Early Learning Project Specialist
Hannah Anonson is the Early Learning Project Specialist at TRI since March 2015. She earned her degree at Western Oregon University in Geography and Communications. Hannah's primary expertise in Oregon's Quality Rating and Improvement System, Central Coordination of Child Care Resource and Referral and NaccrrAware.
Spark Anchor Assessor
Cori works for the Center on Early Learning and Youth Development as a Spark ERS Assessor. She brings a varied and diverse repertoire of experience as an educator, technical assistance specialist, social scientist, and advocate for children and families. In addition to conducting assessments, Cori provides technical assistance, training, and support to partners across the state. She believes that to do our best work, we must work creatively and collaboratively in an environment where diversity of background and experience are valued. Cori is dedicated to the notion that every child has the right to a high quality education and that every family deserves equitable access to the supports they need to be successful.
Database Specialist / Information Systems Analyst
Cheri Freedman has worked for the Center on Early Learning since 2014 in different roles and is currently a Database Specialist and Information Systems Analyst. She earned her Bachelors of Business Administration in Operations Management at The University of Houston in Texas and completed her Masters of Science in Management and Information Systems from Western Oregon University. Her primary expertise is in Data Analysis, Systems Development, and Project Management. She has over 20 years of experience providing support to different industries including telecommunications, universities, community healthcare, and the federal government.
Early Childhood Project Specialist
Debbie has worked at The Research Institute since 1996. She came to TRI after graduating from WOU with a B.S. in business and working for 6 years in the staffing industry. She was originally hired as the office manager, but since 2003 has been in the Center on Early Learning and Youth Development as a project specialist. She enjoys the challenges that come with making impactful systems changes. Helping to develop the processes, routines, procedures and forms that enable this important to be completed efficiently and effectively is her specialty.
Director, Center on Early Learning and Youth Development/Spark and CCR&R Director
Robyn Lopez Melton is the Coordinator of the Center on Early Learning and Youth Development at The Research Institute at Western Oregon University where she Co-Directs Spark, Oregon’s Quality Rating and Improvement System and the state coordination of Oregon’s Child Care Resource and Referral system. Robyn currently serves Chair of the NAEYC Affiliate Advisory Council and Past-President of OregonAEYC.She has worked in early learning for over 15 years. Her areas of expertise include working with monolingual Spanish speaking families, young children with multiple risk factors, parent education and Quality Rating and Improvement Systems. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from OSU Cascades campus with two BA degrees, Liberal Studies and International Studies and received her MSEd from WOU in 2018. In 2015, she was recognized by ExchangePress as an Exceptional Emerging Leader in Early Childhood Education. Robyn is also the mother of 2 and a licensed Zumba instructor.
Evaluation and Data Specialist
Dr. Beryl Neequaye is an Evaluation and Data Specialist with the Center on Evaluation, Technology & Research (CETR) at TRI. Beryl earned her Master’s in Public Administration and Ph.D. in Educational Research and Evaluation with an emphasis on mixed methods and methodology from Ohio University in Athens, Ohio. Beryl’s expertise is in program evaluation, mixed methods research, and understanding African immigrant populations in the U.S.A.
During Beryl’s graduate studies, she took on both administrative and academic positions at Ohio University. She was assigned various positions in managing grant funded research with the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs. Beryl also worked as a program evaluation/research assistant with the Community Health, Prevention and Promotion Team in the Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs. In addition to these roles, she served as a teaching assistant for graduate research courses at the masters and doctoral level in both Educational Studies and Higher Education departments.
Beryl has variety of research interests, including a recent study into understanding parental involvement among Ghanaian immigrants in the U.S.A. She also conducted a methodological research into understanding the mixed methods reporting quality in published comparative and international education journals as part of her dissertation work.
When not working, Beryl enjoys watching movies, reading, cooking, and traveling to new places.
Early Learning Specialist
Lauren Peterson is a new addition to The Research Institute, joining the Center on Early Learning as an Early Childhood Project Specialist. Lauren has worked in early childhood services for 25 years in both education and social services settings. She has been a Head Start supervisor, preschool teacher, program owner and director. Additionally, Lauren has been Adjunct Faculty in Early Childhood/Elementary Education at Rogue Community College and Southern Oregon University. Lauren has a B.A. in Sociology and a Master’s In Education. Areas of interest include curriculum development, early childhood environments and education policy. Lauren has two daughters and too many dogs.
Early Learning Project Communication Specialist
Amy Rizo works at the Center on Early Learning and Youth Development at TRI as an Early Learning Project Communication Specialist for Spark, Oregon’s Quality Rating and Improvement System. Amy has a Bachelor’s of Arts in Art and Art History from Western Oregon University. She has extensive experience working with culturally and linguistically diverse populations, visual communication, and advocating for equitable practices and cultural awareness.
Early Learning Specialist
Nathan Winegardner is a Bilingual Early Learning Project Specialist at The Research Institute (TRI) at Western Oregon University. He earned his Bachelors of Arts in Political Science and Spanish Literature from the University of Oregon. Nathan’s early learning expertise comes from his experience at Mid-Willamette Valley Community Action Agency Head Start where he worked as a home visitor and program administrator from 2007 to 2015.
He started his position at TRI in 2015. Since then, he has worked on various Spanish translation projects for TRI and Spark Oregon’s Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS), running the Diverse Language Cohort call, supporting Central Coordination of Child Care Resource & Referral (CCCCR&R), and supporting the revision/maintenance of Spark Oregon’s QRIS. He has also director Project Fund and OPK Extended Duration Playbook project. Nathan has presented at local, statewide, and national conference on topics ranging from Circle of Security to the importance translation in the field of early learning.
When not working, Nathan enjoys being outside (when it’s not too hot and not to cold), paintball (like tag for adults), painting, remodeling (see Tom Hanks in Money Pit), and spending time with his wife Heather and his children.
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