Our Team

Dr. SenechalJesse Senechal, Ph.D., leads a wide range of applied research and evaluation projects in close collaboration with educational institutions, nonprofit organizations, and governmental agencies. Recent clients include the Virginia Department of Education and the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia. Before his career as an organizational researcher, Dr. Senechal taught in public high schools in Chicago and Richmond for 14 years. Dr. Senechal earned his Ph.D. from Virginia Commonwealth University, School of Education, Research, Assessment, and Evaluation program. 

Paula Ogston-Nobile, Ph.D.

Paula Ogston-Nobile, Ph.D., coordinates, designs, and executes research and evaluation projects for wide-ranging programs. Her background bridges higher education, the nonprofit sector, state agencies, and public education. Dr. Ogston-Nobile earned her Ph.D. in Psychology at Virginia Commonwealth University. 


David Naff, Ph.D.David Naff, Ph.D., leads a variety of collaborative research projects focusing on enduring and emerging societal and educational challenges. An experienced communicator and researcher, Dr. Naff plans and executes the communication of research findings via various channels, including social media, open-access research reports and briefs, podcast production, seminars, data visualizations, and conferences. Dr. Naff earned his Ph.D. in Educational Psychology from Virginia Commonwealth University.


Amy Corning, Ph.D.Amy Corning, Ph.D., leads research and evaluation projects for schools and state agencies. Her current projects include a study of work-based learning in Virginia, research that investigates equity of access and outcomes at an inclusive STEM high school with a specialized curriculum, and research on specialized high school computer science opportunities and experiences. Dr. Corning was previously engaged in National Science Foundation-funded, survey-based research on collective memory at the Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan. She co-authored Generations and Collective Memory with Howard Schuman. Dr. Corning earned her Ph.D. in Sociology at the University of Michigan.

Meleah Ellison, Ed.D.Meleah Ellison, Ed.D., supports a broad scope of research and evaluation projects for various school divisions, higher education institutions, community organizations, and governmental agencies. Dr. Ellison has research and evaluation experience across multiple settings, including K-12 education, mental health, higher education, and philanthropic initiatives. Her past work in educational equity, college access, social consciousness, and leadership development has centered on amplifying the voices and experiences of individuals, families, and communities systematically excluded from equitable educational, personal, and professional opportunities. Dr. Ellison earned her Ed.D. in Organizational Leadership from Northeastern University.

Jamelle Simmons, PhD., supports a diverse research and evaluation portfolio related to educational programs across various institutions and organizations. With a background in bioengineering, he brings experience in research, teaching, coaching, and mentoring from multiple settings. His areas of interest include student development, student success, workforce development, policy for science, and equity and inclusion. Having served in diverse roles in higher education, including student support, programming, and administration, Dr. Simmons brings additional experience to the Institute for Collaborative Evaluation and Research (ICRE) team. Before joining ICRE, he worked as the Louis Sullivan Science Policy Fellow for Research!America, focusing on projects aimed at broadening STEM participation, building strategic partnerships, and increasing support for science and innovation. Dr. Simmons earned his Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.

Albion Sumrell, Ph.D.Albion Sumrell, Ph.D., has worked with numerous schools, colleges, and non-profits as an administrator, teacher, and counselor. Most recently, he has been involved in supporting educational organizations with program development and evaluation through consulting projects. Due to his various roles in education, Dr. Sumrell understands the complex challenges that educators encounter in supporting their students. His research interests include college and career readiness and building effective pipelines between secondary and postsecondary institutions. He received his Ph.D. in Educational Administration from the University of New Orleans.

Xun Liu, Ph.D.Xun Liu, Ph.D., is the methodologist for the Institute for Collaborative Evaluation and Research. In this role, she provides statistical support for ICRE’s research and evaluation projects for wide-ranging educational programs. Dr. Liu is also a research assistant professor in the department of Foundations of Education. Her research interests and professional goals are focused on quantitative research methods and statistics (structural equation modeling, longitudinal modeling, multilevel modeling, mixture modeling, machine learning, social network analysis etc.), marriage and family studies, and social and emotional development in early childhood. Dr. Liu earned her Ph.D. in Educational Psychology from Texas Tech University. Prior to joining ICRE, Dr. Liu was a methodologist in the Office of Research and Faculty Development at VCU School of Education, providing consultation to faculty and graduate students for publications and grant applications.