WE Member News

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

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

    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 (Administrator)

    "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 (Administrator)

    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 (Administrator)

    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 (Administrator)
    "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 (Administrator)

    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.

  • Tue, January 17, 2017 9:47 PM | Robin Kelley (Administrator)

    Rocking Out With David J. Bernstein


    Do you know any rock stars? If not, let me introduce you to Washington Evaluator's Past-President David J. Bernstein, who has met quite a few and seen many, many more in concert.David is a two-time George Washington University alumnus (MPA and Ph.D.) who is a Senior Study Director with Westat, an employee-owned social science research company based in Rockville, Maryland. He has been with Westat since 2005. There he plans and conducts contracted evaluations and performance measurement activities. Most of the funding for his projects comes from federal agencies such as the Department of Transportation’s Federal Transit Administration and the Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration for Community Living. David also conducts evaluations for state government agencies and associations. His work covers the entire evaluation planning cycle, from helping clients develop strategic plans, set up performance monitoring systems, designing evaluations, collecting data (often with the assistance of the evaluand and stakeholders), analyzing quantitative and qualitative data, writing reports, and presenting evaluation results to clients and stakeholders.

    Although he isn't a founding member of WE, he has been involved as a member off and on since the mid 1980's. According to David, "WE has provided me with tremendous networking and leadership opportunities. Serving as President of WE has been one of the greatest privileges of my professional career. I've met some wonderful friends, learned a lot about the evaluation field, and enjoyed the opportunity to give back to a profession that I have found so fulfilling." His membership in WE was an outgrowth of his American Evaluation Association (AEA) activities. As  a founding member of AEA, he has been active in Topical Interest Groups (TIG) such as the Government Evaluation TIG and the Graduate Student and New Evaluator TIG, and served as the Founding Chair for both. David has also served on a number of AEA task forces and working groups. Wanting to expand his professional participation, he knew that Washington Evaluators provided services including networking and professional development activities year-round, and would be a good “evaluator’s water cooler” through which to spend time with fellow evaluators.

    David's parting words are, "I encourage all of WE's members to get more involved. Involvement is what keeps a volunteer organization for professional evaluators (VOPE) like WE going, and your contributions will pay dividends in terms of professional growth and connections."

    When David isn't doing "The WE thing, he is an avid concert-goer and photographer. You can catch him at live rock concerts snapping (his camera), clapping (his hands), and singing along. He has seen rock icon Bruce Springsteen 48 times in multiple states. If you want to know more about David or attend an awesome rock concert, you can reach him at davidbernstein@westat.com or follow him on Twitter at @DJBernstein.


  • Tue, December 27, 2016 2:20 PM | Robin Kelley (Administrator)

    Diversity Matters

    Pioneering diversity initiatives is hard work, but someone has to do it. That is why Dr. Iris Wagstaff nominated herself to take the challenge head on. Knowing that her time in the area is limited, please note that she is on a mission. Iris has served as a AAAS Science Policy Fellow at the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) since Sept 2015. There, she is developing a strategic diversity initiative to expand NIJ's pool of Research & Development grant peer reviewers, applicants and graduate fellows. Her fellowship, however, does not specifically involve her evaluation background. It leverages her background in Chemical Research, STEM education outreach and diversity initiatives to broaden participation in STEM fields. Her background is in STEM education research and policy analysis. So naturally, she has a strong track record of evaluating STEM education programs.

    When asked why did she join WE this past August, she shared that she wanted to network with others in the area who do evaluation while she resides in Washington, DC for her fellowship. She states, "WE seems like a really great group of people! I really enjoyed meeting everyone at my first meeting and it was great to see the diversity in backgrounds and expertise of the group. I was able to share contact information with the members present and I hope this will lead to future professional collaborations". 

    In her free time, this Goldsboro, North Carolina, native enjoys traveling, exotic cuisine, reality TV (America's Next Top Evaluator...has a ring to it) and spending time with friends. She is currently Director of a non-profit that supports females in STEM and currently chairing the national NOBCChE (National Organization of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers) conference. She constantly shows her "Aggie Pride!" through mentoring and outreach efforts. 

    Looking for Iris? She's definitely not hard to find. You may contact her at irisrwag@yahoo.com, follow her on Twitter @IrisRWagstaff or connect on LinkedIn. 

  • Thu, December 01, 2016 2:37 AM | Robin Kelley (Administrator)

    Dr. Nick Hart has worked in the field of program evaluation for nearly a decade, collaborating with government agencies and local organizations alike to improve evaluation capacity.  He was drawn to evaluation practice by a desire to encourage public environmental programs to continually learn to improve their effectiveness.  Through a previous role in the U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB), Nick had the opportunity to work with multiple Federal agencies in developing evaluation agendas and obtaining critical resources for conducting evaluation.

    Dr. Hart's recent research on "Evaluation at EPA" challenged existing notions of evaluation capacity within government institutions, positing that new frameworks are needed to consider unique contextual circumstances that are relevant for large, complex, regulatory organizations.  In "Evaluation at EPA," Dr. Hart suggests that evaluation production within government institutions like EPA may be limited by a short "evaluation window," or a brief point in time in which facilitators of evaluation must converge in order to overcome the more commonly identified barriers to production.

    The "struggle for evaluation capacity and institutionalism theory," Hart writes, "[is] to rationalize how governmental organizations can keep the 'evaluation window' open without mandating evaluation in a way that agencies are no longer willing to exercise the learning opportunities evaluation can provide."

    Dr. Hart joined Washington Evaluators four years ago and has been active in the organization's leadership ever since, first as WE's Treasurer and currently as President-Elect.  He will become the President of Washington Evaluators in January 2017.  In addition, he is a board member of the Eastern Evaluation Research Society, another AEA affiliate, and serves on the American Evaluation Association's Evaluation Policy Task Force. 

    "WE provides really important  and needed services to the evaluation community here in DC," Dr. Hart said. "WE's many professional development brownbags provide a constant forum to learn new strategies being employed in the evaluation field and by a wide range of organizations.  This shared knowledge about the state of the field is critical for thinking through future directions in evaluation policy and practice."

    Dr. Hart  is currently working as the Policy and Research Director for the Commission on Evidence-Based Policymaking.  You can learn more about him at www.nickhart.us or on Twitter at @nickrhart

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