facing society’s challenges head on
The NewKnowledge team brings together a broad array of experiences, scholarly traditions, and interests. We are a transdisciplinary, collaborative group that loves what we do. We are based in New York City and Oceanside, CA , with several team members working in Philadelphia, Washington DC, Chicago, and Maui.
Nezam Ardalan joined NewKnowledge as researcher in 2013, bringing expertise in conservation biology. He is interested in the intersections between art and science, with a focus on how artists and scientists can work together to raise awareness, educate, and create interventions to prevent biodiversity loss. Nezam also has a growing yoga and mindfulness practice. Since early 2015, he has led NewKnowledge’s Wellness initiative. He leads guided mindfulness practices twice a week and offers practical support for the NewKnowledge team as a way to facilitate team coherency, wellbeing, and performance. He is currently based in Maui, Hawaii.
Joanna Laursen Brucker joined the NewKnowledge as a project manager in 2015, bringing expertise in international education and gender equity program implementation. She is interested in cross-cultural dialogue for conflict mediation and education’s role in identity formation. Ms. Brucker is both a trained facilitator and educator. She has managed Roma informal education programs in Kosovo, overseen implementation and research of girls’ access to education programming in Ethiopia, and worked on minority youth integration in Europe. She is currently a young professionals representative with NGO Committee on the Status of Women to the United Nations. Ms. Brucker received her Masters degree in International Education Policy from Harvard University.
Jennifer Dixon has served as NewKnowledge's Librarian since 2016. At NewKnowledge, she provides reference information to researchers and maintains physical and digital collections. She also supports research and writing across multiple projects. Ms. Dixon holds a BA from Vassar College, where she studied History, Art History, and Hispanic Studies, and a JD from Boston University School of Law. She previously practiced law at two New York City law firms and worked as a law clerk at the federal courthouse in Brooklyn. She received her MSLIS degree from Pratt Institute’s School of Information in 2016, where her coursework focused on archives and special collections.
Kate Flinner came to NewKnowledge in 2013 as Communications Manager, with training in anthropology and writing. She has worked in exhibition design and planning, as well as audience research for cultural organizations, such as museums, zoos, and aquariums. She serves as a writer and editor for NewKnowledge publications and media, and manages communications and evaluation programs. Ms. Flinner is the Associate Editor, Books for Curator: The Museum Journal. She studies community involvement, cultural participation, and physical well-being through sports.
Dr. Fraser is a conservation psychologist, architect, and educator. His research focuses on how our experience with media and community influences learning, attitudes, and motivations for engagement with solving the problems that face society. He is Adjunct Professor in Earth Science at Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI). Currently, he is the Editor of Curator: The Museum Journal, and continues to serve as a founding editorial board member for Museums & Social Issues. He is Secretary of the American Psychological Association’s Division 34, Society for Environment, Population and Conservation Psychology.
Sophie Gloeckler joined NewKnowledge in 2014 as a Research Associate and Editor with previous evaluation experience that included work with the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Children's Aid Society. Ms. Gloeckler has participated in field research ranging from Native American archaeology in the southwest US to wetland conservation in the Himalayas. With interests that span museum education, nutrition, and ecology, she values evaluation work for the opportunity to think across disciplines. In 2012, Ms. Gloeckler graduated magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Columbia University with a major in Evolutionary Biology.
Dr. Gupta is a conservation psychologist. She joined NewKnowledge as an analyst in 2012, bringing her expertise in mixed-methods research methodologies and data analysis. She has worked in the area of conservation psychology, with research focusing on the moral and social reasons for sustainable landscaping choices. Dr. Gupta's research interests include the motivations that guide pro-environmental actions, including people's personal values. With an interest in applied research, she has used psychological theories and concepts to understand influences on positive outcomes in diverse settings such as college campuses, museums, science centers, and children's clinics.
Susan Hannah joined NewKnowledge in 2014 as a Researcher. Trained as an anthropologist, her professional experience spans the fields of environmental conservation, economic development, academic and museum education, and health. Prior to joining NewKnowledge, she held senior positions at Wildlife Conservation Society, CARE, Pro Mujer, Build Change, and the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum. Ms. Hannah has provided research services to a number of other non-profits in health, conservation, and education. She is interested in the complex interplay of psychosocial, economic, environmental, and political factors that offer solutions for sustainable environmental and economic development.
Nicole LaMarca joined NewKnowledge in 2016 as a researcher. She is a graduate student in Hunter College’s Animal Behavior and Conservation program. She brings to NewKnowledge an interest in human-influenced environmental change and informing conservation management plans to respond to these issues. Ms. LaMarca focuses on environmental education and conservation advocacy at NewKnowledge, with the goal of helping others as they work to support a healthy and thriving biosphere. She holds a B.A. from the University of Maryland - College Park, where she studied Psychology and Human Development.
Dr. Norlander joined NewKnowledge in 2014 as a researcher with expertise in using digital communication tools for human rights education. She specializes in Transformative Social Change, combining theory and practice to explore how people work to change social structures and advance rights-based systems. She also has certificates in International Conflict Resolution and Building a Sustainable World. Dr. Norlander’s past experience includes the American Civil Liberties Union, Amnesty International, Digital Democracy, and three years teaching in Japan. She is currently the New York Regional Representative for Human Rights Educators USA, a nationwide coalition that supports advocates and policy reform, and develops resources for formal and informal education environments. She received her doctorate in Human Science from Saybrook University.
Shelley (Shuli) Rank joined NewKnowledge in 2012 as a Researcher with training in quantitative and qualitative methods. She also leads the operations of the New York office. Ms. Rank has worked as an environmental educator, animal rehabilitator, animal behavior researcher, and landscape designer in nature centers, sanctuaries, and zoos. She is interested in conservation psychology, animal welfare and behavior, and sustainable and green infrastructure. She also volunteers at the New York Aquarium in the animal care department. Ms. Rank holds degrees in Landscape Architecture from Cornell University and Animal Behavior and Conservation from Hunter College.
Dr. Su-Jen Roberts is a behavioral ecologist and researcher who joined NewKnowledge in 2014. Her doctoral research at Columbia University focused on competition and reproduction in wild blue monkeys living in western Kenya. She is interested in formal and informal STEM education, including novel methods for broadening access to and engagement in STEM learning experiences. Dr. Roberts has taught in middle school and afterschool programs in New York City and worked in museum research and evaluation at the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia.
Laura Tietjen is a Julliard-trained actress who joined NewKnowledge in 2012 as a qualitative researcher. She has a professional background in theater and television, medical assessment practice management, and extensive experience working as a volunteer educator in arts and literacy. Ms. Tietjen is also engaged in managing accounts and working closely with the Finance Team.
Kiki joined the NewKnowledge team in 2015 as head of the welcoming committee and office security. Her research explores canine kinesthetics and communication. Beyond her official duties, she serves as secretary of staff meetings and all personnel activities in the office. Kiki's career started in her home country of Kosovo, where she worked as a human-animal relations specialist in a series of alternative education centers. An aspiring acrobat and model, she hopes to join the entertainment industry in retirement.
Hiershenee Bhana joined NewKnowledge as a Graduate Education Diversity Intern in 2016, bringing expertise in health promotion and nutrition education program development and evaluation. She is completing her PhD at Columbia University in Behavioral Nutrition. For her doctoral dissertation, Ms. Bhana developed and evaluated the In Defense of Food curriculum for PBS, based on the work of best-selling author Michael Pollan. She has experience in developing cultures of health through programs that both promote healthy behaviors and change the environment to make it easy to do so in diverse settings, such as college campuses, public schools, food pantries, and work sites.
Dr. Simon Bird joined NewKnowledge in 2015 as an ecologist and conservation biologist focusing on environmental education and urban conservation. As a fellow he will advance theory and practice in novel and engaging approaches to formal and informal science and conservation education. His research focuses on land use ecology, urban ecology, invertebrate biodiversity, soil system dynamics, and enhancing community-based conservation. As an educator, he has taught at New York University, Columbia University, and the University of Wales. He also has extensive field experience in natural and urban ecosystems. Dr. Bird has co-authored interactive e-textbook chapters for ecology and environmental science.
Dr. Danoff-Burg is a biodiversity scientist, educator, and conservation strategist. With over 20 years of experience across 16 countries, he is an expert on the human dimensions of conservation. He has consulted for the governments of the Dominican Republic, Cambodia, United Arab Emirates, and Japan. Before joining NewKnowledge in 2014, he was faculty at Columbia University and then was the Director of Conservation Education at the San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research. Currently, Dr. Danoff-Burg has adjunct appointments at California State University San Marcos and Miami University of Ohio. He also serves on the boards of the San Dieguito River Valley Conservancy and the Applied Environmental Research Foundation of India.
Dr. Danoff-Burg is a licensed clinical psychologist with a research emphasis in health psychology. She has published extensively on topics related to human wellness, such as stress, resilience, and coping with illness. In addition to her background as a scientist-practitioner, Dr. Danoff-Burg has over two decades of experience as an educator and has won awards for excellence in teaching. Prior to joining NewKnowledge in 2015, Dr. Danoff-Burg was Associate Professor and Director of Graduate Studies in Psychology at the State University of New York in Albany, NY and Program Director for the NIH-funded SDSU/UCSD Cancer Center Comprehensive Partnership in San Diego, CA.
In 2015, Dr. Danter joined NewKnowledge with an emphasis on our Culture practice, bringing expertise in evaluation theory and practice. She began her career as a clinical social worker, focusing on poverty and mental health. Since earning her Ph.D. from The Ohio State University, she has conducted studies with domestic and international cultural organizations to improve operations, build capacity, and measure outcomes. She worked with the Institute for Learning Innovation and is now an Adjunct faculty member at the George Washington University teaching the Museum Evaluation graduate course. Dr. Danter is interested in program effects on immigration, poverty, and illiteracy.
Ed Greene serves as Senior Director for Educational Outreach and Partnerships at the Hispanic Information Television Network (HITN), Brooklyn, NY. Prior to his work at HITN, Ed was an instructional leadership coach for principals and PreK-2 teachers in Detroit Public Schools for Teachscape. He has also served as a senior adviser and consultant to Cito USA and its Piramide Approach to Early Learning, and as director of global outreach for Sesame Workshop working in Central America, The Andes, Jordan, Kosovo and India. Over his forty-year career, Ed has worked directly with infants, toddlers, preschool children, adolescents and families, as well as in a variety of roles and capacities in the philanthropic, private and public sectors, and higher education.
Dr. Kong is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist and an educator in Illinois. She joined the NewKnowledge team in 2013, bringing more than 10 years of experience providing clinical services to children, adolescents, and their families. She has developed, implemented, and acquired funding for a school-based mental health program for underserved populations, as well as developed and implemented an mental health program for homeless teens. Dr. Kong has led numerous workshops, trainings, and presentations, on working with Asian American clients and homeless teens. She has served as an expert consultant for several projects involving children, adolescents, and mental health issues. Currently she is an assistant professor at the Chicago School of Professional Psychology, Chicago campus. She also provides mental health services to children, adolescents, and their families in her private practice.
Kenneth Lo joined NewKnowledge in 2013 as a researcher to manage projects and create communications materials. Trained as an urban planner and designer, he also brings his public health expertise to NewKnowledge’s work with his background as Director of Cross-Cultural Communications for the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, and as a Revson Fellow at Columbia University. He also serves as an adjunct assistant professor in the Master of Public Health program at LIU Brooklyn. Mr. Lo is interested in how public health and wellness undergird the equitable development of families and communities.
Christopher Nuñez joined NewKnowledge in 2017 as a Research Fellow. He is a UX researcher, with a focus on human-centered design. With this expertise, he specializes in creating accessible and human experiences in interactions with technology. Mr. Nuñez focuses on answering the questions: What happens when the mundane goes wrong? How can design help people realize their goals? Mr. Nuñez also has deep experience in the hospitality industry, which he draws on to gain different perspectives on user experiences. He holds a B.S. from San Francisco State University in Hospitality and Tourism Management. He also owns a catering company and has cooked at a Michelin two-star restaurant.
Dr. Plankis is currently a professor of education at Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis. His work focuses on science methods, science inquiry, and technology integration into the K-12 environment. His research interests also include understanding how people learn, how people understand the nature of science, and how teaching and education can influence environmental literacy and sustainability. He is particularly interested in helping develop his students into lifelong learners by guiding them through scientific inquiry and encouraging them to question everything they hear.
Beverly Sheppard is a thought leader who joined NewKnowledge in 2012. She has led numerous projects developing and exploring the learning intersections between museums, libraries, and other community-based institutions. She was the, a center for learning research and evaluation in informal settings. Ms. Sheppard’s experience spans nearly thirty years and includes positions such as former President and CEO of the Institute for Learning Innovation, Acting Director of the federal Institute of Museum and Library Services and as President and CEO of Old Sturbridge Village in Massachusetts. She has long been engaged in leadership activities within the museum field, serving on both the Board of Directors of the American Association of Museums and the Council of the American Association for State and Local History. Ms. Sheppard is a frequent speaker and writer in the museum field, recent publications including An Alliance of Spirit, Museum and School Partnerships and Thriving in a Knowledge Age with co-author John H. Falk.
Christina Shane-Simpson joined NewKnowledge in 2013 as a Researcher and became a Research Fellow in 2016. Dr. Shane-Simpson is an Assistant Professor at the University of Wisconsin, Stout. She specializes in the characteristics and needs of marginalized populations in online environments. In 2016, she received her Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology from The Graduate Center, CUNY, where she focused her doctoral studies on gender identity in online spaces. In addition, Dr. Shane-Simpson explores the use of innovative technologies in the classroom and has a Certificate in Interactive Technology and Pedagogy. With a team of colleagues, she developed the PSYCH+Feminism initiative, which strengthens the presence of female psychologists on Wikipedia.
Shelley Stern is an educator, organizational consultant, and Licensed Clinical Social Worker. She joined NewKnowledge as a Research Fellow in 2013, with over four decades of experience in education, organizational development, and mental health. She has designed and implemented therapeutic and psycho-educational programming for both clinical and non-clinical settings, and has consulted with grassroots organizations on strategic planning for organizational development and change. Ms. Stern has pursued a long-standing interest in developmental psychology, the dynamic impact of loss and trauma, and effects on learning and social structures. She has a deep interest in trans-species relationships and in understanding and healing the disconnections between our species and the natural world.
Steve joined the NewKnowledge team in 2014 as social networking coordinator. Since his move to being a Research Fellow in Arizona in 2016, he has continued to lead research on emotional regulation and human-animal relationships, which he explores with a mixed-methods approach using olfactory, auditory, and tactile techniques. Prior to joining NewKnowledge his focus had been in sleep studies and food sciences. Steve's attention to detail and his leadership in social networking have been essential to team morale and building new relationships, even now as a remote Research Fellow in the Southwest.
Katie Rolleri joined NewKnowledge in 2017 as part of the Finance Team, bringing extensive experience in nonprofit finance and accounting. She has spent time working in public accounting, with a focus on nonprofit organizations, and has worked internally with organizations in a financial management capacity. Ms. Rolleri is a licensed educator with an interest in business education, and has spent time in the public school system, teaching business classes and managing after school programs. She holds degrees in both Financial Management and Secondary Business Education.
Judith M. Koke, a founding member of the NewKnowledge Board, is Chief of Public Programming and Learning at the Art Gallery of Ontario. Previously the Director of Education and Interpretive Programs at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, Missouri she is a passionate advocate for meaningful participation and free choice learning. With the Institute for Learning Innovation, she did a nationwide study of all Institute of Museum and Library Services-funded youth programs. She was also the evaluator at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science.
Carolyn Gray, member of the NewKnowledge Board since 2014, is Vice President of Institutional Advancement at Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and Chair/President of the Countess Moira Charitable Foundation, which supports youth welfare worldwide. Before joining WCS, she worked with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), where she built the Living Planet Campaign. Prior to WWF, she worked in development, public affairs, and international development at a number of other organizations including America-Mideast Educational and Training Services, the U.S. Agency for International Development, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History, and the Conservancy of Southwest Florida. Ms. Gray earned an M.A. in International Development from the George Washington University and a B.A. in Journalism from New York University.
Leonard P. Singh became a NewKnowledge board member in 2014. Mr. Singh has worked with Consolidated Edison Company of NY Inc. since 1991, where he is currently Vice President. Mr. Singh holds a BS in Electrical Engineering from MIT and an MS in Electrical Engineering from Polytechnic University. He is currently serving as Executive VP of the Polytechnic Institute Alumni Association. He is a member of the American Gas Association. He is a member of the Board of Directors for The Salvadori Center, the McBurney YMCA, and sits on the Building and Property Committee of the YMCA of Greater NY.
Dr. Boyle, a founding member of NewKnowledge’s Board, has over thirty years of experience creating and directing conservation programs, environmental research, public education, and exhibit programs. He is currently Senior Vice President of Conservation, Education, and Science programs at the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). In the past, Dr. Boyle served as the founding CEO of The Ocean Project, a global initiative to increase public awareness of the crucial roles the ocean plays in human survival; Director of the New York Aquarium and its Osborn Laboratories; and has served on the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Board of Directors.
Andrea Turner joined NewKnowledge's Board of Trustees in 2015. She is the Director of Business and Legal Affairs at Temple Street Productions in Toronto, Ontario. Prior to joining Temple Street, Andrea practiced corporate and real estate law at WeirFoulds LLP. She has advised small to medium-sized businesses on corporate law, including assisting NewKnowledge in the early days of our incorporation. She is called to both the Ontario and the New York State bars. Apart from her work with NewKnowledge, Turner is also a member of Future Sinai, the young leaders board of the Sinai Health System in Toronto, which is comprised of Mount Sinai Hospital and Bridgepoint Active Healthcare.
Ms Mair is a founding member of the Board for NewKnowledge and currently serves as Executive Director, Development for the Hispanic Information & Telecommunications Network, the largest non-profit education network serving the Hispanic audience in the USA. She has over 20 years of experience in television, media, fundraising/partnership development and conservation. As Executive Producer and Director of Foundation and Corporate Relations, Ms. Mair worked with INFORM Inc. to develop new platforms for cultural learning in the emerging web and hand-held mediasphere. Ms. Mair also served as Director and Vice President/New Programming for National Geographic Television & Film and as Vice President and Executive Producer for Television and Media at the Wildlife Conservation Society.
Dr. Wednesday Martin, member of the NewKnowledge Board of Trustees since 2014, is a writer and social researcher based in New York City. As an expert on gender, parenting, and popular culture, she has written prolifically – in The Daily Telegraph, the New York Post, and the online edition of Psychology Today, as well as her acclaimed book,Stepmonster – and has appeared on the Today Show, CNN, NPR, NBC News, the BBC Newshour, and Fox News. Dr. Martin studied anthropology at the University of Michigan. She earned her doctorate in comparative literature and cultural studies, with a focus on anthropology, the history of anthropology, and the history of psychoanalysis, from Yale.