Chief Operating Office
Jill Avery-Stoss joined The Institute in June 2018 to fill the newly-created role of Research, Data, Intern & Administrative Coordinator. She assists with the collection and management of data for purposes of ethical and efficient analysis. She visits partner campuses to market The Institute’s internship opportunities, and participates in event-planning logistical activities as well. In 2021, Jill was promoted to Director of Operations to reflect the diversity in her job description and the additional marketing and communication functions she successfully mastered in 2020. In 2022, Jill was named Chief Operating Officer after expanding into both research and administrative management functions. Jill is taking on project management, fundraising, and other executive leadership functions of the organization.
After studying English and Women’s Studies at Penn State University, Jill embarked on a decade-long journey of counseling and advocating for victims of sexual and domestic violence. During her time in this field, she also provided abuse-specific prevention education to audiences ranging from elementary students to individuals at the collegiate and professional levels.
Following her nonprofit career, Jill directed her attention to online content creation and editing. She produced hundreds of articles, press releases, and other copy on a wide array of topics. This work also includes the development of educational materials, such as benchmark-aligned passages and assessment items for high-school and university-level curricula. The experience directly impacts her regular review of documents to ensure their readiness for distribution and guideline compliance on behalf of the Institute.
Jill’s primary objective is to contribute to productive and proactive community impact. Her background and knowledge of underserved populations are ideally suited to the region’s development needs.
Chief Research Officer
Andrew Chew joined The Institute team in 2013 as Research & Policy Analyst. In 2016, Chew was named Senior Research & Policy Analyst, Director of Research in 2021 and Chief Research Officer in 2022.
Mr. Chew is responsible for coordinating many of The Institute’s research projects on a day-to-day basis. He is responsible for research design, overseeing data collection and analysis, visual communication of data using maps, charts, tables, and infographics, and writing and editing various studies, reports, and plans. Chew’s most important priority in his role is to ensure that The Institute produces research and analysis products that are of excellent quality, scientifically rigorous, and useful in creating positive outcomes for The Institute’s clients and the community as a whole.
Chew is well-versed a variety of research and analytic methodologies and has extensive experience in qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods research within a variety of social science , public policy, and urban planning contexts. His skillset includes survey design and implementation, focus group facilitation, content analysis, quantitative analysis using descriptive and inferential statistics, managing large and complex datasets, data mapping using Geographic Information Systems (GIS), and developing goals, objectives, and strategic recommendations.
Prior to working with The Institute, Chew held positions with the Somerset County (NJ) Planning Board and Lehigh Valley Planning Commission. Chew also served as a research assistant at The Lehigh Valley Research Consortium from 2008 to 2011. In that role, Chew collected, organized, and managed various datasets related to public policy, public health, and community engagement.
Mr. Chew is a magna cum laude graduate of Muhlenberg College in Allentown, Pennsylvania, with a bachelor’s degree in Political Science.
He holds a Master of City and Regional Planning Degree from Rutgers University.
In 2017, Chew earned his planning credentials from The American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP).
Ethan joined The Institute as a Research Assistant in 2022.
Ethan’s expertise is in primarily qualitative data analysis. He has gathered information related to the COVID-19 pandemic through oral history interviews, assisted in research focused on women working in the glass industry in western Pennsylvania, and presented research on the Sakdal Movement in the Philippines. Ethan brings a skill set that is oriented toward community outreach and primary source interpretation.
Having studied anthropology and interned at the Anthracite Heritage Museum, Ethan has a strong understanding of community engagement methodologies as well as a practical sense of public research. As an intern, Ethan assisted researchers interested in the coal mining history of northeastern Pennsylvania. As a student, he worked with local historical societies to create brochures highlighting community buildings listed on the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP).
In addition to his public research experience, Ethan has conducted a substantial amount of archaeological and historical research. These projects include artifact and database analysis related to his fieldwork in western Pennsylvania and primary source interpretation later presented in his senior thesis. His thesis was later awarded the best historical topics paper of his graduating class.
As a Research Assistant, Ethan works on the annual Indicators report, authors, articles for the Quarterly Economic Tracker, and conducts primary and secondary data analysis and interpretation for client projects and subject matter task force research.
Ethan is a recent graduate of Indiana University of Pennsylvania with majors in Anthropology and History. He also has certificates in Public History and Foundations of Interpretation. Currently, Ethan is enrolled at PennWest University and is pursuing his Master’s degree in Information and Library Science.
Mark joined The Institute as a Research Analyst in 2022.
After graduating from Dickinson College in 2016 with a Bachelor’s degree in Economics and Political Science, Mark began his career in workforce development with EDSI, a national workforce development and talent solutions company. For the last six years, Mark served as a data analyst at Pennsylvania CareerLink Luzerne and Schuylkill County, monitoring performance and doing quality control with the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, a program which is designed to help unemployed and low-income county residents find new jobs or enroll in school.
In 2022, Mark graduated with a Master’s in Public Policy and Public Administration from American University. For his capstone project, he studied green energy spending in the state of New York, with a focus on the impact of the state’s contracting practices on broader social justice issues.
In addition to his professional work, Mark is deeply involved in community organizing. As one of the founders of the Wilkes-Barre Worker Bees, Mark regularly hosts street cleanups with a team of volunteers across the city of Wilkes-Barre. In October, the Worker Bees won the Environmental Partnership Award from the Pennsylvania Environmental Council for their joint work on cleanups and tree plantings in the city.
As a Research Analyst, Mark works on the annual Indicators report, authors articles for the Quarterly Economic Tracker, and primarily conducts quantitative data analysis for client projects as well as community-based research.
Sarah, a former Institute intern, joined The Institute in April 2021
During her time at The Institute, Sarah working on taskforce studies, survey analysis, and public policy briefs.
Sarah graduated from Misericordia University in 2020 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Statistics and minors in Management and Mathematics.
Dr. Jolene Carey-Pace was appointed as a Research Analyst at The Institute in 2021. As a research analyst, Jolene carries out research/development activities, analyzes data, and interprets results. Jolene also contributes to the design and delivery of research projects and collaborates with researchers to develop, execute, and interpret research projects and perform complex data collection and study methods. Jolene is experienced in quantitative and qualitative research, specializing in implementing, conducting, and analyzing interviews and focus groups.
A recent graduate of Wilkes University, Jolene earned her Doctorate of Education degree in Educational Leadership Studies. Jolene also earned a Master’s degree in Organizational Management and a Bachelor’s degree in English. Jolene also holds certificates in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in the Workplace and Post-Crisis Leadership from the University of South Florida MUMA.
Currently, Jo also serves as an adjunct at Lackawanna College. Prior to her time at The Institute, she worked as the Wilkes University Small Business Development Center program coordinator. Jolene began her professional career in the commercial insurance industry, working in the regulatory compliance sector for nine years.
Jo is also an active member of the Northeastern Educational Research Association and was inducted in 2020 into Kappa Delta Pi, the International Honor Society in Education.
Ooms is responsible for all facets of research, organizational strategy, and management. Ooms is an active principal investigator in all Institute research. Ooms has been nationally recognized as a leader in regional economic development. She turned that skill into a research institute to help other regions develop and prosper. Her strategic skills have allowed The Institute to expand its services to the private and non-profit sectors for research and analysis in community health needs assessments, strategic planning, market and feasibility studies, and economic impact analysis. Ooms’ leadership has expanded The Institute’s work to other states. Under her direction, The Institute has completed over 100 client and community based studies. These studies have resulted in new jobs, new programs, sustained initiatives, and new legislation throughout Pennsylvania and in New York. Ooms also serves on a number of local and regional non-profit boards.
In 2016, Ooms was named Innovator of the Year by the Greater Wilkes-Barre Chamber of Business and Industry for the development of the Connect program for entrepreneurs, the United Way’s Poverty to Possibility Initiative, replicating the Lehigh Carbon Community College SHINE model to Luzerne County, and the development of the regional energy economic development strategy.
From 1997 – 2004, Ooms served as President/CEO of the Inland Empire Economic Partnership (IEEP), Riverside, CA and of its two sister companies – The Inland Empire Tourism Council and the Inland Empire Foundation. IEEP is responsible for the regional marketing, attraction, and recruitment of new business to the region, the expansion and retention of existing business, film, tourism, high tech regional development, a workforce collaborative, regional visioning & planning, legislative advocacy, and the Small Business Development Center.
As President/CEO, Ms. Ooms completed a reorganization of the company resulting in new programs and services, financial stability and increased prominence in the community. In the period of 1997-2003, IEEP had 70 successful business attractions and retentions resulting in over $730 million in new investment into the region creating over 9,500 jobs. The region had over 5,000 film shoots, demonstrating a little over $425 million in regional impact in the same period. In 1999, she was awarded “Management Leader of the Year,” by the A. Gary Anderson Graduate School of Management, and in 1998, 1999, and 2000 was a recipient of the “Women of Distinction” award given by the Business Press. During her term as CEO, IEEP’s membership grew by 10% and maintained an average membership retention ratio of 93%. IEEP evolved to include a high technology development program and coordination of the region’s workforce collaborative to bring education and business partnerships to benefit employers, employees, and students as well as the Tourism Council and Foundation.
Ms. Ooms is a cum laude graduate of the University of Scranton with a BS in Public Administration and an MBA in Finance.