Research Design & Statistics
DDP is fortunate to have the following individuals as a resource in designing our research studies, to check our methodology and statistical protocols. We are grateful for their collaboration.
Melanie Doerner is a proven arts leader and fundraiser with 19 years of nonprofit management experience, and has raised over $15M for the arts. Melanie began her career in arts administration in 2001 with the José Limón Dance Company. She is currently the Director of Development for North Carolina Theatre in Raleigh, previously working for Carolina Ballet and Children’s Musical Theater of San Jose. She is a founding board member of sjDANCEco. Melanie holds a J.D. from Osgoode Hall Law School and formerly practiced as a corporate attorney in her native Canada. Her husband Michael Doerner is a ballet dancer, having performed with the National Ballet of Canada under Reid Anderson and James Kudelka, Alberta Ballet under Mikko Nissinen, and Ballet San Jose under Dennis Nahat.
SUMRU ERKUT, PHD
Sumru Erkut, Ph.D., is senior scholar and former senior research scientist and associate director at the Wellesley Centers for Women (WCW) whose research has focused on racial/ethnic diversity and gender equity in leadership and development across the life course. She was part of a team that found that three or more women on a corporate board of directors constitute a critical mass, which improves the functioning of corporate boards, and she has analyzed data from interviews with diverse women leaders, which resulted in Inside Women’s Power: Learning from Leaders. Erkut directed the postdoctoral research training program on variations in child and adolescent development funded by the National Institute for Child Health and Development.
Lynn Garafola is Professor Emerita of Dance at Barnard College, Columbia University. She is the author of Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes and Legacies of Twentieth-Century Dance, editor of José Limón: An Unfinished Memoir and other books, and curator of several exhibitions, including Dance for a City: Fifty Years of the New York City Ballet and Arthur Mitchell: Harlem’s Ballet Trailblazer. La Nijinska: Choreographer of the Modern, a biography of the twentieth-century’s most eminent woman choreographer, will be published by Oxford University Press in early 2022.
Jennifer Heimlich is currently the senior fitness editor at Well+Good. A graduate of New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, she was previously the editor in chief of Dance Magazine and senior editor of Pointe. She has also contributed to publications such as The Atlantic and Runner’s World. She has served on panels and been an adjudicator for American College Dance Association, Future Dance Festival, Youth America Grand Prix and New York City Dance Alliance Foundation.
Amy Holihan performed with Pennsylvania Ballet and New York City Ballet during a seven-year career as a working artist. She attended summer training programs at Miami City Ballet, Pacific Northwest Ballet, and School of American Ballet (SAB), enrolling in SAB’s Winter Term in 2017. She trained for 3 years at SAB, with opportunities to perform in New York City Ballet’s The Nutcracker, then accepted a position with The Pennsylvania Ballet where she danced for seven seasons. Featured roles included the Siren in George Balanchine’s The Prodigal Son as well as Russian Divertissement and Big Swan in Christopher Wheeldon’s Swan Lake. She also had the privilege of performing notable works by William Forsythe, Jerome Robbins, and Twyla Tharp.
In addition to her ballet career, Amy holds a B.A. in English from the University of Pennsylvania and an M.A. in Arts Policy and Administration from the Ohio State University. Her Thesis examined the working relationship between dancers and Artistic and Executive leadership at a major U.S. ballet company with the goal of better understanding dancers’ critical role as contributors to decision-making in arts organizations. She has had the pleasure of working in many different arts fields as administrator, including with the School of American Ballet, Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra, The Columbus Foundation, Columbus Metropolitan Library, and Next Stage Arts Project. While with the School of American Ballet, she helped manage the Virginia B. Toulmin Female Choreography Project designed to foster early female choreographers at the school.
Amy currently resides in Columbus, Ohio and is the Senior Project Manager for the Columbus Music Commission. In this capacity, she is leading research in the music community to identify areas of need and inform future programs to support the Columbus music community. Amy is also a fiber artist who loves to go hiking, play with her dog, and explore new places.
Lory currently leads The Philanthropy Workshop’s Americas East portfolio and partners with philanthropists and social investors to establish social impact goals, create strategic roadmaps for community engagement and educational programs, and curate expert connections and resources for her members. Lory graduated from Boston College with a B.A. in Economics and received her M.S. in Global Affairs from New York University. She currently serves as an Advisor to the President of the Ethiopian Red Cross Society, is a Next Generation member of UNICEF USA and NEXUS Global, and a 21/64 Certified Advisor on Multigenerational Family Philanthropy. Lory also performed for the Quezon City Ballet from 2003-2007.
Jermaine McGhee is a versatile and charismatic educator, dancer, and choreographer. McGhee began training
through the Education and Arts Enrichment program at North Carolina Dance Theatre, now Charlotte Ballet.
Additionally, he was a scholarship/fellowship student at Piedmont Dance Conservatory under the direction of
former ABT company member, Rebecca Massey in Kannapolis, North Carolina. McGhee auditioned for and
attended the Northwest School of Visual and Performing Arts where he was honored as the 2003 Charlotte
Mecklenburg Schools Dancer of Distinction. He also competed with B&B Dance Productions national award-
winning dance team based in Charlotte. In New York McGhee trained at the Alvin Ailey School as a certificate
program student, directed by Denise Jefferson. In 2018 McGhee earned the BA in Performing Arts from St. Mary’s
College of California.
McGhee’s performing experience in commercial and concert dance ranges from classical ballet to hip-hop and jazz
funk. He is deeply committed to bridging the gap between the entertainment industry and academia. McGhee is
an innovative educator who creates a learning environment where dance skills are synonymous with life skills.
McGhee’s MFA in Dance: Creative Practice with a certification in Dance Stage Management has provided him the
opportunity to serve as a guest artist at Lindenwood University and to write as a co-author in a new book, Meme
Life the Social, Cultural and Psychological Aspects of Memetic Communication, with the communication
department at Ohio Northern University. Furthermore, McGhee has recently served as the District Dance
Consultant for the Santa Monica Malibu Unified School District Career Technical Education Program.
McGhee’s graduate studies at St. Mary’s College of California paired with his professional performance background
has afforded him an uncanny ability to foster an immersive, rigorous learning environment for students and
professionals alike. With an interdisciplinary approach, McGhee offers an unparalleled experience in studio that
promises to enrich and cultivate.
He currently serves Loyola Marymount University as a Professor of Jazz Dance, in addition to Pacific Dance Center as the Ballet and Modern Facilitating Instructor where crafting curriculum for advancement and appropriateness for all levels is his main goal. He is also a Jazz Dance Lecturer at Scripps College where practice in form and theoretical undergirding meet in his course, Jazz Dance II.
Kiersten Marek, LICSW, is the founder and publisher of Philanthropy Women. A former Senior Editor for Inside Philanthropy, Kiersten is the author of hundreds of articles on gender equity funding as well as two books. Know Thyself: A Kid’s Guide to the Archetypes and Cooking for Emotional Wellness: Recipes to Nourish Your Archetypes. Kiersten served as Board Member and Treasurer for the Rhode Island Center for Law and Public Policy from 2008 to 2016, working to support legal services for those with limited financial means. In 2004, Kiersten helped her family facilitate the creation of the Stoppleworth Conservation Area in Tolland, Connecticut, a 55-acre open space hiking park.
For over 20 years, Kiersten has been practicing clinical social work, specializing in trauma recovery and identity development for all ages. She lives with her family in Rhode Island.
Sandra Parks is a choreographer, dance educator, and an advocate for female leadership. She is the founder and Executive Director of Women in Dance, a non-profit organization that promotes female leadership in dance and related fields. The mission of Women in Dance is to provide opportunities in accessing broader and more visible platforms, expanding the voices of artists/scholars, and strengthening the capacity and vibrancy of women in dance making and dance related fields.
Sandra has toured nationally and internationally and has choreographed more than 80 live concerts. She danced with Bosoma Dance Company, Dance Collective, and Impulse Dance Company in Boston and has presented her work at professional venues across the globe. She holds her BFA from New York University and MFA from Smith College, MA. Originally from Taipei, Taiwan, Sandra danced as a soloist with Four Seasons Ballet and Wu-I Dance Company. She is currently the Director of Arts at Choate Rosemary Hall in Connecticut.
Timothy M. Russell is currently the Vice President of Community Engagement and Diversity, Equity and Inclusion of Chicago-based Window to the World Communications, Inc. (WWCI), parent company of public television station WTTW and classical music station WFMT. Tim is responsible for leading WWCI’s community engagement and diversity, equity and inclusion efforts focused on shaping the organization’s vision and strategy with relevant influencers, nonprofits, foundations, and business partners ensuring that they align with the organization’s strategic plan.
Tim received his Bachelor of Arts degree in sociology and religion from Oberlin College, earned a Masters of Theological Studies with a concentration in Ethics and Society from Garrett Theological Seminary and completed a certificate program in Business Administration at Loyola University Chicago. Tim and his wife, Joi-Anissa, and their children – Mark and Ava – live in the Chicago suburb of Evanston, IL.
Isabelle Vail joins the Advisory Council after four years of leading DDP’s research and special projects teams. Isabelle oversaw DDP’s collaboration with institutional and independent research partners, coordinating new examinations of the state of gender equity in ballet, and spearheaded strategic engagement through DDP’s social media channels and auxiliary programming. She began consulting for DDP in 2017 as a part-time research assistant and went on to play an active role in the founding of DDP as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, advising on the organization’s early research endeavors and engagement before becoming DDP’s first full-time consultant in 2019. She attended Wake Forest University as a Presidential Scholar of Dance, graduating summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa with a BA in Psychology and French in 2018. From 2018-2019, Isabelle resided in Rouen, France, working as a language assistant in two local collèges. Vail recently joined the team at Bliss Point Media as Manager of Client Strategy & Analytics.
Charles Whitaker is Dean and professor at Northwestern University Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications. Before joining the Medill faculty, Whitaker was a senior editor at Ebony Magazine. Whitaker has also led a prolific journalism career, working with institutions such as the Miami Herald and the Louisville (Ky.) Times, and contributing articles to the Chicago Tribune, The Chicago Sun-Times, Chicago Magazine, Jet Magazine, Essence Magazine, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Saturday Evening Post, Chicago Parent magazine, and Folio, the magazine of the magazine industry. Among Whitaker’s many notable roles and endeavors, he authored four statistical analyses of the hiring of women and minorities in the magazine industry, co-directed Project Masthead (a program designed to encourage students of color to consider careers in the magazine industry), and has served as an adviser on diversity issues for the Magazine Publishers of America.
Gregory Youdan Jr. is a guest faculty at The Juilliard School assisting Irene Dowd as the 2022-2023 Dance Anatomy Teaching Fellow. He is an adjunct faculty at CUNY Lehman College and Hollins University. As a dancer, Greg performed with NY Baroque Dance Company, Sokolow Theatre/Dance and Heidi Latsky Dance, where he is on the board. He is a Wertheimer Fellow through Mark Morris Dance Group’s Dance for PD® program and a member of the Latinx Dance Educators Alliance and Project Breakalign.
Additionally, Greg is a movement scientist specializing in dance science, having published in academic journals and lectured at universities and conferences. He was a research scholar at Brown University and worked as the research and advocacy coordinator for Dance/NYC. Currently, Greg serves on the development committee for the International Association for Dance Medicine and Science, the research committee for the National Organization for Arts in Health and the review board for the Journal of Dance Education. Greg has served as a panelist for the National Endowment for the Arts.
He earned his BA in Dance from Hofstra University and dual Masters from Teachers College, Columbia University in Motor Learning and Applied Statistics.