Our researchers offer an uncommon depth of experience and passion for lifelong learning.

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Joe E. Heimlich, Ph.D. | Executive Director, Center for Research and                                             Evaluation and Principal Researcher

A renowned expert in research and analysis, Joe has worked with informal environmental learning for more than 30 years. Over the past two decades, he has focused on how people learn in and about the environment, as well as the efficacy of programs at achieving outcomes. In addition to his work with the Lifelong Learning Group, Joe is a professor in Extension at The Ohio State University in the School of Environment and Natural Resources and the Environmental Science Graduate Program. He also serves as a specialist at OSUExtension@COSI. He played a key role in the creation of COSI’s Center for Research and Evaluation and is currently leading a highly visible “Learning City” initiative with a vision of collaborations across institutions leading to significant change in the role of lifelong learning in the community.

jheimlich@cosi.org | 614-228-2674ext. 2425


Jill Stein, M.A. | Principal Researcher

Jill has extensive experience in the area of audience research and evaluation and has worked with a broad range of institutions, including cultural heritage and history museums, historic sites, art museums, children’s museums, and science centers. Her focus areas include the role that culture plays in learning, culturally responsive evaluation practices, and engaging non-traditional audiences. Jill specializes in qualitative approaches to research and evaluation. She co-teaches a graduate course in museum evaluation at the George Washington University and has a Master’s degree in Folklore and Anthropology with an emphasis in Museum Studies from Indiana University.

jstein@cosi.org | 443-226-4633


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Gary Timko, Ph.D. | Senior Research Associate

Gary has 17 years of experience conducting research and program evaluation.  Prior to joining the Lifelong Learning Group, he was a Research Associate for the Eisenhower National Clearinghouse for Math and Science Education, a Senior Research Associate for the Ohio General Assembly’s Legislative Office of Education Oversight, and later as Director of Research Services for a Columbus, Ohio based nonprofit organization.  He received his doctorate in Education Research and Evaluation from The Ohio State University in 1999. He has a Bachelor’s degree in English Education, a Master’s degree in Higher Education Administration and Student Affairs, and has a teaching certification for 7-12 grade English/Language Arts. 

gtimko@cosi.org  | 614-629-3155


Dolly Hayde, M.A. | Research Associate

Dolly brings a diverse skill-set to the study of informal learning, with experience in applied social science, market research, classroom teaching, and museum evaluation. While designing and conducting visitor studies, Dolly has focused on empowering staff within institutions to understand and incorporate meaningful planning and evaluation processes in the context of their own practice. In addition to her work for cultural institutions, she has conducted ethnographic research related to language education and cultural memory. Dolly holds an M.A. in Museum Studies from Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis and an M.A. in Cultural Anthropology from the University of Arkansas.

dhayde@cosi.org | 614-629-3165


Deborah Wasserman, Ph.D. | Research Associate

Deborah brings an extensive history of experience in human-service program evaluation, not-for-profit management, organizational development, and program delivery in the performing arts, journalism, and health care.  She brings to her projects a long-standing commitment to including typically marginalized voices in the program evaluation process.  With a background in research approaches that range from journey mapping of success stories to structural equation modeling, she delights in working with clients to discover the most meaningful, relevant, and useful methodologies for developing, monitoring, and evaluating program services and outcomes. Deborah received a Ph.D. in Family Science from The Ohio State University, where she has also taught child and adolescent development.

dwasserman@cosi.org | 614-629-3123


Mary Ann Wojton, Ph.D. | Research Associate

Mary Ann brings a broad set of professional and academic skills related to the study and practice of teaching and learning in formal and informal education environments.  With experience as a researcher, museum educator, environmental educator, and a K-8 classroom teacher, Mary Ann brings a comprehensive perspective on planning and evaluating the outcomes and design of educational programs and experiences in the intersection of formal and informal learning spaces.  Mary Ann has served as adjunct faculty in science education at The Ohio State University and Ashland University.  She holds a Ph. D. in Education:  Teaching and Learning from The Ohio State University and a M. S. in Recreation from Western Illinois University.    

mwojton@cosi.org | 614-629-3148