Robert Travis Scott
Robert Travis Scott became President of PAR in January 2011. He has 40 years of experience dealing with public policy issues as a journalist, researcher, commentator, analyst and nonprofit manager. He is an author of many PAR reports on state budgeting, taxes, economic development, open governance, ethics and health care. His work has received national and regional recognition through awards for policy research, investigative reporting projects, business coverage and writing.
Prior to joining PAR, Mr. Scott was based in Baton Rouge for eight years as Capital Bureau Chief for The Times-Picayune, the New Orleans metropolitan newspaper. He previously served as Editor of the prize-winning Money section for the Picayune and as a business editor and columnist for The Greenville News in South Carolina. In the 1980s he was an Associate Director and Editor for a bipartisan, nonprofit national security policy organization in Washington, D.C. He has lived in Italy and Guatemala.
Mr. Scott is an honors graduate of the University of South Carolina’s Department of Government and International Studies, where he was named outstanding senior. He has a certificate in international studies from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies – Bologna Center in Italy.
Mr. Scott has served on state and national commissions and task force groups, including the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights Louisiana State Advisory Committee, Louisiana’s Task Force on Structural Changes in Budget and Tax Policy, and other advisory commissions addressing state fiscal and education policies. He is a member of the board of directors of the American Tinnitus Association. He is a facilitator for Dialogue on Race Louisiana and a member of the Rotary Club of Baton Rouge.
Steven Procopio, Ph.D.
Steven Procopio joined the Public Affairs Research Council of Louisiana as Policy Director in 2014 where he guides PAR’s research agenda. He previously served as Chief of Staff of the Louisiana Division of Administration where he worked on a number of transparency and fiscal issues. Prior to working at the Division, Dr. Procopio was the Director of Research and Accountability for the Lt. Governor’s office and the Department of Culture Recreation and Tourism. In that role he was responsible for research on Louisiana’s cultural economy and legislative initiatives.
Dr. Procopio is also the original Director of the Louisiana State University Public Policy Research Lab where he worked on a variety of policy issues for state agencies, nonprofits and academic researchers.
Steven is an Alexandria native with undergraduate and graduate degrees in Political Science from LSU. His doctorate in Political Science is from Indiana University. He has expertise in statistical techniques, mathematical modeling and survey analysis.
Steven is a former university instructor and lecturer who has produced a number of professional papers and publications in academic journals. For his work with the Student Government Association on hurricane response efforts, he earned the 2005-2006 LSU SGA Faculty of the Year Service Award.
Morgan C. Hilliard
Director of Development
Morgan Hilliard joined PAR after serving as Director of Development and Recruitment at Southern University Laboratory School. She was responsible for planning major fundraising events, securing large donor gifts, the annual fund, and recruiting students. In this role she organized and scheduled volunteers to support fundraising events and activities, trained two development interns, and created a pipeline of fundraising training for the entire staff and volunteers to produce results within the entire K-12 school. She implemented the first annual fund program and laid the groundwork for the very first endowment fund.
Morgan also serves in the Louisiana Air National Guard 159th Fighter Wing as an E6 Technical Sergeant and was activated on Louisiana’s COVID-19 Medical Surge Task Force. Morgan received her undergraduate degree in Psychology from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and a Master of Business Administration from Southern University and A&M College.
She is involved in the Junior League of Baton Rouge and Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) Greater Baton Rouge Chapter. She lives in Baton Rouge with her husband Christopher and daughter Charlie Rae.
Melissa joined the PAR team in November 2019 as Communications Director. Prior to PAR, Melissa worked for Lori LeBlanc, LLC in Thibodaux, Louisiana. She was responsible for maintaining public and government outreach efforts for the North Lafourche Levee District and Morganza Action Coalition. Her earlier experience includes handling the Louisiana Mid-Continent Oil and Gas Association (LMOGA) local stakeholder outreach in the Bayou Region in which she attended all public meetings such as council meetings, industrial associations, and chambers of commerce. Melissa served on the Board of Directors for the Lafourche Chamber of Commerce.
Melissa serves on the Board of the Public Relations Association of Louisiana – Baton Rouge Chapter.
Originally from Covington, LA, Melissa graduated from Nicholls State University in 2014 with a Bachelors Degree in Management. During her undergraduate career, she was heavily involved on campus serving as Student Government Association President.
Julie Mascarella serves as office manager and oversees various programs and projects. She is responsible for organizing PAR’s annual conference and supervises PAR’s standing committees.
In addition, Ms. Mascarella serves as bookkeeper and human resources manager. She maintains records for all project grants as well as PAR’s financial records.
Ms. Mascarella has over 25 years in various office management roles prior to joining PAR in 2004. Additionally, she worked with several professional associations in administering and coordinating their membership management, administrative and event-planning projects.
Connie McClendon joined the PAR staff in 1993. She serves as Administrative Assistant and is responsible for maintaining PAR’s database, which consists of over 3,500 members throughout the state. In addition, she is responsible for all membership correspondence and billing. Ms. McClendon also assists with PAR’s publication orders and bulk mailings.
Samantha 'Sami' Beekman
Samantha Beekman joined PAR in the fall of 2020 as the Policy Intern. Her research at PAR centers around the impact of COVID-19 on the state of Louisiana and the analysis of public policy and the Louisiana Legislature. She is a graduating senior at Louisiana State University pursuing dual degrees in international studies and political communication with minors in Arabic and French. Previously, her independent research has focused on the influence of media on public perception of race and migration.
In conjunction with her studies, Samantha has worked with Emergent Method in communications and data analysis, and she has focused on communications and community outreach during her time with both the Dean’s Office at LSU’s College of Human Sciences & Education and the Louisiana State Youth Opportunities Unlimited Program.
Currently, Samantha is on the executive staff of Louisiana Vote-By-Mail and is a member of Geaux Vote LSU, Kappa Kappa Psi, Feminists in Action and Alpha Lambda Delta. After graduation in May, she plans to pursue a master’s in public policy.
Krislyn Flores joined PAR in the fall of 2020 as a Research Intern. She is a senior at Louisiana State University, majoring in Political Science with a minor in Sociology. Krislyn’s work at PAR includes research on the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on Louisiana, as well as research on Louisiana’s Constitution and the Legislature. Additionally, she plays a role in our communication efforts and social media outreach.
Previously, Krislyn has served as an Undergraduate Research Assistant at LSU. During that time, she participated in research about voter trends surrounding the availability of national news coverage. Currently, she is a member of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, Phi Alpha Delta, Alpha Lambda Delta, National Society of Collegiate Scholars, and Feminists in Action. Krislyn is from New Iberia and plans to graduate undergraduate school and attend law school with interest in Immigration Law.
Consultant for Healthcare Research
Don Gregory is a native of Louisiana and graduated from Louisiana Tech University in 1973 with B.S. in Management. He was a career employee with over 36 years of service to the Department of Health and Hospitals (DHH). He retired from the position of Medicaid Director on June 30, 2012. Previously he was appointed to the position of Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Office of Aging and Adult Services. Prior to this, he served in several positions within Medicaid including among others Deputy Medicaid Director, Director of Field Operations and as the Program Integrity Section Chief for ten years.
In addition to his duties at DHH, Mr. Gregory served for nine years as chairman to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ (CMS) Fraud and Abuse Control Technical Advisory Group (TAG), having been appointed to this position by the National Association of State Medicaid Directors. This TAG exists to advise the Medicaid directors and CMS on matters related to fraud and abuse control.
Mr. Gregory is the past President of the National Association of Program Integrity Officials, now named the National Association for Medicaid Program Integrity (NAMPI). This is a national association of state Medicaid program integrity officials.
He has been married for 40 years to the former Vickie Wyatt. They reside in Baton Rouge and have two grown daughters, Angela and Julie.