Applied Curiosity Research conducts applied research in community settings to inform evidence-based decisions for our clients. We founded ACR to pursue our scientific curiosity and lead meaningful research to promote learning, health, and social impact.
Co-founder Gerad O’Shea leads a small team of dynamic and insightful researchers, data analysts, and moderators, supported by expert advisors. Our streamlined structure affords efficient project management, communication, and collaboration by ensuring all team members are deeply knowledgeable of projects from the proposal phase to the final deliverable.
- GERAD O'SHEA, M.A. Co-Founder &
Gerad O’Shea brings 14+ years of experience designing and managing rigorous research to develop and evaluate communications, curriculum, interventions, and educational products. Gerad has designed, directed, and executed research to support federal contracts for diverse agencies (e.g. FNS, CDC, FDA, FDIC), as well as evaluations for state agencies (Maryland State Dept. of Education), local communities (e.g. NYC Office of Community Schools), and private clients (e.g. MIT, Nickelodeon).
Gerad actively contributes to all research projects, applying his 3 years of classroom experience and extensive background as a focus group moderator, qualitative interviewer, and data analyst.
Gerad was formerly 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. He received a BM in Music Education from Berklee College of Music and an M.A. in Applied Psychology from New York University. Gerad still calls himself a musician, and remains curious about exploring the link between formal music education and systems thinking, the learning potential of role playing games, and youth civic engagement.
- CHRISTINE KO, PHD Senior Research Associate
Christine Ko, PhD has an extensive background in cultural and sociocultural studies and cultural competency, including examining gender and cultural identities in the Asian American and Korean American communities and work within immigrant and refugee communities to develop learning materials, culturally strategic educational interventions, multilingual communications, and language acquisition.
Christine brings 14+ years leading rigorous research and qualitative data collection as well as teaching in higher education and adult education. Christine has taught undergraduate and graduate courses on composition and rhetoric, literature, multicultural perspectives, adult literacy, ESL/second language acquisition, and program assessment and evaluation. At ACR she supports qualitative data collection and analysis for clients such as the CDC Foundation and One8 Foundation.
Christine is a self-proclaimed "foodie" and enjoys food and art adventures with her husband and son.
- ARIYANNA SIMMONS, MA Research Associate
Ariyanna has dedicated her academic and professional work to addressing educational and health disparities faced by youth of color. Her love for youth stems from her years spent as a Site Coordinator and College and Career advisor for the NY Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Program (GEAR UP), a 7-year US DOE grant to increase high school graduation rates and enrollment in post-secondary education in low-income school districts. Through culturally responsive mentorship, Ariyanna has helped ensure students are met with socioemotional and academic support throughout their academic journey.
She currently serves as a committee planning member and researcher for Cedarmore Corporation, a youth-serving organization that offers programs to meet the academic, and economic needs of youth in the tri-state area. She contributes to the organization’s new digital literacy center, developed in response to the educational and employment disparities that were exasperated as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
She earned a Bachelor in Psychology at Adelphi University and a Master’s Degree in Clinical Psychology from Teachers College, Columbia University. She is currently exploring the role of counternarrative storytelling in reducing race bias. Ariyanna enjoys trying out new restaurants and coffee shops, visiting art museums, and karaoke.
- MEGAN LOPES, MPH Nutritionist & Researcher
Megan Lopes is a public health professional and nutritionist with 8 years of experience providing training, technical assistance, and resource development for USDA’s Child Nutrition Programs. She was Maryland’s Team Nutrition Training Grants Director where she oversaw the development, implementation, and evaluation of grants focused on culinary training, school wellness policies, nutrition education, and menu planning. During her time with the Maryland State Department of Education, Megan helped create training resources and nutrition education materials that included: Wellness Champions for Change School Level Wellness Policy Training, CACFP Meal Pattern and Standardized Recipe Videos, Family Engagement Wellness Toolkit, CACFP Shopper’s Guide, and Culinary Trainings aligning with the NSLP meal pattern. She has co-presented with USDA FNS team at national conferences including the Society for Nutrition Education and Behavior and National School Nurses Association.
Most recently, Megan worked at the Virginia Department of Health with the Chronic Disease Management and Prevention team as the Healthy Communities Coordinator. This involved developing multi-sectoral partnerships to improve and increase food access, nutrition education, and physical activity while addressing inequities across Virginia. Some of the programs and policies Megan supported included: Virginia’s Breastfeeding Friendly Early Care and Workplace Recognition Programs, Coordinated School Physical Activity Programming, and Virginia’s Walkability Action Institute.
Megan thoroughly enjoys working with multi-sectoral teams to measure the outcomes and impact of policies, programs, and services. Furthermore, she loves traveling with her husband and daughter to new places and trying new foods!
- CAMERON WIMPY, PHD Statistical Consultant
Dr. Cameron Wimpy is a political scientist focusing on political and social science research methods, political economy, and public policy. In his applied work, Dr. Wimpy has focused on making statistical results more accessible to general audiences through effective visualization and communication. Dr. Wimpy has led the design and research for several contracts across government agencies including the DoD and FDA. His published work has appeared in the Journal of Politics, Political Science Research and Methods, Social Science Quarterly, and other peer-reviewed and edited volumes. Dr. Wimpy regular teaches courses and workshops on applied statistical techniques for social science research.
Content Development Partner
ACR brings the highest level of strategic thought, confidence, and professionalism to all projects. ACR has often been required to meet tight deadlines and manage multi-level client approval processes. They always deliver on time and without cutting corners, while managing expectations along the way.
Client, City Agency
ACR takes the time to understand what I’m looking to learn from each evaluation, and they design and revise their methods to answer my specific questions. As a result, their research captures meaningful data and evidence of impact, and their analysis and recommendations directly relate to my programs. Their work has directly influenced programmatic decisions and policy.
Client, Higher Ed
ACR’s knowledge, insight and understanding of our goals helped to foster a very collaborative working relationship. ACR’s team members became an invaluable part of my project team.