Stephen V. Gies, Ph.D.

Stephen Gies, Ph.D., is the director of research and evaluation at Development Services Group, Inc., specializing in research and evaluation, advanced statistical analysis, policy analysis, program development, database management, and translating research into practice. He has overseen more than a dozen criminal and juvenile justice research projects for the National Institute of Justice, the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, and other federal and state agencies. He is also the principal designer of the Office of Justice Program’s—an online database of evidence-based programs and practices encompassing a broad range of criminal justice, juvenile justice, and victims’ topics—and was formerly the quality of research review manager and principal designer for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s restyled National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices, a program and policy development tool for mental health and substance misuse. His research interests focus on the commercial sexual exploitation of children and human trafficking, emerging technology trends and their impact on crime, identity theft and financial abuse, the intersection of sports and crime, and evidence-based policymaking. His research has been published in several book chapters and peer-reviewed professional and policy journals, including the Justice Evaluation Journal, Victims and Offenders, Criminal Justice Studies, Journal of Ethnographic and Qualitative Research, and Corrections Today. He received his Ph.D. from American University School of Public Affairs.

Fran Harmon, Ph.D.

Fran Harmon, Ph.D., is a senior research scientist with more than 25 years of experience specializing in evidence review, evidence-based repositories, best-practice dissemination, program research, evaluation, and project management. Her substantive areas of expertise include child and adolescent development, education, behavioral health, and criminal and juvenile justice. Her specific experience is with programs, practices, research, and evaluation on disconnected youth, youth at risk for dropping out of school, and youths who are otherwise ill-prepared for adulthood. Dr. Harmon is currently the project director for two contracts through the U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences (IES): Reviews, Reporting, Dissemination, and Development, which conducts reviews of individual studies identified through grant competitions; and the Statistics, Website, and Training subcontract, in partnership with AIR, which audits a targeted sample of studies. As project director, Dr. Harmon monitors the projects’ scope, resources, and schedule and oversees the finances to ensure that the projects progress on time and on budget and meet the needs of IES and other stakeholders. She also is a senior researcher for juvenile justice programs for the database for the National Institute of Justice and the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention’s Model Programs Guide (MPG). For the MPG,, and IES’s What Works Clearinghouse evidence repositories, Dr. Harmon conducts evidence assessments using similar criteria, such as quality of the conceptual framework, study design, confounding factors, program fidelity, and the magnitude of the program’s effects on outcomes.

Favorite quote: “Dream until your dreams come true.” —Steven Tyler

David Marsden

Dave Marsden has been involved in juvenile justice since 1970 when he began a career in juvenile justice as a Probation Officer with the Fairfax County Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court. He directed OJJDP’s Targeted Community Action Planning (TCAP) initiative, which assisted localities around the country with suppression of serious and violent crime committed by their most difficult juvenile offender populations. In 2000 Gov. Jim Gilmore appointed him Chief Deputy and then Acting Director of the 2700 person Virginia Department of Juvenile Justice. He was responsible for a budget of $235 million and the operation of 11 Juvenile Correctional Institutions and 31 Court Probation/Parole Units. He established a strategy for obtaining Federal reimbursement of administrative costs for foster care prevention, authored Virginia’s blended sentencing law and created a statewide video intake system. Mr. Marsden served 6 months in the administration of Gov. Mark Warner. Mr. Marsden was elected in 2005 to the Virginia House of Delegates and elected to the State Senate in 2010.

Sean Meredith, MBA

Sean is a Project Director on the Data Waiver Management Contract for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, and is an expert in substance abuse treatment, and experience in performing a range of managerial functions for large contracts with complex activities. Through his leadership in prescription drug use, misuse, and abuse for the prescription drug contract, he frequently collaborated with other federal agencies such the National Institutes of Health NIH, the Food and Drug Administration FDA, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy. Favorite quote: Live life to the fullest and live with no regrets! —Edith Meredith

Robin LaSota, Ph.D.

Robin is a Senior Research Scientist at DSG and has extensive experience as a mixed-methods researcher, program evaluator, and technical assistance provider in the field of education, human services, and youth development. She has performed research synthesis for the Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education; research review and practice guide development for the What Works Clearinghouse Evidence Review and Support for Post-Secondary Education, for the Institute of Education Sciences; and assistance with evidence-based repositories such as the National Institute of Justice’s

Favorite quote: You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face…You must do the thing you cannot do.—Eleanor Roosevelt

Rachel Stephenson, M.A.

Rachel serves as the Project Director for the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention’s Model Programs Guide, an online database of over 260 evidence-based juvenile justice and youth prevention, intervention, and reentry programs. She also serves as the project director for the National Institute of Justice’s, an online database that uses rigorous research to inform practitioners and policymakers about evidence-based programs and practices in criminal justice, juvenile justice, and crime victim services. Prior to her work at DSG, she was a graduate intern with the International Association of Chiefs of Police and completed a year of service with the AmeriCorps*VISTA program.

Favorite quote: Any state, any entity, any ideology that fails to recognize the worth, the dignity, the rights of man, that state is obsolete. — Rod Sterling

Jennifer Grotpeter, Ph.D.

Jennifer is a Research Scientist with 25 years of experience conducting basic and applied research on aggression, violence, and delinquency with children and youth. At DSG, she serves as a Senior Research Analyst for She is also a Senior Research Analyst for the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention’s Model Programs Guide. She was formerly a research director for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention–funded National Center of Excellence: Denver Collaborative to Reduce Youth Violence. Favorite quote: We need to stop just pulling people out of the river. We need to go upstream and find out why they’re falling in. – Desmond Tutu, Archbishop Emeritus of Cape Town, South Africa


Scottie Whiteley, M.A.

Scottie is a DSG Deputy Project Director, working on the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention’s Youth Violence Prevention Training and Technical Assistance Project. She provides support on all aspects of the grant, including DSG’s comprehensive quarterly TTA strategy, efforts related to planning the Fifth National Summit on Preventing Youth Violence, maintaining current content of project databases, and coordinating quarterly YVP Site Director calls and bi-monthly small group TA calls. She has a master ‘s degree in forensic and Legal Psychology from Marymount University. During her graduate studies, Ms. Whiteley interned at Vera Institute of Justice and supported their nine-part juvenile justice briefing series on Capitol Hill.

Elizabeth Spinney

Elizabeth Spinney , MPP Elizabeth is DSG’s resident expert on disproportionate minority contact. She has contributed to numerous research projects, articles, and reports, and coordinated training and technical assistance for various juvenile justice, criminal justice, child welfare, and education projects. She currently serves as the Project Director for the Office of Juvenile Delinquency and Prevention’s (OJJDP’s) Technical Assistance to End Racial and Ethnic Disparities in the Juvenile Justice System. A former volunteer for the Peace Corps , she worked with at-risk and systems-involved children through the Urban Youth Development program