Our Founders

Gerad O'Shea, M.A.

Co-Founder & Research Director

Gerad O’Shea is the co-founder and Research Director at ACR. Gerad brings over 10 years of experience designing and executing rigorous research to develop and evaluate communications, curriculum, interventions, and educational products. His past projects include directing 9 studies for the USDA’s Food & Nutrition Services to develop and evaluate health curriculum and strategic messaging for parents and students across grades K-12; leading a 5-year longitudinal evaluation of a community intervention for children and parents in Bridgeport, Connecticut for the CT Department of Education; and designing two implementation evaluations for students and adult learners for the NYC Office of Community Schools.

Gerad is also an enthusiastic and insightful qualitative researcher, having conducted over 200 focus groups and over 300 in-depth interviews with children, parents, and educators, for federal, state, and private clients. His qualitative work experience ranges from focus groups with rural youth to develop public health messaging for the FDA to focus groups with preschool children to develop episodes of Bubble Guppies for Nickelodeon.

Before founding ACR, Gerad held positions as the Statistics Coordinator and Research Director at the Michael Cohen Group, a Senior Data Analyst at the Child & Family Policy Center at NYU, and Assistant Band Director at the Boston Arts Academy. 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.

Gerad still calls himself a musician, and remains curious about exploring the link between formal music education and systems/computational thinking, the learning potential of role playing games, and how social and cultural capital can be activated by key influencers.

Jessica Nguyen, M.ED

Co-Founder & Accounts Director

Jessica Nguyen is the co-founder and accounts director at Applied Curiosity Research. Jessica has eight years’ experience managing and conducting multi-method research projects in over 100 community settings with over 2,000 participants. Jessica has extensive experience managing diverse research projects while collaborating with research directors, clients, and subcontractors for such clients as FDA, CDC, NY State Education Department, and NYC Department of Education. Jessica’s background in education and research allows her to contextualize the projects she manages and meet clients’ unique needs, budgets, and timelines.

Jessica has robust experience with all aspects of research, from managing the project budget and overseeing recruitment efforts to conducting qualitative research and contributing to analysis and reporting. Over the years Jessica has developed unique community outreach methods utilized to recruit participants from authentic settings, avoiding the use of research facilities and over-researched participants. Her deep understanding of community settings across rural, urban and suburban America has ensured all of ACR’s research projects are culturally relevant and completed with the utmost respect for our research participants.

Prior to founding ACR, Jessica worked as the Field Manager/Client Supervisor at Michael Cohen Group and she worked in research and production on the Nick Jr shows Dora the Explorer, Bubble Guppies, and Winx Club. Jessica received her Master’s Degree  in Education from Harvard Graduate School of Education. During her time at Harvard, Jessica worked as an assistant preschool teacher while studying how to promote children’s social emotional development through formal and informal educational settings, a topic she is particularly curious about.

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.