"The Benjamin Center is an invaluable resource in my role as representative of the 103rd Assembly District. The Center’s research has provided me with practical knowledge that I have used, both in the legislature and my home district, to better meet the needs of the people I serve."
— New York State Assemblymember Kevin A. Cahill
Benjamin Center Director & Associate Vice President for Regional Engagement
Gerald Benjamin joined the New Paltz faculty as an assistant professor of political science in 1968 and achieved the university's highest rank in 2002 when he was appointed as a distinguished professor by the SUNY Board of Trustees. He served as chair of the Department of Political Science, presiding officer of the faculty, and Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences from 1996-2008.
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Kathleen (KT) Tobin
KT Tobin is responsible for designing, conducting, managing, and producing Benjamin Center studies on regional issues and concerns. Her recent publications include: Agriculture Supporting Communities in the Mid-Hudson Region with Brian Obach (sociology); Communicating Student Research at SUNY New Paltz to State and Local Elected Officials with Maureen Morrow (biology); Poughkeepsie Plenty: A Community Food Assessment with Josh Simons (Benjamin Center), Leonard Nevarez (Vassar College), and Susan Grove (Poughkeepsie Plenty Food Coalition); and Mid-Hudson Arts and Culture: the Economic Impact with Eve Waltermaurer and Janis Benincasa (Benjamin Center). Tobin is also editor of the Benjamin Center Discussion Brief Series. Tobin is currently serving on the board of directors for the Phillies Bridge Farm Project, is the former vice president of the New Paltz School Board, and has served on several community committees including New Paltz GreenWorks and New Paltz Flood Aid. Tobin is also an adjunct lecturer in sociology, teaching Intro to Sociology, Social Inequality, and Research Methods.
Director of Research and Evaluation
Eve Waltermaurer joined the New Paltz faculty in 2003 and is now an associate professor of sociology and director of the criminology concentration. She holds a Ph.D. in social epidemiology from SUNY Albany and a Master of Arts in community health from CUNY Lehman. She has conducted violence, youth risk, health, and evaluation research for over 16 years. She specializes in secondary data compilation and analysis, statistics, survey research and program evaluation.
Janis Benincasa has a background in visual culture. She came to SUNY New Paltz after a career in arts administration and programming with a focus on the role of arts in local economic development. At the Benjamin Center, she has researched and written about the Ulster County budget, the economic challenges confronting local community colleges, and the economic impact of arts & culture in the Mid-Hudson Valley. Benincasa is responsible for the Benjamin Center's administration and event planning. She earned her M.A. at UCLA
Robin Jacobowitz, Ph.D.
Director of Education Projects
Robin Jacobowitz is the director of education projects at the Benjamin Center at SUNY New Paltz. She taught for many years as an adjunct in SUNY New Paltz's School of Education. Previously, Jacobowitz worked at New York University's Institute for Education and Social Policy, where her research centered on the growth and development of charter schools in New York State, the organizational structures that facilitate teaching and learning in New York City small high schools, and leadership transitions in new schools in New York City. She also worked with the University of Chicago's Chapin Hall Center for Children, where her research focused on the relationship between constituency building and policy work in affecting systemic school reform in New York State. Prior to beginning her career in research, Jacobowitz worked with the Public Education Network in Washington D.C., where she provided technical assistance to local education funds around the country on issues of school governance, school health, and public engagement. Jacobowitz holds an M.Ed. in education policy from the Harvard University Graduate School of Education, and a Ph.D. from the Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service at New York University. She is currently a trustee on the Kingston City School District Board of Education and a member of the executive committee of the Ulster County School Boards Association.
Senior Research Associate
Joshua Simons holds a bachelor's degree in political science, magna cum laude (2008), from SUNY New Paltz. He is now employed at the Benjamin Center as a senior research associate specializing in geographic information systems, redistricting, and shared service analysis. Some of his recent projects include the creation of an online interactive map and website to display information on properties of historic significance in the Town and Village of New Paltz, and serving as the redistricting consultant to facilitate the Redistricting Commission of the City of Oneonta create a viable redistricting plan for the city, and document the process. He also served as a judge for the 2012 Fordham Law School Redistricting Competition. In addition his projects, Simons also provides GIS support and map making to other studies conducted by the Benjamin Center.
1. Sue Books, Professor - Secondary Education Department, SUNY New Paltz
2. Gregory Bray, Assistant Professor - Communication and Media Department, SUNY New Paltz
3. Tom Cetrino, Lead Researcher - Benjamin Center, SUNY New Paltz
4. Rief Kanan, Lecturer - School of Business, SUNY New Paltz
5. Guy Kempe, VP Community Development - Rural Ulster Preservation Company
6. Jack Lester, Law Office of Jack Lester, Esq.,
7. Dana Levenberg, Chief of Staff - Office of Assemblywoman Sandy Galef
8. Maureen Morrow, Associate Professor - Biology Department, SUNY New Paltz
9. Elizabeth Norton Baker, VP of Value Services Operations and Strategy - IBM Somers
10. Jessica Poser, Assistant Professor - Art Department, SUNY New Paltz
11. Nancy Proyect, President - Orange County Citizens Foundation
12. Dare Thompson, President - League of Women Voters of the Mid-Hudson Region