University of California, Santa Barbara – Ph.D. Educational Leadership and Organizations
University of California, Santa Barbara – M.A. Educational Leadership and Organizations
University of California, Los Angeles – B.A. Sociology
What is your current position and what do you do?
I am the Policy and Practice Dissemination Coordinator in the Center for Evaluation and Educational Effectiveness (CEEE) at California State University, Long Beach. CEEE is leading a research project examining effective practices to support the success of first-generation, low-income students in STEM at Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs) across 10 CSU campuses. I am responsible for disseminating emerging research, policy, practice, and methodological lessons from the project through various mediums, such as webinars, policy briefs, and conference presentations.
What led you to the field of evaluation?
As a first-generation college student, I experienced numerous challenges throughout my education. I decided to pursue a graduate degree in education because I wanted to improve the educational experiences of students like me. As a graduate student in the Gevirtz Graduate School of Education at UC Santa Barbara, I worked for the UC Educational Evaluation Center (UCEC) and for the Office of Education Partnerships (OEP) where I had the opportunity to work on several projects with multiple stakeholders at both two-year and four-year institutions. I really enjoyed this work because I was able to collaborate with like-minded educators who were extremely motivated and invested in improving the college-going experience and academic outcomes of underrepresented students. I also enjoyed seeing the programs I was evaluating improve over time. Working as a program evaluator gave me a real sense of accomplishment – I loved knowing that my work was going to positively affect the college-going experience of students.
What has been your favorite moment in your career so far?
My favorite moment in my career so far has been working with colleagues who are passionate about their work and who are making a difference in the college experience of underrepresented students.
What motivates you at work?
Improving policy that impacts Latina/o students in STEM. I want to see more Latino students graduate from college and pursue graduate degrees. My commitment to this goal motivates my work.
If you could give advice to young professionals in evaluation, what would it be?
As a program evaluator, I have to stay current on the literature to develop various evaluation tools (e.g., interview protocols and surveys). However, I have found that I develop more meaningful and accurate tools when I tap into my cultural intuition. In other words, I reflect on my own academic trajectory and include questions in my interview protocol/survey that are not formulated from the literature. So my advice for young professionals in evaluation who identify as a racial/ethnic minority is to listen to your cultural intuition. In other words, reflect on your own academic trajectory and recognize your cultural knowledge as an asset and use it to inform your work.
What are your favorite resources for evaluators?
Network and connect with other professionals at smaller, content-specific conferences! While I enjoy attending larger conferences such as ASHE and AERA, I have had great experiences at conferences such as the Council for the Study of Community Colleges conference. These smaller conferences allow me to focus in on a certain research topic and connect with individuals in this specific field.
What do you like to do in your free time?
I recently moved, so I enjoy exploring my new neighborhood, biking along the beach, and meeting up with my friends to try out the local venues. I live closer to my family as well, so I enjoy spending time with my mom, sisters, nieces and nephews.