Seema IyerSeema Iyer – Associate Director, Jacob France Institute

Seema D. Iyer PhD is associate director and research assistant professor for the Jacob France Institute (JFI) in the University of Baltimore’s Merrick School of Business. Dr. Iyer oversees the Baltimore Neighborhood Indicators Alliance at JFI, which is also part of the Urban Institute’s National Neighborhood Indicators Partnership of sites that provide longitudinal, community based data on demographics, housing, crime, education and sustainability.

Dr. Iyer is a recognized expert on strategic planning in community development; recent projects include the McElderry Park Byrne Criminal Justice Innovation Plan, Regional Housing Plan for the Opportunity Collaborative, an evaluation of Baltimore City’s Vacants to Value program and verification of work for the Baltimore Energy Initiative. Her research focuses on the role of data sharing in collaborative public innovation processes. She has overseen large-scale research projects using integrated data systems on the relationship between energy assistance benefits to households and weatherization programs in the home. From 2016-2017, she served as a consultant to the Baltimore Mayor’s Office of Information Technology on the city’s Open Data program.

Academically, Dr. Iyer is the director of the undergraduate program in the Real Estate & Economic Development at the University of Baltimore. She teaches courses on real estate principles and local economic development. In 2017, she was a Fulbright-Nehru Scholar in Bangalore, India, researching the role of urban governance for metropolitan economic competitiveness. Her blog from the experience is available at

Prior to joining UB, Dr. Iyer served as Chief of Research & Strategic Planning for Baltimore City’s Planning Department and was responsible for data and policy analysis, geographic information systems services and population forecasting. She spearheaded the city’s 2010 Census Complete Count Campaign as well as other planning processes such as the 2009 Food Policy Task Force and the 2008 Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy.

Contact Seema Iyer at (410) 837-5797 or E-mail: [email protected]

Cheryl Knott – GIS Project Manager

Cheryl KnottCheryl Knott is the Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Project Manager for the Baltimore Neighborhood Indicators Alliance-Jacob France Institute. For over a decade, Cheryl has worked to ensure the accuracy, consistency, and reliability of community indicators that describe the quality of life for Baltimore City communities. She coordinates with staff and external data-creating agencies to produce customized statistical and research reports and evaluations that examine neighborhood-level trends on socio-economic characteristics, crime and safety, public health, housing and community development, educational achievement, and sustainability.

Cheryl also provides training to the public on using GIS resources, community asset mapping, evidence-based practices, and communicating data for grant writing. Cheryl is involved in coordinating Baltimore Data Day, an annual event that brings together a diverse audience to talk about data and resources in the city. She is a proponent of data democratization and has a strong interest in making GIS data open and usable to the public as well as other professionals.

Prior to her arrival at BNIA-JFI in 2007, Cheryl studied at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC), receiving her Bachelor’s degree in Geography and Environmental Systems and a certification in Cartography in 2007 and a Master’s degree in Applied Sociology in 2013. Her research interests include the relationship between crime and the built environment including developing new quantitative measures for studying urban crime risk at the block level.

In 2017 Cheryl was awarded the UB Staff Award for Extraordinary Public Service to the University and Greater Community for her work on communicating data and information. She is currently serving her second term as the Data and Resources Subcommittee Chair for the Maryland State Geographic Information Committee (MSGIC). In her spare time, Cheryl is a co-organizer for MaptimeBmore.

Contact Cheryl Knott at (410) 837-4377 or E-mail: [email protected] | Personal Site

Robbyn Lewis – Civic Data and Engagement Fellow

Robbyn assists with BNIA’s increasing role in community-based training on open data for a broad range of networks operating in Baltimore’s many neighborhoods. In addition to working with neighborhoods, she will focus on arts and culture-related projects, such as the award-winning GEOLOOM Co>Map.

Robbyn serves as a state delegate in Maryland’s 46th District. She is an international health professional, sustainability advocate and community leader, and lives in Baltimore’s Patterson Park. Prior to becoming delegate, Lewis devoted more than 15 years working around the world on health programs. During 10 years of service as a Johns Hopkins University employee, Robbyn’s work included conducting clinical and operations research, scaling up health innovations and strengthening health policies in Asia, Africa, and the Caribbean. She also worked for several years at other international organizations, including the World Bank and Family Health International/FHI360.

Robbyn began her international health career as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Niger, where she worked in a remote maternal and child health clinic. She has applied the grassroots health activism skills she learned in the Peace Corps to improve everyday quality of life in her Baltimore neighborhood; for example, by creating and leading large-scale tree plantings, expansion of energy conservation, recycling and placemaking. Robbyn also served as special assistant at the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange, where she helped to expand access to affordable, quality health insurance coverage to more than a million Marylanders. Robbyn holds a Master of Public Health in International Health degree from Columbia University and a Bachelor in Anthropology degree from the University of Chicago.

Contact Robbyn Lewis at (410) 837-4015 or Email: [email protected]

Charles “Carlos” Karpati – Civic Developer

Charles “Carlos” Karpati has worked as a web developer with BNIA since 2017. He earned his Bachelor’s degree from UMBC in Information Systems and is currently completing his graduate thesis. Charles contributed to this year’s Vital Signs by helping to process raw data and creating code to make this year’s datasets.

Contact Carlos Karpati at [email protected]

Logan Shertz – Research Assistant

A Baltimore City resident and University of Baltimore alumnus, Logan is a Research Assistant at the Baltimore Neighborhood Indicators Alliance – Jacob France Institute. In addition to assisting in the preparation of the annual Vital Signs report, he communicates the organization’s work to the general public, and assists the BNIA team on custom data projects that range from database design for public agencies to educational programs on the economics of sustainable infrastructure.

Contact Logan Shertz at (410) 837-6552 or Email: [email protected]

Charlie Stadlander – Research Fellow

Contact Charlie Stadlander at [email protected]

Kyle McDermott – Real Estate Student Assistant

Contact Kyle McDermott at [email protected]




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Baltimore Neighborhood Indicators Alliance
The Jacob France Institute
1420 N. Charles Street, Baltimore, MD 21201
410-837-4377 | [email protected]