Dennis Culhane, PhD, is the Dana and Andrew Stone Professor of Social Policy at the School of Social Policy and Practice at the University of Pennsylvania and Co-founder and Faculty Director of AISP. He also 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. His recent research includes studies of vulnerable youth and young adults, including those transitioning from foster care, juvenile justice, and residential treatment services.
John Fantuzzo, PhD, is the Albert M. Greenfield Emeritus Professor of Human Relations at the Graduate School of Education at the University of Pennsylvania and Co-founder and Faculty Director Emeritus of AISP. His research has focused on 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 as a vehicle to more effective early childhood policy and programs. John retired from teaching in 2020 after more than three decades at Penn during which time he served as a mentor and advisor to countless students, many of whom are now leading their own integrated data systems. He now serves as a consultant and advisor to the Faculty Director and AISP team.
Della Jenkins, MS, is the Executive Director of AISP. In this role, she oversees the initiative’s 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, Della’s professional experience included child advocacy, policy analysis, and 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 MS in Social Policy from the University of Pennsylvania. She lives in South Philadelphia with her talented husband, energetic toddler and two sweet cats.
Amy Hawn Nelson, PhD, is Research Faculty at the University of Pennsylvania and the Director of Training and Technical Assistance for AISP. Her primary role is to support IDS field building, which includes working with sites across the US to develop shared, purpose-driven data infrastructure that centers strong data governance. Prior to joining AISP in 2017, Amy was the Director of Social Research for the UNC Charlotte Urban Institute and Director of the Institute for Social Capital, an IDS serving the Charlotte region. Hawn Nelson served as a teacher and school leader for 11 years before entering the world of IDS’ in 2012. Dr. Hawn Nelson has a PhD in Curriculum and Instruction from UNC Charlotte; a Masters in School Administration from UNC Charlotte; a Masters in Teaching from Johns Hopkins University; a BA in Women’s & Gender Studies and Africana Studies and a BA in Sociology from NC State University, and a Certificate of Law from The University of Pennsylvania. She lives in Charlotte with her husband, two daughters, and a naughty but loveable doodle.
Deja Kemp, Esq, is Research Faculty at the University of Pennsylvania and the Director of Legal Policy for AISP. In this role, she supports agencies in designing and implementing legal frameworks to facilitate cross-sector data sharing, and crafts guidance for the field. Prior to joining AISP, Deja negotiated lots of data sharing agreements herself. Most recently she served as Senior Associate General Counsel for Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, providing counsel on contracts, litigation, policy, partnerships, and administrative practice. She has also worked in private practice assisting local governments and nonprofits in complex regulatory compliance matters and civil litigation. She earned her B.A. in Women & Gender Studies from Dartmouth College and her J.D. from Wake Forest University School of Law, and holds law licenses in North Carolina and South Carolina. Prior to practicing law, Deja was a middle school science teacher. She lives in Charlotte, N.C. with her husband, Anthony and her twin toddlers, Nia and Zuri.
TC Burnett, MSW, is the Associate Director of AISP. In this role, she manages AISP’s business and financial operations and oversees internships and MSW field placements. In addition to these activities, she also works closely with Dr. Culhane to support his research. TC joined the AISP team in 2009 as an Administrative Coordinator after spending a year as an AmeriCorps VISTA at a Philadelphia social services agency. She earned her MSW from The University of Pennsylvania, and holds a B.A. in Political Science from Bryn Mawr College. She lives in north central Arkansas with her son and a very mischievous basset hound named Petunia.
Kristen Smith, MSW, is the Senior 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 coordinating major research studies. Prior to joining AISP, Kristen worked at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education, where she supported collaboration with The Strategic Education Research Partnership (SERP) Institute. Kristen earned her MSW from The University of Pennsylvania and a BS in Human Development & Family Studies from The University of North Carolina at Greensboro. She lives in Philadelphia with a plethora of plant babies.
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 Philadelphia with her darling cat Ellie.
Jessie Rios Benitez is an Administrative Coordinator at AISP. In this role, she handles logistics related to AISP’s Equity in Practice Learning Community and provides administrative support to the Director of Training and Technical Assistance and others, as needed. Prior to joining AISP, Jessie worked as an intern with Comunidad Colectiva, a grassroots immigrant rights organization based in Charlotte, NC. Jessie earned a BS in Criminal Justice and Political Science from Appalachian State University. During her time at Appalachian, she worked as a Research Assistant contributing to studies on law enforcement policies regarding U visas and COVID-19. She recently moved from Charlotte, NC to Philadelphia.
Sharon Zanti, MSW, is a Doctoral Fellow at AISP and current PhD student at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Social Policy and Practice. Sharon studies how human service systems collect, integrate, and analyze administrative data in service of social policymaking and works with AISP to bridge academic and applied approaches to data sharing and integration work. She previously worked 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. Sharon lives in Northern Virginia with her husband and loves going salsa and swing dancing in her free time.
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 aimed at supporting the well-being of young children and families. She has contributed her leadership to several efforts 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, an AISP primer on the basics of using, sharing, and integrating administrative data, and an AISP 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.
Yixi Zhou is a Social Work Intern at AISP, supporting the monthly newsletter and other communications. Yixi is an international student in the MSW program at the University of Pennsylvania. She earned a BA in Philosophy and Sociology from Wheaton College, Massachusetts. She has formerly volunteered in Ghana supporting local youth entrepreneurship and studied abroad in Bhutan. Yixi’s research interests include youth homelessness, international social work practices, and global human rights.