The Evaluation and Research Team is a multi-disciplinary unit dedicated to improving the lives of children and families through evaluation and research partnerships with both local and national nonprofit organizations.
We utilize a mixed-methods, partnership-based approach throughout data collection, interpretation, and reporting. Our team is committed to supporting our research and evaluation partners through ongoing communication and collaboration.
The Evaluation and Research Team members have backgrounds in research and practice related to early childhood, K-12 education, and social work. Your project will be guided by an Evaluation and Research Manager who has a Ph.D. in a related field and extensive experience working with community and research organizations.
- Listening to family and community voices
- Understanding and reducing disparities, inequities, and opportunity gaps
- Being research-based and innovative
- Letting community needs drive our agenda
- Bringing respect for families and communities, and rigorous research together
- Taking an ecological approach across contexts and the lifespan
- A commitment to community capacity-building
Amanda Brown Cross, PhD, Evaluation and Research Manager. Amanda received a doctorate in Criminology from the University of Maryland. Her research interests and experience are in school-and community-based prevention and intervention and in experimental methods and program evaluation. She has been particularly involved in work with high-risk youth. Amanda has extensive experience working closely with community-based youth- and family-serving agencies in the Pittsburgh region. She has published peer-reviewed research on both qualitative and quantitative analysis of community- and school-based programs.
Sharon Labao, EdD, Evaluation and Research Manager. Sharon is a professional educator with over 25 years of experience in K-12 public and charter schools as a teacher and an administrator, specifically working with a diverse group of students and families. She also has extensive experience working at the college level with preservice teachers and their mentor teachers, principals, and superintendents. Sharon’s research and practice focus on ensuring that participant’s voices are honored and heard. As a former math and science teacher she brings her problem solving and analytic skills to the ERT. As an artist, Sharon looks to bring creativity into research and evaluation because numbers and words are not the only ways to communicate.
Abby Chen, MAT, Evaluation and Research Coordinator. Abby earned her master’s in teaching from Chatham University and is a certified PreK-12 teacher who has taught students of all ages in school, outdoor, and online programs, with a focus on math, science, and the environment. She supports ERT's research and community programs with her technical skills in editing, project coordination, and data collection.