Nominated by key national policy and professional organizations, Research Connections Fellows participate in a special training on using the Research Connections Web site to respond to technical assistance requests from their members. Fellows also help inform the continual improvement of the site, the development of new policy-relevant site content, and the identification of timely policy research questions.
The current Research Connections Fellows are:
Sr. Project Director, Children and Family Services
The Finance Project
Christopher Barnes has more than 10 years of experience in managing multi-agency organizations and overseeing the fiscal operations of non-profits. He has significant expertise in board development and relationships, human resources, training and technical assistance, and deep knowledge of federal funding for children and youth. Before joining TFP, Chris was the Senior Director of Child & Family Services at St. Vincent de Paul of Baltimore. This division of St. Vincent's serves close to 900 children and families, employs 125 staff, and has a combined operating budget of approximately $8 million in seven sites throughout Baltimore. Chris is a graduate of the Johnson & Johnson Management training program at the Anderson Business School at UCLA and the NIKE Leadership Fellows Program at the NIKE World Headquarters in Portland, OR. These programs are geared to perfecting the skills of top-level managers in the field of private sector, non-profit entities. He holds a Masters of Public Administration and a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration.
Legislative Policy Associate
American Public Human Services Association
Rashida Brown is currently the legislative policy associate for the National Association of Public Child Welfare Administrators, an affiliate membership organization within the American Public Human Services Association (APHSA). She is also the staff liaison for the National Association of State Child Care Administrators. At APHSA, Ms. Brown serves public child welfare administrators and directors of Child Care and Development Fund Lead Agencies in all 50 states, U.S. territories and the District of Columbia. Her primary role is to inform state and local human services administrators and Governor-appointed commissioners on federal legislation, regulations and policies related to vulnerable children and families.
She works closely with Congress and the Administration on various children's issues, which include, but are not limited to, child welfare, child care and juvenile justice programs. Prior to her work at APHSA, she served as a social services administrator at the Maryland Department of Human Resources in Baltimore and worked in private adoptions and therapeutic foster care. Ms. Brown graduated with a masters' degree in social work from Howard University School of Social Work. She is licensed in Maryland and the District of Columbia.
Senior Research Analyst
Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care
Jennifer Louis is the Senior Research Analyst for the Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care (EEC). Her projects include managing the collection of state subsidy data and to produce state and federal reports on the use of subsidized children, licensed child care providers and the required quarterly reporting for the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funds for early childhood in Massachusetts.
Jennifer is also involved in providing survey design and data analysis to units in the Department of Early Education and Care as well as provides ad hoc analysis to both internal and external entities. Jennifer has been involved in research and statistical analysis for over 10 years. She is a member of the American Psychological Association. She received a B.A. from the University of Nevada and a M.A. from Bridgewater State University.
Child Care State Systems Specialist Network, A Service of the Office of Child Care
Ms. Mora has over six years of experience in the early care and education and child development fields. Her previous work experience as a family support worker, family resource specialist, and parent involvement specialist in Early Head Start programs have also helped her gain over two years of direct service experience in the areas of parent involvement, parent advocacy and education, and supporting child-parent relationships. As an Information Specialist for the Child Care State Systems Specialist (CCSSS) Network, she has used this experience to develop and disseminate information to support integrated, cross-sector systems, including early care and education, child welfare, and special education at the local, state, and national levels.
Ms. Mora has also specialized in the implementation and administration of the Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) program, focusing in the analyses of eligibility, payment rate, and parent co-payment policies. She has become more knowledgeable in state and territory program processes, including administrative and governance structures, program integrity, and system collaborations.
National Conference of State Legislatures
Julie Poppe is a Program Manager with the National Conference of State Legislatures' Child Care and Early Childhood Education Project in Denver, Colorado. She has been a member of the child care and early education project for over ten years where she provides a range of informational services to state legislators and legislative staff through technical assistance, publications, legislative educational presentations and research on issues related to early care and education for children from birth to age 5. Ms. Poppe has authored and co-authored publications on topics including child care financing, children's mental health services, infant and toddler development and care, and funding inclusive child care. She recently coauthored a report entitled, Early Care and Education State Budget Actions FY 2009 and is managing the report update for FY 2010. Ms. Poppe holds a Master's degree in public administration from the University of Colorado at Denver and a Bachelor's degree in social work from the University of Wyoming. She also has experience in health policy and served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Kyrgyzstan.
Assistant Policy Analyst
Education Commission of the States
Stephanie Rose serves as an Assistant Policy Analyst at ECS, dividing her time between early learning (P-3) related issues and general information clearinghouse tasks. Prior to joining ECS, Stephanie worked as an analyst in the field of climate and energy policy with ICF International, as well as an investment banking analyst at Peter J. Solomon Company. Stephanie holds a Bachelor of Business Administration from the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan, as well as a Master of Public Policy from the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan.
Tonja Rucker, Ph.D.
Senior Program Associate
National League of Cities
Dr. Tonja Rucker currently serves as the Senior Program Associate for Early Childhood Development in the Institute for Youth Education and Families at the National League of Cities (NLC). She is responsible for providing primary program support for the Institute's work in areas related to early childhood success. Prior to joining the NLC team, Tonja served as a Project Associate for the Quality Education for Minorities (QEM) Network in Washington, D.C. In this position, she provided support to several efforts aimed at motivating and supporting students at all academic levels to pursue careers in mathematics, science, and engineering (MSE). Prior to joining the QEM Tonja served as Transition Coordinator for Baltimore City Head Start and as an Adjunct Professor at the University of Maryland College Park. She has a doctorate in Human Development from the University of Maryland College Park and a BA in Psychology from Spelman College.
Director of the Center for Applied Research
National Association for the Education of Young Children
Kyle Snow is currently Senior Scholar, and Director of the Center for Applied Research, at the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). Prior to joining NAEYC in 2010, Dr. Snow was a senior research psychologist at Research Triangle International (RTI), where he was the Principal Investigator for the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study - Birth cohort study (ECLS-B). Prior to joining RTI in 2005, Dr. Snow was the Director of the National Institute of Child Health & Human Development Program in Early Learning and School Readiness. Dr. Snow holds an MA and Ph.D. in Human Development from Cornell University. His areas of specialization include infant and child development, the interface between early social and cognitive development, and children's transition to school. Dr. Snow is co-editor (and contributing author) of /School Readiness, Early Learning, and the Transition to Kindergarten in the era of Accountability/ (Brookes, 2007). He has published papers in a range of areas, and has prepared nearly 20 technical and government reports related to educational programs and educational policy.
Senior Policy Analyst
National Governors' Association
Amanda Szekely is a Senior Policy Analyst at the National Governors' Association, Center for Best Practices (NGA Center) where she contributes to the Education Division's early childhood projects.
Prior to joining the NGA Center, she was a senior associate at The Finance Project and supported states and communities in developing strategies to finance and sustain initiatives serving children and families. Ms. Szekely holds a master's degree in public policy from Georgetown University and a bachelor's degree in politics from Brandeis University.
Research Connections is supported by grant #90YE0104 from the Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The contents are solely the responsibility of the National Center for Children in Poverty and the Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research and do not necessarily represent the official views of the Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation, the Administration for Children and Families, or the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.