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Our Team

Our staff has nearly 70 years of combined experience at the Mercyhurst University Civic Institute. The staff also brings a wealth of knowledge from practical work experience in diverse fields related to our focus areas. 


Amy Eisert


Amy C. Eisert, Director, received her Bachelor’s of Science in Criminal Justice from Bowling Green State University and her Master’s of Administration of Justice from Mercyhurst University. Prior to joining the Civic Institute in 2002, Amy worked in the areas of juvenile and family services and programming. Amy is the key contact for Communities That Care in Erie County and served as the primary evaluator for the School Resource Officer Evaluation for the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency. She is the primary facilitator for the Erie County Policy and Planning Council for Children and Families. Her areas of expertise include juvenile delinquency, young female offenders, incorrigibility, mental health, community assessment, and research-based programming.


Ellen Kolbrich

Research Analyst


Ellen Kolbrich, Research Analyst, received her undergraduate degree in Intelligence Studies and Political Science from Mercyhurst University and her master’s degree in Organizational Leadership from Mercyhurst University. Prior to the Civic Institute Ellen interned at the Dutchess County Sheriff’s Office Field Intelligence Office as a crime analyst. Ellen’s areas of expertise include juvenile programming, truancy monitoring, and crime analysis. At the Civic Institute she works on several grants aimed at improving police-community relations. Ellen has experience in data analysis, program evaluation, report writing, mapping, and survey design.


George Fickenworth

Assistant Director

George Fickenworth, Assistant Director, received his Master’s of Business Administration degree from Gannon University after graduating with a Bachelor’s Degree in Speech Communications from Edinboro University. George joined the Civic Institute after serving much of his previous employment in the fields of development and marketing for local not-for-profits, specializing in fundraising activities, grant writing and donor/member cultivation. He also worked as a project manager for a local firm. At the Civic Institute, his main focus of work is within the criminal justice and court systems, specializing in program evaluations with drug and mental health treatment courts and activities with criminal justice advisory boards.


Carla Kuebler






Carla Kuebler, Research Assistant/Administrative Support,  received her Bachelor's degree in Business Management from Penn State Erie, The Behrend College. Prior to joining the Mercyhurst Civic Institute in 2008, Carla worked in both the financial and manufacturing sectors. Her primary focus is  maintaining databases and preparing evaluations for community-based programs funded by the Office of Children and Youth and the Department of Drug and Alcohol. As administrative support, she is the point of contact at the Institute and handles all general office duties.


Kristen Burillo

Senior Evaluation Analyst

Kristen Burillo, Senior Evaluation Analyst, received her bachelor’s degree in psychology and neuroscience from Allegheny College and her master’s degree in clinical psychology from the University of Dayton.  Prior to joining the Mercyhurst Civic Institute in 2007, Kristen worked as a mental health therapist with adolescents.  Kristen is a key contact for the Civic Institute’s child welfare contract, overseeing the program evaluations for community-based programming funded by the Office of Children and Youth.  Her work focuses on projects, programs, and collaboratives that support youth and families.  She has extensive experience with program evaluation, data analysis, questionnaire design, writing special reports, prevention planning, and editing documents.

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