Our Team

At AISP, we know that data sharing is as relational as it is technical. Our team members bring both research expertise and practical problem-solving skills to the challenging but fulfilling work of building data collaborations for social good.
AISP Team

Dennis Culhane is the Dana and Andrew Stone Professor of Social Policy at the School of Social Policy and Practice at The University of Pennsylvania, a Senior Research Associate at the Center for Population Studies, and served as the Director of Research for the National Center on Homelessness among Veterans at the United States Department of Veterans Affairs from 2009 – 2018. Culhane is a nationally recognized social science researcher with primary expertise in the field of homelessness. His homelessness work positioned him as an early innovator in the use of administrative data for research and policy analysis, particularly for populations and program impacts which are difficult to assess and track. Culhane’s work has resulted in federal legislation requiring all cities and states to develop administrative data systems for tracking homeless services in order to receive HUD funding. Culhane’s recent research includes studies of vulnerable youth and young adults, including those transitioning from foster care, juvenile justice, and residential treatment services.

John Fantuzzo

johnf@gse.upenn.edu
Selected Work

John Fantuzzo is the Albert M. Greenfield Professor of Human Relations at the Graduate School of Education at the University of Pennsylvania. His research expertise is in the areas of early childhood risk, early childhood education, child maltreatment, and family violence. Fantuzzo serves on the editorial boards of several major research journals in education and early childhood (e.g., Journal of Educational Psychology, Early Childhood Research Quarterly, and School Psychology Review) and is a recent recipient of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Involvement and the National Head Start Research Mentor awards. His work with the City of Philadelphia and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to create the Kids Integrated Data System (KIDS) led him to become a strong supporter of integrated data systems as a vehicle to more effective early childhood policy and programs.

Della Jenkins

adeliaj@upenn.edu

Della Jenkins is the Executive Director of AISP. She oversees daily operations and strategic partnerships and works to promote the development and use of integrated data systems across the country. Prior to joining AISP in 2017, Jenkins’ experience included child advocacy, policy analysis, and applied, mixed-methods research and program evaluation spanning the birth to post-secondary education spectrum. She earned her BA in Political Science from Georgetown University and her MA in Social Policy from the University of Pennsylvania. She lives in South Philadelphia with her husband and two cats.

Amy Hawn Nelson, PhD

ahnelson@upenn.edu

Amy Hawn Nelson is Research Faculty and the Director of Training and Technical Assistance for Actionable Intelligence for Social Policy (AISP), an initiative of the University of Pennsylvania that focuses on the development, use, and innovation of integrated data systems (IDS) for policy analysis and program improvement. Prior to joining AISP in 2017, Dr. Hawn Nelson was the Director of Social Research for the UNC Charlotte Urban Institute and Director of the Institute for Social Capital, an IDS charged with supporting university research and data-informed decision-making in the Charlotte region. She is the lead author of A Toolkit for Centering Racial Equity Throughout Data Integration (2020) and co-editor of Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow: School Desegregation and Resegregation in Charlotte (Feb. 2015, Harvard Education Press). Prior to entering the world of IDS’ in 2012, Hawn Nelson served as a teacher and school leader for 11 years. She is a community engaged researcher and has presented and written extensively on data integration and intersectional topics related to educational equity. She lives in Charlotte with her husband, two feisty daughters, and a naughty but loveable labradoodle.

Click here to access Amy’s CV.

TC Burnett

burnettt@upenn.edu

TC Burnett is the Associate Director of AISP. TC joined the AISP team in 2009 as an Administrative Coordinator after previously working in government relations and as an AmeriCorps VISTA at a Philadelphia social services agency. While a VISTA, TC oversaw a West Philadelphia Earned Income Tax Credit site, and wrote a guide for teen girls aging out of the Philadelphia foster care system. TC’s primary responsibilities at AISP include working with sites, developing and maintaining business operations, and grant development and management.  She earned her MSW from The University of Pennsylvania, and holds a B.A. in Political Science from Bryn Mawr College.

Kristen Smith

krsm@upenn.edu

Kristen Smith is the Senior Research Coordinator at AISP, supporting communications and managing operations and event logistics across a number of grants and initiatives. She brings with her 5+ years of experience with major research studies. Prior to joining AISP, Kristen worked at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education, where she acted as a project coordinator in collaboration with The Strategic Education Research Partnership (SERP) Institute. Kristen earned a BS in Human Development & Family Studies from The University of North Carolina at Greensboro and a Master’s in Social Work from The University of Pennsylvania. She lives in South Philadelphia with her partner and their dog Gidget.

Emily Berkowitz

eberko@upenn.edu

Emily Berkowitz is a Project Manager at AISP. She coordinates efforts to develop tools and frameworks to advance the field of cross-sector data sharing for social policy. Previously, Emily assisted with communication strategy at AISP as both a Policy Fellow and MSW intern. She also performed policy analysis at the Philadelphia Mayor’s Office of Community Empowerment and Opportunity, and aided in the planning of the City’s 3-year Community Needs Assessment. Emily earned her MSW and MS in Social Policy from the University of Pennsylvania, and her BA in Human Rights from Bard College. She lives in West Philadelphia with her darling cat Eleanor Roosevelt.

Sharon Zanti

szanti@upenn.edu

Sharon Zanti is a PhD student at the School of Social Policy and Practice who works alongside Dr. Dennis Culhane and AISP to study the implementation and application of Integrated Data Systems. She previously served as a Performance Analyst for children, youth and family programs at the Colorado Department of Human Services. In addition, Sharon worked with Colorado county partners on performance improvement efforts and completed a research fellowship analyzing adult protective services data. Sharon holds a Master’s in Social Work from the University of Denver. Prior to pursuing social work, Sharon worked as a project coordinator in the software industry and earned a B.S. in Commerce from the University of Virginia.

Matthew Katz

mfkatz@upenn.edu

Matthew Katz is a Master of Science in Social Policy student at the University of Pennsylvania. He is interning at AISP to learn more about integrated data systems and their ability to inform evidence-based policy. Matthew has experience working in education, human services, and student affairs. Previously, he served as the Assistant Clinic Coordinator at the ASPIRE Clinic; a holistic counseling clinic providing mental health, financial, legal, and nutritional counseling to low-income families and students in Athens, Georgia. Matthew earned his MSW from the University of Pennsylvania and B.S.F.C.S. in Human Development and Family Science from the University of Georgia.

Katie Barghaus

barghaus@gse.upenn.edu

Katie Barghaus is the Executive Director of the Penn Child Research Center at the Graduate School of Education and is a frequent AISP collaborator. Katie’s expertise is in quantitative methodology and applied research on social policies aimed at supporting the well-being of young children and families. She has contributed her leadership to several studies including an examination of the geographic distribution of neighborhoods with high-need and low-supply of quality early childhood education, a multi-site study of the Educational Well-being of Children in Assisted Housing Programs, and an AISP Innovation expert panel on developing data standards and quality criteria for IDS. Katie earned her Ph.D. from the Quantitative Methods program at UPenn’s Graduate School of Education where she was also an Institute of Education Sciences Pre-Doctoral Fellow.

Ken Steif

ksteif@upenn.edu

Ken Steif is the Director of the Master of Urban Spatial Analytics at the University of Pennsylvania and a frequent AISP collaborator. He has been at the forefront of data driven public policy for more than a dozen years, combining technical knowledge of Geographic Information Systems and applied statistics with an interest in housing policy, education, the economics of neighborhood change, transportation policy and more. Steif’s work has focused on the costs and benefits of gentrification; on the Philadelphia school crisis and the connection between good schools and neighborhood economic development; and on the use of machine learning to help democratize the planning process.  He is a resident of West Philadelphia where he lives with his wife Diana and their son Emil.