The TU Innovates blog is written by staff members of the Division of Innovation 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 is a research assistant at the Regional Economic Studies Institute. She performs primary and secondary data collection and analysis and provides assistance with report writing. 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 is Towson University's director of entrepreneurship. 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 >
David CrossDavid Cross is the assistant director of entrepreneurship. 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. David's posts focus on TU Incubator and its member companies. Read David's Posts >
Kathleen CrosticKathleen 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 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 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. Sharyn's posts focus on website usability and graphic design trends. Read Sharyn's Posts >
Daraius Irani, Ph.D. serves as vice president of Innovation and 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 is the assistant director of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, which offers classes and activities for individuals, aged 50+. She supports Osher memberships, assists with curriculum development, and manages marketing efforts. Tracy's posts focus on Osher and the importance of lifelong learning in enriching a person's life. Read Tracy's Posts >
Julie Knight, Ph.D. is the managing director of the Regional Economic Studies Institute. Dr. Knight’s expertise includes methodology creation and implementation, competitiveness assessments, and regional economic development capacity. Her posts focus on global economics and regional economic development issues from around the world. Read Julie's Posts >
Bobbie Laur serves as associate vice president of outreach. She manages an externally-focused team dedicated to developing partnerships and building relationships with business, government, and 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 >
Larry Martin is the managing director of Information Technology Services. He manages business analysis, proposal development, budget management, project management, and business management for IT Services. Larry's posts focus on a variety of topics related to project management, business analysis, and IT Planning. Read Larry's Posts >
KatieKatie Menking is a research associate for the Regional Economic Studies Institute. She has numerous roles, including conducting research for potential and current projects, primary and secondary data collection and analysis, and report writing and editing. Read Katie's Posts >
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 >
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 is a senior economist at the Regional Economics Studies Institute. He is charged with designing qualitative and quantitative research methodologies to better understand impacts to the Maryland and regional economies. Michael's posts focus on RESI projects. Read Michael's Posts >
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 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 >
John Spears, Ph.D. serves as a Senior Human Services Consultant at the Regional Economics Studies Institute. An expert in research, policy analysis, and data management, Dr. Spears provides support for the Maryland State Department of Education's Division of Early Childhood Development. There he handles policy analysis, budget forecasting and some ad hoc reporting. Most recently, he performed an analysis of the fiscal impact of recent CCDF policy changes on the Child Care Subsidy Program. Read John's Posts >
Bailey Susic is a project 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 >
Justin Venters is an e-learning specialist at the Center for Professional Studies. He develops creative e-learning solutions for clients and consults on online course development, graphic design, script writing, and instructional design. Justin's posts focus on e-learning trends and non-traditional solutions. Read Justin's Posts >