OARC Staff Biographies
Susan Daniels, Ph.D.
As Director of the Office of Autism Research Coordination (OARC), Dr. Daniels provides management for the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC), a federal advisory committee created by Congress to coordinate federal activities and provide advice to the Secretary of Health and Human Services on issues related to autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Dr. Daniels serves as the Executive Secretary of the IACC, and oversees strategic planning, policy, communications, operations and logistical planning activities to support the work of the committee. Dr. Daniels also serves as the Senior Advisor to the NIMH Director for Autism Activities, acting as a liaison with external agencies and groups on issues related to ASD. From 2008-2011, Dr. Daniels served in the roles of Acting Director and Deputy Director of OARC, undertaking many initiatives to enhance the transparency and outreach of the IACC. Prior to that, Dr. Daniels worked at two other NIH institutes, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS). Before coming to NIH, Dr. Daniels was a Christine Mirzayan Science and Technology Policy Fellow and consultant at the National Academy of Sciences. She received her Ph.D. in molecular and cell biology from Brandeis University. Her research focused on the neurobiology and genetics of the sensory nervous system's response to environmental stimuli.
Oni Celestin, Ph.D.
Science Policy Analyst
Dr. Celestin is a Science Policy Analyst in the OARC, where she supports the IACC by performing analyses, reporting, and strategic planning. Prior to joining OARC, Dr. Celestin was a Science Associate and AAAS Science & Technology Policy Fellow at the National Science Foundation, working in grant administration, science communication, and science policy. Dr. Celestin completed postdoctoral training in lipid transport and metabolism at the Carnegie Institution for Science, and she received her Ph.D. in Developmental Biology from the University of Chicago, studying the development of the brain. She also received a B.S. in biochemistry and molecular biology from the University of Maryland Baltimore County.
Rebecca Martin, M.P.H.
Public Health Analyst
Ms. Martin is a Public Health Analyst at OARC and focuses on outreach activities, including enhancing web content, social media use, and increasing engagement with the autism community. Ms. Martin received her M.P.H. in Health Behavior and Health Education, with a special focus on Health Communication, from the University of Michigan. She has a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Maryland.
Angelice Mitrakas, B.A.
Mrs. Mitrakas is the Management Analyst, providing management and administrative support for the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee. Before joining OARC, Mrs. Mitrakas worked as the Operations Coordinator for the Extramural Administrative Service Branch (EASB) at the National Institute of Mental Health. There she worked as the liaison between management, program directors, and administrative officers with regards to program administrations. She also worked at the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) where she was a Support Assistant providing executive level administrative support where she was able to utilize her skills in entrepreneurship and small business management. Mrs. Mitrakas received her Bachelors in Linguistics and Translation from Wilson College.
Diana Morales, M.P.H.
Public Health Analyst
Ms. Morales is a Public Health Analyst in OARC, providing policy support for the IACC, enhancing OARC and the IACC’s public outreach, and assisting with the development of autism policy documents and reports. Ms. Morales joined NIMH in November 2009 as Director of the Outreach Partnership Program within the Office of Constituency Relations and Public Liaison. In this role, she oversees efforts to increase the public’s access to science-based mental health information in partnership with national and state mental health nonprofit organizations, and to engage these stakeholders to understand the community’s needs and priorities for research. Prior to NIMH, Ms. Morales was Vice President of Public Education at Mental Health America (MHA), the nation’s oldest mental health advocacy and education organization, where she led programs to promote mental health, recovery from mental illness, and evidence-based services and interventions for prevention and early intervention, working closely with MHA affiliate organizations across the country. Ms. Morales earned a Bachelor of Science in journalism from the University of Maryland, College Park, and a Master of Public Health in social and behavioral science from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
Julianna Rava, M.P.H.
Science Policy Analyst
Ms. Rava is a Science Policy Analyst at the OARC, performing research and analyses in support of the IACC’s strategic planning, analytical, and reporting activities. Ms. Rava received her bachelor’s degree in Health Sciences at Gettysburg College and her Masters of Public Health in Epidemiology at Drexel University. While at Drexel University, she worked under Dr. Paul Shattuck, Director of the Life Course Outcomes Research Program, at the A.J. Drexel Autism Institute researching the experiences and needs of young adults on the autism spectrum.
Matthew Vilnit, B.S.
Mr. Vilnit is the Operations Coordinator, providing management and administrative support for OARC. Before joining OARC, Mr. Vilnit worked as a Management Analyst for The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease (NIAID) supporting the Office of Workforce Effectiveness and Resources (OWER) with various administrative, management, and analytical duties. Mr. Vilnit is currently working on his MBA from the Perdue School of Business at Salisbury University and received his Bachelors of Science in Business Administration with a concentration in Economics from Wesley College.
Jeffrey Wiegand, B.S.
Web Development Manager
Mr. Wiegand serves as the Web Development Manager at the OARC, in support of the IACC website. His responsibilities include web design, front and backend development, database administration, 508 compliance, and content management. Before joining OARC, Mr. Wiegand worked for a media company, serving in various roles including Quality Assurance Manager, Project Manager, and Senior Web Developer. Mr. Wiegand has a Bachelor of Science degree in Information and Computer Science from University of Maryland University College, and a Bachelor of Science degree in Mass Communication from Frostburg State University.