Director, Applied Research and Program Evaluation
Penny Brierley-Bowers, Ed.D. PMP, is a psychologist and certified project management professional with over 25 years of experience developing, operating, and evaluating health and human service programs. Through this work, she has confronted some of the most complex concerns of government agencies and private organizations, including expanding Medicaid, innovating behavioral health services, and scaling early education programs nationally.
Dr. Brierley-Bowers brings a deep understanding of health and human service program policy and operations. This understanding is combined with strong skills in qualitative research, facilitation, and strategic planning. Her recent work focuses on evaluating state and federal behavioral health, intellectual and development disabilities, and long-term care systems to promote effective and efficient programs. She has led the work to define clinical best practices and clinical practice guidelines in developmental disabilities, traumatic brain injury, and behavioral health. Dr. Brierley-Bowers has presented internationally and nationally as well as authored numerous journal articles, white papers, and reports.
Prior to joining the Institute, Dr. Brierley-Bowers was a specialist at Deloitte Consulting, LLP. She earned her undergraduate degrees from Bard College at Simon’s Rock and Washington University and her graduate degrees from The New School for Social Research and West Virginia University.
Senior Research and Operations Manager
Jennifer Gordon is a research professional with nearly 20 years of experience leading the design, management, and implementation of a portfolio of applied research, program evaluation, and public policy projects. In addition to her research responsibilities, Ms. Gordon assists the director in managing ARPE’s business operations including strategic planning, business development, budgeting, and staffing.
Ms. Gordon’s work has a strong focus on K-12 education reform and improvement initiatives including work at the local, state, and regional levels. Her areas of expertise include logic modeling, research design, and project management. She has extensive experience integrating quantitative and qualitative data including student assessments, activity logs, surveys, and interviews. Ms. Gordon has authored numerous reports presenting research results and surfacing key findings to support her clients’ program development efforts and help them demonstrate the impact of their work.
Ms. Gordon has an undergraduate degree from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She earned a master’s degree in public policy with a concentration in quantitative methods and program evaluation from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government.
Fiscal & Administrative Support Specialist
Aileen Avigliano has worked in the public finance sector for eight years. Her past experience includes grant reporting, creating and maintaining budgets, preparing spending plans, and employee reimbursements.
Ms. Avigliano received her master's in business adminstration from Bay Path College.
Jill Capitani has more than 15 years of experience providing program evaluation services, strategic planning, and technical assistance to both state and local government agencies and community-based organizations. Throughout her career, Ms. Capitani has worked with programs addressing youth development, education, welfare reform, and violence prevention.
Most recently, Ms. Capitani produced several case studies of impactful relationships occurring at youth development organizations in Massachusetts. She also conducted quantitative research exploring and depicting the landscape, trends, and needs of youth mentoring in Massachusetts. In the area of education she worked on process and impact evaluations of the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s Integrating College and Career Readiness demonstration initiatives and the Boston Public School’s Credit Skills Recovery Program.
Prior to joining the Institute, Ms. Capitani worked for both Caliber Associates (now part of ICF Consulting) and the Urban Institute in Washington, DC. She has an undergraduate degree from Colgate University and a master’s degree in public policy from Georgetown University.
Senior Research Manager
Ms. Citino specializes in health and human services evaluation and research work. She has more than 20 years’ experience providing state agencies, community-based agencies, and private organizations with program development, needs assessment, and program evaluation services. Her professional experience includes extensive work in behavioral health, evaluating trauma-informed therapeutic interventions for children and families, evidence-based therapies addressing co-occurring disorders, and prevention interventions addressing the intersecting roles of substance use and other high-risk behaviors. Additional areas of focus include healthcare integration, care coordination, and patient-centered care. Throughout her career, she has provided training and technical assistance related to the development and implementation of outcomes measurement systems, and has supported numerous agencies in the development of systems to document program outcomes.
Ms. Citino also has a deep understanding of the unique needs facing the human services workforce. Since 2006, she has authored four reports on the Massachusetts human services industry and its workforce, and conducted a study of the issues facing private practice clinicians. Findings from her human services workforce reports have been used to increase awareness of the social and economic impact of the human services industry, advocate for pay equity, and develop strategies to improve workforce recruitment and retention.
Prior to joining the Institute, Ms. Citino worked as a research associate for the Public Health Management Corporation in Philadelphia, PA. Ms. Citino earned a bachelor’s in sociology from Temple University.
Senior Research Analyst
Catherine Jett has been working in research and evaluation since 2009 on a variety of topics in health, education and the arts. Prior to joining the Institute, her projects included strategic research on public health career preparation, analysis of a large data set related to reproductive health care and an evaluation of an arts-based science learning initiative, among many others. She is experienced in quantitative and qualitative methodologies, particularly large data sets, custom surveys, in-depth interviews and focus groups.
Ms. Jett was trained as an epidemiologist at the University of Illinois at Chicago, where she earned her master’s of public health. Her undergraduate degree, in Spanish and women’s studies, is from Tufts University.
Senior Research Manager
Jeremiah Johnson has more than 10 years of experience evaluating K–12 and post-secondary programs and policies. He has managed large-scale, state-level, and multi-state evaluations of educational assessments and interventions that encompass hundreds of public schools and districts. A focus of his work has been assessing the efficacy of educational interventions designed to improve the STEM pipeline, with a particular emphasis on programs that serve populations that have been traditionally underrepresented in STEM. More recently, his work has focused on college and career readiness, and dropout prevention and recovery. Dr. Johnson has served as the lead quantitative researcher for a number of projects, and has implemented a broad array of analytic techniques including experimental and quasi-experimental design, propensity score weighting, hierarchical linear modeling, comparative interrupted time series analysis, and regression discontinuity analysis.
Dr. Johnson has a strong background in public education, program evaluation, and statistics. He was integrally involved in the development and field testing of the Values Engaged, Educative Evaluation Approach to STEM program evaluation—an effort funded by the National Science Foundation in which he contributed to five refereed journal articles or conference presentations. Dr. Johnson also managed a team of researchers that developed and field tested the “accessible block alternative” for the National Assessment of Educational Progress grade 4 and grade 8 mathematics assessments—an effort funded by the National Center for Educational Statistics and supported by the American Institutes for Research. More recently, Dr. Johnson’s work has focused on the evaluation of state-level initiatives supported by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and the Department of Higher Education.
Prior to joining the Institute, Dr. Johnson worked as a research associate at the University of Illinois I-STEM Center. Dr. Johnson received his master’s degree and doctorate in educational psychology from the University of Illinois, specializing in evaluation and statistics.
Senior Research Analyst
David Kassabian has more than seven years of experience researching and evaluating a range of social welfare programs including income security and workforce development. He is practiced in mixed methods and qualitative research methodologies and coordinating research activities in study sites, including study design, instrument development, site selection, and focus group facilitation. He is an experienced site visitor and has conducted interviews and gathered data from diverse sources. Prior to joining the Institute, Mr. Kassabian was an Associate at Abt Associates and a Research Associate at the Urban Institute where he managed multiple projects and supervised research teams.
Mr. Kassabian earned a master’s in public affairs from the University of Texas at Austin’s LBJ School with a concentration in social and economic policy. He has an undergraduate degree also from the University of Texas at Austin.
Senior Research Manager
Eliot Levine has 25 years of research and applied experience in public schools, universities, nonprofit organizations, and mental health settings. His research and evaluation work has focused on secondary and postsecondary education, with additional work in health and human services. During his nine years at UMDI, he has managed state-level and multi-state evaluations of educational interventions that encompassed hundreds of public schools and districts. He has also managed projects on college and career readiness, college access and success, student-centered learning, competency education, online learning, financial literacy, work-based learning, school district restructuring, and public guardianship.
Dr. Levine’s book about an innovative high school reform model, published by Teachers College Press at Columbia University, was named a “Best Book for High School Reform” by the Gates Foundation and published in three languages. After publishing the book, which supported the scale-up of a national school reform model, he worked in an education reform non-profit organization and was then a teacher for seven years in two innovative public high schools. His research and evaluation findings have been disseminated in peer-reviewed journals, trade journals, edited books, and the popular press, as well as presentations to research, policy, and practitioner audiences.
Dr. Levine has a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering and psychology from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology as well as a master’s and doctorate in clinical and community psychology from the University of Maryland College Park. He completed a postdoctoral fellowship in program evaluation at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.
Katie Ness has previous research experience evaluating local and statewide K-12 educational programs. Her current work continues to focus on K-12 education program evaluations, and has expanded to appraise program management and fiscal operations initiatives. Prior to joining the Institute, Ms. Ness was a research associate for Glen Martin Associates, a small independent research and evaluation firm in Albany, NY.
She has an bachelor's degree in psychology from Siena College and earned her master’s degree in experimental psychology from Saint Joseph’s University.
Aliza Porth, M.P.H. specializes in the evaluation of public health and human service initiatives. Her background in community health prevention provides a solid basis for assisting organizations as they monitor program implementation and impact. Working in partnership with clients, Ms. Porth collaborates with organizations to gather data on process and outcome measures that will meet federal reporting requirements and prove useful in ongoing program quality improvement. Prior to joining the Institute, she worked for the Town of Enfield, Connecticut where she managed substance abuse, suicide, and bullying prevention grants.
Ms. Porth earned a master’s in public health the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She has a bachelor's of science in community health education from Ithaca College.
Senior Research Analyst
Donna Spraggon has more than 15 years of experience in qualitative and quantitative research methodology, research design and statistical analysis. Her research has focused on a variety of areas, including higher education policy and initiatives, Inuit mental health, aboriginal literacy, numeracy, and special needs in education, large lecture technology and community-based service assessment. Prior to joining the Institute, Ms. Spraggon was a lecturer in statistical methods and chief undergraduate advisor at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.
Ms Spraggon received her master's degree in mathematics from McMaster University. She has completed doctoral coursework and comprehensive examinations in mathematics (McMaster University) and in education studies, policy and leadership concentration (Brock University).
Senior Research Analyst
Jackie Stein has more than 8 years of mixed-method research and applied experience in fields including post-secondary education, community-based public health, workplace schedules and negotiations, and public opinion of economic policy. A focus of her work has been social and economic disparities. Prior to joining the Institute, she served in research and teaching roles focused on both qualitative and quantitative data analysis and worked as a public health program and research coordinator.
Ms. Stein is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in sociology at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She received her master’s in public health from the University of California Berkeley and her bachelor of arts in biology from Williams College.
Gaby Stevenson has experience with both qualitative and quantitative research methods and research design. Her academic work has focused on race, migration, and citizenship research. She has published a peer-reviewed article that used longitudinal survey data to explore the relationship between race, gender, and documentation status in regards to residential segregation. Since joining the Institute in 2016, she has supported research projects related to education, human services, and economic development.
Ms. Stevenson is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in sociology at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She earned her master’s in applied sociology from the University of Texas at Dallas. She is fluent in Spanish.
Research Manager/STEM Summit Coordinator
Jean Supel has more than 12 years of experience in research, program evaluation, and data analysis. She has expertise in formulating the theoretical and evidence bases for research and evaluation projects, meshing those with program missions to develop logic models, and constructing evaluation plans which support continuous program improvement. In addition to her research responsibilities, Ms. Supel serves as Coordinator of the annual Massachusetts STEM Summit.
Ms. Supel’s primary areas of expertise are STEM education and early education. Her research focus in STEM has been on the intersection of interest and achievement and how it differs across populations. In early education, she has been researching and supporting the realignment of content and competency frameworks as well as a new career lattice for the MA Department of Early Education and Care.
Ms. Supel is currently pursuing her Ed.D. at Northeastern University. She has a master’s degree in education from Indiana University and an undergraduate degree in comparative social policy from the University of Minnesota.
Sarah Young, M.S. has previous research experience with community-based public health program evaluation. Currently, her work is focused on educational initiatives. Prior to joining the Institute, she worked on a large scale literature review leading to recommendations for evaluation expansion for a Cambridge, MA-based parenting program.
Ms. Young received an master's in applied psychology with a concentration in community psychology from Sacred Heart University. She also received a bachelor's in psychology and literatures in English from Connecticut College.
Ivana Zuliani has more than fifteen years of experience evaluating K-12 education programs through the use of qualitative and quantitative research methodologies. Most of her work has focused on supporting state-wide and regional initiatives by evaluating efforts in the areas of school improvement, adolescent literacy, and professional development.
Ms. Zuliani has a solid background in program evaluation and research methodologies. She has been a key contributor to evaluations of statewide improvement initiatives including the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s regionally-based District and School Assistance Centers and the Massachusetts Math and Science Partnerships Program, which aims to improve student achievement in mathematics and science through educator professional development. She also managed the evaluation of the Rhode Island and New Hampshire Extended Learning Opportunities Initiatives which seek to foster student-centered learning for high school students.
Ms. Zuliani earned a master’s degree in sociology from Brown University and an undergraduate degree from Concordia University.