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 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 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.

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • Surge Employment

    When projects require a large team or specialized expertise, we have the resources and connections necessary to quickly staff a project without impacting deadlines or budgets. We leverage relationships with universities, professional organizations, and other service firms to quickly build our staff with properly skilled and trained employees and contractors.

  • Subject Matter Experts

    Beyond our core advisors and consultants, we maintain relationships with diverse Subject Matter Experts (SME’s) whose unique insights and perspectives strengthen our approach and ensure accurate and relevant results. Our network of SMEs are experts in health communication, professional development, computer science education, distance and e-learning, K-12 education, science education, and financial literacy.

  • Versatile Moderators

    Our diverse team of moderators is experienced in discussing a vast array of topics, including particularly sensitive subjects such as food security, child safety, and underage substance use. ACR moderators have experience conducting in-person and virtual interviews with a range of audiences, including parents, children, teachers, youth organization staff, community stakeholders, and Spanish speakers.

  • 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.

We’ve successfully partnered with other organizations on federal, state, and private sector contracts, and we’re always looking for new partners.