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, Washington DC, and Oceanside, CA.
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.
Dr. Barchas-Lichtenstein is a linguistic anthropologist who joined NewKnowledge as a researcher in 2017. Her doctoral research focused on media circulation and socialization into the community of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Since earning her Ph.D. from UCLA in 2013, she has developed content for instructional software and worked as a strategy consultant in media and health. She is particularly interested in how media circulates, and what that means for questions of both learning and representation.
Chief Operating Officer
Joanna Laursen Brucker joined the NewKnowledge in 2015, bringing expertise in international education and gender equity program implementation. As Chief Operating Officer, Ms. Brucker manages programs, services, regulatory and compliance requirements, adherence to budget, internal policies, procedures, and government compliance requirements. 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.
Dr. Danter leads NewKnowledge’s Washington, D.C. office, bringing expertise in evaluation theory and practice. Before she joined NewKnowledge’s research team in 2017, she served as a Research Fellow since 2015. She began her career as a clinical social worker, focusing on community mental health. Since earning her Ph.D. in Quantitative Research, Evaluation, and Measurement in Education from The Ohio State University, Dr. Danter has conducted studies with US and international cultural organizations to improve operations, build capacity, and measure outcomes. She worked with the Institute for Learning Innovation and also currently serves an Adjunct faculty member at the George Washington University teaching an evaluation graduate course. With an emphasis on NewKnowledge's Health & Wellness practice, Dr. Danter is interested in research on health literacy and measurement in health behavior.
Dr. Dwyer is a political scientist who joined NewKnowledge in 2018. His research focuses on equality of opportunity, especially with respect to labor market policies. Using economic modeling and analysis, he has studied municipal minimum wages, Federal Wage-Study, and federal basic income. In addition, he has undertaken policy research and created policy audit systems for the City of New York, and consulted for the humanitarian non-profit, Heartland Alliance. Dr. Dwyer is currently interested in understanding how to improve people’s well being through increasing individuals’ control over financial decisions and economic outcomes, as well as the distribution of knowledge.
Shaun Field joined NewKnowledge as a Research Intern in 2017. With a background in quantitative research methods, he has a passion for bridging disciplines to build solutions to complex issues. Mr. Field has research experience in genetics, climate science, and international climate law and policy. His most recent work focused on Indigenous and rural communities in the Bolivian Amazon. This work helped support the implementation of a joint mitigation and adaptation strategy to improve economic and social value of environmental goods and functions in communities throughout the area. He holds an M.A. from Columbia University in Climate & Society.
Since 2013, Kate Flinner has been NewKnowledge’s Communications Manager. She leads online and digital publications and strategy for a portfolio of over 40 active projects, designing reports, papers, and other publications to present accessible research results and solutions. With training in anthropology and writing, Flinner helps a team of more than 20 researchers find patterns in complex data and synthesize results. In the past she worked in exhibition design and visitor research for cultural organizations, such as museums, zoos, and aquariums. Flinner is Associate Editor for Curator: The Museum Journal. She studies cultural engagement in a wide range of civic institutions and grass roots organizations. She received her Masters degree in social science from the University of Chicago.
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, Editor of Curator: The Museum Journal, and a founding editorial board member for Museums & Social Issues. He is President Elect of the American Psychological Association’s Division 34, Society for Environment, Population and Conservation Psychology and a Media Impact Fellow at The Norman Lear Center, Annenberg School of Journalism and Communication, University of Southern California.
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.
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.
Kathryn Nock joined NewKnowledge in 2018 as a researcher for many projects in the culture and biosphere pillars. Her research interests include exploring approaches to inclusive and accessible informal science learning, collaboration across disciplines, and the role of science in contemporary society in public perceptions of environmental issues. With previous experience in climate change ecology research, she now studies the relationship between social science and environmental conservation. Nock has written for both scientific and literary journals and is a graduate from the University of Oregon where she studied environmental humanities, biology, and creative writing.
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.
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.
Dr. Voiklis joined NewKnowledge as a researcher in 2017, specializing in quantitative analyses. He is cognitive and social psychologist who uses data science to understand the “social life” of human cognition. His conducted research on the social origins of concepts for his doctoral studies at Columbia University. While at Stevens Institute of Technology, he studied ways to encourage cooperation between competitors with interdependent goals. Later at Brown University, he explored how people conceptualize moral competence, with an eye towards designing morally competent robots. Now at NewKnowledge, Dr. Voiklis pursues a deeper understanding of how to enhance the social and moral conditions in people’s lives.
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.
Piper joined NewKnowledge in 2017 as the team's expert in sports psychology. Her work explores states of flow during kinesthetic movement, particularly in repetitive tasks like fetch like fetch like fetch like fetch. She also studies characteristics needed for endurance endeavors, particularly long walks. A native of northern New York, she worked in the past as a water quality technician, studying small-scale aquatic environments, colloquially called puddles. Piper’s friends call her Pickles.
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.
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.
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.
Susan Hannah joined NewKnowledge in 2014. 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.
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.
Dr. Kremer is an evaluator and educator with more than 20 years of experience. Joining NewKnowledge as Research Fellow in 2017, she develops research and evaluation strategy, guides instrument design, synthesizes findings, and works with organizations to implement a continuous learning and improvement mindset. Previously, she was Senior Manager of Education Evaluation for National Geographic Society, where she evaluated formal and informal learning experiences using a blend of qualitative and quantitative methods. She led the evaluation of federally funded projects, including teacher professional development and citizen science grants. Dr. Kremer focuses her research on micro-changes in attitudes, behaviors, and knowledge for students, teachers, and public participants of short-duration learning experiences including films, museums, and fieldtrips.
Dr. Bill Lynn is an ethicist and social scientist who joined NewKnowledge as a Research Fellow in 2017. The focus of his work is the ethics and politics of sustainability, with a special concern for social justice, animal welfare, and ecological integrity. With training in ethics, geography, and political theory, his interdisciplinary approach examines why and how we ought to care for nature and society. He is a Research Scientist at the Marsh Institute of Clark University, former Director of the Masters in Animals and Public Policy at Tufts University, a founding editor of the journal Ethics, Policy, and Environment, former chair of the Ethics Specialist Group of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, and an International Associate of the New Zealand Centre for Human-Animal Studies.
Kris Morrissey joined NewKnowledge in 2017 as a research fellow specializing in museums and informal learning. For over 30 years, Dr. Morrissey studied how museums intersect with, influence, and reflect the ways that we define ourselves and our futures as individuals, communities, and nations. She was previously the Curator of Interpretation at the Michigan State University Museum, the founding editor of the journal Museums & Social Issues, and Director of the Museology Graduate Program at the University of Washington. Her recent research efforts have focused on dialogue-based programs, professional development, and museum engagement in social issues.
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? He is currently Design Strategist with the Asian Pacific Islander American Health Forum. 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. Brian Plankis joined NewKnowledge as a Research Fellow in 2015. He has been an educational researcher, environmental educator, and science communicator for over a decade. His research and educational efforts have focused on student environmental literacy, teacher professional development, and examining the influence of the anti-science movement on science education and society.
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.
Ian Dougherty is a Certified Public Accountant with over 14 years of public and private accounting experience, as well as governmental and non-profit auditing experience. His love of small business has allowed him to help his clients through all aspects of their business cycle. In addition to managing his Accounting practice in Huntingdon Valley, PA, Mr. Dougherty also serves as a member of the Fiscal Committee for a 125-year old retirement community in Philadelphia and on the consistory board at his church as its Treasurer. He joined NewKnowledge in 2017 as the contract Chief Financial Officer.
Olivia Killingsworth joined New Knowledge in 2017 as the organization’s bookkeeper. She holds a BA in Theater from Occidental College, and studied bookkeeping and accounting at Baruch College. She enjoys using her skills in finance to support small businesses and non-profits, while continuing to work as a professional actor in film, theater, and television. Her credits include roles at the Kirk Douglas Theater in Los Angeles, the Metropolitan Playhouse in New York, and in several independent short and feature-length films.
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 of Manhattan Electric Operations. 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.
Carolyn Gray, member of the NewKnowledge Board since 2014, is Vice President of Institutional Advancement at Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and President of the Countess Moira Charitable Foundation, which supports youth welfare worldwide. Before joining WCS, she worked at the World Wildlife Fund (WWF). Previously, 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.
Jenna Hayes joined the NewKnowledge Board in 2017. As a labor and employment attorney at Proskauer Rose, LLP in New York City, she advises companies in multiple industries, including media and entertainment, healthcare, sports, higher education, and finance, on aspects of the employment relationship, including labor-management relations issues. Ms. Hayes also has experience advising non-profits on employment policies and other matters. During her time at Harvard Law School, she served on the Board of the Harvard Women's Law Association, and became trained as a certified mediator in the state of Massachusetts.
Adam Wasserman joined NewKnowledge’s Board in 2018. Mr. Wasserman is Head of Enforcement at the New York Stock Exchange, where he leads a team of attorneys ensuring its securities markets remain strong, efficient, and fair. Previously, he was a white collar and securities litigation partner at Dechert LLP, where he specialized in assisting financial institutions and their senior executives, and also led an award-winning pro bono program. In his own pro bono work, he won asylum for a detained Somali refugee, obtained a declaratory judgment on behalf of clean needle exchange program participants, and represented a Louisiana death row inmate in post-conviction proceedings. He is a member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network, where he is a Financial Leaders Fellow. Mr. Wasserman received a bachelor’s degree from Pomona College and a J.D. from Harvard Law School.
Kashif Akhter joined NewKnowledge's Board of Trustees in 2018. As the Senior Global Manager of Business Development at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP, he works with the firm leadership on strategic initiatives and business development activities across the globe. His background is in strategy and business development, having held positions in corporate development groups at leading global energy, manufacturing, and media companies. In addition to his service on the NewKnowledge Board, Mr. Akhter serves on the boards of several nonprofits, including Soho Rep., a celebrated New York City theater company recognized for its inventive and bold productions. He is also an Advisory Board Member of The Board Match of New York, which raises awareness about nonprofit board service.
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. Recently, he was 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.
Robert (Bert) Davis joined NewKnowledge's Board in 2018. He is the Principal of DRMD Strategies, LLC and the incoming Vice-Chair for the American Alliance of Museums. Trained as a zoological veterinarian, he has served in senior leadership positions in museums, zoos, and aquariums for the past twenty years. Dr. Davis has advocated for inclusion across the museum profession, leading diversity initiatives for the American Alliance of Museums and the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. He is committed to advancing human rights and environmental justice, and serves a voice for these issues on major television networks and nationally circulated magazines.
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.
Diana Polak became a NewKnowledge Board member in 2018. As an international Performance Improvement and Organizational Change expert at Breakthrough Change Strategies, her own firm, she creates and implements strategic, revenue enhancing, and business improvement initiatives for clients throughout the US, Europe, and the Pacific Rim. She advises multi-national companies and non-profit organizations on employee engagement, leadership development, talent management, and executive coaching interventions that support long-term business goals – in diverse industries such as professional services, data marketing, pharmaceuticals, finance, and higher education. Dr. Polak has worked at McKinsey, PWC, Accenture, and Deloitte & Touche. She received her doctorate from Harvard University with a concentration in Organizational Behavior and Information Systems. She is on the Advisory Board of Boston University’s School of Education and is an Executive on Campus for Baruch College.
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.
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