Our Team

The Center consists of a team of faculty and staff evaluation experts committed to applying cutting-edge evaluation theory and methodology to provide clients with high quality evaluation services. CREEHS takes a unique team approach to evaluation services. The team is comprised of CREEHS personnel and affiliated Montclair State University faculty members.

Center Personnel

Director: Eden Nagler Kyse, PhD

Eden_Kyse Photo Eden N. Kyse has expertise in program evaluation, research design, qualitative and quantitative methodology, statistical analysis, and data maintenance. She has managed several large-scale and small-scale evaluations, including those focused on teacher professional development; literacy, mathematics, science, and STEM; early reading tutoring; and community health. This work has been funded by grants from the U.S. Department of Education and the National Science Foundation, and by contracts with local educational agencies and foundations. Dr. Kyse has also worked as a statistical consultant and taught college courses in Educational Psychology and Research Design. She holds a doctorate in Educational Psychology, specializing in Quantitative Methods and Psychological Research.

Senior Research Associate: Erin M. Bunger, MPH

Erin Bunger photo Erin M. Bunger has experience using collaborative and participatory approaches to evaluate, research and plan public health initiatives focusing on at-risk populations. She managed several evaluations and research projects related to policy and environmental changes to prevent chronic disease. These included state and local level obesity and tobacco prevention initiatives in a variety of settings such as community-based organizations, schools, early care and education centers and local governments. She also has expertise in planning and evaluating partnerships, clinical interventions and health-related legislation. Ms. Bunger holds a Master of Public Health in Health Behavior and Health Education from the Gillings School of Public Health at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Senior Research Associate: Rebecca Swann-Jackson, MEd

Rebecca Swan Jackson photo Rebecca Swann-Jackson has over ten years of experience as an evaluator of educational programs and community-based initiatives serving urban children and families. She has managed evaluations for varied clients, including school districts, state departments of education, community organizations and foundations, and child welfare agencies. An experienced methodologist, she has applied evaluation principles to projects focused on school-based programs for at-risk youth, school reform, family homelessness, community health, community revitalization, systems integration and systems change, child welfare, substance use, and school violence. Ms. Swann-Jackson has a MEd from Rutgers University, with a concentration in Statistics, Measurement, and Evaluation.

Research Associate: Lina Acosta, MPH

Lina Acosta   Lina M. Acosta has experience in conducting clinical research, administering clinical assessments, and collecting, managing and analyzing data. She has coordinated research studies focusing on Multicultural Psychotherapeutic Interventions for Child Sexual Abuse funded by the US Department of Health and Human Services Federal Appropriations Grant. In addition, Ms. Acosta has worked collaboratively with law enforcement, prosecution, child protection, mental health and medical professionals to advocate and provide support to child victims of abuse and their families. Ms. Acosta holds a Master of Public Health in Quantitative Methods from Rutgers School of Public Health - Newark.

Research Associate: Jessica Marini, PhD

Jessica Marini picture Jessica Marini has experience in educational research, quantitative methods, and assessment.  Her previous research includes examining large-scale assessments such as the PSAT/NMSQT and Advanced Placement tests using descriptive and advanced statistical methods ranging from regression, cluster analysis, and hierarchical linear modeling.  She has also worked on a multi-year, grant-funded project developing curriculum-based measures and a diagnostic interview for elementary school children, and consulted on the quantitative analyses and reports.  For her dissertation, Jessica developed a measurement-based method for causal inference.  She has a PhD from Columbia University in Measurement and Evaluation as well as a MA in Statistics.

Research Assistant: Joyvin Benton (part-time)

Joyvin Benton is working part-time while pursuing a PhD in Urban Systems with a concentration in Education Policy at Rutgers-Newark.

Research Assistant: Alyssa Byrne (part-time)

Alyssa Byrne is working part-time as a Research Assistant in CREEHS. She has recently completed her Masters of Arts in Counseling with a concentration in School Counseling at Montclair State University.

Graduate Research Assistants

Margaret Nicholas-Alexander is pursuing a Masters of Arts degree in Public Health at MSU.
Meredith Oshman
is pursuing a Master of Arts degree in Counseling at MSU.
Alyssa Sceppaguercio is pursuing a Masters of Arts degree in Counseling at MSU.
Kelsey Wilson is pursuing a Masters of Arts degree in Counseling at MSU.
Sivuyisiwe Wonci is pursuing a Masters of Arts degree in Public Health at MSU.


Affiliated Faculty Members

Amanda S. Birnbaum, PhD  Department of Health and Nutrition Sciences

Dr. Amanda Birnbaum, an Associate Professor in the Department of Health and Nutrition Sciences at Montclair State University, received her PhD from the University of Minnesota School of Public Health, and her MPH from the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University. Her research focuses on understanding and improving health behaviors, particularly related to eating and physical activity. Working from a social ecological perspective, Dr. Birnbaum combines quantitative and qualitative methods to investigate social environmental factors, such as neighborhood and school environments, as they relate to diet, physical activity, and other health behaviors. She has extensive experience with school-based studies, and was the principal investigator of the Good Fit Project, a National Cancer Institute funded, mixed-methods formative evaluation study of physical activity among multiethnic adolescents living in urban areas. Dr. Birnbaum also collaborates on developing and evaluating both local and national initiatives aimed at promoting healthier eating and physical activity among families and communities, working with partners such as the Healthy Children Healthy Futures initiative, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Foundation, and the local initiative, Eat. Play. Live…Better.

Brian V. Carolan, PhD The Graduate School

Dr. Brian Carolan , Interim Associate Dean in the Graduate School at Montclair State University, received his PhD in Sociology and Education from Teachers College, Columbia University.  Dr. Carolan is a sociologist of education whose areas of expertise include social networks and quantitative research methods.  His work has been funded by a number of sources, including the National Science Foundation, and has appeared in publications such as Social Networks, Journal of Youth and Adolescence, and Journal of Research on Adolescence

Elizabeth J. Erwin, EdD  Department of Early Childhood, Elementary and Literacy Education

Dr. Elizabeth Erwin is Professor and Graduate Program Coordinator for the Inclusive Early Childhood Education Program at Montclair State University.  Her research and advocacy over the past 20 years have focused on building classroom communities for diverse young learners, creating family-professional partnerships, and fostering practices that support learning and well-being in inclusive environments.  Dr. Erwin served as Co-Principal Investigator on a 3 year federally-funded collaborative grant on building foundations for self-determination in young children with disabilities and home-school partnerships.  She is committed to translating research into practice for a range of audiences and exploring how innovative research models can be applied to early childhood intervention.

Leslie Kooyman, PhD Department of Counseling and Educational Leadership

Dr. Leslie Kooyman, Assistant Professor in the Counseling and Educational Leadership Department at Montclair State University, received his PhD in 2007 from University of North Carolina at Charlotte. He teaches and advises students seeking master’s degrees and PhD degrees in Counseling and Counselor Education. His research focuses on understanding the factors influencing decisions around HIV transmission and sexual risk-taking behavior among marginalized populations. He has presented at numerous national professional conferences and has published a number of articles in his research area. He also provides evaluation and consultation services to nonprofit organizations and schools.  He has been a community leader and social justice advocate working in HIV/AIDS for the past twenty-five years. In 1985, he founded Metrolina AIDS Project in Charlotte, NC. His work has included developing both care and prevention services for people living with HIV in the Charlotte region, counseling people living with HIV/AIDS (private practice), and consulting with other organizations in developing AIDS services in rural North Carolina. He also successfully transitioned Metrolina AIDS Project from a primarily gay, white male organization to a thriving minority-based agency integrating and addressing the needs of people of color.

Lisa D. Lieberman, PhD Department of Health and Nutrition Sciences

Dr. Lisa Lieberman, Assistant Professor in the Department of Health and Nutrition Sciences at Montclair State, received her PhD in Health Behavior and Health Education from the University of Michigan.  Dr. Lieberman came to MSU in 2009, after 17 years of program planning and evaluation research as President of Healthy Concepts Research, Inc., during which time she conducted program evaluation and applied research in the areas of adolescent health, maternal and child health, and tobacco control. She has served as PI of a longitudinal study comparing varying approaches to school-based pregnancy prevention in NYC, as the Co-PI of a study of NYC High Schools’ condom availability program, and as evaluator for pregnancy and HIV prevention programs in NY, NJ, Georgia, and South Dakota. In addition, she has conducted evaluations of several NYC prevention and intervention services for pregnant and parenting teens. Dr. Lieberman was the evaluator for the Rockland County (NY) Department of Health Comprehensive Tobacco Program, a decade-long program which resulted in the county’s surpassing the Healthy People 2010 tobacco goals and achieving the lowest smoking rate in the state of NY. Dr. Lieberman served as an evaluation consultant to the US Office of Population Affairs from 1996 – 2010, and as Chair of the New York State Office of Children and Family Services, Research and Evaluation Workgroup in 2008 and 2009.  Dr. Lieberman is a member of the editorial boards of the journals Health Education & Behavior and Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health.

Jennifer Brown Urban, PhD Department of Family and Child Studies

Dr. Jennifer Brown Urban, Assistant Professor in the Department of Family and Child Studies at Montclair State University, received her PhD in Human Development with a minor in Program Evaluation and Planning from Cornell University. Dr. Urban was a Policy Fellow of the Society for Research in Child Development (SRCD)/American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Executive Branch at the National Institutes of Health, Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research. Dr. Urban currently directs the Developmental Systems Science and Evaluation Research Lab (DSSERL) at Montclair State.  Dr. Urban is a developmental scientist with specific expertise in youth development and program evaluation. Her scholarship applies the theoretical approaches and methodologies of systems science. She has published several papers on the interaction of self-regulation, out-of-school activity involvement, and neighborhood contexts. Dr. Urban has also published on the role of program evaluation and planning in research-practice integration. Her specialties are Organization/Program Evaluation Capacity Building and Systems Evaluation Facilitation.  Dr. Urban is currently the co-PI on the NSF-funded project entitled, A Phase II Trial of the Systems Evaluation Protocol for Assessing and Improving STEM Education Evaluation.