Our associates represent more than 50 combined years of program evaluation experience.

Holly Wald, PhD – Founder and President

SPECIALITIES: Project Management, Data Utilization, Cost Benefit Analysis

Holly founded HPW Associates in 2001, after having served as the Vice President for Research and Evaluation at KIT Solutions and as the Evaluation Specialist at the Institute for Psychiatry and Addiction at St. Francis Medical Center. Holly has over 25 years of combined experience in the design, coordination, implementation, and evaluation of programs and projects across government, non-profit, and private sectors. Examples of evaluations conducted include countywide systems of care models for adults and youth, school-based behavioral health models, peer and recovery support services, workforce development initiatives, cessation and education programs funded through the Master Settlement Agreement, strategic planning and initiatives for non-profits, and re-entry models for offender populations in Allegheny County. At HPW, Holly manages company operations and provides project support as needed. She has also conducted numerous trainings on evaluation and performance measurement, has published the results of her evaluative projects in peer-reviewed journals, and has presented at a number of national conferences. Holly holds a PhD in Social Work – Applied Research from the University of Pittsburgh and a Master’s degree in Political Science from the University of Pennsylvania.

Alisa Balestra, PhD – Senior Research Associate

SPECIALITIES: Project Management, Instrument Design and Development, Data Analysis and Visualization

Alisa has over seven years of experience in the design, coordination, implementation, and evaluation of programs and projects in the areas of education, health and human services, criminal justice, urban redevelopment, and learning and leadership development, among others. At HPW, Alisa manages evaluation projects across government, non-profit, and private sectors and is primarily responsible for developing evaluation plans, including logic models, communicating with key stakeholders, data collection, analysis, and reporting, and training and technical assistance. Alisa also assists Holly with marketing and partnership development.

Prior to joining HPW in 2017, Alisa was a project manager and principle evaluator at INNOVATIONS in Community Research and Program Evaluation, a program in the Division of Behavioral Medicine and Clinical Psychology at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center (Cincinnati, OH). There, Alisa managed contracts of low and high complexity and was the in-house qualitative data expert, acting as a co-investigator on a number of physician-led studies.

Alisa was also the Director of Community and Strategic Partnerships at Public Allies Cincinnati from 2011-14, a leadership and professional development non-profit. At invitation, Alisa has published the results of her work for the SISGI Group, has participated in workgroup meetings with the Kettering Foundation, and has also presented on evaluation in education at annual conferences of the American Evaluation Association (AEA). Alisa holds a PhD from Miami University (Oxford, OH), awarded in 2011.

Shannon Flynn, MSW – Senior Researcher

SPECIALITIES: Administrative Data Analysis, Logic Model Development, Program Planning and Evaluation


Shannon has been with HPW since 2017 and has worked primarily on evaluation projects in health and human services. Shannon brings to HPW over a decade of experience developing performance measures and evaluations and conducting research for non-profit and governmental service organizations across South Carolina, New York, and Pennsylvania.

In South Carolina, Shannon was Research and Evaluation Director for a statewide non-profit, which promoted adolescent sexual health through evidence-based programs and practices, and was the lead investigator for a $7.5 million federally funded randomized control trial of an evidence-based program for adolescent youth. Also in South Carolina, Shannon conducted research and developed manuscripts related to reproductive and sexual health among youth involved in child protective and juvenile justice systems.

Previously, Shannon conducted program evaluation and policy analysis for the City of New York, was the Deputy Director for Management and Analysis at the NYC Department of Homeless Services, and the Director of Planning and Policy for the NYC Department of Aging. Shannon holds a Master’s degree in Social Work from Columbia University, where she concentrated on policy analysis.

Carol Brooks, MSW – Research Associate

SPECIALITIES: Qualitative Data Collection, Literature Reviews, Administrative Support Including Data Monitoring

Carol joined HPW in 2001 after serving as a program planner and coordinator with Communities in Schools (programs to improve student performance) and an evaluator of juvenile offender programs while employed by the National Center for Juvenile Justice. At HPW, Carol has expertise in qualitative data collection, analysis, and reporting, specifically facilitating focus groups and conducting personal interviews. Both her areas of interest and professional experience have been in the fields of education, veterans’ programs, criminal justice, and behavioral health. Carol holds a Master’s degree in Social Work Administration from the University of Pittsburgh and an undergraduate degree in Criminal Justice from Duquesne University.

Sarah Hansen, PhD - Senior Research Associate

SPECIALITIES: Strategic Planning, Organizational Learning, Change Management


Sarah brings over 8 years of experience in the areas of workforce development and higher education doing research for project planning, grant development and compliance, and program evaluation. Her strengths and interests focus around strategic planning, organizational learning, action-oriented research/evaluation, and change management.

Prior to joining HPW in 2018, Sarah was Senior Director of Operations at Pennsylvania Women Work, a Pittsburgh-headquartered workforce development agency. There, Sarah created annual performance goals for statewide and regional workforce initiatives, led grant development and administration activities, and created protocol for program research and evaluation for continual improvement. Previously, Sarah served as a Project Coordinator within the University of Pittsburgh’s Institute for International Studies in Education and as Program Coordinator of Mechatronics/Natural Gas Technology within Community College of Allegheny County’s workforce development division.

Sarah holds a PhD in Administrative and Policy Studies from the University of Pittsburgh School of Education, where her studies focused on postsecondary workforce development and organizational change. She is currently a Visiting Scholar in the University’s Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies Department as well as a Commissioner on the City of Pittsburgh’s Gender Equity Commission.


In addition to our in-house expertise, we also work with various partners on a project-by-project basis. These individuals have expertise in database development, statistical analysis, and cost effective analysis.

Paul Scott, PhD – Consultant  

Paul applies his expertise in psychometrics, design, and statistics to provide methodological support within teams of researchers and evaluators and currently teaches courses in statistics and quantitative methods at the University of Pittsburgh, where he received his PhD in Research Methodology in 2017.

As a consultant with HPW since 2017, Paul has worked on evaluation projects that have required advanced statistical analysis. His primary methodological interests are casual inference and longitudinal data analysis, and he has a substantive interest in research oriented on improving life outcomes for underserved populations, specifically youth and adolescents. In addition to his degree from the University of Pittsburgh, Paul has an undergraduate degree in Psychology from Berea College in Kentucky.

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Kathryn Gigler, MA – Consultant

Kathryn has expertise in the areas of psychology, behavioral health, violence prevention, and health education and has performed data collection, analysis, and reporting for HPW since 2017.

Previously, Kathryn served as the Director of the Women’s Center at Elizabeth City State University (Elizabeth City, NC), where she managed programming and evaluation related to a federal grant from the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office on Violence Against Women. In her capacity as the Director, Kathryn partnered with state and federal coalitions related to domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, and relationship violence.

Kathryn has also worked for both rape crisis centers and domestic violence agencies in three states, including Pennsylvania. Concurrently with her work with HPW, Kathryn acts as a medical/legal advocate for Pittsburgh Action Against Rape (PAAR), as well as on domestic violence and rape crisis hotlines for Crisis Center North (Pittsburgh, PA) and the YWCA of Greater Chicago, Illinois. Kathryn holds a Master’s degree in research psychology from Northwestern University (Evanston, IL), awarded in 2012, and is currently a Doctoral Candidate at Northwestern, where she expects to graduate in 2018.

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Cynthia Zubritsky, PhD – Consultant

Cynthia has consulted on a number of evaluation projects in collaboration with HPW and Beaver County since 2005.

Currently, As the Director of Policy Research for the Center for Mental Health Policy and Services Research, she has extensive experience in management and organizational issues in behavioral healthcare systems, aging systems, and corrections systems, including integrated systems design, outcome measurement, quality assurance measurement, evaluation, primary and secondary data analysis and policy design.

Cynthia is currently the primary investigator of a five-year study with the Department of Justice’s Office of Civil Rights to determine the effectiveness of a state system redesign in response to an Olmstead Settlement Agreement. She has served as the primary investigator of NIH and SAMHSA sponsored research, including Systems of Care studies, health disparities, integrated systems research targeted at building collaborative models between mental health, substance abuse, aging, corrections and education, and national multi-site studies investigating the effectiveness of integrated human service and physical health care delivery models. She has also been supported by private foundations such as Pew to develop intervention studies for vulnerable populations programs. 

Cynthia serves as a national expert in health systems design for national and international foundations and is a senior fellow at the Penn Center for the Studies of Health Disparities, the Leonard Davis Institute and the Penn Institute on Aging.

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Karen Shastri, PhD, CPA – Consultant

Karen has acted as a consultant and collaborator with HPW since 1995. In her work with HPW, Karen has been involved in research and evaluations specific to costs as they relate to effectiveness and efficiencies in the criminal justice and human service fields.

Specifically, she has examined these aspects with respect to programs provided by behavioral health organizations for school-age children, workforce development programs targeting an offender population, recovery support services, service training for officers and prosecutors, statewide training of programs funded under the stop violence against women (STOP), electronic fingerprinting and photo imaging, arraignments through video conferencing, and programs that instruct in the area of community-oriented policing, among others. Karen also continues to evaluate the financial condition of firms and health care entities as a result of economic and firm-specific events.

Professionally, Karen serves on the Editorial Board for the Journal of Public Budgeting, Accounting, and Financial Management, has been on the Editorial Board for Research in Healthcare Financial Management, and an ad hoc reviewer for accounting related journals and conferences. Broadly, Karen’s research, teaching, and professional interests are correlated, since all factors focus on an entity’s effectiveness, efficiencies, and costs of activities.

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