AidData Staff

At AidData, we believe that game-changing ideas can come from anyone. Our team of staff, students and affiliated researchers work together in locations across the country and around the world towards a common mission. 

We embody a "never say it can't be done" attitude and push ourselves to be engines of innovation. In doing so, we deliberately seek out talented people with audacious ideas from the academic, nonprofit and technology sectors.

Executive Director

Brad Parks
Executive Director

Brad Parks is Executive Director of AidData and Research Faculty at the College of William and Mary's Institute for the Theory and Practice of International Relations. He previously administered the Millennium Challenge Corporation’s annual country selection process and managed anti-corruption and judicial reform programs in Indonesia and the Philippines. He is also an author of several books and articles on aid allocation, aid effectiveness, and development theory and practice. Brad holds a PhD in International Relations and an MS in Development Management from the London School of Economics and Political Science. He also holds a BA in International Relations from the College of William and Mary.

Research and Evaluation

Ariel BenYishay
Chief Economist

Ariel BenYishay is AidData’s Chief Economist and Assistant Professor of Economics at the College of William and Mary.  He previously served as Lecturer in Economics at the University of New South Wales in Sydney.  He also served as Associate Director of Economic Analysis and Evaluation at the Millennium Challenge Corporation.  Ariel has served as the principal investigator on a variety of large-scale experiments in developing countries, including Malawi, the Philippines, and the Solomon Islands.  His work has been published in leading journals, including the Journal of Human Resources, the Journal of Comparative Economics, and Economic Development and Cultural Change.  Ariel holds a PhD in Economics from the University of Maryland.

Carrie Dolan
GIS Analyst

Carrie is a GIS Analyst for AidData and a Research Fellow in Public Policy at the College of William and Mary. Carrie has over 10 years of experience using spatial tools such as geographic information systems and global positioning systems. She has written several articles on utilizing geocoded data to examine health outcomes and has advised projects in Africa and Latin America. Carrie holds an MPH from Tulane University and is pursuing her PhD in Healthcare Policy and Research at Virginia Commonwealth University.

Tyler Frazier
Geospatial Scientist

Tyler is a Geospatial Scientist at AidData and a Research Assistant Professor and Adjunct Lecturer at William & Mary.  Prior to joining AidData, Tyler was a Post-doctoral Researcher at the Technical University of Berlin and the Center for Development Research (ZEF) in Bonn with 8 years of combined development research experience related to field work in West Africa.  Tyler holds his PhD in Geography from the University of Bonn.

Seth Goodman
Technical Associate

Seth is a Technical Associate at AidData. He designs and develops tools to improve AidData's capacity to provide and analyze data for research and decision-making communities. Seth completed his B.S. and M.S. in electrical engineering at Villanova University, where he minored in geography. His previous work includes defense research for the Navy, developing an alternative energy system for a health clinic in Tanzania, and documenting humanitarian projects for IEEE. His main interests are in finding new and meaningful ways to work with and analyze data.

Katherine Nolan
Program Manager

Kathy Nolan is AidData’s Research and Evaluation Unit’s Impact Evaluation Manager. She previously worked for Innovations for Poverty Action on several different impact evaluations in Mongolia and Kenya on topics such as land rights, education, livelihoods, and savings accounts.  She has also worked on a market access research project in Northern Uganda and an electrification research project in India.  She holds a M.A. from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University and she holds a B.A. in International Development and African Studies from Amherst College.

Dan Runfola
Senior Geospatial Scientist

Dan Runfola is AidData's Senior Geospatial Scientist at the College of William and Mary.  He previously worked on research projects for the National Center for Atmospheric Research and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers examining the use of Geographic Information Science (GIS) in climate-change related decision making.  Currently, he is working to integrate AidData's information into better decisions regarding aid allocation. Dan has widely published his work in a number of high-profile outlets, including recent contributions to the United Nation's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change fifth assessment report.  Dan holds a PhD and MA in Geography from Clark University, and a BA in Geography from Georgia State University.

Rachel Trichler
Senior Program Manager

Rachel Trichler is a Senior Research Analyst and Geospatial Impact Evaluation Practice Manager at AidData. Rachel oversees design protocols and analysis for rigorous evaluations using geospatial program and outcome data as part of the Research and Evaluation Unit’s work with bilateral and multilateral organizations and private foundations. Previously, Rachel supported monitoring and evaluation activities for the World Bank’s Independent Evaluation Group, Social Impact, and the Millennium Challenge Corporation. Rachel holds a MS in Public Policy from Georgetown University.

Jessica Wells
Research Manager

Jessica is the Research Manager with AidData, serving as AidData Research Consortium’s (ARC) principal point of contact. Previously, she served as the Chief Operating Officer at the WomanStats Project, and worked with the Worldwide Organization for Women as a Global Education Opportunity Intern in Geneva, Switzerland. Jessica received her MS in Public Policy and BA in Economics from Brigham Young University.

Data and Technology

Scott Stewart
Chief Data Officer

Scott is AidData's Chief Data Officer, and oversees data collection, standardization and quality assurance efforts. He is a technologist with 20 years of experience in a wide variety of fields for various state and federal government agencies, including database design and implementation, data quality and assurance, and scientific data processing. Scott is a Williamsburg native, where you can find him running, working on the family farm, kayaking, catching live music or traveling. Scott has a B.S. in Computer Science from Virginia Tech.

Harsh Desai
Junior Program Manager and Research Associate

Harsh is a Junior Program Manager and Research Associate for Tracking Under-Reported Financial Flows (TUFF) at AidData. He is a graduate of the University of Missouri-Kansas City, with a double major in Political Science and Philosophy. As an undergraduate researcher for Dr. Mona Lyne, an ARC Research Fellow, and as a summer research fellow at the 2013 REU-NSF World Politics Program at Texas Christian University, Harsh researched U.S. development finance and democracy assistance. 

Siddhartha Ghose
Data Specialist

Siddhartha is a Data Specialist at AidData. He is responsible for the delivery of all data products and business development opportunities. He was previously associated with the risk management divisions of banks such as HSBC, Barclays and Mashreq where he built data driven decision-making frameworks. Siddhartha holds a Masters degree in quantitative economics from the University of Hyderabad, India

Lauren Harrison
Junior Program Manager

Lauren is a Junior Program Manager at AidData.  Her responsibilities include supporting the data team and working on student engagement activities.  Lauren graduated from the College of William and Mary in May 2014 with a BA in economics and a minor in art history. She has conducted research on the relationship between mineral wealth and conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo and won AidData’s 2013 student Map-Off Competition. In 2014, she worked with Seeds of Life and the Government of Timor-Leste Ministry of Agriculture GIS Unit as an AidData Summer Fellow. 

Alex Kappel
GIS Analyst

Alex is a GIS analyst at AidData where he contributes to database management and research. He has a background in GIS, tech, and environmental science, with experience in open source software, open data, processing and analysis of satellite imagery, and field surveys in both terrestrial and marine environments. Alex has worked with developers and researchers at Development Seed, the U.S Forest Service, Penn State, Harvard Forest, the Wildlife Conservation Society, and the School for Field Studies in Turks and Caicos. Alex received his BA in Environmental Science, and received his MS in GIS from Clark University.

Brook Lautenslager
Software Developer

Brook is a Software Developer with AidData. She has over 15 years of experience as a software engineer designing, developing, and testing many different types of applications.  Previously, she worked for 3M Cogent developing ID enrollment applications and for Northrop Grumman developing command and control systems and inventory tracking applications. Brook has a B.S. in Computer Science from Christopher Newport University.

Miranda Lv
GIS Analyst

Miranda is a GIS Analyst at AidData located at the College of William and Mary. Prior to joining AidData, she worked as a programmer for Idrisi, a geospatial software for earth system. She has extensive experience in spatial analysis, management of geospatial database, open source, and software development. Miranda holds a MS in GIS and a MS in Environmental Science and Policy from Clark University.

Brooke Russell
Assistant Data Manager

Brooke is an Assistant Data Manager with AidData focused on non-traditional donor relations.  She oversees work with the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) related to collecting development cooperation from non-traditional donors, focused on addressing HIV/AIDS.  Previously Brooke was a project manager for AidData from 2009-2011.  She holds a MA in Public Affairs from the University of Texas in Austin and a BA in Political Science and Business Administration from Brigham Young University.

Vinay Vijayan
Data Analyst

Vinay is a Data Analyst at AidData. Working as part of the data team, his responsibilities include operationalizing data collection/publishing and data quality assurance. He graduated from the College of William and Mary with a Masters in Computational Operations Research. 

Policy Analysis

Samantha Custer
Director of Policy Analysis

Samantha is the Director of Policy Analysis for AidData. She has co-authored World Bank papers on open data and citizen feedback with the Open Development Technology Alliance, and assisted former US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright to teach a class on foreign policy. Samantha previously advised on multilingual education policy with SIL International and coordinated the advocacy efforts of the Asia Multilingual Education Working Group for UNESCO. She holds a dual masters in Foreign Service and Public Policy from Georgetown University.

Rebecca Latourell
Program Manager

Rebecca is the Program Manager of AidData's Survey Practice. She holds an MPA from New York University, where she specialized in policy analysis and international development. Prior to earning her Master’s degree, Rebecca worked in communications and marketing, and she has experience coordinating high-level events and with diverse stakeholders and audiences, including product launches, trade shows, and the Leading Large Scale Change Executive Briefing Series. She has a particular interest in food security and served as a graduate intern in USAID’s Bureau for Food Security where she helped establish the strategic review process for Feed the Future focus countries. Rebecca holds a BA in History with Honors from the University of Washington.

Takaaki Masaki
Data Analyst and Research Fellow

Takaaki Masaki is a Data Analyst and Research Fellow at AidData. His primary role is to advise/oversee efforts to clean, code, and run policy analyses utilizing complex datasets generated from surveys, crowdsourcing, web scraping, etc. Takaaki is currently a Ph.D. candidate in Political Science at Cornell University. He holds an MA in Conflict Resolution from Georgetown University and a BA in Liberal Arts from Soka University of America.

Tanya Sethi
Policy Specialist

Prior to joining AidData, Tanya worked with J-PAL South Asia as a Senior Policy Associate. Her responsibilities as part of policy outreach included writing evaluation summaries and policy briefs to disseminate research findings, initiating new impact evaluations with state governments, and assisting with media outreach and internal recruitment. She also worked with an Indian social sciences journal, Economic and Political Weekly, as Assistant Editor. Tanya has a Masters in Public Policy from the Paris School of Economics and a Masters in Economics from India. 

Jacob Sims
Program Manager

Jacob Sims is a Program Manager on the Policy Team. He previously led human rights abuse tracking and reporting programs in northern Myanmar and co-founded an international development organization in eastern Uganda. He has also directed private-sector international business development into European and Latin American markets. Jacob holds a Master's degree in International Development from The London School of Economics and Political Science. 

Sol Eskenazi
Junior Program Manager

Sol is a Junior Program Manager at AidData. She graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in May 2015 with a BA in International Relations and French Studies. After graduating from college, Sol served as a Princeton in Africa Fellow at the African School of Economics in Benin. In this role, she conducted research on intergenerational mobility and its effects on risk aversion, work ethics and life outlook, and provided logistical and analytical support for a J-Pal RCT that examines the relationship between remedial education and learning outcomes at the secondary school level.

Partnerships and Communications

Alex Wooley
Director of Partnerships and Communications

Alex is Director of Partnerships and Communications for AidData. He previously worked as Vice President for Communications and Development at InterMedia and oversaw the start-up of a USAID-funded media development program in Sierra Leone. A former editor of the Georgetown Journal of International Affairs, Alex has written for Public Diplomacy Magazine and The Huffington Post. Alex holds an MA in Security Studies from Georgetown University.

Caroline Bergeron
Partnerships Associate

Caroline Bergeron is a Partnership Associate and supports the Director of Partnerships and Communications at AidData. Her responsibilities include developing partnership opportunities and business development collateral publications. She holds a BA in Psychology from the University of Virginia.

John Custer
Communications Manager

John Custer, AidData's communications manager, brings 15 years of professional and international experience. Prior to joining AidData, John co-founded an online coffee company and worked as the Government Relations Director for an NGO in Southeast Asia doing multilingual education programs. He graduated from Grove City College in 2000 with a B.S. in International Business.

Christopher Katella
Communications Associate

Christopher is the Communications Associate for AidData, overseeing's First Tranche blog, AidData's website, as well as AidData's social media platforms and media outreach. Prior to joining in August, 2014, he supported government relations efforts in the private sector. Additionally, he has held leadership positions in state and local political campaigns in Pennsylvania and in political organizations in Virginia. Christopher proudly holds a BA in Political Science from Clarion University of Pennsylvania.


David Trichler
Director of Operations

David is Director of Operations at AidData. Previously, David served as Special Assistant to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and to USAID's Chief Economist as a Presidential Management Fellow. He worked as a faculty assistant to Secretary Madeleine Albright, USAID Administrator Andrew Natsios and as a consultant for the World Bank and ExxonMobil Foundation. He holds a MS in Foreign Service from Georgetown University and BA from Brigham Young University.

Josephine Garcia
Financial & Business Analytics Manager

Josephine is AidData’s Financial and Business Analytics Manager, where she develops and analyzes information to assess the current and future financial status of the project. She previously worked as a Program Cost Control Analyst responsible for managing program’s financial operation, coordination of annual cost proposals, and contract administration. Josephine attended minor studies at the University of Santo Tomas, and received her BA in Business with a concentration in Accounting from Saint Leo University with honors.

Carey Glenn
Junior Program Manager

Carey is AidData’s Junior Program Manager for the USAID HESN award. Before coming to AidData, Carey was most recently a research assistant at Argonne National Laboratory where she studied the intersections of natural resource allocation, climate change, and women’s rights. Carey graduated with honors from the University of Chicago in 2015 with a triple BA in Public Policy, Political Science, and Environmental Studies.

Alena Stern
Senior Program Manager

Alena is AidData's Senior Program Manager for the USAID HESN award, whose portfolio includes donor relations, program management, and monitoring and evaluation. Prior to joining AidData, she worked as an Associate at Chemonics International. Alena received her BA in International Relations and Economics from the College of William and Mary.