PROJECT DIRECTORS

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 CrimeSolutions.gov—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 CrimeSolutions.gov database for the National Institute of Justice and the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention’s Model Programs Guide (MPG). For the MPG, CrimeSolutions.gov, 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 the federal Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention’s Targeted Community Action Planning initiative, which assisted localities around the country with suppression of serious and violent crime committed by their most difficult juvenile offender populations. In 2000 Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore appointed him chief deputy and then acting director of the 2,700-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 Meredith is the project director for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA’s) Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (CSAT) DATA Waiver Processing and Support project. He manages the day-to-day operations of the Buprenorphine Information Center, overseeing contract performance, monitoring contractual milestones, tracking budget expenditures, evaluating adherence to federal and organizational policies, and providing dissemination activities, including drafting quarterly and semiannual project reports. Mr. Meredith oversees the maintenance of the Buprenorphine Waiver Notification System, an online database that uses a customized software application to process more than 3,000 new waivers and more than 1,500 increase waivers for physicians who wish to prescribe buprenorphine. He provides technical expertise in all health and human service regulations, laws and practices pertaining to the Drug Enforcement Administration’s SUPPORT (for Substance Use Disorder Prevention that Promotes Opioid Recovery and Treatment Act and the Comprehensive Addiction Recovery Act.

He has more than 13 years of pharmaceutical industry experience with a concentration in behavioral medications and disease prevention and has collaborated and built relationships with SAMHSA, particularly with CSAT, the American Society of Addiction Medicine, and American Association for the Treatment of Opioid Dependence. He was also instrumental in the development of drug courts in the Washington, D.C., area. He provided leadership to projects of national significance such as CSAT’s Enhancing Substance Abuse Treatment Service to Address Hepatitis Infection Among Intravenous Drug Users and its Treatment Strategies to Address Prescription Drug Misuse and Abuse contract where he served as the Project Director for both contracts.

Favorite quote: “Live life to the fullest and live with no regrets!” Edith Meredith

Robin LaSota, Ph.D.

Robin LaSota is a senior research scientist at DSG and has extensive experience as a mixed-methods researcher, program evaluator, and technical assistance provider in the education, human services, and youth development fields. She has performed research syntheses 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 has assisted with evidence-based repositories such as the National Institute of Justice’s CrimeSolutions.gov.

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 Stephenson is the project director for the National Institute of Justice’s CrimeSolutions.gov and the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention’s Model Programs Guide (the MPG). She has worked on the CrimeSolutions project since its inception in 2010, previously serving as the project coordinator. She initially assisted in the development of research protocols and content featured on the site. She worked with IT staff to create an Internal Program Database to store all information on studies found through the literature search and later developed a similar database to code and store information on meta-analyses for potential practices. She is responsible for entering program and practice profiles and summaries into the CrimeSolutions Administrative System. Since 2013, she has conducted nine conference presentations and five webinars for CrimeSolutions.gov and the MPG. She worked with meta-analytic experts to develop the Practices Scoring Instrument, which is used to assess the quality of all met-analyses included on CrimeSolutions.gov. She also worked on developing, updating, and enhancing the CrimeSolutions Program Scoring Instrument. She coordinated the process to review the first 125 programs included in the CrimeSolutions.gov database, at the launch of CrimeSolutions.gov, and the first 15 practices for the re-launch of the site. In addition, she has since overseen the expansion of the database, which currently houses more than 608 programs and more than 100 practices.

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 Grotpeter serves as a senior research scientist in DSG’s Justice and Education Divisions. In her career that has spanned more than 25 years, in roles ranging from research director to principal investigator (PI), she has conducted basic and evaluation research on gender, peer aggression, delinquency, and violence across the lifespan. Dr. Grotpeter has lent her evaluation expertise to several youth violence and crime prevention program repositories throughout her career. Specifically, she was a study reviewer and coauthored 6 of the first 10 volumes of the Blueprints for Violence Prevention (now Blueprints for Healthy Youth Development) series. Currently, she serves as a senior researcher and as a senior analyst for the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention’s Model Programs Guide and the National Institute of Justice’s (NIJ’s) CrimeSolutions.gov.

Dr. Grotpeter co-founded the study of relational aggression, a form of peer aggression that uses the manipulation of social relationships as the instrument of harm. At the University of Colorado at Boulder, she used the most recent waves of data from the National Youth Survey Family Study (on which she was an investigator) to conduct, as PI, two NIJ–funded grants addressing sexual and intimate-partner violence. At DSG, she is currently the project director on two systematic review and meta-analytic studies funded under NIJ’s Comprehensive School Safety Initiative.

As Co–PI, she provided evaluation expertise to dozens of State of Colorado–funded youth violence prevention and intervention programs. Also as Co–PI, Dr. Grotpeter conducted the field effort and managed the longitudinal dataset for a multisite, NIJ–funded process and outcome evaluation of Bully-Proofing Your School (a program featured on CrimeSolutions.gov). She recently served as the Process Evaluation Task Lead, Site Liaison, and Research Analyst for a performance evaluation of Colorado’s Division of Youth Services (DYS), which assessed selected juvenile justice policies and practices of DYS and of DYS–supported juvenile justice secure facilities throughout Colorado. She is currently serving as research analyst on a landscape assessment of reentry programs serving juveniles in the city of Baltimore, Md., and will soon serve as Co–PI and lead the formative evaluation on an NIJ–funded assessment of a juvenile corrections executive leadership training.

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 Whiteley is the project director for the Faith- and Community-Based Youth Violence Prevention Training and Technical Assistance (T&TA) Initiative, which DSG operates for the federal Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP). The project aims to increase the capacities of small faith- and community-based organizations to effectively address and prevent youth violence within a larger collaborative framework and increase the number of organizations joining these efforts.

Earlier, Ms. Whiteley was deputy project director of OJJDP’s Youth Violence Prevention (YVP) T&TA project. She provided support on all aspects of the grant, including assisting in content development for DSG’s comprehensive quarterly T&TA strategy; overseeing strategic planning technical assistance for OJJDP’s newest grantee sites; managing a pool of expert advisers; efforts related to planning the Fifth National Summit on Preventing Youth Violence; maintaining content of project databases; coordinating quarterly YVP Site Director calls; responding to all T&TA requests; and the implementation of Webinars. During her graduate studies, Ms. Whiteley interned at Vera Institute of Justice and supported its nine-part juvenile justice briefing series on Capitol Hill.

Elizabeth Spinney, MPP

Elizabeth Spinney is the Institute of Community Studies’ project director on a landscape assessment of reentry programs serving juveniles in the city of Baltimore, Md. (The Institute of Community Studies in the nonprofit arm of Development Services Group, Inc.)

She also serves as a DSG data analyst for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s DATA (for Drug Addiction Treatment Act) Waiver Processing and Support project. Ms. Spinney is experienced in data collection and automated data processing solutions and methodologies. She is responsible for exporting, transforming, and interpreting data generated from the Buprenorphine Waiver Notification System (a FileMaker database), which includes information on more than 70,000 providers who have applied for or received federal waivers to prescribe buprenorphine. In this project role, she gathers and analyzes data from primary and secondary sources pertaining to opioid overdoses, deaths, and the overall utilization across the United States. She uses these data to track trends and patterns and to provide visualizations.

Ms. Spinney is DSG’s resident expert on disproportionate minority contact. Previously, Ms. Spinney was 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 and the deputy project director for OJJDP’s research study Expanding the Use of Disproportionate Minority Contact: Data Analysis of Patterns to Identify Best Practices, where she led the systematic review of literature, analyzed state and local data for more than 1,500 jurisdictions in OJJDP’s national database, and conducted case study research.

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. A former Peace Corps volunteer, she worked with at-risk and systems-involved children through the Urban Youth Development program. She earned his master’s in public policy from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government.