Who are we?

At AERE (pronounced “air”) we develop and provide innovative solutions in the three key areas of assessment, education, and research. We are a team of passionate individuals who are driven by a commitment to deliver premium quality to our clients and partners. Through highly tailored and systematic processes, we are equipped to delivering our services to organizations specializing in assessment, licensure, certification, employment selection, survey research, data analysis and beyond.

At AERE we offer an experience like no other. Our experts work closely with organizations to understand and address assessment, education and research needs and provide personalized solutions for the strategic design, development, and maintenance of valid and fair psychometric assessments ensuring that they have meet the accreditation standards for certification programs of ANSI ISO/IEC 17024:2012 and NCCA.

It is fair to say; we have cultivated an incredible reputation within the assessments industry in a short amount of time; particularly in the area of test development and psychometrics with our clients for delivering excellence and heightened professionalism efficiently.

Our strategic intent is to be the leaders within the assessment, psychometrics, accreditation, and research industry. We abide by the highest ethical and professional standards in the delivery of our services and aim to continually put the needs of our customers first.

Our team of experts

We believe that a formidable, experienced and passionate team is the recipe for success. With a vibrant team of highly competent professionals and our unremitting commitment towards improved services, we are equipped to deliver a high-quality service.

The composition of our professional team is such that assigns the most experienced hands to the various fields of our operations. Let us introduce you to the backbone of AERE.

Dr. Manfred (Manny) Straehle, GISF

With over two decades of active involvement in the credentialing industry; Manny is one of about 20 assessors for the ANSI ISO/IEC 17024:2012 accreditation standards. He possess immense proficiency as a consulting assessment and educational research expert, Dr. Manny sits at the top of AERE as her Founder and President. Dr. Manfred has held roles at Advertising Research Corporation (ARC), Media Broadcasting Company (Pharmaceutical Marketing), National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME), Genesis Healthcare, Prometric, and Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI) to mention but a few. His long professional history and wealth of experience make Dr. Manny of immense importance to the operational value of AERE. Dr. Manny is no stranger to leadership responsibilities and has held several leadership positions for the credentialing and standards industry association while serving in the leadership capacity for countless other committees and institutions. With a formidable professional and managerial resume, Dr. Manny is equipped to pilot the affairs of AERE with laudable success. A proud member of reputable professional societies such as the American Evaluation Association (AEA), National Council on Measurement in Education (NCME), and Association of Test Publishers (ATP), Dr. Manny leads AERE with a clear vision of excellence and a team-based collaborative approach.

André De Champlain, PhD.

André De Champlain, PhD is Director of the Psychometrics and Assessment Services department at the Medical Council of Canada. He is involved in a number of new initiatives at Council, including the review of current scoring and standard setting methodologies for MCC examinations, as well as several research studies aimed at better informing and supporting policy and current development as they relate to psychometric, test development and other operational issues. Dr. Andre offers heightened professionalism and unmatched expertise at AERE where he functions in the capacity of Distinguished Psychometric, Assessment and Research Officer.

Liberty J. Munson, Ph.D.

Liberty Munson, PhD, is the Principal Psychometrician and Product Quality Lead for Microsoft Learning’s technical certification program. Liberty takes on the position as our Chief Psychometrics, Assessment, and Research Officer. Liberty is a versatile professional with many years of expertise. Her expertise is centered on ensuring the highest psychometric standards are rigorously applied during all phases of the certification exam lifecycle.

Randy Doran

A dynamic marketer with over 15 years of working experience in the media, marketing, and advertising landscape, Randy Doran cultivated a reputation of marketing excellence. He has serviced top Fortune 500 brands and their partners and brings exceptional marketing mastery to AERE where he serves as our Chief Marketing Officer.

Trushant Mehta, MCA, MCP, CSM, PMP

A prolific web expert with over 19 years of experience Trushant Mehta has repositioned many businesses for success. With a master’s degree in computer applications and also being a Certified Scrum Master (CSM) and a Project Management Professional (PMP); the passionate techy functions as our Chief Technology Officer.

Vesna Champagne MS, SPHR

Vesna has worked professionally in the fields of assessment development, evaluation, and analytics. She brings refined experience in developing licensure and certification exams span on a variety of industries to the table. With a professional background in Test Development, HR analytics, and Talent Management, she stands gallantly as our Assistant Vice President.

Zainab Fayaz, ACIM, Director of Marketing

Zainab has worked professionally as a Marketer across the education, tech and regulatory space. Over the years Zainab has spread her wings across the globe and has a vast understanding of the assessment space within the European market. She has a wealth of knowledge and became a Chartered Marketer from the Institution of Marketing in 2018. At present, Zainab sits firmly as our Director of Marketing and advices us on our strategy.

Jennifer Naughton, SPHR

Jennifer is passionate about assessing, building, and credentialing the knowledge and skills of employees in organizations around the world and she comes with more than 25 years of experience in the selected industry. With a specialty in talent development, competency modeling, and certification consultation, Jennifer Naughton stands as our Principal Consultant.

Gary Behrens, MBA, MS, Senior Consultant

With almost 40 years of experience in developing, deploying and directing organizations (government and commercial); Gary is a well-recognized figure within the assessments industry and sits as our Senior Consultant. In addition to his role with us - he is a member of the Association of Test Publishers and has served as Secretary, Vice Chair and Chair of the Industrial-Organizational Division, and as Secretary and Vice Chair of the ATP Test Security Committee. Mr. Behrens served as chair of a Test Security Committee task force that produced the ATP Compliance Guide to the EU General Data Protection Regulation.

Rita Dykstra, Ph.D.

Rita has her educational background in psychology; she has worked as a research technician at the National Center for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder at the V.A. Boston Healthcare System. Rita worked on several research projects, including the development, testing, and validation of a collection of measures designed to assess deployment-related experiences in military personnel and veterans. She functions as our Senior Soft Skills Assessment Research Consultant.

Austin Fossey, Ph.D.

Austin comes with professional expertise in credentialing and education. His background as a psychometrician with over 10 years of experience in assessment and evaluation and his many laudable contributions to educational research plants him firmly as our Director of Psychometrics and Research.

Emily Kim

Emily Kim is the Manager of Research and Senior Writer at AERE. She has engaged in psychometrics, QC, survey design, as well as both qualitative and quantitative research projects. She has also co-authored a number of one-pagers and white papers with AERE, and has experience in leading item writing sessions with subject matter experts for certification development. Emily holds a B.A. in Psychology and a B.S. in Business Management from the University of Maryland, College Park. She is currently enrolled in a graduate program at Virginia Tech in pursuit of a PhD in Industrial Organizational Psychology.

Ali Siminovsky

Ali Siminovsky, Ph.D. is an industrial-organizational psychologist with nearly a decade of experience in psychometrics and assessments, including design and maintenance of assessments, execution of validity studies and surveys, thought leadership, novel research about people at work, and data science. Ali holds a Ph.D. and M.S. in Industrial-Organizational Psychology from the University of Georgia and a B.B.A in Industrial-Organizational Psychology from CUNY Baruch College.

Cicek Svensson

Cicek Svensson is an Industrial/Organizational Psychologist and has over ten years of experience within the assessment industry. She is the Senior Vice President at AERE and is based in San Diego, CA.

Prior to moving to the United States, Cicek worked for the largest test publisher company in Sweden where she developed psychological assessments for the international market as well as implemented foreign tests into the Nordic market. Cicek has rich experience with the quality control of assessments related to translation, localization and adaptation. Her experience also covers HR-consulting, change management, succession planning, brand development and strategic sales. Her experience with international business development covers Europe, United States and the Baltic region. She speaks several languages fluently and has lived and worked in Sweden, Turkey and the U.S. With her exceptional skills in networking, communication, interpersonal and follow-up skills, Cicek is instrumental in building and maintaining long-term business relations. Her leadership skills have helped influence, coach and engage teams and internal/external partners. She has a huge passion for people science and is always looking for ways to improve and identify new business opportunities and expanding into new channels.

Aside from her responsibilities at AERE, Cicek is an active member of several professional organizations including the Association of Test Publishers (ATP) where she served as the Board Chair in 2019, two terms as Chair of the ATP European Region and as Chair of the ATP I/O Division in 2015. She is also an active member of the Society for Industrial & Organizational Psychology, the International Test Commission and the Association of Talent Development. She has strong representation at Industry conferences, events and meaningful networking opportunities.

Ana Toro

Paige Stafford

Paige possesses a robust background in item writing and revision, assessment blueprinting, and assessment creation and revision. Joining AERE from the Secondary Education sector, Paige has aided one of the largest school districts in the nation in building, vetting, and revising items and assessments.

Hannah Binder

Highly collaborative senior test development specialist who works with clients, vendors, and internal staff to write, facilitate, and train for test development needs at AERE. Exceptionally skilled at communicating test development objectives to produce high-quality test development. Oversees client meetings for various points in the test development cycle and ensures highly-organized results. Experience training and managing junior employees, able to take and give direction, and handles high-pressure situations with ease. Received a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Economics from Temple University and a Master of Arts in Public Policy with a Specialization in Global Policy from Northwestern University. 10+ years’ experience; lifelong learner and public policy enthusiast.

Jacqueline Nadeau

Jacqueline is a senior Psychology major at the University of Maryland, College Park who has also focused some of her coursework on computer science. As a Research I/O and Assessment Intern, Jacqueline will be studying assessment, education, and research across the industry as well as building her business and consulting skills.

Kyra Bilenki

Test development specialist who works with clients, vendors, and internal staff to write, facilitate, and train for test development needs at AERE. 4+ years experience in psychometrics, program management, content management, and quality assurance. Received a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, and a Master of Science in Counterterrorism and Homeland Security from American University.

Bill West

Bill West is a senior market leader and 25+ year veteran of the assessment industry. Bill supports AERE as Chief Acquisition and Relationship Officer (CARO). Bill has successfully served in a variety of operational and sales capacities for test administration and credential management organizations as well as an NCCA-accredited non-profit credentialing association. Roles have included customer service, program management, business development. operations, and strategy. In these roles, Bill launched and managed numerous national and global assessment programs, assisted clients with expanding their businesses, implemented strategic partnerships, and developed new markets.

An active contributor to industry associations, conferences and committees, Bill served on the board of directors for the Association of Test Publishers (ATP) and currently serves on two boards: the Certification Network Group (CNG) and the Institute for Credentialing Excellence (ICE), owner of the NCCA accreditation standard.

Jules Regan

Jules is a current sophomore studying psychology and education at Princeton University. Outside of classes, she conducts infant development research and aims to bridge educational psychology research with early education classrooms, making early education more scientifically sound, accessible, and equitable. She spends her free time mentoring middle school students, running the Princeton Psychology Society, and serving on the Princeton Psychology Department’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee. A first-generation, low-income student herself, Jules is dedicated to improving education on all fronts to ensure the success of the next generation of leaders.

Hannah Keepers

Hannah is a senior Human Development major at the University of Maryland, College Park with a passion for learning about learning through data. With almost a year’s experience at University of Maryland’s Cognition and Development Lab, she has developed test stimuli, conducted research over zoom, and collaborated on research projects. At AERE, she will be expanding her knowledge by building technical skills along with studying business practices and assessment across fields.

Taylor Clements

Taylor Clements, M.S. is a doctoral candidate in Industrial-Organizational Psychology based out of Miami, Florida. With a keen understanding of psychological principles, Taylor brings a unique blend of research expertise and practical knowledge to the team. Armed with advanced statistical analysis skills and a proficiency in designing and implementing employee assessment tools, he can translate complex psychological theories into actionable strategies for organizational improvement. As an I-O psychologist, Taylor is committed to shaping workplaces that not only foster employee well-being but also drive sustained productivity and success.

Louisa Gheorghita

Louisa Gheorghita is a current student at Princeton University. She intends to major in psychology, with a future focus on industrial-organizational psychology. As an intern, she looks forward to analyzing data from psychometric assessments, conducting professional survey research, and applying insights from previous courses and experiences. Moreover, Louisa is an avid photographer and enjoys traveling.