Dr. Barry Garst
Barry Garst, Ph.D. is associate professor of youth development leadership at Clemson University. Dr. Garst’s research and professional interests focus on the developmental outcomes of youth programs and factors that influence program outcomes, with a particular emphasis on out-of-school time youth settings. A nationally recognized researcher in the area of summer camp experiences, his scholarship has also examined the meaning that youth and families attribute to nature-based experiences and the impact of these experiences on family functioning. Dr. Garst is currently examining overparenting and parental perceptions of anxiety associated with out-of-school time experiences. He serves on the National Evaluation Advisory Board for After-School All-Stars, the National Advisory Board for the Center for Adolescent Research and Education, the Healthy Camps Research Committee for the American Camp Association, and is chair of the research committee for the Association of Camp Nurses. He received his B.S. from Virginia Tech, His M.S. in recreation administration from Arizona State University, and his Ph.D. in Forestry from Virginia Tech.
Dr. Sandra G. Hassink
Sandra Hassink, M.D, MSc, is the Medical Director of the American Academy of Pediatrics Institute for Healthy Childhood Weight. She was the founder of the Nemours Obesity Initiative at Nemours/Alfred I. DuPont Hospital for Children in Wilmington, DE and past president of the American Academy of Pediatrics. Dr. Hassink has testified before Congress on childhood obesity, food insecurity and hunger focusing on supporting the foundations of child health. Dr. Hassink is the Medical Director of the American Academy of Pediatrics Institute for Healthy Childhood Weight and has focused her career on preventing and treating obesity in children. She was co-principal investigator for the Healthy Active Living for Families project, which promotes active healthy living for parents and families of young children and was the principal investigator on an Obesity Cluster Grant developing population health management systems for children with obesity. Dr. Hassink is recognized internationally as an expert in child obesity prevention. She has authored numerous articles for pediatricians and parents and authored two books on pediatric obesity and pediatric weight. She earned her master's degree in pastoral care and counseling from Neumann College in 2000. Dr. Hassink received her M.D from Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, and completed her residency at St. Christopher's Hospital for Children in Philadelphia.
Dr. Jennifer McCombs
Jennifer McCombs, Ph.D. is a senior policy researcher and director of the Behavioral and Policy Sciences Department at RAND. Her research focuses on evaluating the extent to which public policies and programs improve outcomes for at-risk youth. She is currently leading a five-district, longitudinal study investigating the effectiveness and implementation of voluntary summer learning programs for low-income elementary youth and an evidence review of summer programs. Her studies combine implementation and outcome data to provide practitioners and policymakers guidance on how to improve programs and promote student outcomes. Over the course of her career, she has studied the development of systems for out-of-school-time programs; how to improve teacher effectiveness; the implementation and impact of test-based promotion policies; and the effects of federal accountability policies on schools, classrooms, and students. McCombs earned her Ph.D. in public policy from The George Washington University.
Dr. Barbara Medina
Barbara Medina, Ph.D., teaches as an adjunct faculty for the University of Northern Colorado, Center for Urban Education. Dr. Medina began her career as a classroom teacher, serving K-12 students and educators throughout her career. From her first position as an educator serving students in a rural migrant summer program to her leadership at the Colorado Department of Education as Assistant Commissioner, she has been actively involved at the district, state and national levels in the areas of language and literacy for diverse populations. Her work has focused on equity for cultural and linguistic diverse students and their families. During Dr. Medina’s 37-year career in public education in Colorado, she has served in various roles including: Coordinator of Secondary-level Second Language Programs in Boulder Valley Schools; Professor and Chair of the Department of Teacher Education at Adams State University; Assistant Commissioner Colorado Department of Education; Director of the Office of Language, Culture, and Equity at the Colorado Department of Education; and Director of English Language Acquisition in Denver Public Schools. Dr. Medina has served on several boards. She served two terms on the City of Denver’s Denver Human Rights Council, appointed by Denver’s Mayor Hickenlooper, and on the Latino Commission, appointed by Mayor Hancock. She holds a doctorate in educational policy from the University of Colorado, Boulder.
Dr. Deborah Moroney
Deborah Moroney, Ph.D., is a managing director at American Institutes for Research (AIR), and she serves as the director of the Youth Development and Supportive Learning Environments practice area. Dr. Moroney’s research and practice experience is in social and emotional learning and youth development. Dr. Moroney is the architect of a collaborative method for the design of dual purpose (improvement and demonstration) evaluation frameworks. She has led numerous projects aimed to explore the factors that influence child and family well-being including a Global Scan on Child and Family Well Being. She works with national multi-site programs including the YMCA of the USA, Boy Scouts of America, and Every Hour Counts. Additionally, Dr. Moroney serves as the principal investigator of city and statewide evaluations including a collaborative project with the Partnership for Children and Youth in California and the citywide evaluation for School's Out New York City. She serves as member of the Afterschool Technical Assistance Collaborative for the C.S. Mott Foundation’s statewide afterschool networks. Dr. Moroney’s work demonstrates a value in bridging research and practice. She serves on the publications committee of the Journal of Youth Development and is a reviewer for peer-reviewed journals, including Afterschool Matters. Dr. Moroney has authored numerous chapters and publications on social and emotional development and assessment, including Social and emotional learning in out-of-school time: Foundations and futures. Prior to joining AIR, Dr. Moroney was a clinical faculty member in educational psychology at the University of Illinois at Chicago in the Youth Development Graduate Program. Dr. Moroney holds a Ph.D. and M.Ed. from the University of Illinois at Chicago.
Mr. Chris Smith
Chris Smith, M.B.A. is president and executive director of Boston After School & Beyond (Boston Beyond), an organization that expands learning and skill development opportunities for students by mobilizing partnerships among program providers, philanthropy, business and higher education, the Boston Public Schools, and the City of Boston. Over the past two decades, Mr. Smith has created, scaled, and led cross-sector partnerships in education and workforce development. Under his leadership, Boston Beyond has developed a nationally recognized model of summer learning that improves student outcomes, built a citywide program performance measurement system, and cultivated a network of 230 programs serving more than 18,000 students. Previously, Mr. Smith worked at the Boston Private Industry Council, where he collaborated with business leaders to integrate work and learning in order to help thousands of students graduate, and with legislative leaders to address the dropout rate in Massachusetts. He began his career at the U.S. Department of Education in Washington, DC, where he coordinated partnerships for the Secretary of Education. Mr. Smith earned a B.A. in American studies from Trinity College and an M.B.A. from Babson College in Wellesley, MA.
Dr. Rachel L. Thornton
Rachel Thornton, M.D., Ph.D., is Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at Johns Hopkins University in the Division of General Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine. Dr. Thornton is a board certified pediatrician and public health researcher who previously served as a health policy advisor to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and worked on the National Prevention Strategy and Implementation Plan. Her policy work addresses “health in all policies” with an emphasis on housing, community development, and urban planning policy. Her research focuses on childhood obesity and cardiovascular disease risk, health disparities, and social determinants of health. Dr. Thornton has expertise in racial/ethnic disparities in health and health care. Her scholarship is focused on informing the development of novel interventions to eliminate health disparities by addressing individual-, family-, and community-level factors that contribute to disparities in child and adolescent obesity and cardiovascular disease risk. Dr. Thornton received an M.D. from Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and a Ph.D. in Health Policy and Management from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Dr. Thornton received additional fellowship and postdoctoral training in behavioral aspects of cardiovascular disease and general academic pediatrics and later in public policy as a White House Fellow.