2020 Board of Directors & Leadership
The Washington Evaluators is managed by a Board of Directors as well as dozens of volunteers. Five voting Board positions are elected (unless filled by appointment due to vacancy). The Presidential cycle is three years, with the elected individual serving first as President-Elect, and then assuming the role of President, and then Past President. The Treasurer and Secretary positions are held for two years. Four other voting Board positions are appointed by the President and confirmed by the Board. The 2020 Board members, as well as other Washington Evaluators leaders and volunteers, are listed below.
Patricia Moore Shaffer is the deputy director for research & analysis at the National Endowment for the Arts and serves as agency lead for evaluation and performance measurement. Prior to joining the NEA, Patricia served as the evaluation manager for NASA’s Office of Education and vice president for research & development at the Educational Policy Institute. Patricia also owns Shaffer Evaluation Group, a small evaluation firm that specializes in educational evaluation studies and evaluation capacity-building. Patricia earned a Ph.D. in Educational Policy, Planning and Leadership at the College of William & Mary, a M.A. in Curriculum Studies at the University of Toronto, and also holds a bachelors degree in the visual arts. Prior to her term as President of Washington Evaluators, Patricia held several evaluation leadership positions: WE Communications Committee Chair for two terms, Eastern Evaluation Research Society board member, AEA Program Design TIG leadership committee member, and treasurer for the Consortium for Research on Educational Assessment and Teaching Effectiveness.
Giovanni Dazzo, Past President
U.S. Department of State
Giovanni Dazzo serves as the lead for evaluation in the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, Office of Global Programs (DRL/GP). In this role, he advises staff and grantees on program design and evaluation, oversees evaluation contracts and research grants, and designs and conducts internal studies. Prior to joining DRL, he served as an internal evaluator at Freedom House, where he designed systems to evaluate advocacy campaigns and emergency financial assistance for at-risk human rights activists. Before moving to Washington, D.C., Giovanni worked in Italy and Cambodia, conducting applied research and evaluation for public sector clients, and bilateral and multilateral aid agencies. He is a doctoral candidate at George Mason University's College of Education and Human Development, specializing in research methodology. He holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Los Angeles and a master’s degree from Bocconi University’s School of Management in Milan. He has been an adjunct lecturer at George Washington University's Elliott School of International Affairs, teaching a graduate-level course on the evaluation of foreign assistance programs. Prior to his term as President of Washington Evaluators, Giovanni held several leadership positions: WE Program Committee Chair for two terms, Chair of the Local Arrangements Working Group for the 2017 AEA Annual Meeting, and Program Chair and Co-Chair of AEA's Democracy and Governance Topical Interest Group.
Beeta Tahmassebi is the Director of Strategic Initiatives at EnCompass LLC. In addition to running operations for The Evaluators’ Institute (TEI), a globally recognized evaluation training center, she oversees EnCompass’ Knowledge Management and Communications team, and manages evaluations and capacity-strengthening projects around the world. Ms. Tahmassebi has had the privilege of working as an evaluator across a wide range of client systems and organizations, from groups such as Save the Children and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to government agencies such as USAID, the State Department, and the Institute of Museum and Library Services, to multilateral institutions such as the World Bank, UN Women, and the World Food Programme. Ms. Tahmassebi holds a Bachelor of Arts from Johns Hopkins University and a Masters in Business Administration (MBA) from Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business. In addition to her work with Washington Evaluators, Ms. Tahmassebi is a frequent presenter at American Evaluation Association conferences, and a member of the SIKM Leaders Community.
Melissa Chiu, Secretary
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
Melissa C. Chiu is on detail as Deputy Executive Director of the Office of Data Governance and Analytics, Office of Enterprise Integration at the Department of Veterans Affairs. Her permanent position is Director of the Statistics and Analytics Service and Advisor to the Chair of VA’s Data Governance Council. Working collaboratively with stakeholders from government, private sector organizations, and the public, she is responsible for leadership and strategic improvements on all aspects of enterprise-wide data governance policy; data management and acquisition for the USVETS integrated database; data analysis and promoting analytical products on Veterans and their well-being. Prior to joining VA, Ms. Chiu worked for the Census Bureau, where she expanded and promoted the data linkage infrastructure to increase the use of integrated data in high quality research for evidence-based decision making. She also briefly served in the Office of Management and Budget’s Statistical and Science Policy Branch, working on federal statistical policy, particularly regarding the use of administrative records for statistical purposes. Ms. Chiu holds graduate degrees in sociology (University of California, Los Angeles) and statistics (University of Washington), and bachelor’s degrees in mathematics and in statistics (University of Michigan).
Josh Joseph, Ph.D., Treasurer
The Pew Charitable Trusts
Josh is a Senior Officer at The Pew Charitable Trusts where he oversees evaluations of major environmental, economic, and health related initiatives. His evaluative roles focus on developing assessment plans and shaping learning questions, hiring/supporting independent consultants, ensuring the accessibility of study findings and recommendations, and safeguarding the integrity of Pew’s evaluation process. Josh also works across the organization to lead and advise on a range of learning initiatives and pilot projects, including: building the measurement capacity of local non-profits in the Philadelphia area; improving the processes by which programs wind-down and exit lines of work; and understanding how decision makers use research evidence generated by Pew programs. Before coming to Pew, Josh worked on research and evaluation projects in the areas of business ethics, human resources, and good government. He is on the faculty at American University and teaches applied graduate classes on how to develop useful theories of change and on how to conduct effective focus groups and interviews. He earned his Ph.D. in sociology from American University, where he was a National Science Foundation graduate fellow. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in History and a Bachelor’s of Fine Arts degree in painting from Cornell University.
Katherine Braga, Communications Committee Chair
Katherine is a Monitoring and Evaluation Associate with PYXERA Global. In this capacity, she supports the organization’s Global Pro Bono practice area through impact measurement. Previously, Katherine worked at the United States Department of Agriculture where her focus areas included rural development and utilities, women in agriculture as well as faith-based and neighborhood partnerships. From 2011-2013, she served with the Peace Corps in Ukraine as a TEFL Volunteer and USAID Small Project Assistance Program Specialist. Katherine holds an MA from American University in International Relations as well as a BA from the University of Michigan where she double majored in Comparative Religion and English Language & Literature. She is proficient in Russian and Portuguese.
Emily Bango, Community Engagement Committee Chair
Emily is a regional monitoring, evaluation, research, and learning (MERL) specialist at Internews. In this role she manages and continually improves the research, learning and evaluation methodologies and systems that measure the results and overall impact of Internews projects implemented in Latin America and Caribbean (LAC). She brings over ten years of experience leading project management and monitoring, evaluation, and learning (MEL) efforts for human rights and international development programs with a longstanding regional focus in LAC. In her current role, she utilizes skills and perspectives developed through prior work with other U.S.-based international NGOs, at the U.S. Department of State, and as an independent evaluator and MERL consultant. She holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Rochester and a master’s degree from the School of Public Policy at the University of Maryland, College Park.
Natalie Donahue, Membership Committee Chair
U.S. Department of State
Natalie Donahue is currently the Chief of Evaluation in the Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) where she directs the monitoring and evaluation of educational and exchange programming. She also serves as an adjunct at American University in the School of International Service. Previously, Natalie served as a Senior M&E Specialist for the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs' Assistance Coordination Office (NEA/AC), where she was responsible for advising staff and grantees on program design and monitoring activities, designing and managing evaluations, and leading capacity-building efforts within the Bureau. Prior to joining the Department of State, she served as DevTech Systems, Inc’s Director of Business Development, where she provided technical assistance on various Department of State M&E-related projects. A proud Columbus, Ohio native, Natalie has a Master's in Public Administration and a Bachelor’s of Science in Business Marketing – both from The Ohio State University.
Katie Pitts, Program Committee Chair
D.C. Department of Behavioral Health
Katie Pitts recently completed a master’s in Clinical Mental Health Counseling at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology. She is a Certified Work Incentive Coordinator with experience supporting people with disabilities in successfully obtaining both vocational and educational goals. She has worked directly with Social Security on the Ticket to Work program, and provided benefits counseling for Social Security Work Incentives and support with overpayments to Veterans in DC, Maryland, and Virginia. Her experience includes both financial advocacy and counseling with veterans, active duty officers, and law enforcement. Katie has presented on Ticket to Work and Work Incentives at national disability employment events such as the National Alliance for Mental Illness and Association of People Supporting Employment First national conferences. Katie Pitts is currently a Program Analyst at the Department of Behavioral Health in Washington D.C. where she collects data and provides support and training to agencies providing support to people battling mental illnesses. Katie hopes that she can continue to act as an advocate and break down barriers to health care through direct services and evaluation.
Deputy Chairs & Committee Members with Portfolios
Mindelyn Anderson, Ph.D., Special Initiatives Coordinator
Mirror Group LLC
Dr. Mindelyn Anderson is the Founder + Principal of Mirror Group LLC, a consulting firm that leverages partnerships with fellow evaluators, researchers, subject matter experts, and change makers to bring collaborative, participatory, utilization-focused evaluation and capacity-building to communities and learning organizations. She earned her doctorate in Sociology from The Johns Hopkins University and an undergraduate degree in Sociology with minors in Anthropology and Policy Studies from UCLA. Mindelyn, a California Bay Area native, currently resides in Washington, D.C. with her husband, three daughters, and a son. You can find her out and about in the DC, Maryland, Virginia area serving community organizations dear to her including Zion Church and John Eaton Elementary School as well as working toward racial equity and inclusion nationally and internationally through Juniors Read and Mirror Group. Feel free to ask her anything about evaluation, work, life, and everything in between.
Val Caracelli, Ph.D., New Professional and Student Coordinator
U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO)
Dr. Valerie Caracelli is a Senior Social Science Analyst in the Center for Evaluation Methods and Issues at the U.S. Government Accountability Office. Valerie assists in conducting congressionally requested studies and consults with GAO Teams on evaluation design issues. She has published in leading evaluation journals and has served on a variety of editorial review boards. She received her undergraduate degree in Psychology in 1979 and her Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology from Cornell University in 1988. Valerie has been a member of the American Evaluation Association since its founding. On the AEA Board of Directors from 2007-2009, she served as liaison to the Ethics Committee and helped develop additional case study training materials on the Guiding Principles for Evaluators. She recently received the 2016 AEA Robert Ingle Service Award. Valerie has been active in the Washington Evaluators, one of AEA's first local affiliates, serving as board member and in other positions for over 20 years.
Sue Cottrell, Scholarship Coordinator
Ms. Susan Cottrell is a Senior Monitoring and Evaluation Specialist at USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS), where she develops Monitoring and Evaluation systems for international food assistance programs to improve literacy and nutrition, increase agricultural productivity and enhance trade, and develop agricultural systems and food safety, animal and plant health programs worldwide. Ms. Cottrell is an experienced facilitator with specialization in strategic planning. She guides teams to identify goals, strategic objectives, meaningful indicators and deliverables, using human-centered design and systems thinking. She provides M&E training to local international implementers, project managers, and locally employed staff in FAS offices worldwide. She also conducted a workshop on Human-Centered Design at the AEA Conference.
Charles Gilman, Ph.D., Membership Committee Deputy Chair
Charlie is an independent consultant based in D.C. who specializes in monitoring and evaluation and gender equality in international development projects. He has taught university courses in evaluation methodology and is a life-long student of data analytics and statistics. He has contributed to high-level US foreign policy, led reform of evidence utilization capacity of large and small institutions in the US and abroad, and was a founding faculty member of Nazarbayev University in Kazakhstan. His recent work has been diverse but is commonly related to utilizing M&E to mainstream gender and social equity into development projects (Water infrastructure for the World Bank, for example) and safeguarding beneficiaries from exploitation and abuse. More of his past professional information can be found on his Linkedin profile.
Bryce Leary, Mentor Minutes Coordinator
Bryce Leary is a second-year graduate student studying International Development at American University’s School of International Service. His focus is monitoring and evaluation, and through his studies and research he gained both quantitative and qualitative data collection and analysis skills. This past summer as a Tinker-Walker Fellow, Bryce traveled to the Omaheke Region of Namibia. There he developed programs for out of school youth and engaged in skills development with the grassroots volunteers of Namibian Partnership Solutions. He served in Senegal as a Peace Corps Volunteer where he learned the value of building the capacity of local counterparts. As a member of Peace Corps' Data Reporting, Evaluation, and Monitoring Team he designed indicators and trained his colleagues in program design. Bryce looks forward to working in the evaluation field after graduation in May 2020 to promote improved development programming.
Erin Murrock, Program Commitee Deputy Chair
Erin is currently a Program Evaluation Research Analyst with the Research and Evaluation Unit within the Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs at the U.S. Department of State. She has nine years of experience developing and implementing M&E systems to strengthen training and programmatic outcomes for international media development and information access programs. She worked with program staff to design data collection tools in line with monitoring and evaluation plans, including needs assessments, media organizational capacity building monitoring, media content analysis, knowledge and skills-based assessments, social network analyses, impact evaluation, and tools to visualize program impacts through interactive dashboards. She holds an MS from George Mason University in Educational Psychology focused on Testing, Assessment and Evaluation as well as a BA from the University of Georgia where she majored in Russian and French languages.
Laura O'Brien, Evaluation Without Borders Coordinator
Digital Impact Alliance at the UN Foundation
Laura serves as the Director of Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning at the Digital Impact Alliance, an independent program focused on the intersection of technology and international development housed at the UN Foundation. She originally joined DIAL as the Monitoring and Evaluation Manager in February 2018, building on her previous work at the nexus of international development, evaluation and innovation. At DIAL, Laura works with the program teams to define the key outcomes of their work and develop measurement and learning plans to track progress, identify our impact, and make course corrections as necessary. She also supports DIAL to serve as a pioneer in applying adaptive monitoring and evaluation (M&E) principles. Prior to joining DIAL, Laura served as the Innovation Program Manager at The QED Group and Research Assistant at the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs, and began her career at the Management Sciences for Health (MSH), an international public health NGO. Laura has a Master’s in Global Human Development from Georgetown University and a BA in International Affairs from George Washington University.
If you'd like to get involved in one of our committees or help with an activity or event, please contact us.