We added three new faces to our team recently – one in each of our three divisions. Say hello to Sam, Heather, and Jake!
Sam Carlson, Associate Analyst
Sam is a data-enthusiast with a background in tobacco-control policy and smoking cessation research. She enjoys working on community-oriented projects where she can see timely impact and real-world application of research findings. She also loves learning new statistical methods and SAS programming tricks to better meet the needs of our clients. Sam will support the data processing, sampling, and analysis for many of the state cessation programs that we evaluate. She will also conduct analysis and provide data support for other statistics and evaluation projects as needed.
Prior to PDA, Sam worked at the Association for Nonsmokers-MN, supporting local tobacco policy research and implementation efforts. During graduate school at the University of Minnesota (UMN), she worked as a research assistant for the School of Public Health Tobacco Policy Research Group, as well as the UMN’s Tobacco Research Programs. There, she was a study coordinator for a clinical trial on using exercise to promote self-initiated quit attempts among smokers. After graduate school, she worked as a biostatistician for the UMN Medical School, Department of Family Medicine & Community Health. During her time at the UMN, she co-authored 11 articles published in peer-reviewed journals and 20 abstracts for professional meetings.
Sam received her Master’s Degree in Public Health (Epidemiology) with a minor in Biostatistics from the University of Minnesota School of Public Health in the spring of 2016. Her Bachelor’s Degree is in Spanish Culture & Literature with a minor in Community Health Education from the University of St. Thomas.
In her free time, Sam volunteers as an advisor and co-founder of a nonprofit food-rescue organization called TC Food Justice. She also enjoys long-distance running, yoga, and exploring local restaurants and breweries with her soon-to-be husband.
Heather Moore, Evaluation Specialist
Heather has extensive experience using evaluation data to create tailored programs and services to meet the unique needs of intended populations. She enjoys seeing how the results of process and formative evaluations can be applied to improve programs and services for recipients. Heather brings an empathetic and intuitive approach to her work. She is especially passionate about disparities in healthcare and the way in which thoughtful and well-designed evaluations can identify gaps in services and improve outcomes for priority populations. Heather will focus on the evaluations of a statewide comprehensive cancer control program and initiative to improve healthy eating and active living in 23 Ohio counties as well as a tobacco cessation program in Hawaii.
Prior to joining PDA, she directed the evaluations of patient and family services at a Minneapolis-based healthcare non-profit organization. In her role, she led the strategic planning efforts, conducted systems thinking to implement a customized evaluation model, and guided the work of multidisciplinary teams to ensure effective program and evaluation planning for patient and family services. She also managed the evaluation activities under grant-funded projects, and led the development of patient-friendly consent forms and educational materials for a clinical trials network. Heather is experienced in disseminating evaluation results through presentations at national conferences and publications in peer-reviewed journals. She has been a member of the American Evaluation Association since 2007.
Heather received her Master of Public Health degree from the University of Minnesota in 2007. She also holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from St. Catherine’s University and a professional certification in health education.
In her spare time, she likes to travel, bike, practice yoga, read, and bake. Despite her love for international travel and hopes to live abroad someday, Heather is a devout Minnesotan and even enjoys the winter…through a window, anyway.
Jake Mathias, Software Developer
Jake is a software developer with strengths in the .Net framework, including ASP.NET MVC, Windows Services, and WPF applications. He enjoys the process of designing and architecting clean solutions with an emphasis on data integrity.
Jake joined PDA in January of 2018 and is currently assisting in the continuing development and maintenance of a software system for Florida’s Department of Health.
He started his career as a Support Analyst, and worked his way into a developer position while also completing his degree. His previous development experience had a heavy focus on automated data management, including the transfer, mapping, and analysis of data.
Jake recently obtained his B.S. in Computer Science from Metropolitan State University.
Jake enjoys spending his free time attempting new recipes, strumming his acoustic guitar, and starting personal creative projects, such as designing video games and dabbling in 3D animation. He also loves staying active year-round, whether that be weight-lifting, jogging, or snowboarding during the winter.