» Our Team


photo of Meghan Cosier, Ph.D.

Meghan Cosier, Ph.D.

Director and Associate Professor
Before stepping into the role of Director, Dr. Meghan Cosier was formerly TPI's Research Director, as well as Director of Teacher Education in the Attallah College of Educational Studies. Dr. Cosier has collaborated with schools and school districts across the country to promote and improve special education service delivery models that allow ALL students to learn and play together. Her work focuses on systematic development and implementation of inclusive supports and services, and the role of leadership teams in sustainable school reform. In addition, she is extensively involved in teacher development and training for quality inclusive schooling. Meghan’s scholarly research interests include, inclusive education, school reform, teacher preparation, and professional development.
photo of Audri  Gomez, Ph.D.

Audri M. Gomez, Ph.D.

Associate Director
Audri M. Gomez, Ph.D., is the Associate Director at the Thompson Policy Institute. Dr. Gomez obtained her Ph.D. in Education with an emphasis in Disability Studies at Chapman University. Previous to her current assignment, Dr. Gomez was a special education teacher for 8 years before becoming a Special Education Coordinator. Dr. Gomez’ recently published a co-authored book chapter in a Peter Lang series titled, Enacting change from within: Disability Studies meets teaching and teacher education, as well as a study in the Disability Studies Quarterly titled, The impact of disability studies curriculum on education professionals’ perspectives and practice: Implications for education, social justice, and social change. Dr. Gomez has presented at numerous annual conferences including AERA, TASH, Cal-Tash, CCTE, RECE, and NAEYC where her presentations have focused on her research interests that have included inclusive practices, social model of disability, teacher preparation, and school culture.
photo of Donald Cardinal, Ph.D.

Donald N. Cardinal, Ph.D.

Professor and Founding Director Emeritus
Dr. Donald N. Cardinal is Professor of Education in the Attallah College of Educational Studies at Chapman University, Orange, CA, where he has worked since 1987. Previously, Dr. Cardinal served as dean of the CES from 2002-2015. Don currently oversees several programs in autism and disability including the Center for Research on Ability and Disability, Families and Schools Together, the Chapman Ability Program, and the Thompson Policy Institute on Disability and Autism. As well, Don serves as chairperson of the advisory board for the Center for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders, part of the School of Medicine at the University of California, Irvine, CA. Before entering academia, pursuing the goal of a more inclusive society, Don worked alongside the most marginalized student populations in our society, frequently holding the labels of severe emotional disturbance, severe and profound mental retardation, autism, and severe behavior disorders. Above all, Don holds in highest regard the complex and interchanging relationship between student and teacher, centered on the presumption of competence. Don has authored and co-authored numerous articles, books, and book chapters in a variety of areas including evaluation, measurement of quality, teaching methods in special education and collaboration.
photo of Michelle Nguyen

Michelle Nguyen

Grants & Contracts Project Coordinator
Michelle Lan Nguyen is TPI’s Grants and Contracts Project Coordinator. Michelle comes to TPI after being a legal assistant and graduating from California State University of Long Beach with a bachelor’s degree in liberal studies. On a personal note, Michelle enjoys venturing out to new possibilities from trying new foods to exploring new cities. A quote that Michelle lives by is, “I wish to live a life that causes my soul to dance inside my body.”
photo of Jennifer James, Ph.D.

Jennifer James, Ph.D.

Office Manager & Special Projects Coordinator
Jennifer James graduated with her BA and MA in English from California State University, Fullerton. She graduated with her PhD in Education with an emphasis in Disability Studies from Attallah College of Educational Studies. Her dissertation, "Systemic Functional Linguistics in the Community College Composition Class: A Multimodal Approach to Teaching Composition Using the Metalanguage of SFL," reflects her research interests in literacy and inclusive education. Previous to her position with TPI, Dr. James taught college composition at local community colleges.
photo of Jill Perez, M.A.

Jill Perez, M.A.

Program Specialist
Jill Perez is an Education Coach and Consultant with over 22 years of experience in education. It is her passion to support schools and districts in their mission to become more inclusive for students with disabilities. Jill prides herself in providing practical supports for teachers to make inclusive schooling a reality for all students.
photo of Charlotte Achieng-Evensen, PhD

Charlotte Achieng-Evensen, PhD

CalEPIC Senior Transformation Specialist
Dr. Evensen is an educator whose scholarship focuses on the intersections of critical teaching practice, African Indigenous Philosophies, and decolonization. Dr. Achieng Evensen is a longtime K-12 practitioner who also has a wealth of experience teaching university courses in educator preparation. Over the past 22 years, she served her school districts in a variety of roles including as a secondary humanities and language arts teacher, district program coordinator, and leader in curriculum design and professional development.
photo of Kacy Martin, Ph.D.

Kacy Martin, Ph.D.

Research & Data Analyst
Dr. Kacy Martin is a Harvard Strategic Data Fellow and joins the team at the Thompson Policy Institute as a Research Data Analyst. Prior to her work at TPI, Dr. Martin worked at the UCLA Graduate School of Education and Information Studies as a Research Associate in both the Center for the Transformation of Schools and the Civil Rights Project. Additionally, Dr. Martin teaches courses in quantitative analysis methodology in the USC Price School of Public Policy, and served as a Summer Research Fellow at the RAND Corporation. Prior to her career in research, she taught fourth grade in Chicago Public Schools. She holds a Ph.D. in Education Policy from Michigan State University.

Families, Agencies, and Schools Together (FAST)

photo of Jeanne Ann Carriere, Ph.D.

Jeanne Ann Carriere, Ph.D.

Director, FAST@UCI
Center for Autism & Neurodevelopmental Disorders
photo of Elissa Green Kaustinen

Elissa Green Kaustinen

Director, FAST@CHOC
Thompson Autism Center at Children's Hospital Orange County

Transition Initiative

photo of Richard Rosenberg, Ph.D.

Richard Rosenberg, Ph.D.

Transition Consultant
photo of Linda O'Neal, M.A.

Linda O'Neal, M.A.

Transition Consultant
photo of Janis White, Ed.D.

Janis White, Ed.D.

Educational Training and Outreach

Research Associates

photo of Cristina Giannantonio, Ph.D.

Cristina Giannantonio, Ph.D.

The George L. Argyros School of Business and Economics
photo of Amy-Jane Griffiths, Ph.D.

Amy-Jane Griffiths, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor
Attallah College of Educational Studies
photo of Amy Hurley-Hanson

Amy E. Hurley-Hanson

The George L. Argyros School of Business and Economics
photo of Cathery Yeh, Ph.D.

Cathery Yeh, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor
Attallah College of Educational Studies

Research Support

photo of Joni Ricks-Oddie, Ph.D., MPH

Joni Ladawn Ricks-Oddie, Ph.D., MPH

UCI Center for Statistical Consulting
photo of Tom Piechota, Ph.D., PE

Tom Piechota, Ph.D., PE

Vice President for Research
Chapman University
photo of Kurt Yamamoto

Kurt Yamamoto

UCI Center for Statistical Consulting

Graduate Research Assistants

photo of Stacy Eldred

Stacy Eldred

Doctoral Graduate Research Assistant
photo of Stephen Hinkle

Stephen Hinkle

Doctoral Graduate Research Assistant
photo of Anique Jones

Anique Jones

Doctoral Graduate Research Assistant
photo of Yonatan Khalil

Yonatan Khalil

M.B.A Graduate Research Assistant
photo of Sara Morgan

Sara Morgan

Doctoral Graduate Research Assistant
photo of Rachel Wiegand

Rachel Wiegand

Doctoral Graduate Research Assistant

Undergraduate Assistants

photo of Loren Lee, c/o 2023

Loren Lee, c/o 2023

Undergraduate Assistant
photo of Allaire Davis, c/o 2024

Allaire Davis, c/o 2024

Undergraduate Assistant
photo of Kaita Pannor, c/o 2022

Kaita Pannor, c/o 2022

Undergraduate Assistant