Introduce yourself please :)


#1

So first things first

Can you introduce yourself?

  • How did you get into evaluation?
  • Any particular areas of interest?
  • When do people come to you for advice or support?


Welcome Organizers!
#2

So I’ll get things started.

My name is Chris Lysy, I’m the designer behind this site as well as freshspectrum.com. I’m currently working as a Senior Visual Design Specialist at EnCompass LLC.

I kind of fell into evaluation about a decade ago. I had a social science Masters degree and a handful of years in contract research when I took a position in a non-profit as their data specialist. At the time I really just thought of evaluation as a form of applied research.

My areas of interest tend to be around new tech, design, communications, and visualization. But I can’t sit still or focus on just one thing, so I tend to know a little about a lot of different things.

People tend to come to me when they don’t know who to go to. Especially if they are looking at new tech, new design approaches, or if they just want a cartoon drawn.


#3

Hi all!

My name is Dana Linnell Wanzer! I am a PhD candidate at Claremont Graduate University, evaluation and statistics consultant, and soon-to-be assistant professor at University of Wisconsin-Stout!

I came to CGU with no idea what evaluation was, but a vague idea that I wanted to help education programs improve and serve students better. On Day 1 I figured out that there was a term for this field and I haven’t looked back since!

I am really interested in youth program evaluation, but also research on evaluation (RoE). I am the co-program chair with a colleague at CGU for the RoE TIG for AEA. I’m interested in promoting the relationship between research and practice in evaluation, and so I do a little bit of both research and practice in evaluation.

I think people come to me for advice or support when they have an advanced statistics problem, want to learn more about R or open science, or when they just have questions about evaluation in general. I have an open-door policy and will always make the time to answer questions or direct people to those with better answers than I could provide. I feel a lot of people come to me specifically through Twitter especially :slight_smile:


#4

Welcome Dana! And thanks for being the first non-me poster :smiley:


#5

Greetings, everyone!

The name is Kathleen Doll and I am a colleague of Dana’s at CGU in the doctoral program in Evaluation and Applied Research Methods. When I’m not working on my dissertation or serving as an Evaluation Associate at the Claremont Evaluation Center, I keep myself busy with a handful of independent consulting gigs.

Although I have always had a penchant for for social science research, I didn’t stumble upon evaluation until I was working for a college access nonprofit during a year of service with AmeriCorps. The moment I realized that evaluation was a space to bridge my appreciate for research and direct service with social programs, I knew I as destined to be an evaluator!

My areas of interest are ever-growing, but some big ticket items for me include: research on evaluation (RoE), social justice, mixed methodology, and the intersection of strategy and evaluation.

And finally, I would like to think people tend to reach out to me when they are looking to better understand their programs, for the purpose of program improvement. Nothing is better than forging long-term partnerships with clients to formatively improve their programs and cultivate their capacity!


#6

My name is Mikkel Møldrup-Lakjer, and I am an evaluation consultant and methodologist at the National Board of Social Services in Denmark.

My interest in evaluation stems from a deep curiosity about what drives human beings and what constitutes knowledge of the World, its people and its cultures. I have spent two decades working with evaluation, research and methods in social programming and psychiatry as well as in international development aid in Central America.

My professional interests are theories of change, sociological and psychological theories of human behaviour, social mechanisms, principles-focused evaluation and systems theory.

My colleagues tend come to me for advice on how to evaluate a social intervention or programme in order to make it better and to gain new knowledge, especially in areas of high complexity.


#7

Hello Everyone!

My name is JR and I am currently a PhD student at UNC Greensboro.

I have a diverse experiential background but it all seemed to point to evaluation, the synthesis of everything I loved to do. I have been engaging in evaluation work for over a decade and am loving it! I am also very much enjoying being a student (which I will be for life I am certain) and learning so much more about evaluation (theory, practice…the whole gamut). I would definitely categorize myself as a mixed-methods person.

Academically, I have also studied sociology, criminal justice, psychology, counseling, law, computer science…

I seem to have a penchant for getting involved in complex evaluations, but I love the challenges! And I love learning from others!


#8

Hi everyone, Thanks for having me. I’m Shelley Stromholt, I’m a researcher and program evaluator with Aspect Research + Evaluation. I have been consulting on the side for almost 15 years and went full time last year.

I started my career as an environmental educator in informal settings. During my masters program I became interested in how we document student learning in informal settings and tell stories to others about the amazing student experiences we were seeing. I became known as the “assessment” person at my organization and was hired to be the internal liaison with the external evaluator for our first evaluation project. I fell in love with design and data collection and went back to get my PhD at University of Washington.

Now I focus on STEM and environmental education, with a specific focus on equity and social justice, both in how I approach evaluation and my recommendations for programs. I work with a lot of informal programs that partner with schools, so I also work with teacher professional development. I was trained as an ethnographer, so I use qualitative methods often, but 90% of my projects include some kind of survey work as well.

I recently co-founded the Puget Sound Evaluation Network, which just merged with an even newer effort, the Seattle Evaluation Association (which has AEA affiliate status). Seattle has never had an AEA affiliate so it’s been super excited to see the enthusiasm for growing our community here --and now through this venue.

Lately my colleagues have come to me about being an independent evaluator, managing a small business, and data viz. Orgs come to me when they have a need to learn more systematically about their successes and challenges, or more often because they hear about my discipline-specific work (usually related to the Next Generation Science Standards or informal environmental education settings).


#9

Jeremy here, an ethnomusicologist with education experience that splits his time between research and evaluation. Mainly, this takes place in informal learning environments and involves dealing with tangled topics (the best kind, in my view) like cultural heritage, the arts, STEM, and values. Principal at independent evaluation firm STEAM Workgroup.

Started with evaluation - or really, evaluative systems thinking - in my K-8 teaching when I discovered ethnomusicology. Internships, fieldwork, data collection, stats classes, and sociological/anthropological theory have led me to this point.

I blame them all. They - along with many wonderful people - have made me a better human, which was hard work. Looking forward to more!


#10

Hello everybody.

I am Anemarie Gasser (Ane) from Romania, currently leaving in Antwerpen (Belgium).

As a sociologist and a long-time practitioner in the social civil sector, I find it highly rewarding to help people, institutions, and communities develop the ability to critically think about their realities, actions, and results; to learn from their past experiences and strategically plan, act and take ownership over their own future.

For a long time now, I realized how underutilized is the power of data and research within the public and civil society sector. The evaluation seems to be a universal missed opportunity for sense-making, learning, growing. Therefore, for the next career stage, I want to use my research, analytical, coaching and training skills to help organizations, institutions, and communities in accessing, understanding and using scientific data and research approach.

Usually involved in qualitative and participatory M&E processes. Currently, I am looking for updating and develop my qualitative analysis skills.


#11

Hi all,

My name is Zehra Mirza. Similar to most of you, I sort of fell into the evaluation field :slight_smile:

I studied psychology and statistics in college and was heavily involved in research; designing studies, surveys, and conducting focus groups. I ended up as an Evaluation Officer at the Institute of International Education where I conducted various evaluations of intl. ed programs.

Fast forward six years, I’m now a Senior Manager of Impact and Learning at the US section of Amnesty International. My interests are around human rights, advocacy, access to education, and organizational capacity-building.

Since I’m currently Amnesty’s first and only M&E staff person, I’m always seeking to connect with other evaluators for insight, resources, and broader support.


#12

Hi everyone,

I’m Nicole, and I’m based in Brooklyn, New York.

I got into the evaluation field as a graduate research assistant (though I wasn’t in grad school at the time) within the evaluation department of the Morehouse School of Medicine’s Prevention Research Center in Atlanta, Georgia. After over a year of being there, I went on to attend the Columbia University School of Social Work in New York City, where my method was Advanced Generalist Practice and Programming and my track was Contemporary Social Issues. While at CSSW, I studied social work at the individual and community levels, focusing on program planning and evaluation, advocacy, and evidence-based interventions.

I started my consulting business in 2013 and worked in it on a part-time basis while working full-time. I left my agency to go into my business full-time in June 2016.

I work primarily with organizations, school, and agencies that have a primary focus on developing programming, services, initiatives, and campaigns that speak to the lived experiences of women and girls of color.

My clients so far have been entities led by Black women, women of color, and white allies. People come to me for advice and support in incorporating culturally responsive design and evaluation to what they do, evaluation capacity building and programmatic systems thinking.

I also do workshops and speaking engagements around feminism, reproductive health, rights, and justice, racial equity, intersectional analysis, youth-led activism, and youth-adult partnerships.


#13

Hi everyone! I’m Evan Poncelet, Evaluation Fellow at Research Nova Scotia in Halifax, Canada. I work with clients from various sectors and help with our organization’s internal monitoring and evaluation. I’m also involved with the Canadian Evaluation Society, helping to organize this year’s conference.

I entered the world of evaluation during grad school (MA in Applied Social Psychology). A professor introduced me to the field. I loved the idea of using my research skills out in the real world instead of in the lab, and so the rest is history!

I’m still pretty young in the field, so I’ve been trying out all sorts of things. Areas of top interest so far are mental health and addictions, social justice, theory-based evaluation, and data viz.

Lately, some people have been coming to me to learn what eval is all about and how they can get involved. I feel I’ve become a go-to data viz guy at work. And my managers at work are always eager to hear about new or ‘hot’ topics in eval or psychology that I picked up in grad school.


#14

Hi all

My name is Bilal graduated from economics faculty in Yemen and I have been working in the field of humanitarian emergency response since 2011 with almost of 4 years experience in monitoring and evaluation.

I like monitoring and evaluation because it makes me help to advance and to promote the humanitarian intervention since I am working with an international INGO by learning and studying of the impacts of these interventions. In addition that to learn and sharpen my skills in reporting, data analysis, and framework so this field is like a place where you need to keep your self updated all time, it is like IT world but in research.

I am glad to be here with you so we can learn, share, and discuss all things related to evaluation

All the best

Bilal


#15

Hi everyone!

My name is Maddison Staszkiewicz, and I am fairly new to the evaluation community. I had an opportunity over a year ago to step into a international M&E role within my organization, and I quickly realized that it was the field for me. I have since started a masters in Measurement & Evaluation through American University and am actively trying to find ways to engage further in the field.

I am excited to engage with other evaluators. Looking forward to connecting!


#16

Hi everyone! Carolyn Camman here. I’m in Vancouver, BC, Canada, on the traditional and unceded territories of the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), xwməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), and səl̓ilwətaɁɬ (Tsleil-Waututh). I got into evaluation in pretty much the same way (and place) that Evan above me did, introduced through a course in my graduate program at the University of Saskatchewan. I’ve worked in a few different kinds of roles over the last eight years, but I’m currently enjoying being a full-time consultant. I work mainly with smaller non-profit entities working in a variety of community-building spaces. I’m working so locally at the moment that a number of my clients are in walking distance of my house!

My original field of study was correctional psychology, but I’ve branched out a lot since then. What I’m most passionate about is accessible, transformative evaluation practice that works toward social justice and healing. Areas of focus for me right now are developmental evaluation, design thinking and methods, facilitation and coaching, and exploring playfulness and creativity in evaluation. I’m also increasingly a fan of podcasts and would love to find a way to explore alternative media production and public scholarship through podcasting in evaluation. I am the co-host of an evaluation-themed podcast, Eval Café, with Brian Hoessler, who will no doubt be along to introduce himself soon.

People tend to come to me when they’re looking for a non-traditional evaluation approach, whether because they’ve tried conventional approaches unsuccessfully already or they’ve never found them accessible. Often we end up using a lot of the standard techniques and methods, but with a tweaked framing and purpose. (And I have a sneaking suspicion that most evaluation out there nowadays actually looks very “non-traditional”.) I also hear a lot from new and emerging evaluators, people who are coming into the field from one direction or another, because I was very open about my own experiences being new to the field and helped co-found SEEN (Students & Emerging Evaluators Network) here in BC.


#17

Hi Evan! Glad to see Twitter friends here!


#18

hi everyone, thanks for starting this @clysy. btw I’m a fan of Discourse and I’m interested to see how this pans out, if it could be better than an ordinary email list.
I’ve been in evaluation since about 1997, based on the Balkans until a couple of years ago. I’m really interested in Theories of Change, & causation in evaluation. I host the website theorymaker.info.


#19

Hi everyone! I am a community psychologist and evaluator in Georgia. I founded Community Evaluation Solutions in 2004. I was doing community evaluation work as an undergrad before I knew it was a field. I intended on getting a PhD in clinical psych but after years of working with addicted kids, found I had a heart for prevention. Today, I do a lot of work with community coalitions, nonprofits and foundations.

I am active in AEA and co-chair of the Non-profit Foundations TIG. I am teaching at the AEA Summer Institute so come find me and say hi or look for me on FB and Twitter.

Not sure why, but I am always getting asked to mentor young evaluators and people trying to get their own independent consulting businesses up and running.

Thanks Chris for doing this! Hope to see you at AEA this year!


#20

Hi all - apologies if this is a double post (my internet went wonky the first time I wrote my post). My name is Jenny and I’m an independent evaluation consultant located in Arizona.

I got into evaluation by entering a social work graduate program with a half a decade of research experience under my belt. I ended up getting recruited into the evaluation flock by one of my professors and changed my concentration mid-program to evaluation and community-based research. The rest is history!

Evaluation truly makes my heart sing. I practice with a collaborative/participatory focus with mostly youth-serving programs/projects but I find myself doing a little bit of everything.

People come to me when they need soft-skills guidance. My social work training really shines in complex projects that require systems-thinking and multiple perspectives and needs in the mix. Of course I’m also down to discuss multiple regression and QED design if you are so inclined.