Applied Research & Program Evaluation

Our Staff

Penny Brierley-Bowers

Director, Applied Research and Program Evalution

Penny Brierley-Bowers

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 and single-subject 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 Insitute, 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. 

(413) 587-2402

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Aileen Avigliano

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.

(413) 587-2420

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Jill Capitani

Research Manager

Jill Capitani, M.P.P. specializes in human service and educational programs. Ms. Capitani has experience with a range of qualitative and quantitative research methodologies, including survey research, needs assessment, case study, interviewing, and focus groups. Much of her professional experience has included work with programs addressing youth development, education, welfare reform, and violence prevention. She has also provided technical assistance to state and local government agencies and to community-based organizations.

Ms. Capitani received her master's in public policy from Georgetown University. She holds a bachelor's of science in political science and sociology from Colgate University.

(617) 835-1612

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Christina Citino

Senior Research Manager

Christina Citino has more than fifteen years of experience working with human service agencies and programs. She has extensive experience providing community-based organizations with program development, needs assessment, and program evaluation services. Her professional experience has included work with programs addressing substance abuse treatment, HIV prevention, violence prevention, youth development, access to health care, and housing. She has provided training and technical assistance to community-based agencies in the development and implementation of outcomes measurement systems. Recently, Ms. Citino completed a report on the future needs of the human services workforce in Massachusetts.

Ms. Citino received her bachelor's of arts in sociology from Temple University.

(413) 695-6963

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Bryan Comer

Project Assistant

Bryan Comer offers a wide range of research support to projects as they move from survey creation to final copyediting. Before joining the Institute, he taught first-year composition at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where he completed his M.F.A. in the Program for Poets and Writers.

Mr. Comer also holds a bachelor’s of arts in english and asian studies from the University of Denver.

(413) 587-2416

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Mariana Gerena Melia

Research Manager

Mariana Gerena Melia, Ph.D. is currently focused on the coordination of public health care and services. Her past experience includes management of projects focused on effective measurement of program implementation, development of composite measures of quality in nursing home care, and translation and adaptation of mental health outcome measures to enhance understanding of ethnic disparities in mental health treatment. Before joining the Donahue Institute, she worked at Boston University’s Medical Campus Center for Health Quality, Outcomes and Economic Research, and Boston University’s Medical Campus Center for Organization, Leadership, and Management Research.

Dr. Gerena Melia completed her Ph.D. in sociology at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She also holds an master's of arts in sociology and a bachelor's of arts in sociology and Latin American studies, also from the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

(413) 587-2412

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Jennifer Gordon

Senior Research and Operations Manager

Jennifer Gordon, M.P.P.  leads the design, management, and implementation of a portfolio of applied program evaluation and public policy projects with a strong focus on education reform and improvement initiatives. Since joining the Institute in 1998, she has served as lead researcher for a number of important studies including the New England Student Centered Learning Practices Study, the Massachusetts Mathematics and Science Partnerships Program Evaluation, and the Massachusetts Reading First Program Evaluation. Ms. Gordon's areas of expertise include research design and project management; logic modeling; survey, interview and other data collection methods; and development of client-responsive deliverables. In addition to her research responsibilities, Ms. Gordon assists the director in managing the group’s business operations including strategic planning, business development, budgeting, and staffing.

Ms. Gordon 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. She received a bachelor's of arts from the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

(774) 455-7376

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Annette Hunt

Research Manager

Annette Hunt currently conducts evaluations for a number of state-level K-12 education technology integration initiatives. Drawing on her training in both quantitative and qualitative research methods, Ms. Hunt typically employs a mixed methods approach in her evaluation designs. Her research interests include education reform, social networks, and community organizations. Prior to joining the Institute, Ms. Hunt was director of a non-profit organization in Los Angeles and conducted research at the UCLA School of Education.

Ms. Hunt is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in sociology at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She received her bachelor's of arts in sociology from California State University.

(413) 587-2408

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Jeremiah Johnson

Senior Research Manager

Jeremiah Johnson, Ph.D. specializes in the evaluation of K-12 and post-secondary programs and policies. He has worked in local, state, and national contexts evaluating programs related to science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and literacy. Dr. Johnson’s current work includes the evaluation of several state-wide initiatives focused on college and career readiness and dropout prevention and recovery. He has experience with a broad range of research methods and has a particular interest in maximizing the accessibility of educational assessments for diverse student populations.

Dr. Johnson received his Ph.D. and master's of education in educational psychology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and his bachelor's in mathematics from Whitworth University.

(774) 455-7377

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Eliot Levine

Senior Research Manager

Eliot Levine, Ph.D. specializes in education and human service initiatives. He has 25 years of research and applied experience working with public schools, institutions of higher education, nonprofit organizations, and mental health settings. His research and evaluation work has focused on secondary education, substance abuse treatment and prevention, HIV prevention, and early childhood development. After publishing his book One Kid at a Time: Big Lessons from a Small School, which supported the scaleup of a national school reform model, he taught for seven years at two innovative public high schools.

Dr. Levine received his Ph.D. and master's of arts in clinical and community psychology from the University of Maryland and his bachelor's of science in electrical engineering and psychology from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

(413) 587-2418

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Marianna Litovich

Research Manager

Marianna Litovich, Ph.D. focused her work in systems of early education and care. Her past experience includes direct clinical work in a variety of social service and mental health agencies as well as applied research and program evaluation utilizing both quantitative and qualitative methodologies. Her interests center around community initiatives targeting a broad array of mental health and social welfare outcomes, working with marginalized and vulnerable populations, and systems-level change. She draws from her previous work as an educator and clinician when working with clients to meet their needs in ways that are feasible, realistic, empowering, and valuable to their organizations.

Dr. Litovich received her Ph.D. in Clinical/Community Psychology at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) with a graduate certificate in gender studies. She also holds an master's degree from UMBC and earned her bachelor's in psychology in women’s studies at Wesleyan University.

(413) 587-2422

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Jenny Malave

Senior Research Analyst

Jenny Malave, M.A. specializes in the evaluation of K-12, post-secondary programs, and human service initiatives. Her current work includes the evaluation of several state-wide initiatives focused on college and career readiness and dropout prevention and recovery. Her areas of expertise include research design, quantitative analysis, and development of client-responsive deliverables. She has extensive experience managing and analyzing large student-level databases.

Ms. Malave received her master's in sociology from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and has completed PhD level coursework in sociology and applied statistical analysis at The Ohio State University. Her undergraduate degree is from Smith College.

(413) 587-2401

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Aliza Porth

Research Manager

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.

(413) 587-2411

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Stefanie Santaniello

Research Manager

Stefanie Santaniello, M.P.P.A., M.B.A. currently focuses on education policy and evaluation. Prior to joining the Institute, she worked at the Regional Information Center of the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission where she supported a variety of research projects in the areas of economic development and education.

Ms. Santaniello earned a master's in public policy and administration and a master's in business administration, both from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Her undergraduate degree is from Boston College.

(413) 587-2407

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Greta Shultz

Research and Evaluation Consultant

Greta Shultz, Ed.D. provides applied research and program evaluation consulting in the areas of education and human services. She has worked with community-based organizations, K-12 school districts, public school/higher education partnerships, state and national departments of education, and international development agencies. Strongly grounded in qualitative research design, she employs methods such as case study, focus group, interview, and participant-observation. She has also worked in the domestic violence field for years, providing training and direct service.

Dr. Shultz received her M.Ed. and Ed.D. in educational policy, research and administration from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and her B.A. from Oberlin College.

(413) 364-6731

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Jackie Stein

Graduate Research Associate

Jackie Stein's professional research experience includes mixed methods research in the fields of community-based public health, work hours and schedules, and public opinion of federal and state policy. She has a particular interest in social and economic disparities. Prior to joining the Institute, she worked as a public health program and research coordinator and served in teaching roles focused on both qualitative and quantitative data analysis.

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's of arts in biology from Williams College.

(413) 587-2409

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Gaby Stevenson

Research Analyst

Gaby Stevenson specializes in race/migration/citizenship research. She has experience with both qualitative and quantitative research methods, including a peer-reviewed published article that used longitudinal survey data to explore the relationship between race, gender, and documentation status in regards residential segregation.

Ms. Stevenson is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in sociology at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She received her master’s in applied sociology from the University of Texas at Dallas. 

(413) 587-2406

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Jean Supel

Research Manager/STEM Summit Coordinator

Jean Supel, M.S.Ed. specializes in education research. She has experience in qualitative and quantitative research methods, performance measurement, program evaluation, and survey development. Her current projects involve evaluation of math and science programs and tracking state education and economic indicators. Ms. Supel’s background includes work as a researcher in the areas of local government, public safety, economics, education, and community involvement; and as director of both education and volunteer programs for non-profit agencies.

Ms. Supel holds an master's of science in education from Indiana University and received a bachelor's of arts in comparative social policy from the University of Minnesota.

(774) 455-7375

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Sarah Young

Research Analyst

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.

(774) 455-7361

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Ivana Zuliani

Research Manager

Ivana Zuliani, M.A. specializes in the evaluation of system-wide education reform efforts. Ms. Zuliani has extensive experience managing summative and formative evaluation projects of community-based initiatives as well as state-level, regional, and national education programs. Prior to joining the Institute, she served as a senior research associate with The Education Alliance at Brown University, evaluating a variety of school improvement efforts, adolescent literacy programs, and initiatives focusing on the development of pre-literacy skills in young children.

Ms. Zuliani received her master's of arts in sociology from Brown University. She earned both her master's in institutional administration and her bachelor's of arts from Concordia University.

(413) 587-2417

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Contracting with Us

The UMass Donahue Institute is pre-approved to offer a variety of options for streamlined, simplified contracting both within Massachusetts and at the federal level.

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UMass Donahue Institute

University of Massachusetts

Office of the President

100 Venture Way, Suite 9

Hadley, Massachusetts 01035

(413) 545-0001

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