Subject Matter Experts

Synergy staff members provide in-depth knowledge of a wide range of public health and public education content areas. In the field of public health, we offer specialized expertise in such areas as tobacco cessation; underage drinking; fetal alcohol syndrome; substance abuse prevention, use, misuse, addiction, and recovery; mental health research and treatment; HIV/AIDS research; homelessness programs; suicide prevention; eliminating health disparities; and improving child health. Our expertise in education includes, but is not limited to, magnet and charter school programs, the needs of English learners (ELs), afterschool programs, foreign languages, early childhood, STEM programs (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics), special education, adult sexual misconduct (ASM), readiness and emergency management for schools (REMS), and teacher quality programs.

Select the filter buttons below to learn more about the expertise and contributions of our key staff members in specific service areas:

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Subject Matter Experts

DeLicia Ballard

DeLicia Ballard has 20 years of experience writing, editing, and managing publications development for diverse audiences. Ms. Ballard coordinates Synergy’s document development, quality assurance, and final production services for the Department of Education’s (ED) National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) logistics services and support contract. In addition, as Project Director for the Education Statistics Support Institute Network contract, she manages the development of three major NCES annual reports (The Condition of Education, Digest of Education Statistics, and Projections of Education Statistics), the annual reports’ mobile sites, The Condition of Education video series, the Indicators of School Crime and Safety report, and other reports on indicators. She also oversees a strategic communications effort to expand the NCES presence as the primary federal entity for collecting and analyzing education-related data.

Nancy Balow

An expert in public education, Nancy Balow provided writing, editing, and content expertise to the Magnet Schools Assistance Program (MSAP) Technical Assistance (TA) Center contract with the Department of Education (ED). The contract provided TA to help MSAP grantees recruit students, market their programs, integrate magnet themes into instruction, sustain operation after the 3-year grant period, improve program management and quality, and manage federal reporting requirements. Ms. Balow co-developed and presented two courses on best practices related to magnet theme integration and curriculum mapping, collaborated with MSAP staff and content experts to develop webinars, and worked with topic area moderators and MSAP staff to promote the online environment among grantee and school staffs. Ms. Balow also was a contributing author and editor for a guide created to help 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) practitioners move knowledge from research to practice in afterschool programs that serve children ages 3 to 8. Arranged by topic, and based on a study of 40 21st CCLC programs, the guide offers information and strategies for helping young children grow physically, academically, socially, and emotionally in an out-of-school setting. Ms. Balow has written and edited a variety of literature reviews and research briefs for practitioners, researchers, and other audiences interested in education since 1998.

Maggie Bray

Maggie Bray is a Senior Graphic Designer with more than 20 years of design experience creating print, Web, and multimedia products. She has extensive experience with public health and science-related projects for National Institutes of Health (NIH) and other Health and Human Services agencies. Ms. Bray was the lead designer for the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) flagship periodical, NIDA Notes, NIDA’s peer-reviewed research journal, Addiction Science & Clinical Practice, and the Institute’s Research Report Series. She has produced a full range of conference-related materials for NIDA and numerous other Institutes and Centers within NIH, including the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, the National Institute of Mental Health, and the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Additionally, Ms. Bray has created products for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, the Administration for Children and Families, and the Office of Women’s Health, as well as for the Department of Justice, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the National Science Foundation. Ms. Bray’s work received the 2011 NIH Plain Language and Clear Communication Award. As Assistant Director of Synergy’s Division of Communication Services, Ms. Bray supervises all graphic design projects and related vendor services and client relations. Under her direction, Synergy’s design group has won three American Graphic Design Awards in 2015; two Communicator Awards from the Academy of Interactive & Visual Arts in 2014; nine Blue Pencil and Gold Screen Awards from the National Association of Government Communicators in 2013 and 2014; and three AVA Digital Awards (2014).

Kali Brinkman

Kali Brinkman has more than 8 years of experience using Microsoft Office products to create publications, reports, marketing materials, and web-based information. Her expertise extends to digital marketing and online formats and styles, as well as product tracking. She performs Section 508 compliance tasks for a variety of projects. Ms. Brinkman and her team of Section 508 specialists replace tables, add alternate text for figures, perform final quality assurance review of publications, and ensure that all agency requirements (document properties, bookmarks, page numbering, accessibility tags, and optimization) for 508-compliant files are properly applied. Ms. Brinkman is conversant in public health and education issues, with an emphasis on behavioral health. She works on general formatting and Section 508 compliance for documents related to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA’s) National Campaigns contract and is familiar with clearance procedures for SAMHSA publications. She also has created materials for the Department of Education (ED), the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), the Social Security Administration (SSA), and the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). Ms. Brinkman has experience working for diverse audiences. Her assignments have included support for a Department of Transportation (DOT) campaign to boost seat-belt use among African Americans, adapting culturally sensitive materials for the National Clearinghouse for English Language Acquisition, and creating Spanish brochures for the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) within ED.

Jeanne Embich, Ed.D.

Jeanne Embich, Ed.D., is a senior researcher for Synergy, with over 30 years of experience in the field of education. She monitors 15 Teacher Incentive Fund (TIF) state and local grants for the Department of Education’s (ED’s) Office of Innovation and Improvement. In this role, she ensures program compliance, conducts site visits, and supports program officers and technical assistance (TA) providers. For the Language Instruction Educational Program (LIEP), Dr. Embich conducted original descriptive research on LIEPs across the U.S. She created research-based focus group questions and conducted a pilot study prior to the full study. She then conducted focus groups with administrators, teachers, and families on program and instructional components for teaching English language learners. Dr. Embich also has studied perceptions of adoptive families by teacher and counselors and examined the literature on adult sexual misconduct (ASM) for the Readiness and Emergency Management for Schools (REMS) TA Center within ED. She has developed web page scripts and written technical reports for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Her primary research interests include rural school district challenges, English learners, teacher burnout, and teacher and administrator effectiveness.

Michelle D. Gaugh

Michelle D. Gaugh has 8 years of experience in the design and implementation of National Institutes of Health (NIH)-funded and industry-sponsored clinical trials. She is proficient in all aspects of research development and execution, from research protocols, informed consent, and measures; to conducting study visits, maintaining records, and publishing results. Ms. Gaugh served as the project coordinator for a study titled: Identification and Evaluation of Best Practices for Early Childhood Learning, 21st CCLC. She was responsible for organizing teams of trained observers to conduct interviews and onsite observations at 40 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) programs across the country. She used two widely recognized instruments for the assessment of program quality and developed a semi-structured interview protocol for use with program leaders at each site. She collected and analyzed the results and worked with the project team to generate a report to ED and a best practices guide to assist programs in developing quality afterschool activities for young children. Ms. Gaugh previously conducted an extensive literature review and environmental scan for an educational program on risks associated with prescription pain medication. She also compiled information from peer-reviewed journals detailing the ways in which educational materials are best received by patients, family members, and prescribers, and produced summaries of existing online federal, state, and private drug education campaigns.

Jesse Goodman

Jesse Goodman has more than 15 years of experience editing publications for federal contracts. He is the Assistant Manager for Editorial Projects in the Communications Division of Synergy, overseeing the work of copyeditors, graphic design specialists, writers, and Section 508 compliance specialists. This entails maintaining workload schedules, monitoring professional performance, and overseeing day-to-day operations. Mr. Goodman also conducts substantive editing and copyediting using contract-specific style guides across Synergy contracts, including the Department of Education, the Department of Defense, the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Health and Human Services, and the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Mr. Goodman updates and copyedits monthly and other project progress reports and edits press releases, project descriptions, and other copy for posting on Synergy’s intranet. In addition, he formats documents and presentations in MS Word and PowerPoint.

Sean Grobe

Sean Grobe has extensive experience managing and coordinating work with multiple federal agencies. As the Project Director for the Department of Education (ED) Office of Elementary and Secondary Education (OESE) Next Generation Professional Learning Portal, Content Integration, and Technical Assistance project, he works closely with representatives from ED, the National Park Service, NASA, and the Institute of Museum and Library Services. The project supports interagency agreements among these organizations to provide science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM)-rich learning experiences to 21st Century Community Learning Center (21st CCLC) program grantees. Mr. Grobe coordinates logistical support to participating 21st CCLC sites, as well as evaluation, communication activities, web development, and technological support. He previously served as Project Director for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Logistical Support contract, for which he coordinated meeting activities between ED, the Department of Labor, and education departments and ministries from 21 APEC member countries.

Brenda Jones Harden, Ph.D.

Brenda Jones Harden, Ph.D., is a psychologist with expertise in early childhood policy, practice, and research. For more than 30 years, she has focused on the developmental and mental health needs of children at environmental risk, with a specific emphasis on preventing maladaptive outcomes through early childhood intervention programs. Dr. Harden led a review of the current academic literature on early childhood program quality and afterschool programs and described the implications of study findings for practice and policy. She co-leads a Technical Work Group in consultation with the Department of Education (ED) and recruits individuals with substantive expertise in both early childhood education and research to serve as expert advisors. In addition, she analyzes data and prepares written reports on findings and implementation of best practices.

Christine Hartley

Christine Hartley has more than 25 years of federal contract management experience. She leads a staff of meeting professionals and grant review specialists that support more than 100 meetings annually. During the past 15 years, she has served as project director or corporate monitor for public health projects with a combined value of more than $40 million for federal agencies such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH). She developed and implemented cost-saving international grant review programs within the Department of State and has streamlined activities and increased cost efficiencies on all Synergy conference and grant review contracts. Ms. Hartley has managed complex contracts covering a broad range of services—including evaluation, technical assistance, training, publications, and conferences. She has managed high-profile, Cabinet-level activities in the U.S. and internationally. These projects include conferences related to the NIH Roadmap, Broader Middle East and North Africa (BMENA) Initiative meetings in Jordan and Morocco, and the 2012 G8-BMENA Initiative 9th Forum for the Future in Tunisia.

Kirk Henry, Ph.D.

As a skilled professional in educational technology, Kirk Henry, Ph.D., establishes instructional design policies and selects appropriate software tools for online instructional projects. He develops instructional treatment plans and storyboards and advises project managers on best practices in development and appropriate learning theories. He has designed and developed instructional modules using Articulate Storyline and SmartBuilder and designed and developed complete courses within the online Blackboard environment. In a previous position, Dr. Henry implemented a video teleconferencing infrastructure for distance learning and introduced new learning theories and technologies. As the Director of Technology at a Florida university, Dr. Henry designed and implemented new network infrastructures and provided research-based solutions for distance learning. He has served as a systems engineer, network specialist, and telecommunications coordinator.

Sippy Joseph

As the chief systems architect for Synergy since 2007, Sippy Joseph offers decades of expertise in diverse operating systems, programming languages, and database applications. With his team of programmers and web developers, he designs customized information technology for staff and clients. He helped Synergy win an Authorization to Operate (ATO) “.Gov” websites for agencies such as the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). His broad expertise allows him to conduct requirements analysis, system and application design, interface development and implementation, database development and design, and case study and report preparation.

Sherri Lauver, Ph.D.

Sherri Lauver, Ph.D., has more than 14 years of experience conducting rigorous research studies in afterschool programs and has valuable insider knowledge as a former afterschool program practitioner. She was an Assistant Professor of Educational Policy and Evaluation at the Warner School of Education and Human Development and the Director of Program Evaluation for the Warner Center for Professional Development and Education Reform at the University of Rochester. She serves as the project director for several Department of Education (ED) projects in areas that include students with disabilities, early learning, and international and foreign language education. She served as the Principal Investigator for a 21st Century Community Learning Center (21st CCLC) program titled, After School Best Practices: Early Childhood Education. Dr. Lauver’s primary responsibility was to design and conduct a descriptive study, requiring observations and interviews, of 40 programs serving children in pre-kindergarten through grade four. Using the results of the study as their primary guidance, Dr. Lauver and her team prepared an implementation guide highlighting best practices in early childhood programs. She also collaborated with the Harvard Family Research Project on a study of student participation in 64 afterschool programs. Dr. Lauver has conducted more than 50 education-related focus groups for clients in government, school districts, and not-for-profit organizations.

Deborah Lessne

With over 15 years of education research and analysis experience, Deborah Lessne offers expertise in study development, survey design, research, and evaluation in K-12 education. She has conducted studies on educational trends, provided technical assistance to educators on project evaluation, and worked to improve quality in elementary, secondary, and higher education. As a senior research associate at Synergy, Ms. Lessne has played a key role in projects for the Department of Education (ED), the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and the Department of Labor (DOL). She also supports the Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA); she conducted a literature search to review, select, and catalogue publications to populate DoDEA’s Educational Partnership Grant Program (ETAC) resources webpage for use by grantee school districts. Topics included educational program evaluation, maintaining project fidelity, and sustainability planning. In addition, she manages a team of statisticians and analysts that work on crime and safety surveys for ED’s National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). She has worked extensively with NCES for 3 years on revisions to the 2015 School Crime Survey (SCS). Her activities for this effort have included facilitating a Technical Review Panel, data analysis and review of cognitive lab results on current and proposed questions, development of new questions to operationalize a common definition of bullying, and development of the required Office of Management and Budget (OMB) packages for the 2013 and 2015 SCS questionnaires.

Rob Levenberry

Rob Levenberry, M.S., PMP, leads a technically diverse team of information technology (IT) professionals. He is responsible for aligning technology development and corporate strategy and incorporating new and emerging technologies so that Synergy can provide tailored technical solutions for each client. Mr. Levenberry has served as an advisor to numerous senior executives and has successfully managed over $60 million in IT projects across the federal sector. During his 15 years of experience in government contracting and consulting, Mr. Levenberry has led major IT initiatives for federal clients, such as the Departments of Agriculture, Justice, and Treasury. In addition, Mr. Levenberry is responsible for staffing and budget projections for IT projects and the company overall. He advises project directors on IT requirements for each contract, including timelines and necessary technology. He develops and maintains policies, guidelines, standards, and procedures for IT operations—from system security to disaster recovery, risk mitigation, security test plans, quality assurance, and configuration management. Mr. Levenberry is an active member of the Project Management Institute (PMI) and Information Systems Audit and Control Association (ISACA).

Todd Makino

Todd Makino, PMP, brings more than 20 years of experience in program management and Project Management Offices (PMOs) for both the federal and nonfederal sectors. As Synergy’s PMO Technical Director, he leads and manages initiatives to develop and improve the use of technology. He is a primary resource for project management processes and tools that provide efficiencies and actionable information. In addition to directing projects, he advises and works with managers and project directors to develop project plans and track performance. In earlier roles, he established PMOs and managed portfolio reporting on consulting engagements and projects. He also developed and improved custom dashboards and reports to track budgets, periods of performance, resource hours, and progress against contracts.

Ximena Marquez-Dagan

Ximena Marquez-Dagan offers more than 10 years of experience in health communications, with expertise in behavioral health, HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment, and education programs from early childhood to young adulthood. For the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) National Campaigns contract, she develops culturally sensitive materials, conducts strategic education-based marketing, and provides Spanish-language translation. She created case study guides that showcase behavioral health prevention, education, and treatment centers for the Road to Recovery campaign television and radio series; provided Spanish-language translation for national Recovery Month Public Service Announcements (PSAs); created PSAs for the National Child Traumatic Stress Initiative campaign, and conducted strategic marketing for the Talk. They Hear You underage drinking prevention campaign. Ms. Marquez-Dagan has provided technical assistance and outreach for visitors to SAMHSA’s website, including Building Blocks for a Healthy Future and StopAlcoholAbuse.gov and has developed research and web-based articles for children ages 3 to 6. Ms. Marquez-Dagan has strong outreach experience working directly with Spanish-speaking populations across the country, including Puerto Rico. She previously managed national bilingual health education programs that linked families, youth, and children to health and wellness services and connected SAMHSA resources with national Head Start education centers and organizations working directly with bilingual families and educators.

Carla McClure

Carla McClure has 15 years of experience developing materials that support evidence-based practices in early childhood education, primarily for Department of Education (ED) contracts. She works with ED’s 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) program to develop communications materials in support of the federal interagency agreements between ED, NASA, the National Parks Service, and the Institute of Museum and Library Services. These agencies are collaborating to give students hands-on experiences in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) to advance their success in college and career. She has developed literature reviews and research summaries on a variety of education topics and published more than 100 articles nationally that summarize research and provide implications for education practitioners. At a Regional Educational Laboratory, she was responsible for revising a series of learning guides for young children and their families by incorporating practical findings from national reading and mathematics research panels. She also helped develop a guide for afterschool practitioners called Create a Growing Space: Applying Early Childhood Best Practices in 21st Century Community Learning Centers.

Tara Meadows

Tara Meadows has 12 years of experience in public relations, social marketing, and community engagement, primarily for public sector projects. She serves as Project Manager for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA’s) National Campaigns contract. In this role, she oversees print communications, reporting, and social media coverage for the underage drinking, wellness, National Recovery Month, and Road to Recovery campaigns. She previously served as Project Manager for the District of Columbia’s Office of Superintendent for Education’s Birth to Five campaign, which raised awareness of the importance of social-emotional health for parents. She served as the client contact and was responsible for the development of creative materials, partnership development, and community engagement. As the primary contact for the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD’s) 2014 Healthy Homes Conference, Ms. Meadows was responsible for branding, materials development, exhibitor outreach, logistics, and continuing education unit (CEU) accreditation. She also worked to gain visibility and awareness for the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute’s (NHLBI’s) programs and scientific studies and developed and implemented public relations plans for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation that were targeted at reducing health disparities.

Luz Amparo Pinzon, Ph.D.

Dr. Pinzon is a trilingual public health education and communications professional, with 30 years of experience in strategic planning, development, implementation, and evaluation of behavioral and social change communications, social marketing, and training programs for national, international, and federal organizations. She has extensive experience in developing and evaluating bilingual, culturally competent materials and programs targeting ethnic and racial minorities; designing and conducting formative and qualitative research in communication and behavioral health issues; and designing data collection instruments, analysis, and reporting. Dr. Pinzon has conceived, designed, and produced mass media. Her background also includes planning, developing, and implementing strategies and tactics to support large-scale health communication programs for federal agencies. In addition, she has conducted training, capacity building, and curriculum development for target audiences; facilitated bilingual focus group discussions and cognitive interviews; and developed and implemented outreach programs for underserved and at-risk populations. Dr. Pinzon has managed and implemented outreach and targeted communications programs for the National Institutes of Health Office of AIDS Research, the Health Resources and Services Administration, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, U. S. Agency for International Development, and the Pan American Health Organization. Dr. Pinzon is fluent in English, French, and Spanish and conversant in Portuguese. She has extensive international experience, including in-country technical experience in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru, Venezuela, and U.S. Hispanic/Latino communities, including Puerto Rico.

Kimberly Plummer

Kimberly Plummer has more than 20 years of experience providing substantial publications support for complex deliverables, such as technical documents, proposals, grants, presentations, brochures, newsletters, manuals, questionnaires, forms, and a variety of survey research materials. She has special expertise in creating and validating accessible, Section 508-compliant documents. Ms. Plummer maintains a standardized checklist of Section 508 activities and deliverables and ensures that all documents are prepared or finalized in accordance with Section 508 compliance requirements. She has extensive experience with 508-related programs and assistive technologies, such as Adobe and CommonLook compliance tools and JAWS screen reader software. She is experienced in meeting registration and reporting processes, including data entry, report maintenance, email dissemination, materials production, and mailings. Ms. Plummer has provided publications and document support for the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, the National Institute on Aging, the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, the Health Resources and Services Administration, and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

Elaine R. Rahbar

Elaine Rahbar is a seasoned communications strategist and project manager, with nearly 20 years of experience in projects that enhance public health through federal programs, such as the Administration for Children and Families, Office of Head Start; National Institutes of Health, National Children’s Study; the Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury, Real Warriors Campaign; the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Center for Substance Abuse Prevention; and a range of programs within the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Ms. Rahbar is a senior editor and publications manager, with a specific focus on communications strategy and communications support for health education and outreach projects in both English and Spanish. As a project manager for the National Children’s Study, Ms. Rahbar guided a team of eight FTEs who conducted stakeholder research and engagement, content development, media and message training, social media platform strategy, and evaluation to help investigate the influence of biological, environmental, genetic, and social factors on the health and development of our nation’s children. She has more than a decade of project management experience providing strategic guidance, resource needs and allocation, problem solving, and budget management for complex, multimillion-dollar projects and for diverse teams of employees located around the country. Her areas of subject matter expertise include child health and development, substance abuse, mental health, tobacco and smoking cessation, vaccination programs, and safe schools.

Bronwyn Roberts, J.D.

As the Project Director for the Readiness and Emergency Management for Schools (REMS) Technical Assistance (TA) Center, Bronwyn Roberts oversees seamless integration of services to client constituencies—local education agencies, schools, institutions of higher education, state education agencies, and the larger education community. She ensures that these constituencies have access to training, technical assistance, and resources to improve the safety of the nation’s schools. She leads the development of numerous live training programs and webinars on topics related to school and higher education emergency management and she facilitates working groups and expert panel meetings that promote collaboration among state, local, and federal emergency management representatives. Ms. Roberts has written and produced numerous training manuals, publications, and guidance documents for use nationwide on responses to emergencies. She also has conducted numerous focus groups to support the development of Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA) tools for cohorts of ED’s Grants to States for Emergency Management (GSEM), REMS, and Emergency Management Higher Education (EMHE) grantees. These focus groups also informed training curriculum and guidance documents for REMS, as well as program evaluations for several education initiatives across the country.

Virginia Robles-Villalba

Virginia Robles-Villalba has more than 20 years of experience providing publications, graphic design, web design, production, and management of print and online products for behavioral health and public education projects. She has extensive experience supporting the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA’s) National Campaigns contract and projects for the Center for Substance Abuse Prevention (CSAP). Ms. Robles-Villalba is fluent in Spanish and has developed bilingual products for many public health projects. Publication activities have included graphic designs for the Top Issues for LGBT Populations Resource Kit, Prevention Resources for Building Healthy Communities, and Strategic Prevention Framework fact sheets. She also developed meetings materials for Minority Serving Institutions, Partnerships for Success and Strategic Prevention Framework grantees. For CSAP’s Prevention Fellowship Program, she provides print and digital graphics for training materials, newsletters, annual reports, fact sheets, brochures, and flyers. Ms. Robles-Villalba used a unique mix of communications and creative skills to produce an animated video, National Institute on Drug Abuse—Brain Reward: Understanding How the Brain Responds to Natural Rewards and Drugs of Abuse. This 3-D animated video illustrates how cocaine and methamphetamine hijack the brain’s natural reward process. The video can be viewed at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7VUlKP4LDyQ

Sabrina Roundtree

Sabrina Roundtree is a service-focused public health professional and program manager with more than 5 years of experience. She has provided program management on federal contracts for the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), the Department of Education (ED), and the Department of Transportation (DOT). Currently, Ms. Roundtree serves as Director of the Center for Substance Abuse Prevention (CSAP) Fellowship Program. In this role, she develops, executes, and manages the programmatic, technical, and training tasks involved in the Prevention Fellowship Program, the Graduate Student Internship program, and the Summer Internship program. She has received numerous accolades from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) for her excellent performance and stellar management of the contract.

Amy Shema, Ph.D.

Through her work in program evaluation and technical assistance, Amy Shema, Ph.D., shares the knowledge she gained as an urban elementary teacher and in her academic training with educators in the trenches. She provides technical assistance to early learning programs in the 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLCs) sites on developmentally appropriate practices, student engagement, and inquiry-based education. Her expertise in literacy learning, early childhood development, curriculum writing, and family engagement has made her a frequent presenter at conferences and webinars. Dr. Shema has taught at the undergraduate and graduate levels and is certified in the Dimensions of Success (DoS) Tool.

William Soo

William Soo is a web and graphic designer with more than 15 years of experience. For the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA’s) National Campaigns contract, he develops “look and feel” design options for fact sheets, brochures, toolkits, infographics, logos, branding, and marketing collateral for campaigns that address mental disorders in young adults, underage drinking, suicide prevention, and wellness. He follows up on client responses to design options and produces final design templates, incorporates approved text into product templates, and is responsible for final production specifications. Mr. Soo works with writers and subject matter experts to ensure that illustrations and images are appropriate to the content and that statistical data are presented in clear, concise graphics that communicate with the intended audiences. On a multiyear project to support the migration of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease’s (NIDDK’s) scientific and consumer information web content to the Institute’s new SharePoint Web environment, Mr. Soo and the Synergy team provided a complete redesign of the site, which included preparing wireframes and designs, testing usability and user experience, revising templates, and migrating material initially housed on more than 1,200 individual Web pages.

Kathleen Tindle, Ed.D.

Kathleen Tindle, Ed.D. is a Senior Research Associate with more than 20 years of experience in the field of education. She monitors projects, conducts site visits, and supports the Department of Education (ED) program officers and technical assistance providers for ED’s Teacher Incentive Fund (TIF) for six local education agencies. The funds for these agencies are received through Race to the Top, TIF, or both. Dr. Tindle managed the Department of Defense (DoD) Education Activity’s 2011 grant review process. She devised the scoring criteria, designed and delivered webinar training for the reviewers, and arranged logistics. She facilitated six panels of reviewers, helping them reconcile scoring differences and finalize scores. For the ED Language Instruction Educational Programs (LIEP) study, she conducts literature reviews and site visits to develop case studies.

Roy Walker

Roy Walker has more than 30 years of experience in program management, including 20 years directing federal projects that provide training, technical assistance (TA), health education, and information dissemination. He has provided oversight and supervision for federal health-related projects and grants with a combined value of more than $40 million for the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), the Department of Education (ED), other federal agencies, and community-based health and education associations. Mr. Walker leads contracts that focus on public health and education. For example, he serves as Corporate Monitor for an effort by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) to counter a growing health disparity: the underuse of seat belts by African Americans. Mr. Walker also serves as Corporate Monitor and Subject Matter Expert for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA’s) National Campaigns contract and as Project Director for the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA’s) AIDS Research Program (ARP) support contract. Additionally, he directs the Afterschool Best Practices in Early Childhood Education project, part of ED’s 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) initiative.

The projects under Mr. Walker’s management involve training and TA, curriculum development, maintenance of databases and websites, electronic communication forums, information dissemination, materials development, and outreach strategies. Mr. Walker has in-depth subject matter expertise in cultural competency and knowledge of racial/ethnic populations; substance abuse prevention, treatment, and recovery; AIDS research; capacity building; and public-private partnership development. His expertise in education is grounded in experience as a classroom science teacher and encompasses early childhood; students with disabilities; science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM); afterschool and homeless education; and emergency management planning and response. He has presented on numerous health and education topics, including effective models for peer education and cultural approaches to substance abuse prevention, at more than 15 national conferences.

Lori Whitten, Ph.D.

Lori Whitten, Ph.D., has 15 years of experience as a science writer, primarily on federal contracts related to medical and behavioral science and health. She specializes in presenting science in an engaging style for a lay audience. For a contract with the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), Dr. Whitten prepared four Research Reports on co-occurring mental and substance use disorders, cocaine abuse, therapeutic communities, and addiction treatment. She also translated scientific descriptions of the basic neural processes underlying addiction into plain language for NIDA animations. Dr. Whitten supports the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA’s) National Campaigns contract by researching and developing materials for the Road to Recovery television series, which focuses on recovery from mental and substance use disorders. For the Department of Education’s (ED) Readiness and Emergency Management for Schools Technical Assistance Center, Dr. Whitten contributed to a guide on preventing and responding to adult sexual misconduct in grades K-12. For the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), Dr. Whitten develops minutes for the National Advisory Mental Health Council. In support of NIDA’s AIDS Research Program (ARP), Dr. Whitten analyzes the impact of ARP-supported publications and provides research and editorial support.

Janelle Williams

Janelle Williams is a writer, editor, and communications manager with 10 years of experience supporting national projects. She is adept at creating products in print, for the web, and in various multimedia formats. She has developed e-learning modules and virtual trainings, research reports, fact sheets, conference agendas, needs assessments, evaluation reports, publications, journals, and magazine articles. Ms. Williams’ work has supported the Department of Education (ED), the Administration for Children and Families, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), and several Institutes and Centers within the National Institutes of Health (NIH). As the Director of Communications for ED’s Readiness and Emergency Management for Schools (REMS) Technical Assistance (TA) Center, Ms. Williams leads tasks in the areas of marketing and product development, e-learning and virtual training services, web design and development, community-of-practice development and management, quality assurance, and Section 508 compliance. Training topics have included adult sexual misconduct (ASM) in the school setting and threat assessment team development to prepare for and respond to human-caused school emergencies, such as active shooters, suicide, gang violence, cyber attacks, and human trafficking. To support the development of products and conferences for SAMHSA’s Office of Communications, she provides writing, editing, and graphic design services to produce campaign briefs and special multimedia presentations.

Julie Zignego

Julie Zignego has 20 years of editing experience; she currently prepares materials for national public health campaigns sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. The campaigns address such topics as the prevention of underage drinking, substance misuse, child traumatic stress, mental health treatment and recovery, and wellness. Ms. Zignego has edited reports, fact sheets, proposals, brochures, newsletter articles, web content, and literature reviews for numerous federal agencies, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Institutes of Health, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Ms. Zignego also has edited peer-reviewed scientific and technical journal articles for not-for-profit organizations.