Posts Tagged ‘AEA’

Marques Hogans Sr. is working with IMPACT Planning Council through a partnership with the American Evaluation Association (AEA) called “GEDI”.  As part of his internship, he not only works on a variety of evaluation projects with IMPACT staff, he also attends national conventions and AEA trainings with a cohort of interns placed at agencies across the US.

Another destination in the books and the experience of being a GEDI is beginning to sink in.  The week of November 9th thru 14th, Evaluation 2015 took place in the Windy City, Chicago, IL.   Once again I was surrounded by professionals who value the work of evaluation and its importance as it applies to everyday life.  As I was hours removed from surgery for a torn right Achilles the day I arrived, I was more focused on who, what, when, and where, why, and how.  Who would I meet that would have an impact on my career, what would I learn that I could apply now or later, when does the rest of my cohort arrive, where did I need to check in for the conference, why was the hotel, Hyatt Regency Chicago, so BIG, and how was I going to get around on my knee scooter (laughing literally).

Most of those questions andMarques AEA many more were answered.  After a day of pre-conference workshops my GEDI cohort was introduced to an assembly of evaluation leaders, professionals, and students; at this it sunk in: I was part of something big.  As a member of a program centered on Culturally Responsive Evaluation (CRE) and diversifying the evaluation workforce, this opportunity was one to be cherished and not taken for granted.  The American Evaluation Association deemed 2015 the “International Year or Evaluation” and the conference portrayed just that.  Attendees traveled from across the globe, including Asia, Europe, and the West Indies.  At Evaluation 2015 some workshops confirmed information I had learned from my public health background while others confirmed and answered thoughts, opinions, and questions surrounding evaluation.  I was eager to take as much in as possible.

While my time at Evaluation 15 was short lived due to other obligations, its impact remains.  One of my interests in evaluation is its impact on policy change.  Not too long ago I came across an article which led me to think deeply about how policy affects behavior.  At Evaluation 2015 I was able to attend a workshop on that topic and honestly it was one of my most memorable experiences.  This workshop in particular focused on studies completed in 4 countries outside of the US; Switzerland, Taiwan, Sweden, and Trinidad and Tobago of the West Indies.   The gentleman from Sweden stated, “Evaluations are interventions with unintended outcomes” while explaining the content of his study.  Although their initial hypothesis went unanswered, due to the unintended outcomes represented, policy change occurred five years later.  So while impact may not happen that instant, who is to say when your efforts will become invaluable.

Finally, as a student the one thing I feared most was my ability to transition from writing academically to writing in a professional capacity.  I ran into Professor Tok, an instructor at John Hopkins who serves as mentor to a colleague of mine.  I expressed to her my concern with my writing skill.  She then went on to state, “You have made it this far, so it is not as bad as you may think, just continue to write”.  Simple words with big meaning.

I cannot wait until the next opportunity to learn more from the “Who’s who?” in evaluation in the near future. We will be visiting the UCLA Graduate School in Education and Information Science and Harder, a frontrunner in evaluation, in early February.


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