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The Senator Walter Rand Institute for Public Affairs, Rutgers University–Camden, addresses public policy issues impacting Southern New Jersey through applied research, community engagement and organizational development.

411 Cooper St.
Camden, NJ 08102
(856) 225-6566


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Our Staff

Gwendy Harris

Gwendolyn Harris, Ph.D.

Executive Director

Gwendolyn Harris has an extensive career in human services and public administration, highlighted by founding Newark Emergency Services of Families, Inc. thirty years ago, as well as serving as the City of Trenton’s Director of Health and Human Services, Business Administrator and as Mayor Palmer’s Chief of Staff; she also served as Commissioner of Human Services for the State of New Jersey. 

Gwendolyn L. Harris received her PhD from Rutgers University in Urban Planning and Policy. She also teaches at Rutgers-Camden. Her dissertation topic assessed the impact of affordable housing on taxable property valuation. Her college and graduate level teaching has included courses in urban policy, municipal management and local economic development. 

Ms. Harris holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Connecticut and a Masters from the University of Chicago’s School of Social Service Administration.  She currently serves on the Board of Trustees of Mercer County Community College, is a board member and treasurer of New Jersey Public Policy Research Institute, and a member and officer of the Central New Jersey Chapter of the Links, Incorporated.  Gwendy, as she likes to be called, lives in Trenton with her husband, Jerome.

Contact Dr. Harris at

Tracy SwanTracy A. Swan, MPA, MCJ

Senior Project Coordinator

A former United Way marketing and fundraising executive, Ms. Swan has managed volunteers and coordinated various projects to increase funding for community health and human service programs for over 15 years. Ms. Swan oversees WRI’s major public safety projects, Camden Safer Cities Initiative, Operation CeaseFire, and a Prison Re-Entry Initiative with the NJ Department of Corrections. 

In her current role, Ms. Swan provides valuable large-group, multi-agency facilitation/ convening and program development expertise, as well as research and data analysis on anti-crime prevention programs in the City. Ms. Swan is also responsible for board and resource development activities at WRI. She received her BA in Psychology from Oberlin College, holds a Masters in Public Administration (MPA) and a Masters in Criminal Justice (MCJ) from Rutgers-Camden.  

Ms. Swan has co-facilitated an undergraduate statistics course and serves as a tutor for the graduate level data analysis course in the criminal justice program. Ms. Swan has also authored a chapter on public policy for a college level textbook, Forensic Nursing: Concepts and Challenges, First Edition. While attending Oberlin College, Ms. Swan served as an undergraduate research assistant and conducted research for the publication, Children’s Representations of the Pattern of Daily Activities, Child Development, Vol. 61, No. 5 (Oct., 1990), pp. 1399-1412, by William J. Friedman.

Contact Ms. Swan at

Kristin Curtis

Kristin Curtis, MA

Senior Project Coordinator

Kristin Curtis obtained her Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice and Sociology from Rutgers University- Camden Campus and Master’s degree in Criminal Justice from Rutgers University- Camden.

In 2008, Ms. Curtis served as the Walter Rand Institute’s Graduate Assistant.  She was then promoted to Research Project Assistant in 2009, where she led data analyst on the PRI-RESPECT, PRI-CORP, and Municipal Prevention Projects at the Walter Rand Institute.  Ms. Curtis is the Project Manager of the South Jersey Strengthening Families Initiative Evaluation and she is also working on the Food Bank of South Jersey’s Healthy Living Initiative Evaluation.

Ms. Curtis has presented findings on residence restrictions for sexual offenders with Drs. Michelle Meloy and Susan Miller at the American Society of Criminology and published an article in the American Journal of Criminal Justice. Her research interests include offender re-entry, juvenile delinquency, sexual offenders, sex crimes, and victim’s issues.

Contact Ms. Curtis at

Paul Smith

Paul Smith, MPA

Research Project Coordinator

Paul Smith holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University- Camden, and is a graduate of the MPA program (December 2009) at Rutgers University–Camden. He was hired as a Research Project Assistant at WRI in April 2010. Prior to being hired as a full- time staff, Paul served as a Student Project Assistant and Graduate Fellow at WRI.
Mr. Smith has worked on numerous projects including Regional Planning and Growth Fit, Affordable Housing in South Jersey, an analysis of Camden’s Special Services District, Municipal Planning & Prevention, Operation CeaseFire and PRI-CORP.

In his current role as Research Project Coordinator, Paul is primarily working on WRI’s Strengthening Family Initiatives project.

Contact Mr. Smith at

Alyssa Yackle, MPA

Research Project Assistant

Alyssa Yackle graduated from Rutgers-Camden in 2012 with a Masters of Public Administration degree in International Public Service and Development and was immediately hired as Research Project Assistant at WRI.  She is currently working on WRI’s Strengthening Family Initiatives project.  Alyssa received her Bachelor’s degree from Franklin & Marshall College, where she studied Business and Spanish.

Contact Ms. Yackle at

Karen Cruz Rosado

Karen Cruz-Rosado

Project Coordinator

Karen, a graduate from Rutgers-Camden in 2007 with a Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice is the Project Coordinator for North Camden Community Partnership. She serves as a liaison between the North Camden and the Rutgers Camden communities. In addition, Karen is a lifelong resident of Camden City, Cramer Hill neighborhood.

Ms. Cruz work experience consists of community outreach specific to Camden County. As a case manager for Differential Response, a program funded by the Department of Children and Families, she assisted families experiencing challenges by coordinating community based services. As a volunteer, Karen mentors at risk Camden youth and participates in the Camden City Curfew Initiative.

Contact Mrs. Cruz-Rosado at

Monica RearsMonica Rears

WRI Business Assistant

Monica Rears received her Bachelor’s Degree in Economics with a concentration in Accounting from Rutgers University – New Brunswick.  She handles grant budgets and reconciliations as well as the Walter Rand events, e-newsletter and website.

Contact Ms. Rears at

Tina MarkowitzTina Markowitz

WRI Administrative Assistant

Tina Markowitz is the newest arrival at the Senator Walter Rand Institute for Public Affairs.  She studied Health Sciences at Camden County College and is currently studing Health Sciences at Burlington County College.

Contact Ms. Markowitz at