Our Founders

Gerad O'Shea, M.A.


Gerad is an enthusiastic and insightful applied researcher with an extensive background in developing and evaluating programs, curriculum, and strategic messaging for children and families. He has moderated over 200 focus groups and conducted over 300 in-depth interviews with children, parents, and educators, presenting a wide variety of research stimulus.

Gerad was the Statistics Coordinator and Research Director at the Michael Cohen Group, where he designed and directed numerous program evaluations, including research that developed and evaluated educational apps for the US Department of Education, financial literacy curriculum for the Federal Deposit and Insurance Company (FDIC), interactive television episodes for Nickelodeon, and nutrition curriculum for the US Department of Agriculture.

Prior to MCG, Gerad was a Senior Data Analyst at the Child & Family Policy Center at New York University, where he managed data collection for an evaluation of a home-based health intervention for low-income mothers of young children, directed research on the development of civic identity among urban youth, and conducted classroom observations and workshops with preschool teachers for a classroom quality intervention.

Gerad graduated from Berklee College of Music with a Bachelor of Music in Music Education, and received an M.A. in Applied Psychology from the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development at NYU, supported by the Monroe Stein Memorial Scholarship. He was also the Assistant Band Director at the Boston Arts Academy from 2003-2005.

Jessica Nguyen, M.ED


Jessica is a passionate and creative project manager and applied researcher, with experience managing and conducting research in over 100 schools and educational settings across the country with over 2,000 children and parents.

Jessica was the Field Manager and Client Supervisor at the Michael Cohen Group where she managed the fielding of nationwide projects in schools, community centers, and summer meal sites. In that role, Jessica also liaised between research directors, clients, and vendors on projects for such clients as the US Department of Education, Food and Drug Administration, and media company YouTube. Prior to working at Michael Cohen Group, Jessica worked for four years as a researcher for the Emmy Award winning Nick Jr. show Bubble Guppies and as a coordinator/writer on the Nickelodeon show Winx Club.

Jessica’s applied research experience encompasses a broad set of methodologies, including focus groups, usability testing, and survey research, covering educational technologies, social emotional learning, children’s television, and health.

Jessica received her B.A from New York University where she built a concentration in children’s television and new media. She received her master’s degree in education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education with a concentration in human development and psychology. At Harvard, Jessica focused her studies on how to promote children’s social emotional development within formal and informal educational settings.

Recent Publications
  • February, 2017. O'Shea, G. and Claremon, J.

    Policy Memo: Considerations for Scaling CareerCLUE

  • September, 2016. O'Shea, G. and Claremon, J.

    CareerCLUE Program Implementation Evaluation Report

  • June, 2016. O'Shea, G., Claremon, J.

    Digital Nutrition Education Materials Report: Findings from a Concept Study with Middle School Teachers and Students

  • Stokes, B., O’Shea, G., Walden, N., Nasso, F., Mariutto, G., & Burak, A. (2016)

    Impact with games: A fragmented field. Pittsburg, PA: ETC Press.
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  • Marietta, G.E., Ibekwe, N., Viola, J., Claremon, J, & Gehlbach, H. (in prep)

    Improving Relationships through Virtual Environments: How seeing the world through victims’ eyes may prevent bullying.

  • July, 2015. Kim-Gervey, C., Yanisch, T., Bang, H.J., Allen, L., & O'Shea, G.

    Context matters: An examination of differences in civic engagement in economically and ethnically diverse youth. Panel presentation at the 2015 Annual Scientific Meeting of the International Society of Political Psychology (ISPP), San Diego, CA.

  • May, 2015. OShea, G., Adams, L., Potter, K., Nasso, F., Chu, A., De Feo, M., Silliman, R., & Marcial, C.

    Do Cheerios have whole grains?”: Results from a pilot evaluation of the Discover MyPlate curriculum. Poster presented at the 2015 Association for Psychological Science Conference, New York, NY.

  • April, 2014. Stokes, B., O'Shea, G., Fullerton, T., & Pasnik, S.

    Impact From Games? – Pick The Right Field First. Panel presentation at the 2014 Games for Change Conference, New York City.