A passionate team of cross-sector specialists committed to helping at-risk children, youth, and families.


 Teri Garstka, Ph.D, Associate Director of the University of Kansas Center for Public Partnerships and Research

Self-proclaimed Data Dreamer


Teri is an associate director at CPPR and oversees an awesome team of smart professionals who carry out multiple center projects in data science and research/evaluation. Teri feels a responsibility to make a difference for children and families by bringing the best data science practices and research/evaluation methodologies to bear for community and state partners working with families. She likes to ask the right questions and loves the challenge of solving complex problems, especially if it involves how to use data for social good. Teri has been involved in many large scale multi-partner data initiatives, helping use shared measurement approaches and solid implementation to support collective efforts to optimize the well-being of at risk children, youth, and families. She leads the strategic direction of two software applications (DAISEY, IRIS) designed to make life easier, not harder, when it comes to serving families and demonstrating the impact of investments in high quality programs. Teri received her Ph.D. in Social Psychology in 1997 from the University of Kansas.

Dream Realizer, Problem Solver


Every dreamer needs to be paired with a doer, someone who can take visionary ideas and make them a reality, through research, development, and implementation. As IRIS Co-Director, Randi is a problem solver who uses her aptitude for understanding data and policy, and her expertise at navigating systems, to turn big ideas into big change for children and families.

She is passionate about the impact that data tools can have on practice and she believes that everyone can embrace technology if it can make their work easier; technology should be part of the solution, not part of the problem. Randi believes in using both data and technology to align policies to support systems at all levels for the greatest social impact. With IRIS, she strives to harness what is unique about a community to improve communication between partners and families.

RANDI HARMS, Assistant Director of Data Science


Loretta Severin, Research Project Coordinator

Project Manager Extraordinaire, Extreme Muffin-Maker


Loretta is a project manager extraordinaire and has her finger on the pulse of it all. She serves as the implementation lead for IRIS coordination in communities. Drawing on the invaluable experience she gained during the decade she served as a project coordinator for state-level initiatives, Loretta develops and refines implementation approaches and oversees community and organization-level IRIS implementation. She enjoys every minute she gets to work alongside community members to develop solutions and see firsthand the good work they accomplish for children and families.

Loretta loves time spent in her kitchen (cooking – not cleaning!) and, as her colleagues will attest, has perfected the ultimate pumpkin chocolate chip muffin. She also likes to cook up dream vacations, both real and imagined. In between vacations, she likes to get outside with her family.

Capacity Builder, Data Explorer, Greatness Grower


Jacklyn believes in the potential of all of us and delights in designing ways for people and programs to grow. She picks up on even the smallest steps of progress, encouraging others and documenting—with data and solid research—the journey toward greatness.

As an Associate Researcher recently turned Assistant Director, Jacklyn leads program evaluations for state agencies and nonprofits that aim to improve the lives of women, children, youth, and families. She is skilled at helping programs build capacity for data collection and evaluation as they work to demonstrate program efficacy, efficiency, and effectiveness. She has served as the principal investigator and the lead evaluator on a number of community-based projects, including an evaluation of statewide healthy relationships training programs for foster parents and youth as well as a number of home visiting evaluation projects. Jacklyn is also involved with community-level initiatives to build capacity for program implementation and scaling. She brings this extensive experience with program evaluation, data support, and implementation to her role on the IRIS team leading the evaluation and data work.

Outside of work, Jacklyn is just as curious when it comes to finding ways to enrich her personal life. She’s always trying something new, challenging herself to expand her sphere. It might be learning to play guitar, trying her hand at paper mache’, or completing both a full and half-marathon.

Jacklyn Biggs, Associate Researcher
Joe Coburn, MSW

Data Translator, Music Lover


There’s only one thing Joe wishes he could change about his career at CPPR: he would like to pick up Lawrence and move it closer to the ocean. Other than that, he’s thrilled to be a part of a forward-thinking team that is developing products that provide our partners with mounds of helpful data. Data with which they can use to make well-informed decisions about how to shape their programs to better serve children, youth, and families.

As a member of the business analyst team, Joe is well versed at making mock-ups of conceptual enhancements and translating needed features to the developers of IRIS. He specializes in complex syntax development for data transformation and visualization, quality assurance testing across applications and reports, and interpreting design use cases.

When he’s not working, you will find Joe hanging out with his family. Whether they’re spending time together out doing stuff or just having downtime on the couch, Joe’s wife, kids, and dog are what bring meaning to his life. When he can, Joe loves sneaking in some time to watch basketball and soccer. And, regardless of where Joe is, there’s always a soundtrack to go with the mood.


Mary Orem, Research Project Coordinator

Road Tripper, Problem Solver


As a Research Project Coordinator, Lindsay provides crucial backbone support to our IRIS team. She assists with big-picture aspirations and focuses on the small but vital details, such as coordinating deliverables to ensure every project meets our standards. Most of all, she is dedicated to empowering our partners as they work to improve the lives of children, youth, and families.

In her free time, Lindsay loves to hit the open road, pointing the car in the direction of an interesting spot for her family to explore. (Ask her about her National Lampoon’s Vacation style cross-country road trip from Kansas to Oregon.) As soon as one vacation is over, she’s already planning the next. As a former school psychologist, she and her teacher-husband, Anthony, like to debate about best practices in education. Good thing her superpower is helping others stay calm and problem-solve in stressful situations!.

Super Organizer, Team Player, IRIS Grower


Mary doesn’t do anything part way. Whether it’s helping at-risk families access the community resources they need to thrive, or training for a marathon, she is all in. As a Research Project Coordinator at CPPR, she’s focused on implementing and evaluating IRIS, and helping community partners master the system so they can better support the families they serve. Her personal goal is to help our partners see the “why” of their work – the impact they are having on the lives they touch.

In her 10 years working with at-risk youth and families in both educational and case management settings, Mary knows firsthand how important it is to be able to see the big picture of your work and sometimes to simply have fun. One thing Mary has in common with the children she serves is her love of play. If a sport involves a ball, she’s in, whether its kickball, basketball or sand volleyball. She‘s a runner and a cyclist, and she is always up for a board game. Right now, she’s adding another skill to her considerable list of talents: playing the guitar.

Virginia Musser and Erika Gray


Mary Orem, Research Project Coordinator

Filmmaker, Tech Translator

Chris Chambers, AA

As an IT Support Technician, Chris provides customer support for users of the DAISEY shared measurement system and IRIS referral communication application. He conducts web-based trainings, troubleshoots, and is always ready to handle your questions!

When Chris was five years old, he took apart his family’s Windows 2000 computer, messing around with the control panel until he was able to make himself the sole user and lock his parents out. That’s when his parents knew he was destined for a career in IT. Despite growing up on a farm in Northwest Kansas, where he had to endure the world’s slowest dial-up connection, Chris became a pro at mastering computer software and hardware, and translating tech-speak into everyday language.

Since Chris’ first love is computers, it’s not surprising to learn that his second love also involves technology and screens. He is captivated by the art of filmmaking. In his free time, he’s learning how to film, edit, and produce videos. He’s not sure where that will lead, but he’s excited by the possibilities.

IRIS Wranglers


Virginia and Erika thrive on the challenge of supporting and anticipating the team’s needs, from coordinating work flow to finding just the right supply on short notice. Outside of work, Erika runs as quickly as she takes notes, and Virginia wrangles two children, including a Girl Scout troop and a Lego robotics team.

Virginia Musser and Erika Gray