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  • Tue, September 19, 2017 6:52 AM | Robin Kelley

    Whatever Sevetra Peoples does, she executes it with style, class and grace. Work included. Ms. Peoples currently works for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. This George Washington University graduate has been with the department for nearly five years within the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation. Her roles and responsibilities include serving as a liaison to the Office of Health Policy team, members of the Department, and external stakeholders to coordinate the review and analysis of regulations and research as they relate to Medicare and Medicaid health insurance coverage. Her MPH also allowed her to work closely with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) for three years within the Center for Mental Health Services to perform an environmental assessment of the Child Mental Health Initiatives for System of Care Grantees. 

    Her evaluation work with SAMHSA is most profound as she researched and evaluated their System of Care Grantees readiness to incorporate a nutritional component into their program. Her interests include brain development, performance, and growth (focusing on nutrition). 

    Refusing to sleep on a great opportunity, she joined WE the same day she learned of us- July 20, 2017. Sevetra cast her membership because it is a great way to connect with and learn from other evaluators. She believes, "As opportunities arise, we can support one another during our efforts." 

    So far, the WE leadership team has been extremely supportive in helping me to become integrated in the "Evaluator" scene. They are successful in their outreach and the information within the Weekly Digest is most beneficial."

    When Sevetra isn't hard at work, she's working even harder traveling the world and empowering youth as a mentor with Brainfood DC (An after school program for DC teens to learn life skills through participation in cooking demonstrations). Most importantly, since the age of seven, she has been gracing the stage as a performer of the great techniques of ballet, modern, jazz, and tap dance. She showcases her talent during the holidays at a local church with family and friends. If you want to learn more about Ms Peoples, follow her on Twitter @connectwithvee or connect the old fashion way at peoples.sevetra@gmail.com

  • Mon, September 18, 2017 4:25 PM | Nick Hart

    Washington Evaluators is pleased to announce three recipients of the 2017 New Professional Scholarship. The scholarship aims to support new professionals in integrating evaluation practices and approaches within their respective organizations. 

    “Through this scholarship opportunity, Washington Evaluators hopes to strengthen the sustainability of the evaluation community, by recruiting and helping to educate the next generation of evaluators,” said Washington Evaluators President Nick Hart. “The awardees reflect a growing desire in the DC community to embed evaluation in all types of activities and we look forward to their continued participation in the field.”

    The scholarship was established in 2017 by the Washington Evaluators Board of Directors and designed through a task force led by Tamarah Moss from Howard University.

    “We are excited to expose the awardees to integrated evaluation practices and approaches featured at the American Evaluation Association's annual conference and to their participation in our local evaluation community," Moss said.

    Join us in congratulating the recipients of the Washington Evaluators 2017 scholarships:

    • Allison Schachter, Pathfinder International, Monitoring and Evaluation Advisor in the Evidence to Action Project
    • Tyler Spencer, The Grassroot Project, Founder and President
    • Shannon Williams, Rebuilding Together, Knowledge Management and research Manager

    Each will be participating in the American Evaluation Association's fall conference to learn more about our evaluation community, practices, and network.

    In addition, Washington Evaluators is pleased to announce that $600 has been raised to support the Paul L. Johnson Scholarship Fund. The funds will support five graduate students working toward a degree in evaluation, or an evaluation-related field in attending the American Evaluation Association's fall conference. 

  • Fri, September 08, 2017 11:30 PM | Nick Hart

    Dr. Kathy Newcomer was Washington Evaluators President from 1995 to 1997. She is currently serving as the President of the American Evaluation Association. This message is reprinted from the EVALTALK Discussion List.

    I am absolutely delighted with the respect given evaluation in the final report of the Commission on Evidence-Based Policy and want to thank our AEA Evaluation Policy Task Force (EPTF) for their input into the deliberations and report. Under George Grob's leadership with Cheryl Oros' support, our EPTF ensured AEA provided useful and relevant input. AEA was covering the Commission closely, as strong evaluation policy is so very critical – now more than ever.

    Special recognition goes to AEA's EPTF member and Washington Evaluators' President Nick Hart who served as the Policy Director of the Commission and who has a very good understanding of the field of evaluation which is reflected in the final report. The emphasis placed upon the importance of an evidence-building community, and the need for leadership and strengthened evidence-building capacity in the federal government are especially significant for us all.

    On September 21st AEA and Washington Evaluators will be hosting an event to discuss the implications for evaluation practice of the Commission’s recommendations, and we have invited many other professional associations with whom we have partnered during the Commission’s deliberations to join us in our session. This link provides information on the location and timing of the event: http://washingtonevaluators.org/event-2642961

    In addition, a presidential strand session at our annual conference will be devoted to the Commission’s findings and recommendations with the Commission’s chair and co-chair speaking, and this session will be live-streamed (pro bono) for anyone who will not be in attendance at the conference.

    I am extremely proud of AEA’s role in ensuring the great attention placed on evaluation by the Commission!

    And relatedly, our AEA Competencies Task Force has made great strides. The draft competencies they had drafted (on AEA’s website) provide a sound basis for professionalization of our profession. The Task Force has taken an extremely deliberative and inclusive approach to validate the competencies, which will be culminating with a survey of our members very soon. I take great pride in the comprehensive and careful approach to professionalization our Competencies Task Force has taken under the wise leadership of Jean King! Thank you!

    Both AEA’s Evaluation Policy Task Force and Competencies Task Force are comprised of many AEA members who work strategically and consistently on behalf our members to support our profession!

    Warmest regards,

    Kathy Newcomer, AEA 2017 President

  • Tue, July 18, 2017 9:19 PM | Robin Kelley

    Bad to the Bone

    On the day he was born... it was obvious that Dr. Brian Yates was "bad to the bone".... but in a goodway.  He's a tenured professor and cost-inclusive researcher and writer (for 41 years) by day, and a free-spirited motorcyclist that hits the open road with his Honda Goldwing whenever he gets a chance. 

    Dr. Yates is a full-time tenured professor in the Department of Psychology at American University. He uses his doctorate degree from Stanford to teach online courses in Health Psychology, Theories of Personality, and Self-Management. His staff of graduate students conducts research on the relationships between the types, amounts, and value of resources consumed in providing human services, and the outcomes of those services. Some of the outcomes they measure are improved psychological health, reduced drug use, and enhanced quality of life. Other outcomes they examine are hoped-for reductions in use of health and criminal justice services, as well as increased earnings. Dr Yates' team conducts, presents, and publishes cost-effectiveness and cost-benefit analyses for human services, broadly defined.
    When asked about casting his membership with WE he states, "I wanted to have often and locally what I only got once a year at the AEA conference: camaraderie, support, and inspiration from fellow evaluators of diverse sorts." WE has provided opportunities for him to learn more about different types and applications of evaluation. It also gives his graduate students opportunities to connect with other students doing evaluation throughout the Metropolitan area. In closing, he states "Life-work balance is really important. 

    I enjoy working hard, but my personal relationships are essential." 

    That is evident as he lives life to the fullest by riding his motorcycle into the sunset, learning the guitar and indulging in hand-dancing with his lovely partner at all the great Washington DC venues. 

  • Tue, May 23, 2017 10:08 PM | Robin Kelley

    A True Methodologist at Heart

    Many people like to watch sports or play cards for fun in their spare time; but that is not Dr. Carey. You can find her reading the latest research methods books. With such a unique skill set, it's understandable why she must remain abreast of current literature. Martha Ann Carey is a social psychologist AND registered nurse with experience developing, implementing, and evaluating social science research for public health agencies of the U.S. government. After receiving her diploma in nursing from St. Francis Hospital School of Nursing in 1960, she attended Loyola University of Chicago School of Nursing, graduating with a BS in Nursing in 1963. Later she received a PhD In Psychology (Social) from the Graduate Center of CUNY in 1987, with a focus on statistics and research methods.  

    This busy mother of four has worked with agencies including the National Institute of Mental Health, the National Institute of Nursing Research, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, and the Government Accountability Office. She has developed support for and overseen the progress of research programs, as well as the review of thousands of grant applications. 

    As an expert in research design and qualitative methods courses (doctoral education and nursing programs), Carey served as an investigator for federally funded grants. Her international work includes plenary and invited panel presentations and qualitative research workshops in Thailand, South Korea, England, Australia, Italy, Spain, New Zealand, Malaysia, Mexico, and Canada. Supported by a U.S. Public Health Services International Fellowship Award in 1998, she was the first fellow at the International Institute of Qualitative Methodology in Edmonton, Canada. Currently, she works with nonprofit organizations and mentors researchers through Kells Consulting, a research and training firm in Pennsylvania.

    She's a long time "WE-er." Now she is We's Treasurer. (She is also Treasurer for Div. 52 (International Psychology) of the American Psychological Association (APA)). She's excited to be a part of the executive board and being part of a wise, professional group who  involved in challenging evaluation work.

    You may find her playing the harp or growing roses in her spare time, but you definitely won't find her Tweeting or hanging out excessively on social media. She has a website but prefers not to attract attention to it until it receives a "complete makeover." However, you can stay connected with Dr Carey at marthaanncarey@kellsconsulting.com. 
  • Thu, April 20, 2017 6:48 PM | Robin Kelley

    "No Researchers Allowed" 

    Imagine growing up in a community that was accustomed to researchers seeking their participation and making certain promises if they agreed to participate. Being told that if they participated, their data would change the community. These promises were rarely fulfilled. This was Kevin Jones' reality. This was the bitter truth that inspired him to enter the research field to become that change he wanted to see. 

    Mr Jones received a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Michigan (Go Blue!) and a Master of Education from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. He also received a Master of Public Health degree from the University of Pennsylvania.

    Currently, he is the Chief of Programs for the DC Promise Neighborhood Initiative (one of 18 Promise Neighborhoods funded by the Department of Education to create cradle to college/career pathways in areas of concentrated poverty). Two years ago he initially came on board to serve as the Director of Data and Evaluation, developing performance measurement systems to track individual and program level outcomes and measure program effectiveness. His ambition and expertise allowed him to excel and move into senior leadership. 

    As Chief of Programs, he is responsible for ensuring programs and strategies serve their highest goal to end multigenerational poverty in DC's Kenilworth-Parkside community. To accomplish this, he works closely with the Directors of Data and Evaluation, Education and Learning, and Family and Community Engagement Departments to ensure strategic alignment across functionalities and to ensure that programs and strategies are evaluated for impact. 

    Three years ago, Kevin joined Washington Evaluators to connect with DC's community of evaluators. As a new arrival to DC in 2012, it helped him get connected to DC socially and learn the local landscape through interactions with WE members. He also received an opportunity to visit manyDC neighborhoods, learn about the residents and strategies they desire for creating change in their communities.  Today, he serves as Board Secretary.

    Jones asserts "I've benefitted greatly from the WE trainings that I have attended...Additionally, participation with WE has helped me feel less isolated." Today, that isolation is gone and he's gaining new skills on how to manage more effectively Data and Evaluation teams, as well as individuals who are less familiar with evaluation tasks, goals and objectives. But most importantly, he is more focused on how to respectfully engage Black and Brown, LGBT and other underservedcommunities around research opportunities and careers in evaluation. 

    Like what you read? Connect with Mr Jones today! You can follow him on Twitter (@kevtrijones) or reach him at kevtrijo@gmail.com. 

  • Tue, March 28, 2017 8:30 AM | Nick Hart

    Fifteen current Washington Evaluators members will participate in the Eastern Evaluation Research Society's (EERS) annual conference from April 2-4, 2017, including nine members who will be presenting or chairing panels.  EERS, another affiliate of the American Evaluation Association (AEA), is sponsoring its 40th annual conference with the theme "Evaluation Looking Forward: Transitioning from Past to Future." 


    • David Bernstein, Monitoring and Evaluating Inclusive Program Practices, Skill Building Session
    • Heather Britt, Supporting the Use of Outcome Harvesting: Challenges and Solutions from the Donor’s Perspective
    • Alejandra Garcia, Building Internal M&E Capacity to Better Evaluate Women Leadership’s Outcomes
    • Mary Morris Hyde, They Say a Secure Future Requires a Diversified Portfolio: CNCS's Research Agenda
    • Kathryn Newcomer, Keynote – From Learning To Action: Employing Evaluation to Advance the Public Good
    • Stephen Pirozzi and Kamal Siblini, Measuring the Un-quantifiable: Advisory Services and Policy Advice
    • Matthew Von Hendy, Evaluation Design and Research Methods, Panel Chair
    • Joe Wholey, Evaluating Performance Partnerships


    • Anna Ammato
    • Olga Levina
    • Brooke McKie
    • Dale Miller-Hill
    • William Pate

    In addition to conference participants, three Washington Evaluators members are also Board members of EERS:

    • Nick Hart
    • Brooke McKie
    • Matthew Von Hendy

    View the full #EERS17 Program here.

  • Wed, March 15, 2017 12:09 AM | Robin Kelley

    Watch Out Picasso, Here Comes Shaffer

    Who says you can't be an evaluator while literally painting the town red? Dr. Shaffer is a great example of showing the world how it's done.  With a formal education from the College of William & Mary, (Ph.D. in Educational Policy), University of Toronto, (M.A. in Curriculum Studies) and Brock University (B.A., Visual Arts), she is extremely successful balancing her passion for artistic expression and program evaluation. Patricia has been a Federal evaluator since 2010 and has worked for several agencies, including NASA, the National Endowment for the Arts, and completed a 6-month detail assignment at the Office of Management and Budgeting (OMB) as part of the President's Management Council Interagency Rotation Program. She currently works at the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) as the deputy director of its Research & Analysis office. 

    When she first joined the NEA in 2010, she became the agency's first program evaluator. When she returned to the agency in 2015 as its deputy director for research & analysis, she kicked off several evaluation initiatives, including the development of a nested theory of change for the NEA's creative placemaking initiative and oversight of an evaluation study of a national poetry recitation program. Keeping in mind that staff in small agencies wear many hats, she also wears the cap of the overseer of strategic planning and performance measurement. 

    WE events provide an ongoing professional development opportunity to learn more about evaluation approaches & methods and meet other evaluators. It also has provided an opportunity to meet some of her evaluation "heroes," such as Michael Quinn Patton. She particularly enjoyed the independent consultants' dinners, where she was able to connect with other likeminded budding entrepreneurs and build her small research firm (shafferevaluation.com) based in Alexandria, VA. Her firm specializes in evaluating educational initiatives across the country, including teacher education and professional development and district-based reform initiatives, especially in the subject areas of reading/literacy, STEM, and arts education. 

    With all that going on she still finds time to volunteer. In addition to serving as the Communications Chair for WE, she also serves as Treasurer for the Consortium for Research on Educational Assessment and Teaching Effectiveness.

    Like many in the DMV, Patricia is a "business week resident.” Most weekends she returns home to the historic Williamsburg, VA, where she lives with her husband and teenage daughter. In her spare time she enjoys drawing and painting. Her artistic deftness has landed her work in public juried exhibitions. Watch out Picasso, here comes Shaffer. Patricia Moore Shaffer. 

  • Thu, February 16, 2017 10:37 PM | Robin Kelley
    "Access Granted"
    Melissa Chiu is sort of like a "data fairy God Mother". Serving as an Outreach Manager for data and evaluation projects using the Census Bureau's Data Linkage Infrastructure for a little over six months, she supports evaluators' access to innovative data sources for answering important policy and programmatic questions. She is the breath of fresh air for those looking to research and publish on complex issues in America. With a research focused background, Melissa is the perfect professional to serve in this capacity. She is a dissertation away from completing her Ph.D in Sociology and Master of Arts degree in Sociology from the sunny University of California, Los Angeles; a Master of Science degree in Statistics from University of Washington; and two Bachelor's degrees- Bachelor of Science in Mathematics, Bachelor of Science in Statistics (Honors degree program) from the University of Michigan (Go Blue).  

    In her free time Melissa indulges her passion for the arts by volunteering for one of the Smithsonian museums at one of the information desks and playing the piano. Watch out Satie! She also enjoys going to the theatre, reading (H. Hesse, J. Winterson, N. Gaiman, Harry Potter, and currently C. R. Lee) and listening to Radiolab; Left, Right and Center;  Studio 360 and On Being on public radio.

    As a new WE member, she joined to learn from and contribute to the evaluation community.  When asked how WE has impacted her professional life she states, "Washington Evaluators have interesting educational seminars such as "Understanding Pay for Success" and "Knowledge Brokering" and that help her keep in touch with updates in the field. Moreover, WE's great networking events help Melissa get a sense of the depth and breadth of evaluation work occurring. 

    If you need any data assistance, do not hesitate to reach out to our fellow evaluator at qrrkymay@gmail.com or melissa.c.chiu@census.gov.

  • Tue, January 31, 2017 7:05 PM | Nick Hart

    Dr. Kathy Newcomer was Washington Evaluators President from 1995 to 1997.  She is currently serving as the President of the American Evaluation Association.  This message is reprinted from AEA's website

    An Eye Toward 2017

    From Kathy Newcomer, AEA President

    Happy New Year! Thank you, AEA Members, for giving me this incredible opportunity to work with you to advance evaluation practice and our association! As I embark on this exhilarating journey, I am grateful for all the work that has gone before. Thank you, John Gargani, for leading our association, and thank you to our outgoing board members — Melvin Hall, Robin Miller, Donna Podems, and Stewart Donaldson — for all of your past and ongoing contributions. I look forward to welcoming and working with our new Board members — Rita Fierro, Veronica Olazabal, Deborah Rugg, and our President-Elect Leslie Goodyear! I am also delighted to continue working with our dedicated treasurer, Susan Tucker! We are fortunate to have such talented and committed evaluation professionals serving on the board, as TIG and affiliate leaders, and on working groups!

    My goals for AEA over the coming year are to:

    • enhance engagement with our members, the broader evaluation community, and current and potential consumers of evaluation with several initiatives designed to promote learning through evaluation, and
    • boost our efforts to promote professionalization within our field, both domestically and with our many international partners.

    Recognizing that our society has experienced some wrenching moments of divisiveness and sorrow over the last two years, and that there is uncertainty in the current political landscape that affects public policies, I want to remind us that program evaluation presents a tool to help society learn about itself and how to act in the public interest. To quote our guiding principles: “Evaluators have obligations that encompass the public interest and good. These obligations are especially important when evaluators are supported by publicly-generated funds; but clear threats to the public good should never be ignored in any evaluation. Because the public interest and good are rarely the same as the interests of any particular group (including those of the client or funder), evaluators will usually have to go beyond analysis of particular stakeholder interests and consider the welfare of society as a whole.” This obligation is indeed our challenge moving forward, but I know evaluators are up to the task!

    For example, consider that inequality and social immobility have been vexing challenges for public policy at all levels of government and society for decades, even generations. While evaluation itself will not unilaterally address the factors that cause these issues to persist, understanding the role of socioeconomic, racial, and ethnic diversity in our world can enhance the context-appropriateness of our evaluations, and contribute to more informed recommendations about the policies and programs we evaluate, ultimately contributing to more fair and just society. To engage our members and communities this year I am happy to announce that, thanks to the vision and leadership of Dr. Melvin Hall,  AEA will convene three dialogues about the role of race and class in evaluation work and impact leading up to our November conference. The first of these dialogues will be held January 30 in Washington, D.C., followed by a second jointly convened with the American Educational Research Association (AERA) in San Antonio this May, and with CREA in Chicago in September — all culminating with a plenary at our November conference. We will live stream all three 90-minute dialogues, and have a special presentation at our Annual Conference in November in D.C.

    As we continue to tackle the challenges faced by evaluators, intentional and strategic professionalization of our field is needed now more than ever. I will continue to work closely with our Competencies Task Force to develop our next steps in getting our competencies promoted and used. Along with our active Evaluation Policy Task Force, we will work to support and encourage the support of longer-term evaluation infrastructure that supports a range of methods as part of professionalization of evaluation.

    Our TIGS and affiliates are key partners in professionalization efforts, and I will work closely with both sets of leaders to ensure we support collaborative initiatives. For example, I will work with the AEA management team, TIGs and affiliate leaders to support them in hosting more regional conferences, such as those pioneered by affiliates like the Eastern Evaluation Research Society (EERS), the Oregon Program Evaluators Network (OPEN), the Arizona Evaluation Network (AZENet), and others!

    I have already begun collaborating with our fellow evaluation associations and key groups within the International Organizations of Evaluation, such as EVAL YOUTH, in endeavors such as EVAL YOUTH’s recent and highly successful Virtual Conference on December 2.

    "From Learning to Action" is the theme of our Annual Conference, and in line with this theme, I challenge our members to:

    • Think creatively about innovative ways to engage audiences at the annual conference — please think beyond panels and posters, and submit something new;
    • Invite evaluators or evaluation users who might not normally attend AEA, but are clearly stakeholders in our work, to participate in conference sessions; and
    • Submit a 60 second video on learning from evaluation to highlight how we can foster learning from evaluation in a variety of settings. Please watch for contest guidelines to follow!

    My door and ears are always open and I welcome engaging with our members to learn how AEA can better serve us and promote evaluation practice and evidence-informed policy and practice! Despite the challenges we may face, we are up to it! We have the capacity and skills to help society learn from evaluation! Please help me foster membership engagement — contact me at president@eval.org.

(c) 2017 Washington Evaluators

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