Member Spotlight – Emi Fujita-Conrads

Fujita-Conrads_photoEducation:

University of California, Los Angeles – Ph.D. Social Research Methodology, Evaluation – Current student

University of California, Los Angeles – M.A. Social Research Methodology, Evaluation

Lewis & Clark College – B.A. Sociology/Anthropology

What is your current position, and what do you do?

I am currently a doctoral student in the Social Research Methodology division at UCLA. I also work as a graduate student researcher. As a researcher, I work on various evaluation projects, primarily with campus support programs and community colleges. My role on these projects varies, from collecting data, to engaging stakeholders and designing an evaluation plan, to creating a final report and sharing findings.

What led you to the field of evaluation?

Prior to attending graduate school, I worked in the non-profit sector. It was during this time that I was first exposed to the field of evaluation and I realized that evaluation combined several of my interests. For one, I saw how evaluation could guide programs to improve their practice. Evaluation also applied similar research methods that I learned during my sociology/anthropology degree to on-the-ground programs. Additionally, evaluation was a way to continue to pursue my interest in social justice issues by assisting programs serving diverse populations.

 What has been your favorite moment in your career so far?

 My favorite moments are when I am collaborating with others on how to tackle an evaluation project.

 What motivates you at work?

I’m motivated by the potential for evaluation to help stakeholders learn something new about their programs. Program staff are passionate about their work, and it’s great to see how evaluation can help make positive changes.

 If you could give advice to young professionals in evaluation, what would it be?

Continue to expand your skill set, and don’t wait for an opportunity to come to you. Want to learn R? Try to locate a class in your area or online.

Tap into the knowledge of more experienced evaluators. I’m so grateful for all the support and advice that I’ve received.

Keep an eye towards furthering knowledge about the field of evaluation. Continue to read about evaluation and try out new methods. There’s still much we can learn, and it’s important to stay creative.

 What are your favorite resources for evaluators?

The American Evaluation Association is a great resource. The AEA 365 blog posts (https://aea365.org/blog/) are a great way to hear from other working evaluators. I also like to check out Stephanie Evergreen’s blog (http://stephanieevergreen.com/blog/) for data visualization ideas.

 What do you like to do in your free time?

I try to get outside as much as I can, and enjoy riding my bike, hiking, and hanging at the beach. I also love finding new places to eat and foods to try.

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