Is there a sociologist in the house? "Yes, there is", said Greg Matthews, a University of Washington graduate (MA Sociology) with a Bachelors from Rhodes College (BA Anthropology/Sociology).
Sociology is a common major among college students with a lot of career choices. As for Greg, he has been employed by Altarum Institute since September 2015. Altarum is a nonprofit health systems research and consulting organization that integrates independent research and client-centered consulting to create comprehensive, systems-based solutions that improve health for all people. Greg manages research and evaluation projects within the Business Advisory Services group. Although he is the "new kid on the block" at the company, he leads and contributes technical expertise to a number of evaluation projects.
As a leader of his group’s Program Evaluation Community of Practice, he is always looking to increase evaluation capacity and his team's portfolio of evaluation projects. Currently, he is a part of an independent team evaluating the effectiveness of mental health and suicide prevention services for Veterans Affairs. He recently completed an evaluation of a Maternal and Child Health Bureau program that increased access to comprehensive dental services in underserved schools.
Mr. Matthews is very serious about his work. During grad school, he lived in rural South Africa for four months running a large household survey. As he drove to the field office one day he observed three escaped lions walking down the dirt road ahead of him. It was frightening and thrilling, but he wasn't going to let Simba and friends keep him from his duties!
A member of the Washington Evaluators for approximately ten months, Greg joined WE because he wanted to meet local evaluators and learn from the deep evaluation experience in this city. One of WE's strong points is that we possess a plethora of knowledge covering all areas of education and a spectrum of occupations. However, Matthews is especially interested in meeting WE members who are experienced in Health Evaluation and/or Military and Veterans Evaluation. If you are that person, please connect with him at Gregory.Matthews@altarum.org or follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn.
Here is the link to the poster presentation at APHA (American Public Health Association) that is a product of the MCHB oral health project, https://apha.confex.com/apha/144am/meetingapp.cgi/Paper/352334.
As the WE Membership Chair, Robin wants to introduce herself to you, and, she hopes that you will do the same. She received her PhD from the University of Maryland in the area of Public and Community Health, her Master of Science in Social Work from Columbia University, and her Bachelor’s degree in English/Education from Vassar College. For the past seven years, she has worked with NMAC, formerly known as the National Minority AIDS Council. It is an organization that sponsors the United States Conference on AIDS, the largest U.S. gathering of HIV health officials from federal, state, and local governments; researchers; scientists; practitioners; and consumers. She serves as NMAC’s internal evaluator where 70% of her time is with the Capacity Building Division. This division is funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to build the capacity of the CDC's directly and indirectly funded community based organizations so that these organizations can remain sustainable to carry out HIV prevention initiatives. The other part of her time is spent working across the various divisions of NMAC, such as the Treatment Division, the Leadership Pipeline and the Conference Division. With the onset of biomedical HIV prevention initiatives, Robin's work in assessing needs, collaborating on evaluation topics and developing evaluation plans, tools and writing reports has expanded to accommodate not only other divisional staff but also their different funders and priorities which, she says, "makes the work interesting." In addition, she oversees and seeks out evaluation consultants; she supervises the evaluation specialist and recruits and mentors George Washington University 's Milken Graduate School of Public Health practicum students in the areas of evaluation, which she says, "makes the work enjoyable."
She joined WE in 2011 to become more connected with local evaluators and to continue to learn more about the field. She says, "There are a lot of great, experienced members who do incredible evaluation work in various sectors, such as the private sector; academia; and federal, state and local governments. I find it an enriching opportunity to be among such evaluation pillars!"
She attributes a lot of what she has learned about serving as the WE Membership Committee Chair to her predecessor in this position, former Membership Chair, Bernadette Wright. She also says that, WE's members are extra special. In her words, "I find that WE's members are treasure troves of knowledge about all types of evaluation. I continue to grow from interactions with them, and as my job at NMAC seeks evaluation consultants for new evaluation projects, I am pleased to reach out to the WE members to engage their talents." As a good Membership Committee Chair, she says in closing:
"I encourage all to get involved with WE and to tell others the many good things about WE. Bring a friend to the next WE event. They will love you for it! Also, write up your Membership Spotlight information. It helps every other member to get to know you better. "
Members of Washington Evaluators (WE) will be participating in Evaluation 2016 sponsored by the American Evaluation Association (AEA) in Atlanta, Georgia from October 24-29. At least 66 WE members will join the conference as presenters, panel chairs, group leaders, and discussants in over 100 sessions.
A list of the WE members participating in AEA sessions in any capacity is provided below (as of Sept. 6, 2016). Please refer to the official AEA conference program for all final session dates and times.
Oct 24, 2016 (09:00 AM - 04:00 PM)
Oct 25, 2016 (09:00 AM - 04:00 PM)
Oct 26, 2016 (08:00 AM - 03:00 PM)
Wednesday, October 26, 2016
Oct 26, 2016 (04:30 PM - 06:00 PM)
Oct 26, 2016 (06:15 PM - 07:00 PM)
Oct 26, 2016 (07:00 PM - 09:00 PM) – Poster Session
Thursday, October 27, 2016
Oct 27, 2016 (07:00 AM - 07:45 AM)
Oct 27, 2016 (08:00 AM - 09:30 AM)
Oct 27, 2016 (11:00 AM - 11:45 AM)
Julianne Manchester, Applying Lean Six Sigma Principles to Department of Defense Traumatic Brain Injury Programs to Enhance Process Improvement and Evaluation
Oct 27, 2016 (01:00 PM - 01:45 PM)
Oct 27, 2016 (02:00 PM - 02:45 PM)
Oct 27, 2016 (03:00 PM - 04:30 PM)
Oct 27, 2016 (04:45 PM - 06:15 PM)
Friday, October 28, 2016
Oct 28, 2016 (08:00 AM - 09:30 AM)
Oct 28, 2016 (11:00 AM - 11:45 AM)
Oct 28, 2016 (01:45 PM - 03:15 PM)
Oct 28, 2016 (03:30 PM - 04:15 PM)
Oct 28, 2016 (04:30 PM - 05:15 PM)
Oct 28, 2016 (05:30 PM - 06:15 PM)
Saturday, October 29, 2016
Oct 29, 2016 (08:00 AM - 09:30 AM)
Oct 29, 2016 (09:45 AM - 10:30 AM)
Oct 29, 2016 (10:45 AM - 11:30 AM)
Oct 29, 2016 (02:00 PM - 05:00 PM)
If you're a WE member and your presentation's not listed here, let us know firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bernadette Wright is Director of Research & Evaluation at Meaningful Evidence, LLC, where she helps non-profits to evaluate what’s working, what’s not, and why, so they can improve their programs and make a bigger difference. Over her two decades’ career, she has conducted and managed evaluation and research projects for government, non-profit, and business organizations in health care, aging/disability, human services, education, social justice, and other topic areas. Bernadette is an active member of Washington Evaluators (past board member/Membership Chair) and American Evaluation Association (incoming webmaster of the STEM Education and Training Topical Interest Group). She earned her PhD in Public Policy/Program Evaluation from the University of Maryland in 2002. She joined WE in 2011 because it seemed like the best way for her to connect with other local evaluators, to keep up with developments in the field, and to contribute to [my]her professional community. She definitely has no regrets. Being involved in Washington Evaluators has given her the chance to connect with many people in the world of evaluation in the area, including Ladel Lewis--a WE member and Brown Bag presenter who ended up becoming a business partner. Bernadette says, "The many connections and valuable information I’ve made through WE have helped [her] to become a better evaluator." In her free time, she participates in long-distance walking events. In February, She walked the annual reprise of Robert F. Kennedy’s one-day, 50-mile walk from Great Falls to Harper’s Ferry along the C&O Canal. She is also a tournament rated Scrabble player. Do I smell a challenge at an upcoming networking event? To be continued....
Dow Maneerattana has been cultivating a monitoring and evaluation culture within an international team of over 50 people for the past two years at World Resources Institute--an environmental research organization. Their goal is to improve natural resource management globally by putting advanced science and technology in the hands of people who can make a difference. They build mazing tools like a forest monitoring platform--Global Forest Watch http://www.globalforestwatch.org/ and a scanning system to stop illegal wood imports. Dow works with team managers to set targets, track metrics, and share impact stories with stakeholders. Currently, she's working with government and non-profit partners in Rwanda to monitor biomass regrowth and socioeconomic benefits as a result of national restoration efforts.
She sees her current role as setting the stage for evaluating the impact of restoration interventions in Rwanda. Millions of dollars have already been allocated to different government agencies and international non-governmental organizations. She adds, "How do we know when trees are growing, land productivity is improving, and farmers are lifted out of food insecurity beyond just one or two projects? What we are trying to do now is use advanced science and technology to collect data so we can evaluate it".
A member of WE for over three years, Dow joined Washington Evaluators to stay on the pulse of evaluation learning opportunities and connect with one of the biggest evaluation communities in the nation. She believes, "No matter what sector you come from, I always feel like WE members understand you. Also, my trailblazing position at WRI is wonderful and challenging but it can also be isolating. I am lucky to have the WE community in my support network".
When she is not M&Eing, she enjoys bird watching, traveling to warm and beachy locations, and teaching Thai cooking classes! Want to keep up with Dow? Follow her on Twitter at @dow.maneerator or simply drop her an email at email@example.com.
She is the founder and CEO of Asher Consulting, LLC. Asher Consulting, LLC, is a small women owned research consulting company that works with national and international clients (faculty, students, nonprofit organizations, businesses, and governments). She executes studies from start to finish: she assists with different stages of a project; she trains researchers (in-house or online) on how to conduct research. With over 16 years of experience, her research work specializes in: research design, dissertation coaching, proposal writing, grant writing, data collection (e.g., interviews, focus groups, surveys), NVivo (qualitative analysis electronic tool) training, data analysis, and report/article writing. She also performs qualitative and quantitative evaluations.
Dr. Asher joined Washington Evaluators (WE) to connect with other like-minded researchers. She feels that WE provides great opportunities to share ideas, network, and form collaborative relationships with other researchers. As she said,
I have been a member for 5 years I have attended WE events and formed strong collaborative relationships with other researchers. These partnerships have led to being awarded projects. I am pleased to be a part of WE. I welcome opportunities to continue to meet, share strategies, and collaborate with other researchers in the future.
Asher Beckwitt is a graduate from American University Ph.D. in Cultural Anthropology, George Mason University MA in Sociology, and George Mason University BA in Integrative Studies.
Stephanie Cabell joined Washington Evaluators after attending a meeting in the spring of 2015 and became a WE member in a relatively short time. Stephanie is now a member of the board, serving in the position of Secretary. Born in Charleston, SC and raised on Cape Cod in Massachusetts, Stephanie’s undergraduate studies in foreign languages and literature took her to Germany where she spent her junior year and a post-graduate year as a Fulbright Recipient.
A federal career as a performance management and evaluation specialist eventually led Stephanie to becoming a member of the American Evaluation Association and now of Washington Evaluators. As an evaluation team lead at the U.S. Department of State, Stephanie enjoys working with the 40+ State Department bureaus and offices to plan for and implement evaluations coveringthe diversity of State Department activities. Stephanie and a team of colleagues use this diversity to their best advantage by defining “evaluation” to include special studies, process evaluations, experience reviews, and case studies. Stephanie asserts, "This expanded definition of evaluation has enabled our agency’s bureaus and offices to design evaluative studies that align with the mission of bureaus and offices and their information needs.” An annual evaluation conference, a website devoted to evaluation resources, an evaluation toolkit, and regular meetings of State’s 440+ member Evaluation Community of Practice have helped build and sustain a culture for doing evaluations at State. “It’s been gratifying to see the progress we have made as an agency in not only implementing evaluations, but also using evidence and evaluation to inform our planning and budgeting processes.”
Prior to joining the State Department in November 2006, Stephanie spent 17 years working at the U.S. Department of Labor as a performance specialist in the employment and training arena. Says Stephanie, “Becoming a civil servant was not a conscious decision but it was the best decision I ever made.” She looks forward to working with WE and helping spread the word about WE among the greater DC federal evaluation community.
One of the newest and hardest working members of the Washington Evaluators, Giovanni Dazzo joined WE just two years ago and hit the ground running by volunteering as Program Committee Chair in January 2016.
Giovanni works as an evaluation specialist with the US Department of State’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor (DRL), Office of Global Programming. At DRL, Giovanni performs a plethora of tasks, such as advising DRL staff and grantees on evaluation fundamentals and methods, conducting internal studies and managing external evaluations, developing portfolio-level frameworks, and managing the office’s new grants database. Over the last few years, Giovanni has been focusing on the concept of reciprocity in evaluation design, exploring ways in which evaluators can form ethical research relationships with participants by communicating as equals. Through this process, he has been incorporating human rights and advocacy principles into his evaluation work as a way to make the concepts more accessible to the activists he works with directly.
Giovanni completed his undergraduate studies in anthropology and political science at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and holds a master’s degree in public management from SDA Bocconi University in Milan, Italy. After spending five years abroad conducting evaluations for international aid agencies, he came to settle in the DC Area. A part of his settling included joining WE as a way to meet evaluation professionals and learn about the type of work being done by others in the area. As Program Committee Chair, Giovanni is looking forward to planning events and initiatives that appeal to diverse sectors of the evaluation community, and working with the Membership Committee to expand WE's presence. He encourages members and nonmembers alike to participate in professional development and social events—“they’re a great way to learn about new methods in the field, and meet evaluation experts, many of whom live in the DC area.”
A native Californian who still struggles with DC winters, Giovanni enjoys playing the ukulele, attempting to garden, wandering around the community market and local businesses in his neighborhood, and traveling with his wife.
Nine current Washington Evaluators members will participate in the Eastern Evaluation Research Society's (EERS) annual conference from May 1-3, 2016, including four members who will be presenting. EERS, another affiliate of the American Evaluation Association (AEA), is sponsoring its 39th annual conference with the theme "Improving Outcomes, Building Knowledge: Finding What Works."
View the full #EERS16 Program here.
Kevin Brady is a fairly new member of the Washington Evaluators (WE). He's been engaged with the organization for a little over a year. Born and raised in the Boston area, this Virginia Tech alumnus (Syracuse undergraduate) was referred to WE by a friend and former colleague, Dr. Josh Joseph. So far, he enjoys connecting with other evaluators and learning some best practices on a broad range of evaluation topics.
Brady asserts, "The WE Twitter feed is very informative. Specifically, the tweet from a brown bag WE had around Building Agency Capacity." He learned that only a third of federal agencies report using evaluation regularly in decision-making. That information allowed him to think differently about interacting with agencies as an evaluator and making assumptions about resources they have on their end. He discovered it was vital to keep them engaged every step of the way. Brady also acknowledges that practical advice is also a valued jewel of being a member of WE. Brady said, "I saw a post on Excel heat tables, and I used it at the office. I like the fact that there is actionable, practical advice right on the web page that's really easy to apply professionally."
Currently, Kevin works as the Partnership for Public Service's Evaluation Manager. He's been with that organization since 2008 where he serves as the lead program evaluator. The Partnership is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization working to revitalize the federal government by working on a range of human capital issues, from leadership and management training to recruitment, hiring, and employee engagement.
Prior to working in Washington, he spent two years in New Orleans working for a federal Katrina recovery program, and served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Mongolia, directing native-language education programs for herdsmen in the Gobi desert. He attended several WE events in 2015 and will continue to be engaged in 2016. He posits, " I'm really excited to connect with WE members and to take full advantage of future events and resources." WE welcome you!
(c) 2017 Washington Evaluators