The EngageTU blog is features posts written by staff members of the Division of Strategic Partnerships and Applied Research at Towson University. Drawing upon diverse strengths, experiences, and unique approaches to problem-solving, our team creates innovative and research-driven solutions for partners across Maryland’s public, private, and non-profit sectors.

Ellen Bast

Ellen Bast

Senior Research Associate

Ellen is a senior research associate at the Regional Economic Studies Institute. She performs methodology development, survey construction and analysis, primary and secondary data collection and analysis, and technical writing and editing. Ellen’s posts focus on the economics of current events and are influenced by her interests in the arts (especially ballet!) and the goings-on in Greater Baltimore.  Read Ellen’s Posts

Frank Bonsal III

Frank Bonsal III

Director of Venture Creation

Frank Bonsal is Towson University’s director of venture creation and leads TU Incubator. For 25+ years, Frank has served as teacher, coach, mentor and investor of people, teams, and companies. He also mentors or advises at various East Coast accelerators and incubators and keeps turning over stones, as some of them have a lucky stripe. Frank’s posts focus on EdTech, business development, and entrepreneurship.

Read Frank’s Posts

Ashley Buzzeo, GISP

Ashley Buzzeo, GISP

Acting Managing Director

Ashley serves as acting manager director for TU’s Center for GIS, managing and directing data development and application projects. She also manages GIS interns assigned to data development projects. Read Ashley’s Posts

David Cross

David Cross

Assistant Director of Venture Creation

David Cross is the assistant director of venture creation. With over 30 years of experience in economic development, technology transfer, commercialization, and entrepreneurship, he manages the daily operations and programming of the TU Incubator. Read David’s Posts

Kathleen Crostic

Kathleen Crostic

Partnerships Manager

Kathleen Crostic is the partnerships manager in the Office of Partnerships & Outreach. She is responsible for developing and supporting partnerships across the university and providing support to meet the mission of TU being an engaged university. She is also responsible for building new partnerships and supporting the data collection efforts through the BTU framework. Kathleen’s posts focus on partnerships and community outreach. Read Kathleen’s Posts

Raquel Frye

Raquel Frye

Technical Advisor

Raquel Frye is a technical advisor for the Regional Economics Studies Institute and a lecturer in the Department of Economics at Towson University. An enthusiast of economics and economic education, Raquel’s posts focus on analyzing the economics of policies and current news stories (with a little econ humor thrown in for good measure). Read Raquel’s Posts

Sharyn Grove

Sharyn Grove

Associate Director, Office of Partnerships & Outreach

Sharyn Grove is the associate director of the Office of Partnerships & Outreach. She manages a range of graphic design, marketing, and outreach campaigns and initiatives tied to the Division’s strategic plan, as well as providing staff training and ongoing management of Salesforce. Read Sharyn’s Posts

Daraius Irani, Ph.D.

Daraius Irani, Ph.D.

Vice President, Strategic Partnerships & Applied Research

Daraius Irani, Ph.D. serves as vice president of Strategic Partnerships & Applied Research. He fosters the development of partnerships between business, government, and education that contributes to the economic vitality of our region. He also serves as chief economist at the Regional Economic Studies Institute and is often called on by state agencies, private companies, and local governments to provide insight on proposed policies, development, and economic forecasting. With a passion for all things economic, Daraius’s posts focus on a wide range of topics from immigration to bicycling. Read Daraius’ Posts

Tracy Jacobs

Tracy Jacobs

Director, Osher Lifelong Learning Institute

Tracy Jacobs is director of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Towson University, which offers classes and activities for individuals, aged 50+. Passionate about providing lifelong learning experiences that help people achieve their enrichment goals, Tracy is responsible for leading the curriculum development and programming at Osher at TU. Read Tracy’s Posts

Iris Kutch

Iris Kutch

Cisco Academy Training & Support Manager

Iris Kutch serves as Cisco Academy Training & Support Manager. She supports Towson University’s function as Maryland State Department of Education Affiliate University for IT Career Pathway programs. She also supports Cisco Networking Academies statewide by providing them with access to the educational tools and materials needed as well as information on current and practical technical solutions. Iris also manages and schedules training for new Cisco instructors and provides them with support and mentorship as they begin instruction. Read Iris’s Posts

Bobbie Laur

Bobbie Laur

Associate Vice President, Outreach

Bobbie Laur serves as associate vice president of outreach.

She oversees two externally-focused teams—Office of Partnerships & Outreach and TU Incubator—whose collective focus is to match the expertise and resources of the university with external partners—business, government, non-profit sectors and community organizations—throughout Greater Baltimore. With a passion for marketing, community engagement, and higher education policy, Bobbie’s posts focus on trends, issues, and best practices in those areas. Read Bobbie’s Posts

Jacob Leh

Jacob Leh

Research Associate

Jacob serves as a research associate at the Regional Economic Studies Institute, where he conducts research and collects, extracts, and analyzes data for the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) Child Care Subsidy Program. He also works with the Maryland Department of the Environment and E3 to examine the effect of Maryland state policies on a regional goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Read Jacob’s Posts

Kevin McNamara

Kevin McNamara

Coordinator, Entrepreneurship

Kevin McNamara serves as the primary in-person point of contact for TU Incubator, where coordinates on-boarding of new members, maintains membership database, and provides support for incubator events and workshops. Additionally, he handles inquiries from potential new mentors and coordinates intern recruitment and inquiries from students. Read Kevin’s Posts

Katie Menking

Katie Menking

Economist

Katie Menking serves as economist at the Regional Economic Studies Institute. She has numerous roles, including primary and secondary data collection and analysis, methodology design, and report writing and editing. Katie is a primary author of Eye on the Economy, RESI’s monthly analysis of unemployment data. Read Katie’s Posts

Alex Mikulski

Alex Mikulski

GIS Specialist

Alex Mikulski is a GIS specialist at the Center for GIS. She performs research and spatial data analysis and processing as well as map development. Additionally, she develops training materials and facilitates teaching ArcGIS Desktop and ArcGIS Online for Maryland state employees through a Statewide GIS Training Program. Read Alex’s Posts

Jeremy Monn, GISP

Jeremy Monn, GISP

GIS Specialist

Jeremy Monn, GISP, first arrived on Towson University’s campus in 2003 as a graduate student pursuing an M.A. in Geography. Today, Jeremy continues his commitment to Towson University as a GIS Specialist for the Center for GIS and as an adjunct instructor for the Department of Geography and Environmental Planning. Both roles allow Jeremy to pursue and share his interest in map interpretation, spatial data modeling and visualization, scripting, and web mapping technologies. Read Jeremy’s Posts

Christina Nemphos

Christina Nemphos

GIS Specialist

Christina Nemphos is a GIS specialist at the Center for GIS. She performs GIS data analysis; works on map development and creation; and develops customized GIS curriculum. She is currently pursuing an M.S. in Social Science to apply her interest in GIS to anthropology and environmental issues. Christina’s posts focus on all things GIS. Read Christina’s Posts

Phil Reese

Phil Reese

GIS Programmer

Phil Reese serves as a GIS programmer at TU’s Center for GIS, where his work includes the development and maintenance of GIS-based web applications. Recent projects include working with the programming team to create the Maryland Defense Network, a web application that allows users to explore the impact of Department of Defense spending in Maryland. Read Phil’s Posts

Bernard (Bernie) Reynolds

Bernard (Bernie) Reynolds

Associate Director, Contract Training

Bernie Reynolds oversees client relationships and the development of training and consultative services for Towson University’s Center for Professional Studies. He manages a variety of workforce development projects that deliver information, education, and training through class-based courses, e-learning technologies, and custom publications and videos. Read Bernie’s Posts

Chunta Rivers

Chunta Rivers

Business Development Manager, Center for Professional Studies

Chunta Rivers serves as business development manager for the Center for Professional Studies. She is tasked with growing and building relationships within the corporate sector to increase enrollment in online and in-classroom continuing education courses at Towson University. Read Chunta’s Posts

Ardys Russakis

Ardys Russakis

Executive Director, Applied Research & Technical Services

Ardys Russakis serves as executive director of Applied Research & Technical Services and is the managing director of the Center for GIS (CGIS). Ardys plays a major role in strategic planning for business development and fiscal management for CGIS and assists with expanding Towson University’s role as a state and regional resource for GIS services, applications, and training. Ardys’s blog posts focus on GIS technology. Read Ardys’s Posts

Michael Siers

Michael Siers

Senior Research Manager

Michael Siers is the senior research manager at the Regional Economics Studies Institute. He is charged with managing RESI’s projects for private companies and state agencies, as well as leading the development of RESI’s independent analyses. Michael leads the creation and implementation of RESI’s research methodologies and is especially interested in workforce development in the state. Michael’s posts focus on RESI projects. Read Michael’s Posts

Vicki Simek

Vicki Simek

Associate Director, Continuing Education

Vicki Simek is the associate director of continuing education at the Center for Professional Studies. She is responsible for program development, management, marketing, and outreach for non-credit, certificate-based, professional development courses. Vicki’s posts focus on continuing education as a driver for workforce and professional development. Read Vicki’s Posts

Arthur Smith

Arthur Smith

Digital Content Manager

Arthur Smith is the digital content manager in the Office of Partnerships & Outreach. He writes and edits website, blog, and email marketing content; implements digital marketing campaigns; provides analysis and recommendations for marketing campaigns and business development activities for the Division, its partners, and clients. Arthur’s posts focus on Division news. Read Arthur’s Posts

Bailey Susic

Bailey Susic

Outreach and Program Manager

Bailey Susic is an outreach and program manager at the Center for Professional Studies and is the program manager of the Professional Leadership Program for Women. She is responsible for training, project management, client relations, and business development. Bailey’s posts focus on training and leadership development programs. Read Bailey’s Posts