Paul Agnello, CUNY Research and Evaluation staff


Paul Agnello
Research Fellow

Bio

Paul Agnello is a Research Fellow for the Office of Research, Evaluation, and Program Support (REPS). Paul works closely with the CUNY’s Early College Initiative (ECI) to design and conduct formative and summative evaluations of ECI’s Early College High schools.

Paul earned a Bachelor’s degree in psychology from Brooklyn College and is currently finishing his Ph.D. in Industrial and Organizational Psychology at the CUNY Graduate Center. His research interests broadly focus on issues involving social impact. His areas of research include examining factors that reduce linguistic, cultural, and racial group score differences on cognitive ability tests, investigating the gender gap in mathematics performance, and the impact of corporate citizenship on employee engagement.

Email Paul at: paul.agnello@cuny.edu

Gina Ahn Research Analyst II, Research and Evaluation Staff


Gina Ahn
Research Analyst II

Bio

Gina Ahn is a Research Analyst II in the Office of Research, Evaluation, and Program Support (REPS), where she designs and implements quantitative and qualitative evaluations plans for continuing education and workforce development programs, the STEM Research Academy, and STEM programs at the American Museum of Natural History. She also supports the research and evaluation of college access, transition and success programs.

Prior to joining CUNY, Gina was a graduate research fellow at the National Center for Children and Families at Teachers College, Columbia University where she conducted research on parenting and maternal affect in different types of families, participated in an evaluation of New York City’s Pre-K for All initiative, and taught courses in applied research. Previously, she worked as the Manager of Data and Evaluation at Hyde Leadership Charter School where she conducted quantitative analyses of student achievement data to inform instruction and guide strategic organizational decisions.

Gina received her B.A. degree in Economics and Psychology from Brandeis University, an M.Ed. in Human Development and Psychology from Harvard University Graduate School of Education, and an M.S. in Applied Statistics from Teachers College, Columbia University. She is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology at Teachers College, Columbia University.

Email Gina at: gina.ahn@cuny.edu

Nathaniel Barr Administrative Assistant, Research and Evaluation Staff


Nathaniel Barr
Administrative Assistant

Bio

Nathaniel Barr is an Administrative Assistant in the Office of Research, Evaluation, and Program Support (REPS), where he provides administrative support, facilitates meetings and events, and assists with REPS communications and publications.

Prior to joining CUNY, Nathaniel was an Editorial and Office Assistant at the legal magazine publisher The Best Lawyers in America, where he wrote about lawyers and legal topics and completed general office administration tasks. He has also worked as a freelance copywriter and editor, assisting clients with everything from copyediting book manuscripts to producing online marketing materials.

Nathaniel received his B.A. in Creative Writing and Film Studies and M.A. in English Studies from Western Washington University, in Bellingham, WA.

Email Nathaniel at: nathaniel.barr@cuny.edu

Andrew Byrum, Research Assistant, CUNY Research and Evaluation Staff


Andrew Byrum
Research Assistant

Bio

Andrew Byrum is a Research Assistant in the Office of Research, Evaluation, and Program Support (REPS). Andrew works with the Early College Initiative (ECI), helping to evaluate both enrollment and outcome data, at the high school and postsecondary level.

Prior to joining CUNY, Andrew worked as a Research Assistant in the Columbia Sociology Department, exploring the ways in which horticulture is accessed, experienced, and facilitated for disparate groups—employing qualitative interviews and ethnographic observation.

Andrew received his M.A. in sociology from Columbia University. In the future, he hopes to continue conducting applied research—using data, in all its forms, to better understand and address social and economic issues.

Email Andrew at: andrew.byrum@cuny.edu

Birunda Chelliah, Research Analyst I, Research and Evaluation Staff


Birunda Chelliah
Research Analyst II

Bio

Birunda Chelliah is a Research Analyst II with the Office of Research, Evaluation, and Program Support (REPS), where she works on developing and implementing quantitative and qualitative evaluation assessments for programs such as College Now, CUNY LINCT to Success, Debating U.S. History, Continuing Education and Workforce Development, and the CUNY Start Strategic Technology Initiative.

Prior to joining CUNY, Birunda worked as a data analyst for Social Explorer at Queens College, analyzing demographic and population trends using data from the U.S. census, NYC Administration for Children’s Services, and the General Social Survey. In addition, her experience with data-related projects range from shopper marketing research for Coca-Cola at Ogilvy & Mather to quantitative program evaluation at the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs. Birunda currently teaches Applied Statistics as an Adjunct Lecturer at the Sociology department of Queens College.

Birunda received a B.B.A from Hong Kong University of Science & Technology in Global Business and Marketing and a M.A in Data Analytics and Applied Social Research from Queens College.

Email Birunda at: birunda.chelliah@cuny.edu

Carla Davis, Research Analyst I, Research and Evaluation Staff


Carla Davis
Research Analyst I

Bio

Carla Davis is a Research Analyst I in the Office of Research, Evaluation, and Program Support (REPS), where she implements quantitative and qualitative approaches to evaluation on collaborative programs and workforce development, such as the STEM Research Academy, CUNY Service Corps, and the CPC-SPS Urban Parks Initiative.

Prior to joining REPS, Carla was a statistics tutor and a teaching assistant for Research Methodology in the Sociology department at Queens College where she helped students effectively understand and apply research methods. She also presented findings and suggestions to senior officials regarding the processes of advising, financial aid, and budgetary practices that will enhance student, faculty, and staff experiences at Queens College. Previously, she worked as an Assistant Procurement Analyst in the Office of Buildings and Grounds at Queens College where she managed databases for budget allocations and expenditures to enhance vendor relations and improve organizational decision-making.

Carla received her B.A. degree in Psychology and Sociology with a minor concentration in Business and Liberal Arts, and an M.A. in Data Analytics & Applied Social Research from Queens College. She is also currently an Adjunct Lecturer for Applied Statistics in the Sociology department at Queens College.

Email Carla at: carla.davis@cuny.edu

Vernisa Donaldson, Research Analyst II, Research and Evaluation Staff


Vernisa Donaldson
Research Analyst II

Bio

Vernisa Donaldson is a Research Analyst II in the Office of Research, Evaluation, and Program Support (REPS), where she supports ongoing research and evaluation of CUNY Start, Math Start, CUNY Start-ASAP Foster Care Initiative research project, and the CUNY Start Strategic Technology Initiative. She conducts data collection, management, and analysis to inform day-to-day decision-making and ongoing program evaluation.

Prior to joining REPS, Vernisa worked on research related to her interest in stratification and inequality (particularly in educational institutions) and identity formation. As a member of the steering committee for the mixed-methods research project, CUNY as a Lab, Vernisa oversaw the development of a survey instrument that measured CUNY undergraduate students’ engagement with their coursework and campus, as well as students’ perceptions of their preparedness for college-level work. Vernisa has also worked extensively on the Social Justice Sexuality Project, where her analyses were utilized in many reports, publications, and presentations at academic and professional conferences.

Vernisa received a B.A. in Psychology from Hunter College and her M.S. in Applied Social Research at Hunter College, with a focus on public policy research.

Email Vernisa at: vernisa.donaldson@cuny.edu

Alex Gensemer, Research Analyst II, Research and Evaluation Staff


Alex Gensemer
Research Analyst II

Bio

Alexandra Gensemer is a Research Analyst II in the Office of Research, Evaluation, and Program Support (REPS), where she conducts program evaluations. Her projects include Tutor Corps, CUNY Start Strategic Technology Initiative, Early College Initiative, and HRA – CUNY Sustaining Veteran Success Program.

Prior to joining CUNY, Alexandra worked at the McSilver Institute for Poverty Policy and Research at NYU Silver School of Social Work as a Research Assistant and then Program Manager. During her time at the McSilver Institute, she conducted evaluations of after-school programs, managed care technical assistance, collaborative care healthcare models, and global programs using mixed methods approaches. Alexandra has worked extensively in schools, as both a school social work intern at PS 132X Garret A. Morgan Elementary and as the undergraduate lab manager of the of the Wells Lab, which coordinated the USDA’s “Healthy Gardens, Healthy Youth” People’s Garden School Pilot Project, a national randomized control trial.

Alexandra received a B.S. in Human Development from Cornell University’s College of Human Ecology and a Master of Social Work from New York University Silver School of Social Work. She is currently a doctoral student at Rutgers School of Social Work, interested in the intersection of social work and education.

Email Alex at: alexandra.gensemer@cuny.edu

Darren Kwong, Research Analyst II, Research and Evaluation Staff


Darren Kwong
Research Analyst II

Bio

Darren Kwong is a Research Analyst II in the Office of Research, Evaluation, and Program Support (REPS), where he leads and/or supports quantitative and qualitative evaluations and research on the CUNY Language Immersion Program (CLIP), Math and Science Project (MSP), and CUNY Tutor Corps.

Before joining the REPS team, Darren was the program coordinator and research assistant at the CUNY Data Mining Initiative. He explored the use of data mining methods in social science research and assessments within nonprofit organizations. He also coordinated a seminar series that brought in renowned data mining scholars and researchers to provide lectures and workshops.

He received his Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Vassar College and Master of Philosophy in Sociology from the CUNY Graduate Center. Currently, he is a doctoral candidate in sociology at the CUNY Graduate Center. His research focuses on the incorporation of racial justice lenses in climate change movements and the politics of emotions.

Email Darren at: darren.kwong@cuny.edu

Hyein Lee, Research Analyst II, Research and Evaluation Staff


Hyein Lee
Research Analyst II

Bio

Hyein Lee is a Research Analyst II in the Office of Research, Evaluation, and Program Support (REPS), where she leads and supports ongoing quantitative and qualitative assessment of TheDream.US, CUNY Start-ASAP Foster Care Initiative research project, and CUNY Service Corps.

Prior to joining REPS, Hyein was a program counselor at the New Americans Welcome Center (NAWC) in Flushing, Queens, where she helped operate a referral service for immigrant families, as well as tracking the progress of clients participating in literacy classes offered at the NAWC.

Hyein received a B.A. in History from New York University and is currently a Ph.D. candidate in Sociology at the CUNY Graduate Center. Her research focuses on undocumented students in higher education. She also teaches courses in sociology across CUNY campuses.

Email Hyein at: hyein.lee@cuny.edu

Karen Okigbo, Research Fellow, Research and Evaluation Staff


Karen Okigbo
Research Fellow

Bio

Karen Okigbo is a Research Fellow in the Office of Research, Evaluation, and Program Support (REPS), where she supports the ongoing research and evaluation of the Creative Arts Team Astor-funded Early Learning Program (CAT-Astor ELP).

Prior to joining REPS, Karen worked as the Research Coordinator at the University of Pennsylvania’s Out-of-School Time Center (OSTRC). In that role, she conducted research regarding promising practices in out-of-school time (OST) professional development, OST professionalism and professional identity, and evaluation frameworks for workshops and conferences. Her research endeavors ranged from studies on adult learning to conducting and administering focus groups, interviews, and surveys about professional development.

Karen graduated from Princeton University with a B.A. in Politics. She has an M.S. in Sociology from North Dakota State University and an M.S. in Social Policy from the University of Pennsylvania. She is currently a Ph.D. student in the Sociology Department at the CUNY Graduate Center, where her scholarship focuses on immigration, race, ethnicity, and education. At the Graduate Center, Karen is a senior research associate at the Center for Latin American, Caribbean & Latino Studies (CLACLS) and a Mellon Teaching Fellow.

Email Karen at: karen.okigbo@cuny.edu

Vanessa Paul, Research Analyst II, Research and Evaluation Staff


Vanessa Paul
Research Analyst II

Bio

Vanessa Joi Paul is a Research Analyst II with the Office of Research, Evaluation, and Program Support (REPS), where she leads the program evaluation and research of the Early College Initiative (ECI) and CUNY EDGE programs and supports the data collection and analysis in the evaluation of the Creative Arts Team Early Learning Program (CAT-ELP).

Prior to joining REPS, Vanessa was a part-time research analyst at CUNY’s Office of Institutional Research and Assessment (OIRA), where she was tasked with submitting data for internal and external requests concerning CUNY students’ educational outcomes. She analyzed missing data patterns within the Department of Labor’s wage data for CUNY graduates as well. Aside from her work at OIRA, Vanessa has worked as a CUNY adjunct lecturer and has taught various undergraduate courses, such as Social Statistics I and Sociology of Education.

Vanessa graduated from Princeton University with a B.A. in Sociology. She is currently a Ph.D. student in the Sociology Department at the CUNY Graduate Center. At the Graduate Center, Vanessa has had the opportunity to work with leading academics on various research projects. She most recently contributed to Philip Kasinitz and Sharon Zukin’s book, Global Cities, Local Streets: Everyday Diversity from New York to Shanghai, as a research assistant. Additionally, she has presented her own original research at national sociological conferences, such as the American Sociological Association. In 2016, Vanessa was awarded a Doctoral Student Research Grant, which she will devote to the development of her dissertation on black women’s social justice activism on college campuses.

Email Vanessa at: vanessa.paul@cuny.edu

Simon Sandh, Research Assistant, Research and Evaluation Staff


Simon Sandh
Research Assistant

Bio

Simon Sandh is a Research Assistant in the Office of Research, Evaluation, and Program Support (REPS) where he supports ongoing research and evaluation of the CUNY Start-ASAP Foster Care Initiative Research Project.

Prior to joining REPS, Simon worked on research projects focused on health disparities among marginalized populations, specifically HIV/AIDS. In 2015 he worked with a research team at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine/Montefiore Medical Center to test the feasibility of using gay social networking sites to link underserved and hidden populations, (e.g., men who have sex with men and transgender individuals) to HIV preventative care. Simon has also worked with HealthyCUNY to develop a web-based application for CUNY students to gain information about and access to various health resources.

Simon received a B.A. in Psychology from Hunter College and a Master of Public Health in Community Health Education from the CUNY School of Public Health, with a concentration in maternal, child, sexual, and reproductive health. He is currently a doctoral student at New York University’s College of Global Public Health.

Email Simon at: simon.sandh@cuny.edu

Ellen Studer, Research Analyst I, CUNY Office of Research, Evaluation and Program Support staff


Ellen Studer
Research Analyst I

Bio

Ellen Studer is a Research Analyst I in the Office of Research, Evaluation, and Program Support (REPS), where she assists in the design and implementation of qualitative and quantitative evaluation plans for CUNY Start, Math Start, LINCT for All, Bridge for All, Strive for Success, and the CUNY Language Immersion Program (CLIP).

Prior to joining REPS, Ellen was a Data Fellow with the NYC Mayor’s Office for Economic Opportunity (NYC Opportunity), where she performed statistical analyses and contributed to report writing and editing to support the development of the annual New York City Poverty Measure. Previously, she served as a Graduate Intern with NYC Opportunity, facilitating the performance reporting and evaluation coordination of various New York City programs and initiatives.

Ellen received her Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the University of Minnesota, and her Masters of Public Administration with a focus on Public Policy Analysis from the NYU Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service.

Email Ellen at: ellen.studer@cuny.edu

Millie Olivia Sims, Research Analyst II, CUNY Office of Research, Evaluatio and Program Support staff


Millie Olivia Symns
Research Analyst II

Bio

Millie Olivia Symns is a Research Analyst II in the Office of Research, Evaluation, and Program Support (REPS), where she conducts program evaluation. Her projects include CUNY Start, College Now, Early College Initiative (ECI) and Math and Science Partnership (MSP).

Before joining CUNY, Millie worked at the NYU Child & Family Policy Center at NYU Steinhardt as an intern and then as a Research Assistant. During her time at the NYU Child & Family Policy Center, she conducted quantitative and qualitative analysis on phone calls with New York City and New York state preschool teachers, created materials for training, presentations, and professional developments regarding the topic of authentic assessment. Additionally, she managed a monthly newsletter to disseminate literature and best practices to preschool teachers. Millie also worked on other projects including civic engagement and research on the first-generation college student experience.

Millie received B.A. in Sociology at Randolph College (formally known as Randolph-Macon Women’s College) and her M.A. in Human Development and Social Intervention (Applied Psychology Research) at New York University Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development.

Email Millie at: milllie.symns@cuny.edu

Sangdong (Sandy) Tak, Research Analyst I, Research and Evaluation Staff


Sangdong (Sandy) Tak
Research Analyst I

Bio

Sangdong (Sandy) Tak is a Research Analyst I in the Office of Research, Evaluation, and Program Support (REPS), where he supports the quantitative and qualitative evaluation of CUNY Start, Math Start, and TheDream.US scholarship program.

Prior to joining REPS, Sangdong was an assessment manager in the Division of Student Affairs at John Jay College, where he helped departments identify methods to evaluate their programs and design annual assessment plans. In addition, Sangdong has taught research methods and statistics to undergraduate and graduate students across CUNY campuses since 2014.

Sangdong received an M.A. in Philanthropic Studies at Indiana University Purdue University-Indianapolis (IUPUI), concentrating on the nonprofit sector and civic engagement. He is now a Ph.D. student in Sociology at the CUNY Graduate Center.

Email Sandy at: sangdong.tak@cuny.edu