MRF Staff

Ivis Alfaro

Operations Manager
 
Ivis Alfaro joined the Melanoma Research Foundation in May 2014. Ivis oversees the day to day operations of the MRF and provides support to the Board of Directors and Executive Director. Prior to joining the MRF, Ivis worked at the National Public Education Support Fund as the Office Coordinator, supporting the day to day activities of the President and Executive Director and managing the office.
 
Ivis graduated from Frostburg State University in Maryland with a Bachelor's Degree in Fine Arts and a Minor in Business Administration. She enjoys working out and making functional pottery in her spare time.
 

Beth Allgaier

Director of Corporate Relations
 
Beth Allgaier comes to us after spending 6 years as corporate relations director for the Society of Interventional Radiology and close to 15 years in the pharmaceutical industry with both Glaxo (now GlaxoSmithKline) and Aventis (now Sanofi-Aventis).
 
She finds great satisfaction building lasting relationships with corporate partners for shared success in furthering medicine and outcomes. And she shares the passion for MRF’s cause, having been treated in 2016 for stage 1 and in situ melanomas. Beth loves traveling, tennis and skiing, and welcomes all adventures with her two daughters. Reston lakeside living keeps them busy and happy. And her daughters have quickly become MRF ambassadors, spreading the word with friends that there is no such thing as a safe tan.
 
Beth grew up in the Boston area, and is a graduate of Bucknell University, where she played volleyball and softball, and served on the Alumni Association Board of Directors.
 

Cassie Beisel

Community Engagement Manager
 
As the Community Engagement Manager, Cassie implements and evaluates the MRF's community engagement and outreach activities, which include volunteer recruitment and relationship management, community fundraising, patient service activities, including peer support programs. She joined the MRF in 2014 bringing with her a unique blend of for-profit, non-profit and direct experience with the young adult cancer community. Cassie's has an affinity for volunteerism, community, and relationship building
 
Like many, she is part of a growing population who has a personal connection to melanoma. In 2011 Cassie was diagnosed with stage IIIB melanoma and has been "no evidence of disease" (N.E.D.) for six years.
 
Despite being accident prone, she has a great love of the outdoors and the adventures it has to offer. In her free time, she enjoys rock climbing, white water kayaking, hiking, camping, and cycling.
 

Robyn Burns, PhD

Program Manager, MRFBC
Grant Program Manager, MRF
 
Dr. Robyn Burns, who was recruited to be Program Manager of the MRFBC in 2011, brings strong skills and teamwork to the MRF’s consortium management. Since 2006, she has been Program Manager for a sister consortium, the Translational Breast Cancer Research Consortium (TBCRC), in which 8 of the 17 academic member institutions are members of the MRFBC. She has also managed the NCI’s Melanoma Intergroup, a national network of NCI-funded melanoma physician investigators, a role in which she worked with Alison Martin and Randy Lomax. Dr. Burns also began managing the MRF's research grant program in 2015.
 
After receiving a degree in Cell and Molecular Biology from the University of Pennsylvania, Robyn transitioned into clinical trial management where she felt she could have the most patient impact. Robyn’s personal interest in melanoma began almost 20 years ago when her then 22 year old sister, a former high school lifeguard, was diagnosed with Stage II melanoma. Robyn believes that clinical trial consortia can truly make a difference in patients’ lives and is honored to be actively involved with the MRF.
 

Brenda Busby

Program Coordinator, Pediatric and Mucosal Melanoma
 
Brenda joined the MRF team in 2014 to help launch increased efforts in pediatric and mucosal melanoma after serving for several years as a MRF volunteer and advocate. Brenda brings with her a very close personal connection to melanoma - in early 2007, Brenda received the shocking news that her daughter had melanoma. She had just turned three years old and no one had the answers Brenda needed. During this time, Brenda found MPIP. For several years that was her life line. This began a war against all pediatric melanoma and her mission to give back to an organization that she was quite certain she could not have made it without.
 
Brenda grew up in a small town North of Beaumont, TX where days for kids are spent outside and no one talked about skin protection. She pursued an education from Texas Tech University in Business Communication. Brenda moved to Louisiana in 2004 and most of her career has been spent in the health care industry. She then relocated in 2013 to a small town right outside of Houston, TX where she worked for Community Healthcare Systems.
 
Brenda feels honored to be able to work for an organization for which she is so passionate.
 

Susan Dorsey

Controller
 
Susan Dorsey serves as the MRF's Controller. With over 25 years of experience in nonprofit finance, she brings a strong accounting and finance background accompanied with an extensive knowledge of federal and private grants administration, Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP), human resources, database management and office administration. Susan holds a BBA in Accounting from Ursinus College. Her previous experience was as a Vice President, Business and Finance at COE and prior to that as Director of Finance at Old Dominion University Research Foundation.
 
She is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), the Grants Professional Association (GPA), the American Society of Association Executives, (ASAE), the American Grant Writers Association (AGWA), Society of Human Resources Management (SHRM), Institute of Management Accountants (IMA) National Association of Female Executives (NAFE) and the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE).
 

Sara Howard

National Logistics Coordinator
 
Sara joined the Melanoma Research Foundation (MRF) in 2014 and is the National Logistics Coordinator for the Miles for Melanoma 5K Run/Walk program. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Mount Holyoke College and is currently enrolled in the MBA program at the UC Davis Graduate School of Management. Prior to joining the MRF, she worked on a number of large-scale fundraising events including the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer, AIDS Walk Washington, and the Mautner Project Gala & Dance. In her role at the MRF, she manages the logistics and local sponsorship for eleven events nationally.
 
She currently lives in Sacramento, CA with her cat, Elphaba.
 

Kristel Jacobson

National Engagement Coordinator, Miles for Melanoma
 
Kristel joined the MRF in 2015 as National Engagement Coordinator for the Miles for Melanoma program. In her role, she works to build strong relationships with Miles for Melanoma participants and fundraisers through communication and outreach.
 
Kristel has focused in non-profit engagement strategy, peer-to-peer fundraising and event management for the better part of 10 years. Prior to joining the MRF, she managed programs for health, veterans and international development organizations, including the first-ever endurance event fundraising program at the Epilepsy Therapy Project. Kristel has even been known to lace-up her sneaks and hit the pavement with participants.
 
Kristel is passionate about participant experience and customer service and is excited to take on many miles with the MRF’s Miles for Melanoma team to support the MRF's mission of research, education and advocacy.
 

Lauren Johnston, MSW

CURE OM Program Manager
 
Lauren joined the MRF team in 2015 as the CURE OM Program Manager. In Lauren’s role as program manager, she works to ensure the MRF’s CURE OM initiative is meeting the needs of the ocular melanoma community in support, education, advocacy and research. Lauren comes to the MRF with over 14 years of non-profit experience in the field of program development, implementation, and evaluation. Before joining the MRF, Lauren spent six years working for Goodwill Industries of Denver building community collaborations and programs to assist youth. Prior to Goodwill, Lauren worked with a variety of vulnerable populations in Colorado and Texas. She currently serves on the boards of several non-profit organizations. Lauren developed a personal connection to ocular melanoma when, in 2014, her friend was diagnosed with primary disease. Her friend is currently doing well and receiving regular follow-up.
 
Lauren has a Masters in Social Work degree from the University of Denver. She lives in Denver, CO with her husband and two children. She enjoys snowshoeing, hiking and camping in the mountains as well as playing t-ball with her 3 year old son.
 

Kyleigh LiPira, MBA

Senior Director of Development
 
Kyleigh LiPira is the MRF’s Senior Director of Development. She works with donors and their families to make charitable donations to significantly impact melanoma research, education and advocacy.  
Kyleigh has extensive fundraising experience, coming to the MRF from Johns Hopkins Medicine where for four and half years she raised funds for melanoma and other cancers at the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center. Later, she became the Director of Development for the Johns Hopkins Department of Dermatology. During her tenure with the Department of Dermatology she raised significant funds for melanoma clinical trials, engaged former trainees and grateful patients in philanthropy, and supported the educational program for current residents and fellows.
 
Kyleigh graduated from Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada with a degree in Mass Communication and English. She obtained her MBA from the Johns Hopkins Carey Business School. She lives in Baltimore, Maryland with her husband Jeff.    
 

Shelby Moneer, MS, CHES

Director of Education
 
Shelby Moneer joined the MRF team in August of 2010 to oversee the education program. As the Director of Education, Shelby is responsible for all development, implementation and assessment of the education program. This includes patient/caregiver education, clinician education, primary and secondary prevention efforts, print materials, awareness campaigns, website content, over-the-phone patient navigation and all patient resources and communication. These programs range from in-person events, virtual events and include a wide variety of print materials, all of which are free to the public. Shelby was also elected as the Co-Chair to the National Council on Skin Cancer Prevention for 2017-2020.
 
Shelby holds a bachelor's degree in Exercise Science and a master's degree in Health Education. Her previous experience was in the non-profit development, implementation and assessment of tobacco-related education, prevention and treatment strategies in the Florida Panhandle. She was a collegiate volleyball and softball player and continues playing beach volleyball whenever she can. Shelby and her husband, have a 4 year old daughter and live in St. Louis, MO. They enjoy playing and watching sports, spending time outdoors and being surrounded with friends and family.
 

Liz Reilly

Development Officer
 
Liz Reilly joined the MRF development team in June of 2016 as our Development Officer. Liz will be responsible for raising sponsorship dollars for the Wings of Hope for Melanoma gala series and managing and growing the Direct Mail and Annual Fund program.
 
For the last 20 years, Liz has worked as an event manager in Denver, Las Vegas and New York City. Her list of clients ranged from Fortune 500 companies, small and large non-profit organizations, to community and city-wide festivals.
 
In May 2015, Liz was diagnosed with ocular melanoma. As a patient herself, she was introduced to the MRF through its CURE OM initiative. As someone who is fully immersed in what OM patients and their families experience on their journey, Liz has the passion and personal knowledge of what we as an organization and community need to do to fight this disease.
 

Sara Selig, MD

Director of CURE OM
 
Dr. Sara Selig joined the MRF team in the fall of 2011. She is Co-Founder and Director of the MRF’s initiative focused specifically on ocular melanoma—CURE OM (Community United for Research and Education in Ocular Melanoma). Sara initially became involved with the ocular melanoma (OM) community when her husband, Gregg, was diagnosed with the disease in 2006, at the age of 34, when Sara was a fourth year medical student. At the time of Gregg’s diagnosis, Gregg and Sara became fierce advocates for Gregg’s care and the entire OM community as well. Sara continues to be a passionate advocate for the ocular melanoma field—working to accelerate research, promote collaboration, and support patients and caregivers through her leadership of the CURE OM initiative.
 
Sara received her MD from the University of Colorado and completed the Doris and Howard Hiatt Residency in Global Health Equity and Internal Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. She is currently Associate Physician in the Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Global Health Equity at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and an Instructor at Harvard Medical School.
 

Adam Smartt

Online Community Coordinator
 
Adam joined the MRF in 2015 as the Online Community Coordinator. In this role he curates the online presence of the MRF across various social channels and community forums to encourage conversations that benefit the entire melanoma community. Prior to joining the MRF, Adam served in communications and program coordination roles in the outdoor recreation and educational youth leadership industries.
 
Adam is a graduate of American University in Washington, DC though his sports allegiance will forever be as a Tennessee Volunteer. A voracious reader, he owns many leather-bound books on American history and other academically rigorous disciplines, though he cherishes his Kindle for discreetly reading less impressive paperback mysteries and graphic novels. Adam lives in servitude to TigerShark the cat and fruitlessly attempts to train his canine sidekick, Bucky.
 

Barney Thomas

Database Assistant 
 
Barney Thomas joined the MRF in June 2014 as the Database Assistant. As the Database Assistant, Barney processes donations and acknowledgements. Prior to working at the MRF, Barney spent 13 years working in the social justice arena as a Fiscal Specialist.
 
In his free time, he enjoys spending time with his family and traveling.