Meena R. Karithanom has been a professional healthcare researcher for more than 12 years. Over that time, she has become highly experienced in the collection, analysis, and interpretation of epidemiological data, and she possesses thorough knowledge and expertise in clinical trials project/data management. Ms. Karithanom currently works as an epidemiologist in support of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). Ms. Karithanom's areas of expertise comprise research and analysis emanating from numerous information sources; management of study projects involving information gathering, analysis, and presentation of conclusions and recommendations; and technical writing and editing, including design, development, and production of reports and documents with target audiences ranging from the lay public to high-level government officials. Her work has supported various federal entities over the years, including Health and Human Services (HHS) and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs; and within NIDA and the National Cancer Institute (NCI). Ms. Karithanom has an M.P.H. in Epidemiology/Biostatistics from The George Washington University in Washington, DC, and a B.A. in Health Science and Policy from University of Maryland in Baltimore County, Maryland.
Substance Abuse and Addiction, Medications Development
Robert Katt, Ph.D. has been a professional technical writer since 1979. During that time he has designed, developed, and written government reports, scientific and technical papers and monographs, manuals, training aids, brochures, and other products. His areas of expertise include technical writing and editing, including design, development, and production of reports and documents with target audiences ranging from the lay public to technical specialists; research and analysis from information sources including technical literature, subject matter specialists, and data systems; and management of study projects involving information gathering, analysis, and presentation of conclusions and recommendations in written and oral formats. Specifically, for the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), Dr. Katt prepared summaries of meetings of three research portfolio review workgroups, the NIDA Medications Development Program review workgroup, an internal review of the Science Director, and a meeting for research training directors. Dr. Katt has also prepared 68 summaries of meetings and conference calls in support of the Patient Safety Research Coordinating Center of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. Additionally, Dr. Katt has prepared more than 36 board meeting summaries for the National Research Council Board on Army Science and Technology and the Air Force Science and Technology Board. He has a Ph.D. in Philosophy from Vanderbilt University in Tennessee.
Afterschool Programs and Educational Policy, Evaluation and Reform
Sherri Lauver, Ph.D. serves as Project Director for the 21st Century Community Learning Centers (CCLC) Professional Development Module project funded by the Department of Education. She provides leadership and expertise in the development of an interactive, Web-based infrastructure for 21st CCLC grantees and state coordinators. She has more than 14 years' experience conducting scientifically based, rigorous research studies in afterschool programs, as well as valuable insider knowledge as a former afterschool program practitioner. Dr. Lauver was an Assistant Professor of Educational Policy and Evaluation at the Warner School of Education and Human Development and Director of Program Evaluation for the Warner Center for Professional Development and Education Reform at the University of Rochester. She collaborated with the Harvard Family Research Project on an extensive study of student participation in 64 afterschool programs and is coauthor of a systematic literature review and meta-analysis of academically based afterschool program evaluations for the Campbell Collaboration. Dr. Lauver holds a Ph.D. in Educational Policy and Practice from the University of Pennsylvania.
Community-Technical Colleges, Postsecondary Education, Learning Disabilities
Deborah Lessne is a Senior Research Associate at SEI with more than 12 years of experience in providing research and analysis for education-related projects. Currently, her responsibilities include working with evaluators, Web designers and local education agencies to structure a database, Web-based collection form, and report format for the U.S. Department of Defense Education Activity's (DoDEA) Educational Partnership Grant program. For a DHS project examining health care delivery to detainees, Ms. Lessne worked with health care professionals to design a survey instrument and took the leadership role in organizing, validating, and analyzing the data collected from 30 detention sites around the country. Before joining SEI in 2009, she served as a Senior Research Consultant on the Connecticut Department of Higher Education's project to Define Best Practices for Responsible Accountability Models in Higher Education. As a research analyst for the Board of Trustees of the Community-Technical Colleges of Connecticut, Ms. Lessne's work included annual enrollment and graduation reporting to address system, state and federal requirements (including validation and aggregation of Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System data from multiple institutions); trends analysis; and survey development. She also has worked as a project coordinator for a longitudinal study of learning disabilities at the Yale University School of Medicine, and served as a trainer/tutor in an elementary school special needs program. In addition, she was certified as a Quality Assurance Trainer and as a Quality Improvement Facilitator by the state of Connecticut. Ms. Lessne has an M.A. from the University of Connecticut.
Educational Statistics and Policy, Magnet Schools, Reading, Math, and Science Literacy
Marisa Pelczar, Ph.D., M.A. is a Senior Research Associate at SEI with more than 10 years of experience in education and survey research, data collection and analysis, and report writing and preparation. As task leader for the Magnet Schools Assistance Program Technical Assistance Center (MSAP Center) project funded by the Department of Education, Dr. Pelczar helped conduct the initial needs assessment to determine what technical assistance the 2010 MSAP grantees needed to implement their grants successfully. This needs assessment involved key informant interviews with superintendents, project directors, and evaluators; a web-based survey of 145 principals; and site visits to 10 school districts. In addition to analyzing the data and preparing the Needs Assessment Report, which prioritized the MSAP cohort's technical assistance needs, Dr. Pelczar is currently developing the ongoing needs assessment plan and instruments to measure the effect of MSAP Center-delivered technical assistance. Prior to joining SEI, Dr. Pelczar assisted with the day-to-day management of technical aspects for the Windwalker Corporation's National Center for Education Statistics contract, collecting student assessment data in reading, math, and science literacy for U.S. participation in the 2009 cycle of the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA:2009). As a subcontractor to American Institutes for Research for the National Evaluation of Title III Implementation, Dr. Pelczar helped design and implement a web survey of local school districts that received Title III funding for English language learners. Dr. Pelczar received her Ph.D. in Education Policy from Vanderbilt University, and her M.A. in Humanities and Social Thought from New York University.
Substance Abuse and Addiction, High-Risk Youth, Delinquency
Robin Pugh Yi, Ph.D. has 25 years of experience conducting research focusing on high-risk youth, delinquency, and crime and safety issues. Her experience includes identifying, updating, and developing survey and other data collection instruments as well as collecting and analyzing data and reporting results. She has extracted data and constructed analytic databases from national surveys such as the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, and the National Institute on Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse's Alcohol Epidemiologic Data System. Dr. Pugh Yi serves as Associate Project Director for SEI's NIDA/SAMHSA Blending Initiative project. Her work has included development of weighting algorithms, data imputation, and developing and implementing data quality check procedures. Dr. Pugh Yi has extensive experience with multiple regression modeling and other multivariate statistical methods and is familiar with disclosure risk approaches. She has produced dozens of analytic and methodological reports, data codebooks, and users' manuals, and has trained data collectors for efforts such as the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Drug Abuse Warning Network. Dr. Pugh Yi has presented on topics such as challenges and benefits of online data collection tools at professional conferences. Her peer review publications include an article comparing confirmatory factor analysis and item response theory approaches to assessing measurement invariance. Dr. Pugh Yi earned an M.A. at San Diego State University and her Ph.D. at the University of California, Riverside.
School Safety, Technical Assistance, Training, School Emergency Management
Bronwyn Roberts, J.D. serves as Project Director for SEI's School Safety Center contract funded by the Department of Education's Office of Safe and Healthy Students. In this capacity, she oversees the effective operation of the School Safety Center, by providing seamless integration of services to client constituencies—local education agencies, schools, institutions of higher education, state education agencies, and to the larger education community. She ensures that the School Safety Center provides these constituencies with access to training, technical assistance (TA), and resources to improve the safety of the nation's schools and strengthen school emergency management programs. Ms. Roberts has more than 8 years of experience in this area, serving as project director or manager with major federal TA and training initiatives and state and local TA and evaluation efforts. She has facilitated, written, and produced numerous training manuals, publications, and other information and guidance documents for national dissemination on a wide range of topics, from responding to emergency crisis events to tips for parents on talking to youth about substance abuse. She is well-versed in the facilitation of training and systems improvement across many areas, including emergency management for schools, health and mental health service provision, safety and violence prevention, alcohol and drug use prevention, and delivery of mentoring programs and other youth development strategies for populations ranging in age from birth to adult. Ms. Roberts received her Juris Doctorate degree from the University of California, Davis King Hall School of Law, and is licensed to practice law in California.
Public and Allied Health, Substance Abuse and Addiction, Biology
Sabrina Roundtree is a service-focused public health professional and program manager with more than 5 years of experience in the fields of public and allied health. She exhibits a strong commitment to serving the needs of individuals through academic and professional enhancement and development. Ms. Roundtree has provided program management on federal contracts for the Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Education, and the U.S. Department of Transportation. These include projects for and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration's (SAMHSA) Center for Substance Abuse Prevention (CSAP) Prevention Fellowship Program, as well as SAMHSA's Center of Substance Abuse Treatment (CSAT) Support Treatment Strategies to Address Prescription Drug Misuse and Abuse Program. Currently, Ms. Roundtree serves as Director of the CSAP Prevention Fellowship Program. In this role, she develops, executes, and manages the programmatic, technical, and training tasks involved in the Prevention Fellowship Program, Graduate Student Internship, and Summer Internship. Ms. Roundtree has received numerous accolades from SAMHSA for her performance on—including stellar management of—the Prevention Fellowship Program. Ms. Roundtree holds an M.P.H. from Morgan State University as well as a B.S. in Biology from Virginia Union University.
Teacher Quality Enhancement, Language Instruction, Curriculum Development
Kathleen Tindle, Ph.D. is a Senior Research Associate and has more than 20 years in the field of education. At SEI, she monitors projects, conducts site visits, and supports the Department of Education program officers and TA providers for ED's Teacher Incentive Fund (TIF) to six local education agencies receiving Race to the Top and/or TIF funds. Dr. Tindle managed the Department of Defense Education Activity's 2011 grant review process, devised the scoring criteria, designed and delivered Webinar training for reviewers on scoring criteria, and arranged technological logistics. For this task, she facilitated six panels of reviewers, helping them reconcile scoring differences, and finalizing scores. For SEI's ED Language Instruction Educational Programs (LIEP) study, she conducts literature reviews and site visits to develop case studies. For a variety of projects, she provides expertise in qualitative and quantitative education research designs and helps design protocols, instruments and other materials for research, evaluation, and performance measurement projects. She also provides TA and professional development to education administrators and practitioners through workshops, focus groups, and Web and conference presentations and is an adjunct professor for The George Washington University on instructional methods, teacher leadership, and behavior management. Her experience includes teaching middle school students life science, and, at the university level, managing 5-year, $5 million federal Teacher Quality Enhancement Program personnel preparation grants that prepare teachers for high-needs schools. She received her doctorate from The George Washington University in Curriculum and Instruction.
HIV/AIDS, Substance Abuse and Addiction, Behavioral Health
Roy Walker has more than 25 years of experience in program management, including 14 years directing federal projects that provided training, technical assistance, health education, and dissemination of information. He oversees all client-facing activity for SEI's Division of Evaluation and Technical Assistance and provides direct management for contracts funded by the Department of Education's Office of Elementary and Secondary Education directly. He developed training curricula focusing on specific audiences including parents, teachers, and students. He facilitated focus groups for all of these audiences. He recently conducted a series of focus groups of African-American college students for the National Science Foundation as part of a study to assess their interest and motivation in pursuing information technology careers. Mr. Walker taught science in grades 6 through 12 for 6 years in the Gary, Indiana, public school system. He received an M.B.A. from Loyola University, Illinois, a B.A. in Chemistry/Biology from Grinnell College, and teacher certification from Purdue University's Graduate School of Education.
Magnet Schools, Education Statistics, P–20 Education Research
Manya Walton, Ph.D. manages and supports all aspects of the Department of Education's Magnet Schools Assistance Program. She has extensive experience in P–20 education research, evaluation, program monitoring, accountability, and technical assistance. She is skilled in designing and implementing research and evaluation studies that include prevailing social science theories and methodologies. She develops and conducts quasi-experimental studies as well as formative and summative program evaluations. Dr. Walton is educated in K–12 education monitoring, accountability, and reporting requirements for adequate yearly progress; Title I; Reading First; early childhood education; and special education. She has published more than 25 articles on educational program evaluation as well as trend and data analysis. Dr. Walton holds a Ph.D. in education from the University of Pennsylvania.
Health Policy and Research, Mental Health, Substance Abuse
Joanna Weston has more than 6 years of experience in the field of health policy, research, and program management, working in academic research settings and community-based health centers. Ms. Weston currently supports the National Institute on Drug Abuse's (NIDA) Clinical Trials Network as a content and evaluation lead. She is responsible for content-driven evaluation tasks, research and development of communication materials, and the overall oversight of multiple tasks involving community engagement and data management. She also serves as the Deputy Project Director on the NIDA-Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration's Blending Initiative contract. In this capacity, she supports Dr. Katia Delrahim-Howlett and NIDA staff to develop strategies for disseminating science-based treatments to service providers, and leads planning for and oversees the smooth execution of unique regional conferences that foster bidirectional communication between researchers and clinicians. She helps design and manage product development for training materials; oversees Web sites and online applications for educational conferences; participates in groups that foster technology transfer activities with constituent institutions, organizations, and groups; and strategizes how to increase utilization of NIDA-funded evidence-based therapies. Previously, Ms. Weston managed the development and execution of an alcohol and drug services pilot program to provide development services to families attending substance abuse rehabilitation programs in San Diego, California. Ms. Weston also managed the program budget while supervising a team of eight support staff and direct service providers, and designed strategies for participant recruitment and for the maintenance of community relations and related partnerships. To ensure rapid communication and accurate reporting, Ms. Weston also managed the client database, analyzed the related data, and produced evaluation reports that were distributed to funding sources and community partners for review in an effort to track best practices community-wide. She served as a research assistant and research associate for various academic studies, including one that assesses the effectiveness of a Web-based alcohol intervention on low-income women and another analyzing the health implications of children being raised by grandparent caregivers. Her work has been published in the Journal of Gerontological Social Work and Journal of Research in Childhood Education. Ms. Weston earned a B.A. in Psychology from Emory University, and an M.P.H. in Health Promotion from San Diego State University.
Teacher Preparation, Learning Disabilities, TESOL, Educational Policy
Kathy Zantal-Wiener, Ph.D. has amassed more than 30 years of expertise in the educational arena, specializing in teacher preparation, quality, and supporting partnership programs between state and local education agencies, colleges and universities, and community-based programs. She has more than 25 years of managerial experience, has taught both undergraduate and graduate teacher preparation courses at the University of Maryland, and has evaluated several teacher education programs as part of federal evaluation contracts. Also, she has been a consultant, test developer, and policy specialist concerning children with disabilities for various educational councils and organizations. As a Senior Program Associate at SEI, Dr. Zantal-Wiener has demonstrated experience managing large-scale TA and evaluation contracts for clients such as the Office of Safe and Drug Free Schools, Office of Elementary and Secondary Education, the Institute of Education Sciences, National Science Foundation, and Department of Defense Education Activity. She has written newsletters, case studies, and issue briefs for other Department of Education TA Centers and projects focused on teacher quality, school climate, evaluation, student achievement, English as a second language, and students with disabilities. Recently, the Maryland State Department of Education asked her to serve as a member on the Restructuring Initiative Technical Assistance Project for low-performing schools. She was also recently appointed to serve a 3-year term on the TESOL (Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages, Inc.) Standards Committee. Dr. Zantal-Wiener received her doctorate in Educational Policy and Administration/Special Education from the University of Maryland.
Drug Addiction and Abuse, Tobacco, Health Disparities, HIV/AIDS
Patrick Zickler has nearly three decades of experience in research, writing, and communications management in the fields of biomedical science, public health policy and research, and environmental science and technology. He is an award-winning writer and has worked with federal, corporate, and nonprofit clients to develop and manage a wide range of communications projects. Mr. Zickler has extensive experience working with senior federal staff at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Department of Health and Human Services institutes and agencies to develop and plan communication projects and to coordinate and manage projects that effectively blend editorial accuracy in presenting technical, analytical, and scientific information with the important creative contributions of writers and designers to meet client goals. Mr. Zickler's science writing has received the NIH Plain Language Award. For more than 20 years, he has developed special expertise in the areas of drug addiction and abuse, including the behavioral, genetic, and neurobiological aspects of initiation, addiction, and treatment; tobacco-related issues; HIV/AIDS; and health care disparities. He received a B.A. in journalism from The George Washington University, in Washington, DC.