AmeriSpeak is NORC at the University of Chicago’s Panel-Based Research Platform

Our Experts

The AmeriSpeak team is comprised of leading experts with decades of experience in online survey research, statistics and methodology, and panel recruitment and management.

Michael Dennis image

Michael Dennis

Executive Director

As Executive Director of AmeriSpeak, Michael Dennis oversees all of AmeriSpeak’s operations, including business development, panel design, and panel recruitment. 

Dennis is a nationally recognized expert on survey research methods, with a particular focus on online surveys and household panels. He has overseen more than 100 statistical studies using online data collection and was appointed to serve as a member of the American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR) Task Force that developed online survey recommendations for researchers. His areas of methodological interest are in mixed-mode data collections, measurement of non-response bias and panel conditioning, uses of administrative data for enhancing survey sampling and analysis, and passive measurement of digital behaviors. 

Prior to joining NORC, Dennis held several executive positions over fourteen years at Knowledge Networks, which was acquired by GfK Custom Research in 2012. Dennis founded Knowledge Networks’ Government and Academic Research Unit and managed all of the company’s federal, academic, and foundation funded research for clients such as the Centers for Disease Control, the Environmental Protection Agency, University of Pennsylvania, the National Science Foundation, and Stanford University. 

In addition, Dennis provided management and scientific oversight for KnowledgePanel®. Before joining Knowledge Networks, Dennis directed telephone and field data collections for Abt Associates on federally funded surveys, including the National Immunization Survey.  In addition to his work on publicly funded studies, Dennis has designed and directed consumer market research studies regarding food products, smartphones, personal computing, and other products. He has authored more than 60 articles, conference and seminar papers, and book chapters and is a frequent speaker at annual meetings of the American Association for Public Opinion Research. He holds a Ph.D in Political Science from the University of Chicago.

Ipek Bilgen

Senior Research Methodologist

Ipek Bilgen is a Senior Research Methodologist at NORC at the University of Chicago. Bilgen is responsible for overseeing AmeriSpeak’s methodological research. She received both her Ph.D. and M.S. from the Survey Research and Methodology Program (SRAM) at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Bilgen joined NORC in 2011. To date, she has managed numerous multi-mode projects which called for her expertise to contribute to decisions regarding web, computer-assisted telephone, and mail contact and implementation strategies, effective interviewing techniques, and considerations of survey error. Bilgen has been involved in extensive research related to communication and cognition in surveys, web, mail, and phone survey implementation and design, interviewer effect on data quality, measurement, non-response, and coverage errors in multi-mode surveys, as well as use of innovative technologies in survey data collection.

Prior to joining NORC, Bilgen worked as a research assistant at the Gallup Research Center (GRC) and was a teaching assistant at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL). During her time at GRC, she was involved in several projects which addressed methodological issues related to survey data quality and total survey error, specifically, communication and cognition in surveys, event history calendar methodology, interviewer effect on data quality, cross-cultural survey methodology, and survey data analyses.

Bilgen has published and co-authored articles in Journal of Official Statistics, Public Opinion Quarterly, Survey Practice, Social Currents, Social Science Computer Review, Field Methods, and Quality and Quantity on issues related to interviewing methodology, web surveys, cognition and communication, and measurement error in surveys. Her current research includes investigation of panel non-response follow-up, internet sampling and recruitment approaches, and questionnaire design and survey implementation issues.

Nada Ganesh

Senior Statistician

Nadarajasundaram Ganesh, Ph.D., is a Senior Statistician in the Statistics and Methodology department with NORC at the University of Chicago. Ganesh has responsibility for survey weighting, population control totals, survey data analysis, and developing statistical models and estimation methodology. 

Ganesh has extensive experience researching and implementing weighting methodology for dual frame telephone surveys such as the National Immunization Survey, the 2009-2010 National Survey of Children with Special Health Care Needs, and the 2009-2010 National H1N1 Flu Survey. He is the lead statistician for deriving population control totals for the National Immunization Survey. Ganesh has extensive experience in developing and applying statistical models. He has used small area models to derive county-level vaccination coverage rates using the National Immunization Survey. In collaboration with the National Center for Health Statistics, Ganesh was the lead statistician in developing small area models for state-level estimation of the cell-phone only population. He has also worked on applying survival analysis methods to derive vaccination coverage rates using the 2009-2010 National H1N1 Flu Survey.

Prior to joining NORC, Ganesh worked as a post-doctoral research associate at the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Ganesh has published articles on small area estimation methodology in Biometrika and Journal of Multivariate Analysis, and has presented papers to the American Statistical Association.

Erlina Hendarwan

Panel Operations Director

As Director of Web Surveys, Erlina Hendarwan is responsible for the operational management of the AmeriSpeak Panel, including panel recruitment and panel retention programs, and overall operational budget. Hendarwan has worked in the market and survey research industry for nearly 15 years, on both the operations research and client-facing research sides of the business. She has extensive experience building probability-based online panels and supporting longitudinal studies.

Hendarwan has a wide-range of expertise, including panel communication and questionnaire design, establishing panel management rules and processes, translating panel management rules and processes into technical documents, creating and maintaining key panel metrics reports, designing and analyzing experiments to develop best panel management practices, and overall panel budget management. She  has worked with a variety of research methods such as mail, telephone, online, in-person and mobile research.

Prior to joining NORC, Hendarwan was a vice president at GfK, overseeing all operational aspects of KnowledgePanel®, a large-scale probability-based online panel, and other client-funded custom panels. She received an MSc in Economics from the University of College, London.

Mark Watts

Director of Client Services

Mark Watts is the Director of Client Services for AmeriSpeak, NORC's breakthrough multi-client panel-based research platform. In addition to overseeing all of NORC's client relations for the many research projects being conducted at AmeriSpeak, Watts offers AmeriSpeak clients insight into their questionnaire, sample, and study designs.

Watts has been involved with survey research for nearly three decades. Prior to joining NORC, Watts was partner and eventual sole-owner of Abacus Associates, a strategic public opinion research firm based in Northampton, Massachusetts. At Abacus, Watts oversaw all aspects of a wide range of survey and focus group research covering public affairs, policy development, elections, membership and market research. Watts has also served as the Associate Director of the Institute for Public Opinion Research at Florida International University.

Watts received his PhD in Political Science from the University of Minnesota. His research has been published in Public Opinion Quarterly, Public Perspective, Journal of Politics, Political Communication, Journal of Communication, Journalism and Mass Media Quarterly, and Communication Research, among others. He is a long-standing member of the American Association of Public Opinion Research.

Stephanie Jwo image

Stephanie Jwo

Manager, Web Surveys

As Manager of Web Surveys, Stephanie Jwo is responsible for developing Client Services’ standard operating procedures, including standards for questionnaire programming and review, and data collection and management. Jwo also trains and manages the AmeriSpeak Client Services team on all standard operating procedures for conducting studies using the AmeriSpeak Panel.

Prior to joining NORC, she managed over 200 projects for the Government & Academic group at GfK (formerly Knowledge Networks) since 2010. Jwo is an expert in conducting surveys with teens and young adults, parent-teen dyad surveys, longitudinal studies, Hispanic/Spanish-language studies, and health surveys (e.g., smoking cessation, sexual health) for web panels. Jwo earned an MA in Experimental Psychology from San Jose State University, in San Jose, California.

Stefan Subias

Senior Manager, Web Surveys

As Senior Manager of Web Surveys, Stefan Subias’ areas of responsibility include AmeriSpeak business development and client-facing project management.  He has extensive experience conducting survey research including data management and reporting, sample and questionnaire design, quality control, and project budgeting. In addition he manages the AmeriSpeak Omnibus which is a once-a-month, multi-client survey using a probability sample of 1,000 nationally representative adults age 18 and older.

Prior to joining NORC, Subias was a Senior Research Director at GfK where he focused on online survey research for government, foundation, and the academic sectors.  He was also responsible for revenue-generation for surveys conducted in support of litigation.  During his time at GfK and Knowledge Networks, which GfK acquired in 2012, Subias managed over 400 research studies for a wide range of foundations and non-profit organizations, university principal investigators, and commercial clients.  He holds a B.S. in Business Administration from the University of Southern California. 

Dan Costanzo

Panel Business Development Manager

As Panel Business Development Manager, Dan Costanzo assists clients with all aspects of project development: the brainstorming of solutions, price quotes and proposals, grant support, contracting, and account management.  Dan has worked on the AmeriSpeak Panel since its inception in 2014, leading for several years the panel recruitment effort in NORC's telephone center.  Before joining the AmeriSpeak team, Dan spent 11 years as a Production Manager in the telephone center, including the development and execution of project and staff trainings, project management, and staff leadership.

Prior to joining NORC, Dan taught both Spanish and English-as-a-Foreign-Language, including time spent living and working in Madrid.  He also served as a policy aide to former Vice Presidential candidate and current U.S. Senator Tim Kaine during his stint as Lieutenant Governor of Virginia.  Dan is nearly fluent in Spanish and holds a B.A. in History from the University of Virginia.