Tim Johnson, Director, Survey Research Laboratory

Tim JohnsonTim came to SRL in 1989 after completing his doctorate at the University of Kentucky, where he also coordinated research for the UK Survey Research Center. He has served since 1996 as SRL Director at UIC, where he also teaches courses on survey methodology and serves as Vice Chair of the Social & Behavioral IRB. He's written numerous papers concerned with various aspects of survey methods, and has edited or co-edited three books, including: Hard to Survey Populations (2014), Handbook of Health Survey Methods (2014), and Survey Methods in Multinational, Multiregional and Multicultural Contexts (2010). He has also served previously as Standard Chair for the American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR) and as President of the Midwest Association for Public Opinion Research (MAPOR), and currently leads the Coordinating Committee for AAPOR's Transparency Initiative.


Gabriela Avila, Field Coordinator

Gabriela AvilaGabriela has worked at SRL since 2000, starting out as an interviewer, phone center and field supervisor, and currently holds a field coordinator position in which she organizes and oversees the field data research for both phone and face-to-face studies. She has overseen the data collection and management of field staff in the fields of health, education, and social policy. Gabriela is now in the process of obtaining a degree in Hispanic linguistics from the University of Illinois at Chicago.


Jie Chen, Manager of Systems Services

Jie ChenJie’s original background is as a classical music musician: he graduated from Shanghai Conservatory of Music in 1982 and then served at the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra as a bassoon player until he came to the U.S. in 1986. He finished his master’s degree in music and received his Performer’s Certificate at Northern Illinois University in 1988 and 1989, respectively. Jie started studying computer language programing and network administration in the mid’90s at DePaul University, the College of DuPage, and the Microhard Co. Before coming to SRL in 1999, he worked as network engineer and administrator at Sentinel Technologies and the DaiIchi Kongyo Bank. At SRL, Jie oversees all computer systems, from software programing to hardware maintenance and upgrades. He has also developed and programmed numerous programs for SRL administration and survey projects. In 2014, Jie was awarded the UIC's Award of Merit.


Isabel Farrar, Research Programs Specialist

isabel farrarIsabel has worked at SRL since 1997 as a project coordinator, and has managed numerous telephone, face-to-face, Web, mail, cognitive interview and focus group projects during that time. Her research interests include public housing and community health issues. She strives to meet the specific challenges of each project; from the proposal to the data set stage. Isabel has a master’s degree in Applied Sociology from Loyola University.



Allyson Holbrook, Research Associate Professor

Allyson HolbrookAllyson came to UIC in 2002 after receiving her Ph.D. in Social Psychology from The Ohio State University. She contributes her expertise in survey methods, particularly in questionnaire design, to SRL projects on an as-needed basis and serves on SRL's Questionnaire Review Committee. She has worked on several projects involving questionnaire development and pretesting of survey instruments. Allyson also coordinates SRL's Survey News Bulletin, a weekly e-mailed SRL publication and frequently contributes as a presenter in SRL's seminar and webinar series.



Linda K. Owens, Assistant Director for Sampling and Analysis and Assistant Research Professor

Linda OwensLinda got her doctoral degree in sociology, with a focus on demography, from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1995. From 1993 to 1997, she was a survey statistician with the Energy Information Administration at the U.S. Department of Energy, where she analyzed survey data related to residential and commercial energy consumption. She joined SRL in 1997 and has extensive experience in sample design, survey analysis, and survey methodology. In addition to her experience at SRL, she has taught survey methods in the Department of Sociology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and continues to offer guest lectures and webinars on topics related to survey methods. She is a long-time member of the American Association of Public Opinion Research (AAPOR) and regularly attends conferences related to survey methodology.


Vincent Parker, Manager of Survey Systems

Vincent ParkerVince joined SRL in 1985 as a research assistant while attending graduate school in UIC's applied sociology program. After a brief stint in Tech Support at SPSS, he joined the SRL staff full-time in 1989 and has served in various capacities including data manager, project coordinator, field coordinator, field operations manager, and operations manager and has been in his current position since 2001. Vince has managed and/or programmed numerous telephone, face-to-face (including A-CASI), hosted Web surveys, cognitive interview, and focus group projects during his tenure at SRL. He has programmed surveys in CASES and Blaise survey software along with many other related software products. Vince served on the organizing committee for the International Field Directors & Technologies Conference from 2011–2013 and remains active in the annual program planning. Vince began his college career at IIT pursuing a degree in computer science and has a bachelor’s degree in sociology from University of Illinois at Chicago.


Jennifer Parsons, Research Operations Director

Jennifer ParsonsJennifer was hired as a graduate research assistant by then SRL Director Richard Warnecke in 1991 who was teaching her survey research methods seminar. Upon completing her graduate work, she moved into a Project Coordinator position at SRL and continued to grow into more senior positions. In early 2014, she was appointed Research Operations Director, overseeing the work of the Project Coordination, Field, and Data Reduction sections. Over the last decade, she directed survey core operations for UICs Center for Health and Health Disparities projects funded by the NIH, and has been responsible for the design and oversight of many federal, state, and foundation awards. She is an active member of the American Association for Public Opinion Research and has served on the UIC Social and Behavioral IRB board since 2008. In 2013, Jennifer was awarded the UIC Chancellor’s Academic Professional Excellence (CAPE) award.


Karen Foote Retzer, Sampling Operations Supervisor

Karen RetzerKaren joined SRL’s sampling section in 2001. She works with project coordinators and clients to develop the sample designs for studies, and she monitors the sample productivity during data collection. She has managed sample for phone and face-to-face area probability studies, including business and household surveys. Karen has a master’s degree in applied demography from Georgetown University.



Michelle White, Business Manager

Michelle WhiteMichelle joined SRL’s accounting section in 1996. She works as the Human Resources representative for the department and is responsible for the hiring of hourly staff, students, and extra help to work on our vast number of research projects. Michelle is also responsible for reconciliation of the financial statements, the processing of vendor purchases and payments, and preparation of budgets for survey projects. In 2000, she was a recipient of UIC's Award of Merit, which only goes to those who adhere to the highest standards of excellence in service and commitment to their occupations and their colleagues.