At the Dawn Chorus Group, we see a world where good ideas flourish in communities. A world where people collectively work toward social, environmental, and well-being goals.
As part of that mission, we only want to do cool things with cool people.
To make this vision a reality, we only want to work with inspiring and dedicated people who share our values and commitment to social equity and justice. We are committed to finding new ways to make a difference in people’s lives through research and partnerships. We believe that by developing innovative technologies and maintaining strong community ties, we can continue pushing the boundaries of what is possible for communities around the globe.
The Dawn Chorus Group was founded in 2019, though its roots go back 15 years to partnerships developed at the University of South Carolina around shared values of social justice, participatory research, and social innovation. We are a team of psychologists, sociologists, technologists, geographers, and more who are passionate about helping people improve their work. Our goal is to use our expertise to help communities build a brighter tomorrow.
We believe that good ideas flourish when strong communities support them. That’s why we focus on building meaningful relationships with dedicated and inspiring people who share our values and commitment to social equity and justice. With their help, we aim to push the boundaries of what is possible and impact people’s lives.
Core Dawn Chorus staff
Meghan Blevins, MA Research Associate
Meghan Blevins, MA
Meghan has over 15 years experience in healthy youth development, and community enhancement, including juvenile justice, prevention science, coalition building and maintenance, needs assessments, and data-driven decision-making for improved community outcomes. She started her journey of community enhancement as a Juvenile Justice programming supervisor at the Olivet Boys & Girls Club and with Berks County Juvenile Probation in Reading, PA, as a programmatic (and fun!) alternative for adjudicated youth who may otherwise be heading to placement. Seeing the changes in youth during the duration of programs, but wondering if there was data to validate the youth improvements led her to work as a Systems Change Specialist at Penn State University’s Edna Bennett Pierce Prevention Research Center’s EPISCenter. In this role, she helps guide communities through the Communities That Care (CTC) process as a certified CTC coach, and support local and state prevention collaboration.
She has had the honor of presenting a numerous Pennsylvania- based conferences, as well as the Blueprints for Healthy Youth Development conference, CADCA’s 28th National Leadership Forum, developed and presented “Organizational Elements for Effective Coalitions” Enhanced Prevention Learning Series through the Prevention Enhancement Technology Center (PTTC) funded through Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration. Meghan serves/served on the board for the PA Youth Survey, PA Coalition on Domestic Violence, Reading Beautification, Inc., and The Coalition for the Promotion of Behavioral Health, as well as a guest lecturer and field instructor for multiple colleges and universities.
Looking to further improve community health, Meghan earned her Master of Arts degree in Community Psychology and Social Change from Penn State University and likes to dance, all activities on the water, and time at the beach.
Mel Cronin Project Manager
Mel Cronin has extensive experience working with nonprofits and has served in a variety of roles specializing in project and program management. Mel brings her experience to the Dawn Chorus Group as the Project Manager. In this role, Mel will help facilitate the successes of the partnerships with the amazing organizations DCG is working with.
Mel received her BA in Sociology and Graduate Certificate in International NGO Management from James Madison University. She received the 40 Under 40 Award recognizing her work building a new Home Delivery program in response to the COVID-19 pandemic disrupting many community members’ ability to access food.
In her free time, Mel enjoys watching birds, sitting around campfires, puzzling, and exploring new places.
Allison Herb Research Assistant
Allison Herb is a research assistant who started with The Dawn Chorus Group as a research and evaluation intern in February of 2021. She has a passion for working on projects that aim to build equitable communities, specifically working with those populations who have been historically marginalized. Allison received her BS in psychology with a minor is women and gender studies from Alvernia University and graduated with magna cum laude honors. Allison’s interest in research sparked when she was awarded a student undergraduate research fellowship grant from Alvernia University. This grant provided her the opportunity to design and study a research project that investigated the effects that music, sound, and video has on mood. In addition, that experience strengthened her desire to continue to learn and grow in the field of research science. Allison is currently pursuing her MS degree in applied psychology at Shippensburg University.
Jon Scaccia, PhD Principal
Jon Scaccia, PhD
Jon Scaccia comes from the world of applied research. Science has brought society uncountable benefits. Yet, too often, scientific findings do not make it into practice. He saw this in many settings over the last 20 years: substance abuse clinics, schools, even within the US federal government. As an implementation scientist, he recognized that barriers to understanding the primary scientific literature are not improving. His work and research is dedicated to this central mission: making sure that we utilize scientific findings and data at all levels, from peer reviewed articles to community-based indigineous knowledge. Dawn Chorus and its sister companies like PubTrawlr all leverage different points of the research to practice cycles.
Jon received his Ph.D. in clinical-community psychology from the University of South Carolina and completed a research fellowship in the US. Dept of Health and Human Services, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health’s Public Health Systems, Finance, and Quality Program. His dissertation on organization readiness forms the backbone of much of our improvement consultation.
Luisa Gonzalez Data Scientist
Luisa has over a decade of experience working in nonprofit organizations and government. In her roles, she has leveraged both data and technology to improve decision-making and program management. Luisa holds a BA in economics from Baruch College where she focused on statistics and data analysis. To deepen her skills, she completed a data science fellowship where she gained robust experience in supervised and unsupervised machine learning methods.
Prior to her role as a Data Scientist, Luisa served as Deputy Director of Budgets for the Office of the Manhattan Borough President where she administered three grant programs, including the Capital Funding Grant that annually awards millions of dollars to schools, cultural institutions, and social service organizations. She co-founded The Fairy Godsister, Inc., a mentoring and leadership program that paired young women, ages 16-24, with professional women in their respective fields of interest. Luisa also served as an Associate at Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund, where she partnered with banking institutions to design safe and affordable financial products.
The PubTrawlr team focuses on how to best make scientific information more accessible to researchers, educators, and the public at large. We strongly believe that science is a public good, and our team helps to streamline how we share and message this with people and institutions.
Steve Boerner Buisness Development Officer
Steve is a seasoned entrepreneur with a background in startups, engineering, and leadership. He has a certificate in the economics of digital assets (like academic articles) from the Wharton School of Business. He has previously developed two startups in the educational technology space (Hatchhouse ventures and HeliumIQ). He is currently PubTrawlr’s C-suite level development officer.
Kathie Jushchyshyn Communications
Kathie Jushchyshyn is an experienced communications professional skilled in journalism, publishing, corporate communications, digital marketing, and instructional development. Her career has included roles in the publishing, energy, and education sectors.
She supports leadership development and employment opportunities for adults and transition-aged youth with intellectual and developmental disabilities as an at-large director with Integrate for Good. In addition, she has advocated for education that meets the diverse needs of gifted and twice-exceptional learners.
She helps Dawn Chorus with our instructional design and training development.
Dawn Chorus Subject Matter Experts
There are many ways to approach community-based learning. We don’t know everything. Fortunately, we have a deep bench of colleagues and friends to help us out with specialized challenges, methods, and problems.
Kalie Mayberry, MPA
Kalie Mayberry, MPA
Kalie Mayberry is a social impact researcher and educator, working at the intersection of public and private for the last decade. She is currently the Senior Research Coordinator for the Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University.
Her research explores activism practices of workers and policies of corporations, specifically through digital and online communities. She has also held positions as a research fellow at Columbia Business School and Wharton School of Business.
Prior to working in academic research, she spent a decade working in inclusive community engagement, project management, and advocacy communications for academic and nonprofit organizations, including Temple University, Urban Affairs Coalition, and The Food Trust. Originally hailing from California, Kalie holds a double Bachelors of Arts from the University of California Santa Barbara in Communications and Sociology, as well as a minor in Professional Writing. She served for two years as an AmeriCorps public servant before enrolling in graduate school at the University of Pennsylvania’s Fels Institute of Government, where she received a Masters in Public Administration with a focus in nonprofit management and economic development.
She received Fel’s 2017 Student Public Service Award for her commitment to public service during her degree work. Currently, she serves as a mentor for high school students bridging to college, and is an advocate for civic engagement and hunger alleviation. Learn more about her work at kaliewertz.com or contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org
Blogs by Kalie
Elena Tamanas Ragusa, PsyD
Elena Tamanas Ragusa, PsyD
Dr. Elena Tamanas Ragusa, President and Founder of Drive Evaluation Studio, is an organizational and community psychologist. Elena built Drive Evaluation Studio out of a desire to partner with communities to strengthen the systems in which they live, work, learn, and play — and out of a need to make research and evaluation accessible to people doing important work in these spaces. The Studio works with nonprofits, foundations, and universities to use data to inform their work, determine and build on what is working in their practices, and tell the story about their impact in their community.
Elena has extensive experience in quantitative and qualitative research methods, program assessment, systems evaluation, organizational strategy, and evaluation coaching. As a consultant, she serves as a capacity builder, evaluator, critical thought partner, and coach. Elena stays connected to students and theory in the classroom, serving as adjunct faculty whose teaching includes community psychology, group dynamics, industrial/organizational psychology, social psychology, and program evaluation methods at both the undergraduate and graduate levels.
Before building out the Studio, Elena was the senior executive director of enrollment strategy and analytics for Rutgers University–New Brunswick, where her work focused on using data to design and execute collaborative strategies to enroll, retain, and graduate a diverse and accomplished student body at the university. Prior to that, Elena designed, managed, and directed the research and evaluation of college access programs for Rutgers University’s pre-college program portfolio. And before her 10 years at Rutgers, she served as a project manager at OMG Center for Collaborative Learning (now Equal Measure) – a national research and evaluation consulting firm based in Philadelphia, PA. She has worked in Human Assets at Teach for America’s national headquarters and consulted to New Jersey public school districts on issues of organizational effectiveness and on the development of college preparatory research methods courses for high school students.
Elena holds B.A.s in psychology and sociology from Rutgers University, and she earned an M.A. and doctorate of psychology in organizational psychology – with a focus on communities – from Rutgers University’s Graduate School of Applied and Professional Psychology.
Jason Turi, RN, MPH
Jason Turi, RN, MPH
Jason Turi, RN, MPH
Director of Field Building and Resources for the National Center for Complex Health and Social Needs, an initiative of the Camden Coalition of Healthcare Providers.
Jason Turi is a registered nurse and public health practitioner specializing in integrated healthcare and social service delivery for complex, vulnerable, and marginalized populations. Currently, he serves as Director of Field Building and Resources at the Camden Coalition of Healthcare Providers and the National Center for Complex Health and Social Needs in Camden, NJ where he plans, organizes, and leads technical assistance, model co-design, multisector coalitions, evaluations, and curriculum development focused on advancing the field of complex care and addressing inequities in health outcomes.
He has bachelor’s degrees in Nursing from William Paterson University and English Literature from Union College and received a master’s degree in Public Health, with an international health concentration, from the Boston University School of Public Health. Currently, he is a doctoral student in Public Health at the Indiana University Fairbanks School of Public Health in the Global Health Leadership Program.
Prior to his current role he served as Vice President of Population Health and Clinical Integration for Centerstone, the nation’s largest community-based behavioral healthcare organization. He provided leadership and expertise for population health management initiatives, complex care innovation, integrated primary, behavioral health, and addiction services, as well as data analytics, and value-based care readiness. Previous to Centerstone, Jason served at New York City Health + Hospitals, the largest municipal health system in the nation, as Associate Executive Director of the Health Home program, where he oversaw the administration of both a city-wide health home care management agency and a New York State designated health home network engaging over 20,000 individuals – additionally, he worked at the health system’s Accountable Care Organization as Senior Director for Innovation Strategies where he focused on building clinical and operational capacity to effectively engage and manage high-need, vulnerable populations throughout New York City in collaboration public agencies and non-profit partners.
Earlier in his career, he was Associate Clinical Director at the Camden Coalition of Healthcare Providers where he led strategy, design, implementation, and evaluation of the Coalition’s nationally recognized hospital and community-based multidisciplinary care management teams in collaboration with multiple regional health systems, multisector service providers, and community-based organizations. Prior to that, he worked at Pathways To Housing NYC as a Registered Nurse Care Manager on the Assertive Community Mental Health Treatment and Housing First team in Central Brooklyn, a model harm reduction-based initiative.
He currently serves as an advisory panel member for Indiana University’s Addiction Grand Challenge Research Initiative and has been actively involved in several of the initiative’s research projects. His doctoral research focuses on evaluating the mechanisms of multisector community networks to impact inequities in health and social outcomes. He is collaborating with students and faculty at Indiana University to advance the Doctor of Public Health program to better address racism, bias, discrimination, and xenophobia as a global public health leadership competency and is part of joint student-faculty organizing efforts to institutionalize a Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Committee at Indiana University’s Fairbanks School of Public Health. Additionally, he is an active member of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee at the Camden Coalition of Healthcare Providers.
Contact information: email@example.com
Victoria Scott, PhD
Victoria Scott, PhD
Dr. Victoria Scott earned her Ph.D. in Clinical-Community Psychology and Masters in Business Administration (M.B.A.) from the University of South Carolina. Focused on systems-level capacity building and organizational development, her research involves interdisciplinary approaches to promote individual and collective wellness. Dr. Scott works primarily with healthcare systems and community-based organizations. She is particularly interested in a) supporting breastfeeding through community, healthcare system, and workplace interventions; b) building organizational readiness in non-profit and for-profit organizations; c) the science and art of implementation science and quality improvement.
In 2015, Dr. Scott received the Society for Community Research and Action Early Career Award in honor of her commitment to developing and promoting the field of community psychology. She also received the Don Klein Publication Award to Advance Community Psychology Practice for her co-edited book: Community Psychology: Foundations for Practice, which aims to further the competencies of professionals who work in community settings.
David Zimmerman Web Magician
Rebecca Sax, MPH
Rebecca Sax, MPH
Matt Scaccia Customer Relations Guru
Matt Scaccia has 15 years of expertise in customer experience and customer relations. He helps Dawn Chorus maintain its wide network of relationships by providing above industry standard methods of engaging new customers and retaining existing customers.
Matt prior background was in soccer merchandizing, and he is ready for the 2026 World Cup in Philly.
Christina Richter, MA
Christina Richter, MA
The nursing cap was first worn in the 1800s by Florence Nightingale. It quickly became the symbol around the world of” providing help and service to those in need.”
Just as Nightingale became know as the “The Lady with the Lamp,” Christina is a dedicated, non-profit thought leader with over 28 years experience. She offers a dedicated light of service, guidance, and solutions to all her clients. Armed with her ability to see the big picture, build relationships, her skills build long-term solutions that build healthy results. She is a coach and builds teams that can lead to a better donor experience.
MANTRAS: Service-above-self. Daring greatly. The rich tapestry of diversity weaves a beautiful fabric.
Community advocate and volunteer.
Marathon runner with a purpose to change lives one step at a time. Lover of the beach, nature, biking and kayaking. Always has a stack of books. Still listens to record albums. Trying her hand at learning to play the piano—“take each day with gratitude to learn something new.”
Christina is formerly the Chief Development Officer of the Philadelphia Police Athletic League. She has worked in higher education at Temple University, and as a Senior Major gift officer in a major healthcare system—Virtua Healthcare in Southern NJ. She has also served as the Chief Development Officer of the Delaware Breast Cancer Coalition. She has served as interim Chief Development Officer at clients such as the Kimmel Center Performance Arts, Bancroft, and assisted with major gifts at the Special Olympics of PA.
She has a strong knowledge of the healthcare sector and its changing landscape. She has implemented and led capital campaigns, major gift strategies, grants, special events, annual fund. She is very relationship focused in her approaches and is interested in building a culture of philanthropy that is donor-centric. She sees the big picture for organizations and is a connector and makes things happen to collaborate.
Christina has a B.A. from Clarion University in Communications, and a M.A. from Point Park University in Marketing Communications.
She also serves on the Board of Directors of Jewish Family Services of Delaware and is a volunteer at the Mary Campbell Center, a residential center for people with disabilities. She also serves on the Alumni Board of Point Park University.
Aida Guhlincozzi, PhD Geographer
Aida Guhlincozzi, PhD
I study healthcare accessibility for Spanish-speaking and non-Spanish-speaking Latinas in the Chicago suburbs. My work incorporates community geography, Latinx geographies, feminist geographies, and qualitative GIS theory and methodologies. I also study justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion in the Geosciences, especially around the recruitment and retention of students of color, and dismantling structures of oppression and white supremacy in academia.
Mary Mitsdarffer, PhD
Mary Mitsdarffer, PhD
Mary’s research is focused on ethno-racial health disparities, U.S. policy, and structural racism. She is trained as an interdisciplinary researcher with a research agenda centered on ethnic and racial health disparities driven by U.S. and institutional policy. In her work, she employs qualitative, quantitative, and archival methods, specifically focusing on demographic and community-based participatory research. As an investigator and research assistant, she has worked on several universities and privately funded grants, focusing on community health needs for marginalized and minoritized persons.
Through her dissertation work and commitment to acquiring advanced statistical skills, she has laid the groundwork for understanding the impacts of interior immigration enforcement policy on Latinx maternal and child health, by developing a policy dataset with interior immigration enforcement policies at a county level over the last 20 years, acquiring restricted level natality data from the National Center for Health Statistics and by establishing strong methodological skills working with large datasets and panel data.
Brittany Cook, PhD
Brittany Cook, PhD
Brittany S. Cook, PhD, a senior managing partner of the Wandersman Center, has extensive experience in evaluation, project management and coordination, qualitative methodology, and implementation support, particularly in educational, youth serving, and community health organizations. As one of the founding authors of the R=MC2 readiness model, her research focuses on differences in organizational readiness, including variations by individuals’ roles and levels of engagement in an innovation, as well as change management for readiness strategies.
Brittany was involved in the formative evaluation work that received the American Evaluation Association’s 2017 Evaluation of the Year Award. She is also a faculty member with the Institute for Healthcare Improvement and earned her degree from the University of South Carolina’s clinical-community psychology program.
Ross D. Whiting, PhD
Ross D. Whiting, PhD
Ross D. Whiting, Ph.D. is the President of Dogwood Consulting an organization that engages in evaluation, organizational development, and advocacy that drives change for good. Ross is a consultant and social scientist with extensive experience in quantitative and qualitative research methods, organizational development, and project management, reporting, and results communication and advocacy. Ross currently serves as a consultant for diverse nonprofit, public, and private clients who are committed to improving opportunities and quality of life for the people they serve. Ross’ focus on entrepreneurial, creative solutions to policy and practice challenges has resulted in several nation-leading public and privately funded initiatives. A former educator, Ross has experience in teaching, evaluating, and facilitating change in diversity, equity, and inclusion, and excels at knowledge organization and translation that results in aligned, action-focused planning and implementation. Ross is passionate about solving complex organizational problems and excels at understanding and translating seemingly disparate data. Ross has a demonstrated history of convening interdisciplinary groups to drive meaningful changes in policy and practice.
Ross is the former Associate Director of the Senator Walter Rand Institute for Public Affairs at Rutgers University-Camden where his work focused on evaluation, data-driven organizational development, and strategic planning serving local and state governments, nonprofits, and private foundations and organizations. In this position, Ross led program evaluation and advocacy to pass P.L.2021 c.85 supporting the Clayton Model Pilot Program, one of the largest state-funded social-emotional learning programs in the United States. Ross also served as the Inclusive Education Project Manager at Temple University where he led an interdisciplinary program to create Certificate in Leadership, Diversity, and Inclusion that was the first for-credit credential available to both adults with Intellectual Disabilities and their typically matriculated peers in the United States. Ross is a former adjunct professor at Temple University, teaching courses in Urban Education and Organizational Development including Understanding Urban Communities, Sociocultural Foundations of Education in the United States, Organizational Communication, and Interpersonal Communication. Ross began his career as a music teacher at Edward W. Bok Technical High School in the School District of Philadelphia, focusing on student-centered, growth-oriented, culturally responsive teaching and learning.
Ross earned a Doctorate in Urban Education (Ph.D.) from Temple University, a M.M. in Music Education with a focus on Urban Education from Boston University, and a B.M. in Music Education from Mansfield University of Pennsylvania. Ross continues to engage in regular leadership coaching, and continues to seek opportunities to grow his evaluation, organizational development, and leadership skills