How We Work
JG Research and Evaluation has a small, permanent team of researchers, and broad networks of colleagues and collaborators with whom we work when needed. We also maintain working relationships with consultants who can add capacity for projects that need extra manpower. As the business grows, we will turn some of these consultant positions into members of the permanent team.
We take a collaborative approach to developing the scope of work and the specific needs for any given project. We listen to and learn from our clients about their goals, and we work with them to identify the capacity that exist within their organizations, and the skills and expertise that we can contribute to increase that capacity. We are flexible and communicative throughout the process of working with clients, and we focus on maintaining consistency in the work while also adjusting as needed.
Co-owner and Principal Researcher
Brandn’s integration of rural sociology with social epidemiology began in his first professional appointment at Bucknell University, where he directed a program focused on the social dimensions of the environment. As a Service Fellow in the Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, he continued with this transition while working on an interdisciplinary research team. After working for SAMHSA, he moved to Montana to lead the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) for the State of Montana. Leaving the state to work for the DC-based contracting firm, Development Services Group while continuing to live in Montana.
In all his work, Brandn has integrated qualitative data with quantitative information to investigate and understand both processes and outcomes of social systems. He has extensive experience with research design for primary, multi-methods data gathering, as well as the use of secondary data sets for population health monitoring, including BRFSS, HCUP, NSDUH and TEDS.
Brandn grew up in central Pennsylvania, attended Bucknell University as an undergraduate (taking advantage of a wrestling scholarship), completed a Masters of Divinity degree at Wake Forest University and a PhD in Rural Sociology and the Human Dimensions of Natural Resources and the Environment at Penn State University.
Co-owner and Principal Researcher
Kristal has worked in the domestic US and internationally with many different types of organizations focused on agricultural development, natural resource management and rural livelihood strategies in the context of environmental change. Her interest in how people relate to their natural environment, and in turn impact that environment, began as an Agroforestry Peace Corps Volunteer in Senegal. Her dissertation work with the CGIAR Consortium explored the social dimensions of seed systems in Sahelian West Africa, and the values that farmers associate with the types of seeds they plant and the types of exchanges they use to access seeds. Kristal worked as a research scientist at the National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center (SESYNC) at the University of Maryland. There she developed programs that build capacity for and awareness of what kinds of information and support that teams of researchers and practitioners need to utilize and integrate the many types of data required to understand and address complex challenges that have both human and environmental dimensions.
Kristal uses multiple methods, including statistical modeling, qualitative analysis and spatial representation, to explore the social dimensions of environmental challenges. She has experience designing primary research protocols for multi-methods projects, as well as utilizing secondary data from federal and state agencies like the USDA and the USGS, and international organizations.
Kristal grew up in Bozeman, MT, and attended the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill as a Morehead-Cain Scholar. She has a PhD and MS in Rural Sociology and International Agriculture and Development from the Pennsylvania State University.
Matthew R. Filteau
Senior Qualitative Researcher
Matt started his career in academia, teaching at Providence College and Montana State University-Bozeman. His extensive teaching background includes undergraduate and graduate courses on community development, social theory, Environmental Sociology, Rural Sociology, and Sociology of Gender & Sexualities.
Dr. Filteau joined JG Research in 2018, and his gregarious personality complements his specialization in qualitative methods with our firm. Matt publishes his research in Technical Reports, Extension Briefs, and peer-reviewed journals, such as Rural Sociology, The Journal of Rural and Community Development, Society & Natural Resources, Men & Masculinities, Environmental Practice, among others. A number of agencies, universities, and societies have funded Matthew’s research, including: The Center for Rural Pennsylvania, The Rural Sociological Society, The Pennsylvania State University, and the University of Massachusetts Boston.
Matt grew up in Massachusetts and Maine. He completed his undergraduate sociology degree at the University of Southern Maine, his MA in Applied Sociology at the University of Massachusetts-Boston, and his PhD in Rural Sociology at The Pennsylvania State University. When he is not working for JG Research, Matt enjoys casting dry flies to Montana’s most discerning trout, tying flies, backcountry skiing, and perfecting his flower gardens.
Frances is still early in her career, but has worked in various capacities with a major focus on equity in everything she does. While in graduate school at Columbia University, she conducted her thesis project with a New York-based infectious disease research center studying global trends in coronavirus discovery. After graduating with her MPH in epidemiology and applied biostatistics in May 2017, she moved to Bozeman and worked with a community-based participatory research center as a research project manager. There, she worked on various public health projects in partnership with different tribes across the state of Montana. She has also founded an organization nonprofit to equity in the outdoors and worked at a MT state-wide nonprofit mental health agency.
Frances has a keen interest in data management to support research projects. She also is interested in mixed methods in research in order to understand health systems.
Frances grew up in Toronto and San Diego, attended Occidental College for her undergraduate degree in biochemistry, and completed her MPH at Columbia University in May 2017 before moving to Bozeman, MT. In her free time, she enjoys weight-lifting, walking, and playing fetch with her cat, Kalisi.
Kate recently received her master’s degree and is in the early stages of her career in research. Her background is in economics with an applied microeconomic emphasis. Having a specific interest in using research to improve the well-being of disadvantaged individuals, she wrote her master’s thesis on how limiting access to abortion affects domestic violence, where she used abortion clinic closures in Texas as a natural experiment. As a graduate research assistant at Montana State University, Kate was involved in research projects concerning a variety of topics such as public welfare programs, concealed carry policies, and wildfire health effects.
Kate’s focus is quantitative research, where she is primarily interested in causal identification and econometric modeling. With her skills, she enjoys conducting policy analyses with the goal of better informing policy makers.
Kate grew up in Littleton, Colorado and received her BA in Economics from Colorado State University. Wanting to continue her education and remain near the mountains, she moved to Bozeman in 2018 and completed her MS in Applied Economics in May 2020 at Montana State University. Kate loves trail running, skiing, biking, and anything that allows her to explore the mountains around Bozeman.
Erika recently completed her master’s degree in Environmental Studies and is just embarking upon a career in research. While nearly every topic at the intersections of people and the environment and science and policy interests her, she is particularly passionate about sustainability, equity, resilience, and justice within food systems. Her graduate work at University of Montana focused on local food policy and governance, and she also completed an NSF-funded training program centered on bridging science to practice at the food-energy-water nexus. For her master’s professional paper, she had the opportunity to interview several food policy professionals working within local governments across the U.S. and developed a report and recommendations for communities interested in strengthening their local food policy efforts.
Erika has experience with both qualitative and quantitative projects and is interested in research that leverages mixed method approaches to explore complex socioecological issues. She is particularly excited about practitioner-focused and community-based research.
Erika grew up in Santa Barbara, CA and found her way to the Rockies by way of Colorado College, where she studied Environmental Science as an undergraduate. She moved to Missoula with her partner in 2016 and received her MS in Environmental Studies at University of Montana in May 2020. In her free time, she loves adventuring in the wilds of Montana with her two tireless birddogs, making clothes, cooking, and learning the countless DIY skills involved in converting a school bus into a tiny home.
Suzanna is a graduate student at Montana State University studying Psychological Science, where she is a member of the Sleep and Development Lab. She studies the social and emotional development of children, adolescents, and emerging adults, with a focus on how sleep impacts this development. Her dissertation is examining how different sleep stages influence an individual’s ability regulate emotion.
In various research roles over the last decade, Suzanna’s focus has been on both quantitative and qualitative design. She is interested in utilizing mixed methods, community-based research, and transparent research practices to improve well-being and other social outcomes.
Suzanna grew up in Virginia and graduated from James Madison University in 2012. She moved to Bozeman shortly after to pursue her master’s degree in Psychology at Montana State University. After graduation in 2014, she worked as an Instructor in the MSU Psychology Department before returning to finish her doctorate. In her free time, Suzanna is ideally on the river or in the mountains with her partner and dogs, Penny and Cheddar, or napping with her cat, Mango.
Research Analyst 1
Willow was raised along the coast of Maine, where she developed a deep passion to protect her sacred outdoor places. Graduating with a degree in Environmental Policy from Colby College in May 2020, Willow moved to Bozeman and works as a part-time research associate for JGRE, where she works on web design and communications, turning research paper into digestible policy briefs, and assists with data entry. Although her expertise is in the marine realm, Willow is passionate about the integration of science, policy and communication in all areas of conservation and hopes to one day get an advanced degree in marine conservation on the West Coast.
Tabitha is currently an ABD graduate student in Pennsylvania State University’s Lifelong Learning and Adult Education Program. Her dissertation research focuses on adult basic education (ABE) students with diverse linguistic backgrounds, their educational experiences both past and present, and the socioemotional dynamics in adult education classrooms that influence how students experience such spaces. In this qualitative research, Tabitha explores the connection between ABE students’ cultural, linguistic, and educational backgrounds and the development of belonging within a classroom community. Her interest in this area derives from her experiences teaching various ABE and developmental education courses in the Southwest, particularly within Hopi and Navajo communities.
Tabitha has been a research assistant with the Goodling Institute for Research on Family Literacy since 2016. Through this work, she has worked on developing Integrated Education and Training (IET) program planning materials; co-conducted research on and published about family literacy within incarcerated settings; helped develop and implement the National Coalition for Literacy’s campaign for adult educator awareness on the 2020 Census; and co-conducted independent evaluations of various family literacy programs across the country. Her work has been presented at various conferences including the Comparative and International Education Society (CIES), the National Coalition for Families Learning (NCFL), the Coalition on Adult Basic Education (COABE), the Pennsylvania Association of Adult and Continuing Education (PAACE), and the Pennsylvania Corrections Education Association (PACEA).
In 2016, Tabitha graduated from Teachers College, Columbia University with her M.Ed. from the Adult Learning and Leadership program. She continues to work with a former professor as an associate lecturer at Columbia University’s School of Professional Studies. She graduated from Oregon State University in 2011, majoring in Liberal Arts Studies.
Tell Us About Your Project
Our goal is to use research to illuminate social processes. The first step in every project is a discussion where we ask questions to understand what you’re trying to accomplish.