Advancing Science: The Official Newsletter of the NIJ Director

Peer Review Newsletter

FY23 solicitations for research proposals will be dropping soon! In fact, we just released the W.E.B. Du Bois Program of Research on Reducing Racial and Ethnic Disparities in the Justice System with the first deadline phase due April 10, 2023, at 11:59 p.m. ET. We look forward to receiving your applications in the coming months and supporting high-quality, actionable research into the future.

Once we receive the applications, we will need researchers and practitioners from across justice-related fields to sign up to be potential peer reviewers. Peer reviewers are essential in ensuring that we invest in the strongest and most impactful research applications. Please consider enrolling today!


To kick off 2023, I’m delighted to announce three new staff members joining the NIJ team! I’m eager to share a little more about them. We’ll keep you in the loop as we continue to grow our team.

Jill Headshot

Jill Thomas has joined NIJ as our new Director of Communications. Jill has extensive experience in managing writing and editing teams, publications development, and social media and communications strategy. She’s no stranger to us as she formerly was a federal program manager and lead editor at OJP’s Bureau of Justice Statistics.

Jill joins us from her most recent position at the National Human Genome Research Institute at NIH. Jill will help ensure our research investments pay off for the field by shaping actionable content that policymakers and practitioners can apply directly to their decision making.

Amelia Headshot Directors Newsletter Jan

Adding to our growing communications team is Amelia Vorpahl, who has joined us as a Communications Specialist. Amelia will help expand our reach to associations and other justice-related organizations, and she will also help improve our outreach strategies. Amelia has over 10 years of communications and public affairs experience, and much of that occurred within the criminal justice field.

She comes to us from the Council of State Governments, where she managed the production of written materials, developed innovative strategies to extend the reach of criminal justice programs and publications, and developed and implemented outreach activities for criminal justice topics.

Alexandra Headshot Directors Newsletter Jan

Alexandra Montero is joining NIJ as a Policy Advisor in my office. Alex comes to us from the DOJ Office of the Inspector General (OIG) as an Inspector, where she led several high-profile review teams in assessing the efficiency and effectiveness of DOJ programs and operations. Much of her work results in actionable recommendations to decision-makers to streamline operations, reduce unnecessary regulations, and minimize inefficient and ineffective procedures. She has experience analyzing internal and external policies, conducting programmatic evaluations, and developing detailed reports for DOJ leadership and Congress.

Her federal career also includes a leadership detail as part of the DOJ LEAP program with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and providing hurricane relief efforts in Puerto Rico following Hurricane Maria with DHS’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

Podcast Newsletter

In recognition of Human Trafficking Month, I wanted to share a recent and timely podcast episode featuring former NIJ Social Scientist Mary Carlton. She addresses the complex challenges of human trafficking that require cross-collaboration among the research community.

Our website also hosts resources and reading materials that demonstrate our tremendous investments we’ve made to further understand and combat human trafficking.


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