Office of Research
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Our Staff

Our expert staff is trained and experienced in conducting state-of-the-art qualitative and quantitative social science and assessment methodologies.

Steven A. “Andy” Whisman, Assistant Director, Office of Assessment and Research
Patricia Cahape Hammer, Coordinator, Research and Evaluation
Amber D. Stohr, Coordinator, Research and Evaluation

We are supported by one associates:
Jennifer Kozak, Secretary II

Steven A. “Andy” Whisman
Assistant Director, Office of Assessment and Research

Dr. Whisman has worked for the West Virginia Department of Education since 2010 as a researcher and evaluator. His current projects focus primarily on healthy schools, school climate measurement, and prevention. Prior to working in the Department, Dr. Whisman held positions as senior evaluation specialist with the West Virginia Prevention Resource Center at Marshall University, and as research associate faculty with the Division of Forestry at West Virginia University. Earlier, he worked as a consulting geologist in the coal and construction industries. He holds a bachelor’s degree in geology from Marshall University, a master’s degree in wildlands recreation management and a doctorate in forest resource sciences with an emphasis in social science research from West Virginia University.

Patricia Cahape Hammer
Coordinator, Research and Evaluation

Ms. Hammer has worked for the West Virginia Department of Education since 2010, as an evaluation project lead and publications coordinator. Her current projects focus primarily on professional development and implementation of the NxGen standards. Prior to working in the Department, Ms. Hammer held a position with a federal government contractor, Synergy Enterprises, Inc. in Maryland, where she worked on publications produced by the National Center for Education Statistics and the Institute of Education Sciences. Prior to that she worked for more than two decades for a nonprofit research and development organization, Edvantia, Inc., where her focus was primarily in rural education research. She was recipient of the Stanley Brzezenski Rural Education Research Award from the National Rural Education Association in 2008. She holds a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Western Michigan University and a master’s degree in sociology from Marshall University. She has also completed all but dissertation toward a doctorate in education administration at Ohio University. Ms. Hammer is a member of the American Evaluation Association.

Birgit A. Shanholtzer
Coordinator, Research and Evaluation

Ms. Shanholtzer has worked for the West Virginia Department of Education since 2015 as a researcher and evaluator. Her current projects include coordinating the Youth Risk Behavior Survey and the School Health Profiles in collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The projects involve collection of data and dissemination of state level youth behavior statistics and school health education policy and practice statistics. She also evaluates the State Longitudinal Data System’s (ZoomWV) training on data tools and stakeholders’ use of the data. Prior to joining the Department, Ms. Shanholtzer was an epidemiologist with the West Virginia Bureau for Public Health, Health Statistics Center. Additionally, she has over five years of teaching experience in higher education at West Virginia State University, Marshall University, and Ohio University. She holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from West Virginia State University and a master’s degree in psychology from Marshall University. She has also completed all but dissertation toward a doctorate in experimental health psychology at Ohio University. Ms. Shanholtzer is a member of the American Evaluation Association.

Amber D Stohr
Coordinator, Research and Evaluation

Ms. Stohr has worked for the West Virginia Department of Education since 2012 as a researcher and evaluator.  Her current projects focus primarily on special education.  Prior to joining the Department, Ms. Stohr was an epidemiologist with the West Virginia Bureau for Public Health, Health Statistics Center.  Additionally, she has over five years of teaching experience, both in the United States, and in China.  Her professional and educational focus areas include evaluation; policy, systems and environmental change; social determinants of health; equity studies in race/ethnicity, gender, and socioeconomic status; and Chinese politics and economics. Ms. Stohr received her bachelor’s degree in psychology from Marshall University. She holds a master’s degree in international development with a certificate in global health studies from the University of Denver.