Research Team

Dr. Sarah ShannonSarah Shannon

Co-Principal Investigator

Associate Professor, Department of Sociology

Sarah K.S. Shannon joined the UGA Sociology Department in 2013 after receiving her PhD (and MSW) from the University of Minnesota.  Sarah is an active scholar who studies law, crime, and deviance, especially the intersections between crime, punishment, and public welfare programs. Her interdisciplinary research investigates how social institutions like the criminal justice and public welfare systems affect social inequality. Sarah's work has been published in top journals in several fields including sociology, criminology, public health, social work, and geography. Sarah is an affiliate faculty member with the Criminal Justice Studies Program and the Institute for Women's Studies at UGA. She is also an award-winning teacher, receiving the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences' prestigious Sandy Beaver Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2017. Sarah teaches UGA's only "Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program" course.

As a publicly engaged scholar, Sarah’s research has been cited in several high profile media outlets including The New York TimesThe Economist,  and the Washington Post. Prior to her graduate work, Sarah worked in the non-profit sector. As a result, she cares about doing research that matters for academics, policy makers, and ordinary citizens. Her public engagement projects include The Society Pages and The Scholars Strategy Network


Dr. Beverly JohnsonBeverly Johnson

Co-Principal Investigator

Public Service Associate & State Services And Decision Support,  Carl Vinson Institute of Government

Dr. Beverly Johnson serves as unit director of the Institute of Government’s Atlanta-based State Services Unit, which conducts applied research and provides technical assistance and logistics management for state agencies and other organizations. She has more than 15 years of experience in managing complex governmental operations at the local, regional and state levels. Dr. Johnson applies her expertise in adult education and human resources and organizational development (HROD) to collaborate with diverse stakeholders to conduct enterprise-wide assessments and develop strategies to build effective organizations. Her applied research and action research work have helped groups address complex issues related to professional development, workplace culture and performance improvement.

Dr. Johnson also provides expertise to the Institute of Government's workforce development unit. She has significant experience in the workforce development field and contributes to national employment strategies and professional certification development. Her experience includes managing the Georgia Department of Labor’s statewide local One Stop system, serving on various workforce boards and developing statewide economic development strategies. She is a Certified Workforce Development Professional and Career Development Specialist.


Dr. Orion MowbrayOrion Mowbray


Associate Professor & Director of Research, School of Social Work

Orion Mowbray examines two areas of research: (1) Promoting access to mental health services, and (2) Understanding differential outcomes associated with mental health services utilization. In these specific areas of research, Dr. Mowbray has examined the experiences of multiple vulnerable populations, including how persons in the criminal justice access mental health and substance use services, how public mental health systems adopt medication-assisted treatments for persons with substance use disorders, caregiver needs and child behavioral health problems among those in the child welfare system, and how persons with chronic health problems experience mental health and substance use related problems.

Since joining the University of Georgia in 2013, Dr. Mowbray has established a track record of research and training funding in these areas from the National Institutes of Health, the Bureau of Justice Assistance the Health Resources and Services Administration and SAMHSA. He has authored/coauthored many peer-reviewed articles in various high impact substance use, mental health, and social work journals.


Holly LyndeHolly Lynde

Data Analyst

Fiscal Analyst & State Services And Decision Support, Carl Vinson Institute of Government

Based in Atlanta, Holly Lynde joined the Institute of Government in 2014 as a fiscal analyst with the fiscal note team. Holly analyzes and evaluates proposed state legislation to estimate its potential impacts and helps to prepare fiscal notes provided to members of the Georgia General Assembly. She also provides research support on projects for local and state government agencies. Holly is a Georgia Certified Economic Developer and trained to deliver Sequential Intercept Model (SIM) mapping workshops in Georgia. Prior to joining the Institute of Government, Holly worked with state-level education technology leaders at the Southern Regional Education Board. She has worked in policy and fiscal analysis for 20 years for the Washington State House of Representatives, the Washington State Higher Education Coordinating Board and management consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton.


Amairini SanchezAmairini Sanchez

Research Assistant

PhD Student, Department of Sociology

Amairini is a second-year PhD student in the Department of Sociology. She obtained both her B.A. in Sociology and M.A. in Applied Sociology at the University of Central Florida. She has previously worked as a research assistant to Dr. Sarah Shannon in a multi-state study of monetary sanctions. She is interested in focusing her research within the criminal justice system. Her research interests are crime, law, and deviance, punishment, race and ethnicity, and immigration.