Graduate Education Diversity Internship Program Leadership

Saúl I. Maldonado, Ph.D., is Co-Director of the American Evaluation Association Graduate Education Diversity Internship (GEDI) professional development program; Associate Professor in the Department of Dual Language and English Learner Education at San Diego State University; and research associate at the Center for Equity and Biliteracy Education Research. A member of the GEDI familia (SANKOFA, 2012-2013), Maldonado’s evaluation experience includes contributions to programs and initiatives for school districts, county offices of education, institutions of higher education and federal agencies. Maldonado is author and co-editor of the book, Assessment and evaluation in bilingual education.

Lisa Aponte-Soto, PhD, MHA is the founding President/CEO of Tanoma Consulting LLC, a consulting firm providing transformative research, evaluation, and training services to advance health, education, and workforce equity. She specializes in asset-based community-driven models using mixed methods research and evaluation approaches. She facilitates capacity building workshops on culturally responsive practices, leadership, strategic visioning, and quality assurance for diverse organizations. Dr. Aponte-Soto is also an adjunct faculty member at the DePaul University College of Science and Health.

Dr. Aponte-Soto previously served as Associate Director of Community Engaged Research at the University of Illinois at Chicago, where she managed a portfolio of community-based research and evaluation projects. She was also the former National Program Deputy Director of New Connections, a national program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation that provided research funding and professional development to historically underrepresented scholars. She led various initiatives in support of the career development of students and early career professionals including the U.S. Department of Education TRIO programs as well as STEM enrichment programs funded by NSF, NASA, and the U.S. Department of Energy.

Dr. Aponte-Soto served as a Board member-at-large for the American Evaluation Association from 2018-2021. She is an alumna of the sixth cohort of the Graduate Diversity Internship Program (Evolution) and a founding member and past chair of the Latinx Responsive Evaluation Discourse Topical Interest Group. She has served the AEA community through TIGs, task forces, working groups, and committees. She is also a faculty affiliate and researcher of the Culturally Responsive Evaluation and Assessment Center (CREA) and member of the Advancing Collaborative Evaluation (ACE) Network.

Dr. Aponte-Soto earned her PhD in Community Health Sciences at the University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health and holds a Master of Health Administration and Policy from Governors State University. She received a Bachelor of Science in Biology and Psychology and a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish Language, Literature, and Translation from Loyola University Chicago.

Dr. Monique Inez Liston is the Founder, Chief Strategist and Joyful Militant at UBUNTU Research and Evaluation, a strategic learning organization based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She is a self-identified Afrofuturist, a person who believes that Black people should imagine the future unencumbered by oppression and its intersection and that getting to that future requires Black people’s radical imagination and creative thought. She is a proud alum of Howard University and remains #bisonproud even as she obtained a Master’s in Public Administration from the University of Delaware and a Ph.D. in Urban Education from the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee. Her organization has been nominated as Best Place to Work for Social Justice by the Shepherd Express in 2021 and 2022.  She was selected as a winner for the Milwaukee Business Journal's Diversity in Business Awards in 2022. If this world wasn’t ravaged by the anti-Black sexist queerphobic capitalism, she would be a chef and storyteller. If you read this bio, she hopes that you feel the desire to build better communities with those you love. 

Hazel Symonette, Program Development & Assessment Specialist Emerita, is an Evaluation Researcher & Facilitator at the Wisconsin Center for Education Research—the LEAD Center (Learning through Evaluation, Adaptation and Dissemination) and the Wisconsin Evaluation Collaborative at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.  She also serves as Social Justice Educator with the UW First Wave Hip Hop and Urban Arts Program.

Her work focuses on capacity-building strategies using multi-level assessment/evaluation processes to advance a diversity-grounded and equity-enabling personal transformation, organizational development and social justice change agenda. That work undergirds her long-standing involvement in creating authentically inclusive and vibrantly responsive teaching, learning, living and working environments that are conducive to success for all.


Linda E. Sotelo, M.Ed., serves as a Bilingual Administrative Coordinator at San Diego State University. Linda earned her M.Ed. in Higher Education with Counseling Specialization from Houston Baptist University while she worked in the College of Education and Behavioral Sciences (CoEBS) directly supporting the launch and development of the institution’s first doctoral programs. Linda joined the AEA GEDI Program leadership in 2021 and loves to remind scholars they are not alone in their educational or professional journeys, with some guidance and support...sí se puede!