The University of Massachusetts Amherst

UMass Donahue Institute

Applied Research & Program Evaluation

Staff: Applied Research & Program Evaluation

Staff list for Applied Research & Program Evaluation. 

Jennifer Gordon

Director

Jennifer Gordon

Jennifer Gordon is a research professional with more than 20 years of experience leading the design, management, and implementation of applied research, program evaluation, and public policy projects. In addition to her research responsibilities, Ms. Gordon manages ARPE’s business operations including strategic planning, business development, budgeting, and staffing.

Ms. Gordon’s research 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.

(508) 735-5631

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Jordan Abbott

Senior Research Analyst

Jordan Abbott

Jordan Abbott has over two decades of experience as a practitioner and a researcher in K-12 and higher education settings. Employing qualitative and mixed methods approaches, her research has examined secondary special education service delivery, college-focused transition services for students with learning disabilities, and the transition and in-college experiences of students, particularly those from underrepresented groups.

Jordan earned a PhD in special education from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She has a master’s in education and counseling from Springfield College and a bachelor of arts in literature from Yale University.

(413) 545-0001

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Aileen Avigliano

Finance and Administration Manager

Aileen Avigliano

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 administration from Bay Path College.

(413) 577-2000

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Alma Bartnik

Research Analyst II

Alma Bartnik

Alma Bartnik has previous research experience in both qualitative and quantitative research methods and data analysis. Their academic work has focused on identity, wellness, and health equity in marginalized communities. Prior to joining the institute, Mx. Bartnik assisted in program management and evaluation for the Be Well program at Mount Holyoke College.

Mx. Bartnik earned their bachelor’s degree in psychology from Mount Holyoke College.

(413) 577-2016

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Sophia Baxendale

Research Analyst

Sophia Baxendale supports human services and public health projects and is passionate about bringing a lens of equity and inclusion to her work. Ms. Baxendale’s previous research experience includes emotional, behavioral, biological, and survey self-reported data collection and quantitative analysis.

Ms. Baxendale received her bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth.

(413) 545-0001

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Jill Capitani

Research Manager

Jill Capitani

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. 

(617) 835-1612

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Christina Citino

Senior Research Manager

Christina Citino

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.

(413) 695-6963

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Christina DeMalia

Research Analyst II

Christina DeMalia

Christina DeMalia’s past experience includes data analyses, literature review, and conducting research on mental health. Prior to joining the Institute, she worked in the mental and behavioral health care field serving at-risk youths for Youth Opportunities Upheld Inc.

Ms. DeMalia has a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Nichols College.

(774) 455-7564

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Jeremiah Johnson

Senior Research Manager

Jeremiah Johnson

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 earned his bachelor's degree in mathematics from Whitworth University. He earned his master’s degree and doctorate in educational psychology from the University of Illinois, specializing in evaluation and statistics.

(774) 455-7377

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Tuğba Metinyurt

Senior Research Analyst

(413) 545-0001

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Marcela Osorio

Research Analyst

(413) 545-0001

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Aliza Porth

Research Manager

Aliza Porth

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) 577-2007

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Anthony Rainey

Senior Research Analyst

Anthony Rainey

Anthony Rainey is a quantitative sociologist specializing in the areas of workplaces, organizations, and labor market institutions. He has published research related to workplace bullying and rising between-workplace income inequalities in academic journals such as Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Work & Occupations, and Research in Social Stratification and Mobility. Prior to joining the Institute, Dr. Rainey was a postdoctoral researcher at the Harvard Kennedy School, working on a project related to shift-work scheduling practices in the American retail industry.

Dr. Rainey received his Ph.D. in Sociology at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. He received his bachelor's of science from Sam Houston State University.

(413) 545-0001

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Caitlin Rowley

Research Analyst

Caitlin Rowley

Caitlin Rowley's past research experience includes both qualitative and quantitative research methods, data analysis, and conducting literature reviews. Ms. Rowley's academic work focused on public policy analysis and political theory, for which she received a university-sponsored grant to conduct an in-depth assessment of farm animal welfare policy in the United States.  Prior to joining the institute, she was the district director for Massachusetts State Senator Michael J. Rodrigues.

Ms. Rowley received her bachelor’s degree in political science from Bridgewater State University.

(413) 545-0001

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Donna Spraggon

Research Manager

Donna Spraggon

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 at McMaster University and in education studies, policy and leadership concentration at Brock University.

(413) 813-5272

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Jackie Stein

Research Manager

Jackie Stein

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, Dr. Stein served in research and teaching roles focused on both qualitative and quantitative data analysis and worked as a public health program and research coordinator.

Dr. Stein earned 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.

(413) 577-2009

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Hanni Thoma

Research Manager

Hanni Thoma

Hanni has over ten years of experience in the higher education sector, with a strong background in qualitative research methodologies. Her previous publications have included research on international education, internationalization, and more recently inclusive education and the experiences of students and faculty with disabilities. Prior to joining ARPE, Hanni supported numerous local, state, and international education-based grants serving all ages from early childhood through post-secondary. She is a former Fulbright grantee and has previously taught at the high school and college levels in France and Hungary.

Hanni is a doctoral candidate in higher education at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She received her master’s in bilingual/ESL/multicultural education from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and her bachelor’s degree from Mount Holyoke College.

(413) 577-2005

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Sarah Young

Senior Research Analyst

Sarah Young

Sarah Young, M.S. is experienced in the mixed-method evaluation of public health and human services initiatives. She works primarily with community-based organizations running prevention and intervention programming and providing mental health services, and is particularly interested in work around the social determinants of health. She also has experience in evaluating education 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 is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in applied psychology and prevention science at the University of Massachusetts Lowell. She received a 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

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. 

(413) 577-2003

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University of Massachusetts Amherst

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