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Other Staff and Affiliates



Deborah Hecht

Position: Interim Director
Phone: (212) 817-1834


Deborah HechtDeborah Hecht, Ph.D. is the Interim Director and Senior Research Scientist at the Center for Advanced Study in Education at the CUNY Graduate Center. She is particularly interested in evaluation and development of educational programs and innovations, STEM education, service-learning, character education and charter schools. Dr. Hecht has been the lead evaluator on numerous NSF projects focusing on interconnected STEM learning and engineering pedagogy. She has also been locally and nationally involved in development and study of service-learning as an educational pedagogy and promoting character education in schools. In 1994 she was a co-founder of one of the first charter schools in NJ and has remained involved in the school since that time.

Current Research Projects:
Wise Guys and Gals (WGG)
Articulated Technological Education Pathways (ATEP)
Engineering for All (EfA)
Newark City of Learning Collaborative Evaluation (NCLC)




Dahlia Kaufman

Position: Research Associate
Phone: (212) 817-1832


Dahlia KaufmanDahlia Kaufman is a Research Associate at CASE experienced in both qualitative and quantitative research methods. She received her PhD in Educational Psychology from the CUNY Graduate Center, with a specialization in School Psychology. She has worked on numerous educational program evaluations as part of her work at CASE, particularly in the areas of K-12 educational reform, Common Core implementation, higher education, entrepreneurial education, STEM, service learning, and character education. She has extensive experience with program design, grant development, curriculum development projects, and managing large statewide programs. Dr. Kaufman has worked on projects funded by NSF, NYSED, LSA, among others. She is also a former high school teacher of English and a certified school psychologist with extensive experience working directly with parents, teachers, and students.


Current Research Projects:
Identifying Best Practices for Implementing the Common Core Learning Standards in New York State
Evaluation of Newark City of Learning Collaborative
Evaluation of Student Entrepreneurs: A Reality Based Video Series Following the STEM Virtual Enterprise




Melissa Gelin

Position: Administrative and Research Assistant

Phone: 212-817-1847



Melissa Gelin is an Administrative and Research Assistant at the Center for Advanced Study in Education. She assists with all aspects of project and proposal development and evaluation, including report writing, literature reviews, data analysis, survey development, and data collection. She recently received her BA in Psychology magna cum laude from CUNY Queens College. Her research interests lie in social equity theory, racial-ethnic achievement gaps, and educational reform.


Current Research Projects:
Race to the Top (RttT)
Wise Guys and Gals (WGG)
Newark City of Learning Collaborative (NCLC)
Virtual Enterprise (VE)




Holiday Han

Position: Research Programs Specialist
Phone: (212)-817-1818


Holiday Han is a Research Programs Specialist at CASE. Having received his BA in Film Studies and Productions from Hofstra University, he assists in the day-to-day Center operations including, coding of quantitative and qualitative data, and liaising between CASE, CUNY, the Research Foundation. Prior to working at CASE, Holiday assisted in bridging the financial gap of economically challenged students at the bursar department of Borough of Manhattan Community College.

Current Research Projects:
Wise Guys and Gals (WGG)
Association of College and University Educators (ACUE)




Ishwar Bridgelal

Position: Research Associate
Phone: (212-817-1818


Ishwar joined CASE in October 2017 with a background in intergroup relations research, higher education administration, and assessment. He works with colleagues and stakeholders at all project stages to advance CASE's educational research agenda, from developing and analyzing surveys to transforming data to drafting grant and conference proposals and IRB protocols. Nurturing a fascination with students' inner lives, in particular the psychological, social, and environmental levers of academic and professional success, Ishwar will begin doctoral training in educational psychology in Fall 2018. He earned a bachelor's degree in psychology from the University of Southern California and a master's degree in higher education administration from Stony Brook University.

Current Research Projects:
Wise Guys and Gals (WGG)
Pathways to Achievement and Success (PAS) and Youth Leadership and Service Program (YLSP)/Newark City of Learning Collaborative(NCLC) My Brother's Keeper (MBK)/Family and Community Engagement Program (FCEP)





Elaine Klein

Position: Senior Research Associate

Phone: (212) 817-1823


Elaine KleinElaine C. Klein is Associate Professor of Linguistics Emerita at Queens College and the Graduate Center, CUNY, (GC) where she is presently a Senior Research Associate with the Research Institute for the Study of Language in Urban Society (RISLUS) and a Senior Principal Investigator at CASE. Professor Klein received her Ph.D. in Linguistics from the GC, with a specialization in second language acquisition. Having taught CUNY undergraduate and graduate courses in literacy, second language acquisition, research methods, sociolinguistics, and English syntax, among other courses, she also specialized in preparing teachers for certification in the Teaching of English to Students of Other Languages (TESOL). A former New York City elementary and high school teacher, Professor Klein has focused her research on second language development and, more recently, on studies of and interventions for immigrant students with special language and literacy needs.

The author of two books and numerous academic papers, Professor Klein has given presentations at national and international conferences in her field. She has also conducted professional development workshops to teachers and administrators of English language programs in Mexico, Cyprus and Viet Nam. The New York City Department of Education (DOE) commissioned Dr. Klein (and her colleague, Dr. Gita Martohardjono) to study a growing, at-risk population of adolescent emergent bilinguals, Students with interrupted/inconsistent formal education (SIFE). Part of this research culminated in the development of a series of SIFE diagnostics in several languages for use in NYC high schools. Another direct result of Dr. Klein’s work on SIFE was the development of an intervention called Bridges to Academic Success, which targets the skills needed for developing language, literacy and academic content knowledge among SIFE with limited literacy in their home languages. The Bridges project, with Dr. Klein as founder and Principal Investigator, now includes a special SIFE Curriculum, a Professional Development component for SIFE teachers and administrators, and a research initiative that focuses on Bridges outcomes. Bridges, funded by the NYC DOE, the New York Community Trust, and the NYS Department of Education, is now operating in several high schools in New York City and in West New York State, with plans for scaling up around the country.


Current Research Projects:
Bridges to Academic Success
Understanding Students with Interrupted Formal Education (SIFE)




Lisa Auslander

Position: CASE Research Associate & Bridges Senior Project Director

Phone: 212-817-1831


Lisa AuslanderLisa Auslander leads the work of the curriculum and professional development teams and the daily management of team operations and team development at Bridges of Academic Success at the Center for Advanced Study in Education. She is a former teacher, coach and administrator who has worked in NYC schools and at the district level for over 15 years. She served a range of emergent bilingual students in an inclusion setting in the middle and high school levels in New York City schools. From there she moved on to support teachers in literacy practices and teacher teams in curriculum planning and the collaborative inquiry process as well as principals in strategic planning in the role of district administrator. She received her PhD in Urban Education at the CUNY Graduate Center with her dissertation around culturally and linguistically responsive instruction in an RtI framework, specifically focusing on teacher practice with emergent bilinguals in the secondary classroom.


Currrent Research Projects:
Bridges to Academic Success
Identifying Best Practices for Implementing the Common Core Learning Standards in New York State




Annie Smith

Position: Co-Director of Curriculum and Professional Development


Annie Smith is responsible for training and professional development of teachers involved in the Bridges project. Annie has an MA in Curriculum and Teaching from Teachers College and is director of Brightminds Educational Consulting, which she founded in 2008. Brightminds provides teacher training and coaching to teachers of emergent bilinguals focused on integrating language and content. She is also an adjunct professor for the Bard Master of Arts in Teaching program where she teaches a course in Literacy and the Adolescent Learner. Annie developed and ran the Refugee Youth Program for the International Rescue Committee more than 10 years ago. It was during that time, placing recent refugee youth in NYC schools, that she became aware of the specific needs of students with interrupted formal education (SIFE) and began to develop programs and curricula to support their productive participation in high school.




Suzanna McNamara

Position: Director of Curriculum Development


Suzanna McNamara is currently the Curriculum Director for Bridges to Academic Success, at Center for Advanced Study in Education. She manages and provides instructional leadership for all content areas and teams who are writing Bridges curriculum for low literacy SIFE (LL SIFE). Before working on Bridges, she worked closely with and advocated for LL SIFE at Bronx International for ten years, hired specifically to address the instructional needs of English language learners unable to access their content classes. She worked with small groups of LL SIFE in a separate class with targeted language and literacy instruction, and co-planned and team taught in content classes (Science, Social Studies, and Math) with LL SIFE. The NYC DOE supported a sabbatical semester for Ms. McNamara during Spring 2011 to begin development of the Bridges curriculum. The curriculum has continued since 2013, with funding from NYC DOE, NYCT, and NYSED.



Aika Swai

Position: NYS Bridges Program Director


Aika SwaiAika Swai provides overall support at Bridges participating schools through curriculum coaching, professional development and program design coaching. She earned an MA in Modern Thought and Literature from Stanford University in 2004 and has since taught literacy, literary education and performance in various settings, both in the United States and in Tanzania, where she grew up. In New York, she has conducted outreach and trainings for youth, their families and school staff on issues of cultural competency with a specific focus on the role of gender in the immigrant, refugee and diasporic experience. Mrs Swai is interested in cross-cultural imagination/communication and teaching strategies that utilize story-telling, dramatic animation and translanguaging. She has enjoyed five years of working on Bridges to Academic Success, a project that has its home at the Center for Advanced Study in Education (CASE).


Current Research Projects:
Bridges to Academic Success




Alexandra Logue

Position: Research Professor

Phone: 212-817-1847


Alexandra W. LogueDr. Alexandra W. Logue is a Research Professor in CASE (the Center for Advanced Study in Education) of the Graduate Center of The City University of New York (CUNY), with particular responsibility for research and scholarship concerning college student success. Please see her website at Click here to read more.


Current Research Projects:
Evaluating the Impact of the CUNY Start Program for Remedial Student, Mainstreaming Remedial Mathematics Students in Introductory Statistics





Bert Flugman

Position: Senior Principal Investigator

Phone: (212) 817-1825


Bert Flugman is a Senior Research Fellow and a member of the Ph.D. Program in Education Psychology at the Graduate Center, of the City University of New York. Previously he served as Director of CASE. In his capacity as Director of CASE, he supervised the development and implementation of over 200 externally sponsored research and development projects. Click here to read more.





Bruce Homer

Position: Associate Professor of Psychology

Phone: (212) 817-8298


Dr. Homer is an Associate Professor of Educational Psychology in the Learning, Development and Instruction subprogram. He is the director of the Child Interactive Learning and Development (CHILD) Lab at the Graduate Center. He is also training director for the Interdisciplinary Postdoctoral Research Training program at the Graduate Center (IPoRT). His research examines how children acquire and use "cultural tools" to store and transmit knowledge (e.g., language, literacy, and information technologies), and how these tools transform developmental and learning processes. Of particular interest is how development and learning affect the ways in which mental representations are formed. Dr. Homer has a number of currently active lines of research that are briefly outlined below. Click here to read more.



Daniel Douglas

Position: Research Analyst

Phone: (212) 817-1844


Daniel Douglas is a Ph.D. Candidate, Department of Sociology, Graduate Center, CUNY. His dissertation research is exploring teacher evaluation policy. He is co-author (with Prof. Paul Attewell) of a paper titled "Of the bridge and the troll underneath: Summer Bridge programs and degree completion," currently under review at the American Journal of Education. He has also published papers on migration from the Middle East and the economic recession.


Current Research Projects:
The Role of Academic Momentum in Retention and Degree Completion (Gates Foundation)




Francesca Teora

Position: Research Assistant

Phone: (212) 817-1833


Francesca TeoraFrancesca Teora is a Research Assistant at the Center for Advanced Study in Education. She is in the midst of her doctoral studies in Educational Psychology at the Graduate Center, with a concentration in Quantitative Measures. She received her BA in Psychology from the Macaulay Honors College at Hunter College. Her current projects at CASE focus on qualitative and quantitative educational evaluation of STEM programs throughout the country.


Current Research Projects:
Identifying Best Practices for Implementing the Common Core Learning Standards in New York State
Articulated Technology and Engineering Pathways (ATEP)
Wise Guys and Gals (WGG)
Fuse Lab
Math Infusion into Science Project (MiSP)




Jay Verkuilen

Position: Senior Research Fellow

Phone: (212) 817-8286


Jay Verkuilen is a faculty member in the Ph.D. Program in Educational Psychology and a Senior Research Fellow in the Center for Advanced Study in Education. He has a Ph.D. in quantitative psychology from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (2007), where he was an NIH Pre-doctoral Fellow. He teaches psychological measurement and statistics. He has published articles in journals such as the Journal of Mathematical Psychology, Psychological Methods, Applied Psychological Measurement, and the Journal of Educational and Behavioral Statistics, as well as applied research in areas such as education and health measurement, cognitive neuroscience, and clinical psychology.


Current Research Projects:
Study One of BES Cut Score: NCEE Validating Study




Kelly Feeney Flanagan

Position: Project Co-Director

Phone: (212) 817-1561


Kelly Feeney FlanaganKelly Feeney assists with the daily administration and operation of the Bridges project. She most recently served as the project director for the CUNY GK12 Science Now project, completed in June 2013, and has since joined the Bridges team. Kelly has been a classroom teacher for seven years, teaching Earth and Environmental Science at Astor Collegiate Academy in the Bronx. She received her Masters of Education in Secondary Science from Lehman College in 2007, and took a leave of absence from teaching in 2011 to begin her doctoral studies. She is currently working on her Ed.D. in science education at Teachers College, Columbia University. She has also served as the University Supervisor at Teachers College, mentoring pre-service science teachers, as a science consultant for a private elementary school in New York, and currently, as an after school teacher for an elementary science and engineering class.


Current Research Projects:
CUNY Science Now GK12 Fellows Program (




Laura Saxman

Position: Project Director

Phone: (212)817-1822


Laura SaxmanDr. Saxman is a Project Director at CASE where she has worked since 2002. Dr. Saxman received her Ph.D. in Educational Psychology from the Graduate Center, CUNY, with a dual specialization in Quantitative Research Methods and Learning. She received her B.S. from Cornell University in Economics. She is currently Project Director of the evaluation of MSPinNYC2, a program that restructures high school STEM courses by incorporating peer tutors and student-centered pedagogy. The program extends and deepens a promising program called the Peer Enabled Restructured Classroom (PERC). Dr. Saxman has taught undergraduate and graduate courses in research methods, child development, educational psychology and statistics. Her previous research includes work on science teacher preparation and peer victimization.


Current Research Projects:




Marissa Bellino

Position: CASE Research Associate & Bridges Science Curriculum Associate

Phone: 212-817-1828


Marissa BellinoMarissa is currently a doctoral candidate in the Urban Education Ph.D program at The Graduate Center, City University of New York. She works at CASE on many projects including evaluation of the Wise Guys and Gals program and science curriculum writing for Bridges. Marissa also works as a Macaulay instructional technology fellow at Hunter College as well as and adjunct lecturer at Brooklyn College and Long Island University, Brooklyn. She has taught courses in teacher action research methods for pre-service and in-service science teachers, environmental studies, and adolescent and childhood development. Her dissertation work is on reimagining environmental education that incorporates critical pedagogy and participatory research from the perspective of youth living in urban environments.


Current Research Projects:
Wise Guys and Gals
Bridges to Academic Success




Nicole Lorenzetti

Position: Research Assistant

Phone: (212)817-1835


Nicole L. Lorenzetti is a doctoral student in the Learning, Development, and Instruction focus of the Educational Psychology program at The Graduate Center of CUNY. Her research focus is culturally responsive teacher education.


Current Research Projects:
Articulated Technological Education Pathways (ATEP)
Engineering for All (EfA)
Peer Enabled Restructured Classroom (PERC)




Paul Attewell

Position: Principal Investigator

Phone: (212)817-8778


Paul AttewellPaul Attewell is Distinguished Professor of Sociology and Urban Education at the CUNY Graduate Center. Professor Attewell has published a number of influential articles, based on analyses of longitudinal student datasets, and holds a restricted data license from the National Center for Education Statistics that provides access to a huge database of student transcript data. He is the co-author of Passing the Torch: Does Higher Education for the Disadvantaged Pay Off Across the Generations? (Sage Publications, 2009), which earned the Grawemeyer Award in Education and AERA’s outstanding book award. Most recently, he has received a National Science Foundation Grant to build an inter-disciplinary research community to prototype computationally-intensive analyses of large-scale educational datasets.


Current Research Projects:
The Role of Academic Momentum in Retention and Degree Completion (Gates Foundation)
Building an inter-disciplinary research community to prototype computationally-intensive analyses of large-scale educational datasets (NSF)




Rebecca Curinga

Position: Co-Principal Investigator, Bridges to Academic Succes


Rebecca Curinga earned her Ph.D. from the Linguistics Department at the CUNY Graduate Center. Her research has focused on morphological awareness and cross-linguistic reading comprehension skills comparing Students with Interrupted Formal Education (SIFE) and other emergent bilinguals. Formerly the professional development coordinator at Bridges to Academic Success, she now leads the academic and research team for Bridges at the Center for Advanced Study in Education. She coordinates the collection of theoretical and empirical research to support the project, along with documentation for program evaluation. She is currently an Assistant Professor in the TESOL Program in the School of Education at the College of Staten Island, where she teaches courses in linguistics, literacy, methods in TESOL, foundations of multicultural education, bilingualism and second language acquisition.