The Supportive Accountability Innovation Lab (SAIL) is interested in understanding how paraprofessional and mentoring relationships can be leveraged to support youth in education and wellbeing. Founded by Jean Rhodes, PhD, at the University of Massachusetts’ Center for Evidence-Based Mentoring, the SAIL team furthers Dr. Rhodes’ foundational mentoring research by examining models of supportive accountability in diverse contexts. One of our main interests is understanding how technology can be harnessed to allow mentors to provide support to their mentees and hold their mentees accountable as they achieve their own goals.

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MEET OUR TEAM

Alexandra Werntz, PhD

Alexandra Werntz, PhD

Executive Director

Alexandra Werntz is a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Massachusetts Boston and the University of Virginia investigating how mentors can most effectively provide supportive accountability to youth. She is also a licensed clinical psychologist practicing in Virginia, specializing in anxiety, depression, end-of-life issues, and trauma. She feels passionately that evidence-based mental health skills do not need to be taught by trained mental health providers, but instead can be taught by and practiced with trained paraprofessionals. She is excited to work with mentors so that they can understand how to encourage their mentees to practice skills that will allow them to reach their full mental health and wellbeing potential.

Jean Rhodes, PhD

Jean Rhodes, PhD

Co-Founder

Jean Rhodes is the Frank L. Boyden Professor of Psychology and the Director of the Center for Evidence-Based Mentoring at the University of Massachusetts Boston. She has devoted her career to understanding and advancing the role of intergenerational relationships in the intellectual, social-emotional, educational, and career development of marginalized youth. She has published three books, four edited volumes, and over 150 chapters and peer-reviewed articles on topics related to positive youth development, the transition to adulthood, and mentoring. Dr. Rhodes is a Fellow in the American Psychological Association and the Society for Research and Community Action, as well as a former Robert Wood Johnson Health Policy Fellow and Distinguished Fellow of the William T. Grant Foundation. She has been awarded many campus-wide teaching awards for her advances in pedagogy and scholarship, including the the Distinguished Academic Leadership and Outstanding Service to the Students of UMass Boston Award, the Vice Chancellor’s Teaching Scholar Award, and the Chancellor’s Distinguished Scholar Award. Rhodes completed her Ph.D. in clinical/community psychology at DePaul University and her clinical internship at the University of Chicago Medical School.

Nancy McNamara

Nancy McNamara

Co-Founder

BS, Computer Science, UC Santa Barbara, 1981

While Nancy is at the helm of AWP, managing all marketing, development, and financial aspects of the firm, she still gets into the nuts and bolts of project management, data definition, application integration, and development. Prior to founding AWP in 2002, Nancy worked for Interleaf, Inc. in Cambridge, MA, a pioneer in software for technical publishing and document distribution, in a variety of roles ranging from software programmer to marketing director.

Megyn Jasman

Megyn Jasman

Laboratory Manager

Megyn Jasman is the lab manager of SAIL with Dr. Jean Rhodes. In Spring of 2021, Megyn graduated with her Bachelors in Psychological Science from Central Connecticut State University as the Valedictorian in her department, and is furthering her education in the field by working towards her Masters. Megyn started working with the Rhodes Lab and MentorHub in 2021, and is excited to use her passion for psychology to help bring mentoring and resources to improve wellness into a variety of individual’s lives.

Benlina Aier

Benlina Aier

Project Coordinator

Benlina Aier is a Project Coordinator for the Center for Evidence-Based Mentoring at UMass Boston, and assists the MentorHub team with their research projects. She is passionate about helping communities create safe, equitable, accessible, and empowering spaces that facilitate growth for young people and their families. Benlina received a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from DePaul University, and a Master of Education in Human Development Counseling from Vanderbilt University. She is experienced in intervention-based research and program development, with an interest in building youth-focused, community-based mental health initiatives that are fully accessible to the general public.

Jordan Cherry

Jordan Cherry

Project Coordinator

Jordan Cherry is the Project Coordinator for the Center for Evidence-Based Mentoring at the University of Massachusetts Boston. She is dedicated to community-based solutions for issues of inequality and is a strong advocate for scaffolding social support in individuals who are positioned in intersections of marginalization. Ms. Cherry is a current undergraduate student at the University of Virginia double majoring in Psychology and Medical Anthropology. She hopes to pursue a graduate degree in clinical community psychology and is excited for the opportunity to unite her passions for advocacy and community-led solutions to help MentorHub foster social settings to promote well-being in target populations.