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  SAC Spotlight: Georgia


Stefanie Lopez-Howard, M.P.A., SAC Director
Since September 2012, Ms. Lopez-Howard, has served as Georgia's SAC Director. Ms. Lopez-Howard joined CJCC in August 2010 as a Planning and Policy Development Specialist in the Grants and Policy Division. As such, she managed the day-to-day activities for CJCC's 200+ Victims of Crime Act (VOCA), STOP Violence Against Women Act, and Sexual Assault Services Program subgrantees. Her duties included managing the data collection efforts for the victim services statistical report, analyzing the quantitative and qualitative data from those reports, and managing the outcome performance data that victim services subgrantees submitted.

Since taking on the role of SAC Director, Ms. Lopez-Howard has worked on numerous research projects to support the Grants and Policy Division's grant-making and strategic planning processes, such as: a statewide victim needs assessment, an evaluation of the Georgia International Law Enforcement Exchange training program, analysis and amendment of CJCC's victim services outcome performance measures, and data reports for external stakeholders. She also writes policy research pieces. Her policy brief about the impact that sequestration would have on numerous CJCC funding streams and the programs they fund informed a piece in The PEW Charitable Trusts' Stateline about the recent funding pinch experienced by multijurisdictional drug task forces. Most recently, she completed a needs assessment to determine the volume of and gaps in services for human trafficking victims. The resulting publication was covered in articles about human trafficking by the Atlanta Journal Constitution and other local papers.

Ms. Lopez-Howard has written several successful applications for competitive federal funding, including the Office on Violence Against Women's (OVW) 2011 Safe Havens: Supervised Visitation and Safe Exchange program and 2014 Grants to Encourage Arrest Program; the 2014 Bureau of Justice Statistics State Justice Statistics (SJS) Program competitive application for original research; and the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) Justice Information Sharing Initiative Grant. In total, Ms. Lopez-Howard has garnered over $1.8 million in competitive federal grants for the State of Georgia during her tenure at CJCC. She has a Master of Public Administration and graduate certificate in survey research from the University of Connecticut. Her undergraduate degree is in English literature from Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut.

Samuel Gonzales, M.A., Analyst
Mr. Gonzales is the newest member of Georgia's SAC staff. He is the analyst responsible for policy research to support the Victim Services Division of CJCC. He also serves as a liaison and contract manager to Applied Research Services for its work to create a Violent Repeat Offender List under the Northern District of Georgia U.S. Attorney's 2014 Project Safe Neighborhood initiative. Mr. Gonzales also works with a collaborative in Clayton County, Georgia, to evaluate an initiative to provide prevention, education, and interventions for youth at risk of commercial sexual exploitation.

Before joining Georgia's SAC in December of 2014, Mr. Gonzales worked as an organizer with community and labor organizations that dealt with both neighborhood and workplace policy issues. Some of his campaigns geared towards criminal justice focused on ending crime associated with blighted neighborhoods in West Atlanta; a campaign to end gun violence in the Southside of Chicago; and initiatives to identify and address safety concerns at correctional facilities in Kentucky, Kansas, and Georgia. Mr. Gonzales has an M.A. in economics from the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies at Georgia State University with concentrations in program evaluation and labor economics. He has a strong background in econometric evaluation for the social sciences, data management, and public policy.

D. Danyelle Thomas, M.P.P., Analyst
Ms. Thomas joined Georgia's SAC in August 2013. She is the analyst responsible for all data gathered from CJCC subgrantees who receive Victims of Crime Act, STOP Violence Against Women Act, and Sexual Assault Program funds. She is also the lead for the SAC's 2014 State Justice Statistics core capacity project to build a data sharing and visualization portal for CJCC, Georgia Department of Corrections, Georgia Bureau of Investigations, and Georgia Administrative Office of the Courts data. Ms. Thomas also leads a needs assessment of sexual assault response teams under the recently awarded Office on Violence Against Women Grants to Encourage Arrest. She is also tasked with coordinating the CJCC's annual report.

Ms. Thomas conducts complex data analysis to identify trends, issues, and funding opportunities, and uses her knowledge of technology to implement programmatic reporting systems for federal and state grant funding. Prior to her current role, Ms. Thomas served as an Education Policy Intern for the Georgia General Assembly Senate Democratic Caucus as well as an Urban Education Graduate Research Assistant at Georgia State University. Ms. Thomas is a graduate of Georgia State University, where she received both a Master of Public Policy degree (with a specialization in social policy) and a Bachelor of Arts in African American studies.

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