Office of Autism Research Coordination (OARC) Staff Biographies
Susan Daniels, Ph.D.Director
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 its subcommittees, 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 was a Health Scientist Administrator at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), where she worked on policy and communications for the infectious disease and biodefense research programs, and managed a portfolio of research training, diversity and conference grants. Dr. Daniels also previously worked at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) with the Neurodegeneration Program, assisting grantees, analyzing Parkinson's and Alzheimer's disease research grant portfolios, monitoring progress on the Parkinson's disease research strategic plan, and working with stakeholder groups. Prior to 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.
Dawn Beraud, Ph.D.Science Policy Analyst
Dr. Beraud serves as a Science Policy Analyst at the OARC, providing research and analyses in support of various IACC communications, program activities and publications, including the IACC Portfolio Analysis and Strategic Plan. Dr. Beraud received her B.S. in Psychology from the University of Florida where she performed research investigating the relationship between the integrity of white matter tracts and executive functioning in healthy older adults. Prior to joining OARC, Dr. Beraud received a Ph.D. in Neuroscience from Georgetown University in 2013, her dissertation work focused on misfolded proteins and inflammation in Parkinson's disease. Throughout her graduate career, Dr. Beraud participated in a number of prestigious science policy internships at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), Potomac Institute for Policy studies and the American Medical Association. While at OSTP her work focused on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education policy. During this internship, Dr. Beraud authored multiple blog posts featured on the official White House blog concerning STEM education topics.
Emily Einstein, Ph.D.AAAS Science and Technology Policy Fellow
Dr. Einstein is an AAAS Science and Technology Policy fellow in the OARC, where she contributes to analyses and communications projects in support of the activities of the IACC. Dr. Einstein earned her B.S. in biology and English at the College of William and Mary, and her Ph.D. in neuroscience at Yale University. Her graduate research was focused on the molecular and cellular mechanisms that underlie psychiatric disorders, with an emphasis on the basal ganglia circuitry that is also implicated in autism-related behaviors. Dr. Einstein pursued her parallel interest in STEM education by serving as the scientific coordinator of the Yale Teaching Center, an HHMI teaching fellow with the Yale Center for Scientific Teaching, and a facilitator for the National Academies Summer Institutes.
Nicole Jones, B.B.A.Senior Web Developer
Ms. Jones serves as the Web Developer for OARC where she develops, manages, and edits web content on the IACC web site. During her ten years of progressive information technology experience, she has contributed to successful web projects for both the public and private sector including sites for FannieMae (fanniemae.com), FreddieMac (freddiemac.com), the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR) (Healthy People 2010: Midcourse Review), and AOL (aolmedianetworks.com and internal sales portals for the company). She received a bachelor's in business administration (B.B.A.) in Information Systems Analysis and Design from Howard University.
Kipchumba Kitur, B.A.Operations Coordinator
Mr. Kitur is the OARC Operations Coordinator, providing administrative support for the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee. Before joining OARC, Mr. Kitur worked in the private sector as a Research Associate for Synergy Enterprises, Incorporated. There he provided various types of research and administrative support to the Evaluations and Assessment Division that included: managing the operations of Evaluation Technical Center (ETAC) which provided technical support to the Department of Defense Education Activity – Educational Partnership Branch grant program that serves more than 100 military connected school districts country wide. He also provided support for various Department of Education grants. Mr. Kitur has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from the University of Maryland - Baltimore County.
Stephanie Mok, A.B.Science Policy Analyst
Ms. Mok is a Science Policy Analyst at the OARC where she collaborates on projects in support of the IACC’s policies, program activities, and publications. At the OARC, Ms. Mok works on communications of scientific advances in autism research for the public and performs analyses in contribution to the IACC Portfolio Analysis and Strategic Plan. Ms. Mok is a recipient of the NIH Oxford-Cambridge Scholarship and is currently studying the role of genetic factors in the development of social behaviors through a collaboration between the National Institute of Mental Health and Cambridge University. Ms. Mok received her undergraduate degree in neurobiology with a secondary major in health policy from Harvard University and is currently a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Psychiatry at Cambridge University. While in Cambridge as a postgraduate student, Ms. Mok consulted for the non-profit organization Oxbridge Roundtable Solutions where she served as Project Manager for clients in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries.
Miguelina PerezManagement Analyst
Ms. Perez is the OARC Management Analyst, providing management and administrative support for the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee. Before joining OARC, Ms. Perez served as Office Manager for the Brain Physiology and Metabolism Section of the National Institute on Aging (NIA), where she managed a lab of five full-time federal employees and 18 visiting fellows. During that time, she also served as the clinical coordinator responsible for recruiting patients for a brain imaging study of dopamine signaling in adults with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Prior to her work in the Federal government, Ms. Perez held several positions with private organizations serving as an office administrator or providing administrative support. She is currently in the process of earning her bachelor's degree in English from the University of the District of Columbia. Ms. Perez hopes to pursue an MBA in organizational management in the future.
Sarah Rhodes, Ph.D.Science Policy Analyst
Dr. Sarah Rhodes serves as a Policy Analyst, providing support to OARC and the IACC in various activities including analysis of autism research funding, tracking and communicating scientific advances in autism research, development of reports and documents, and responding to inquiries from Congress, government agencies, and public stakeholders. Prior to joining OARC, Dr. Rhodes spent five years in the NIMH Intramural program, first as a postdoctoral Visiting Fellow, and then as a Research Fellow. Her research was primarily focused on understanding the involvement of different brain regions in goal-directed behavior, which is affected in a range of neuropsychological and neurodevelopmental disorders including autism. During this time, Dr. Rhodes detailed twice at OARC, and was selected for a variety of NIH service positions including the Catalyst Editorial Board, Working Group on Women in Biomedical Careers, Women Scientist Advisors Committee, and Fellows Committee (FelCom). Dr. Rhodes holds a MA in (Biological) Natural Sciences from Cambridge University, and a PhD in Neuroscience from Cardiff University. Dr. Rhodes is a Senior Fellow of the Institute on Science for Global Policy, Editor of the Association for Women in Science (AWIS) Washington Wire, and contributor to the AWIS Magazine.
Kerri WachterScience Writer/Editor
Ms. Wachter is the science writer and editor for OARC, working with a variety of publications, documents and press releases. Prior to her work at OARC, Ms. Wachter was a multimedia reporter for a group of 18 medical specialty newspapers, 15 specialty websites and a medical news wire service. During her time as a medical reporter she covered professional medical organization meetings, FDA/NIH advisory committee meetings and press conferences. Her specialty subjects included oncology, medical imaging, psychiatry and neurology. While a reporter, she created and administered the flagship blog for her news group. She also developed social media guidelines for blogs, Twitter and Facebook. Prior to her work in medical news, she was a radiologic field technician, working on the survey and remediation of contaminated sites. Before that, she covered three towns for a community newspaper group. She holds bachelor’s degrees in journalism and chemistry.