NC Office of Strategic Partnerships team

Our Team

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Leah Carpenter, Program Support Specialist

As Program Support Specialist, Leah supports the team on an array of existing and emerging projects focused on institutionalizing partnerships between state government and the state’s research and philanthropic sectors. This includes meeting logistics, scheduling, drafting OSP Highlights (e-news and resources), documenting outreach and impact, and keeping OSP’s website, e-files, Project Portal, etc. organized and updated. Leah received her Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education (K-6) at Campbell University. For the past 3 years, Leah was a public elementary school teacher working primarily with a Title 1 population. She worked to build community involvement and strengthen relationships both within the school and externally.

Click here to contact Leah Carpenter.

Eliza Edwards, Deputy Director

photo of Eliza Edwards

As Deputy Director, Eliza oversees OSP operations to ensure the team is successful in identifying, developing, launching, and enhancing partnerships between state agencies and non-governmental partners. She also plays a critical role in doing this work. Other aspects of her role include providing leadership to and support for OSP’s portfolio of cross-sector research partnerships; coordinating and managing a range of OSP meetings/convenings and communications deliverables; managing OSP’s intern program; providing supervisory support to the Director of OSP; representing OSP at speaking engagements/presentations; and contributing to OSP’s overall strategic planning and implementation efforts. Prior to joining OSP, Eliza was a member of North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper’s policy team. 

Click here to contact Eliza Edwards.

Tim Griffith, Evidence Advisor

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As an Evidence Advisor, Tim helps lead efforts to maximize discretionary spending on evidence-based policies and programs in North Carolina. His role includes working with North Carolina state agencies to conduct evidence reviews of discretionary spending and identify areas and opportunities for evaluating policy and program effectiveness through rigorous evaluation methods such as randomized controlled trials (RCTs). Prior to joining OSP, Tim worked in several evaluation roles at non-profit and private sector research organizations. His work included conducting evaluations and providing evaluation technical assistance for clients at the federal, state and local level focused on workforce development and unemployment insurance policies and programs. Tim holds a Master of Science in Applied Economics from Johns Hopkins University and a Graduate Certificate in Program Evaluation from Michigan State University.

Click here to contact Tim Griffith.

Juli Kim, Philanthropy Liaison

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As Philanthropy Liaison, Juli helps philanthropy and state government agencies connect with and learn from each other and identify opportunities to collaborate for greater impact. Juli brings to this role over 20 years’ experience working with policymakers, funders, practitioners, and researchers to identify, develop, implement, evaluate, and communicate problem-solving strategies related to a range of policy issues. Her career includes roles in state government and the nonprofit and private sectors. Juli has worked closely with philanthropic organizations, as program director at the North Carolina Network of Grantmakers and as a K-12 education consultant. Juli is a graduate of the University of North Carolina where she earned both her bachelor and law degrees. 

Click here to contact Juli Kim.

Alevtina Newman, Graduate Intern

Alevtina Newman is a graduate intern with OSP through the State of North Carolina Internship Program. In this role, she will support OSP’s core work to develop, launch, and enhance cross-sector partnerships and increase the use of evidence in government decision making. Alevtina is interested in strengthening her research, data analysis, and writing skills, and learning more about the inner workings of state government, specifically how it interacts with non-governmental bodies to create and strengthen connections. Alevtina recently graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a major in Public Policy and a minor in Conflict Management. In the fall, she will be continuing her education at UNC Chapel Hill in the accelerated Master of Public Policy program.

Click here to contact Alevtina Newman. 

Jenni Owen, Director 

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Jenni Owen is the Director of the North Carolina Office of Strategic Partnerships. In this role, she identifies and launches strategic partnerships between and among state government, universities/colleges, philanthropy, and other entities. This includes increasing and expanding state government connections with external research experts and increasing agency capacity to conduct and use evidence to improve policy and practice. Jenni was previously Policy Director for Governor Roy Cooper and Director of Policy Engagement and on the faculty of the Sanford School of Public Policy at Duke University. A 2007 Eisenhower Fellow to South Africa, her civic roles have included: NC Indigent Defense Services (commissioner); El Futuro and Durham Children’s Initiative (board member); Association of Public Policy Analysis and Management (policy council member); and National Conference of State Legislatures Evidence Informed Policymaking work group (member). She is currently a member of the Duke-NCCU (North Carolina Central University) Clinical Translational Science Institute Regional Community and Stakeholder Advisory Committee, associate editor of the Society for Research in Child Development Social Policy Report, and on the advisory group of the Transforming Evidence Network. 

Click here to contact Jenni Owen.

Olu Rouse, Undergraduate Intern

Olu Rouse is an undergraduate intern with OSP. In this role, he is interested in being involved with OSP’s partnership with the NC Department of Adult Correction (NCDAC) as well as observing the policy and budget creation processes first-hand. Olu is an honors student and February One Scholar at the North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University. He is majoring in Political Science and Economics. 

Click here to contact Olu Rouse.

Ruth Wygle, Doctoral Associate

As Doctoral Associate, Ruth offers research and programmatic support to the OSP team. This includes helping develop new research projects for state government agencies, identify potential research partners, and create OSP communications about research partnership opportunities and other efforts to enhance the use of evidence-based decision making in state government. She is currently a PhD candidate in the Department of Sociology at Duke University, with qualifications in demography and criminology.

Click here to contact Ruth Wygle.

Click here to view OSP Advisory Group Bios.

Contact us

NC Office of Strategic Partnerships

2 South Salisbury Street
Raleigh, NC 27601
United States


Advisory Group

Fouad Abd-El-Khalick Dean School of Education, UNC-Chapel Hill 
Curtis Bradley Research Manager NC Dept. of Transportation
Anita Brown-Graham Professor and Director ncImpact, School of Government, UNC-Chapel Hill
Lisa Chapman  President  Central Carolina Community College 
Emily Gangi  Policy Director, Division of Broadband and Digital Equity  NC Dept. of Information Technology 
Debbie Goldstein Executive Director  North Carolina Leadership Forum, Duke University
Kerry Haynie Professor  Department of Political Science, Duke University  
Don Hobart  Associate Vice Chancellor for Research  UNC-Chapel Hill
Charlotte Hudson  Director, Lenfest Ocean Program  Pew Charitable Trusts 
Jennifer Mundt  Assistant Secretary for Clean Energy Economic Development NC Dept. of Commerce 
Margery Overton  Vice Provost for Academic Strategy  NC State University 
Mark Schmidt Associate Vice Chancellor, Partnerships  NC State University
Terri Shelton Vice Chancellor for Research and Engagement  UNC-Greensboro 
Tonya Smith-Jackson Provost  N.C. A&T State University
Don Taylor Professor; Director Department of Public Policy; Social Science Research Institute, Duke University
Jessie Tenenbaum Associate Professor Duke University
Deb Thomas Professor and Associate Vice Chancellor for Research UNC Charlotte
Oliver Thomas  Director of External Affairs  N.C. A&T State University
Kristin Walker Director  NC Office of State Budget and Management
Jeff Warren Executive Director NC Collaboratory, UNC-Chapel Hill
David Yokum  Chief Scientist NC Office of State Budget and Management

Past Interns

Lori Ko, undergraduate intern (2022-2024)
Efiotu Jagun, undergraduate intern (2023) 
Caleb Shuda, graduate intern (2023)      
Tago Mharapara, Fulbright Fellow (2022)           
Delaney Welsh, graduate intern (2022)           
Edna Ulysse, undergraduate intern (2022)           
Catherine Chen, doctoral associate (2021-2022)           
Cameron Love, graduate intern (2021-2022)           
Lauren Hubbard, graduate intern (2021)           
Rhea Jayaswal, undergraduate intern (2021)           
Liam Miranda, graduate intern (2021)           
Jessica Boyle, doctoral intern (2020)           
Ethan Saber, undergraduate intern (2020)           
Patience Wall, graduate intern (2020)