AEA Minority Serving Institution (MSI) Fellowship

The AEA Minority Serving Institution initiative brings a cohort of faculty from MSIs together throughout the 2020-2021 academic year and into the 2021 summer to participate in webinars, the AEA/CDC Summer Evaluation Workshop Series, and the AEA annual conference. The overall purpose of the initiative is to increase the participation of evaluators and academics from underrepresented groups in the profession of evaluation and in the American Evaluation Association. The MSI Faculty Initiative identifies this group of potential and practicing evaluators by drawing from faculty at MSIs. The program focuses on:

  • Broadening their understanding of evaluation as a profession; and
  • Strengthening their knowledge of evaluation theory and methods through workshops, webinars, mentoring and experiential projects.

Meet the 2020-2021 MSI Cohort!

Sosanya Jones, Howard University

Sosanya Jones has an Ed.D. in Higher and Postsecondary Education from Teachers College, Columbia University and a Masters degree in Counseling Psychology from James Madison University. She has worked at a number of research think tanks, foundations, and institutions, mostly conducting qualitative research. She has very little active evaluation and assessment experience; however, she has some rudimentary knowledge about campus-based and course assessments development.

As an assistant professor of higher education leadership and policy studies at Howard University, her course-load centers around cultivating future leaders working within and on behalf of Minority Serving Institutions. This includes teaching courses on governance, administration, policy, and qualitative research methods. As a professor who teaches both introductory and advanced qualitative research methods, she believes the MSI Faculty Initiative will equip her to better address alternative approaches, theories, and tools that her students can use to address the research questions they may want to explore, as well as expose them to other methods of gathering new knowledge about MSIs. One of her more recent scholarly pursuits focuses on MSIs, in particular campus-based climate assessment, institutional policy and advocacy within state policy arenas, and diversity work. Evaluation and assessment has increasingly become a focal point in campus climate and diversity work discussions as well as within policy work related to accountability, accreditation, and funding. She would like to incorporate more evaluation and assessment literature, theory, and methods into her own research while examining these practices at MSIs, in particular HBCUs.


Jeton McClinton, Jackson State University

Jeton McClinton holds a Ph.D. in Community College Leadership and has served 15 years as an Educational Leadership faculty member at Jackson State University. Currently, she teaches courses in research design and qualitative research methods. Previously, she taught courses in computers in education, sociology, statistics, college teaching, information technology and educational methods to name a few. She has a strong higher-education leadership background, having worked with traditional and nontraditional students. She also holds significant academic scholarship credentials with research experience in educational technology, leadership development and distance education fields.

The synergy of these areas helps profile Dr. McClinton as an innovator, highly driven and committed to quality and growth in her workplace. She has authored, co-authored 30 plus peerreviewed and non-peer reviewed journal articles and edited three books; Infusing Undergraduate Research into Historically Black Colleges and Universities Curricula, Dyslexia is Not a Disease - It's a Learning Difference: Theoretical and Practical Approaches to Teaching Struggling Readers with Learning Differences and Mentoring at Minority Serving Institutions: Theory, Design, Practice, and Impact.  While II have limited experience in program evaluation and program assessment, I have taught courses in assessment.


Erica Sosa, University of Texas at San Antonio

Erica Sosa is an Associate Professor in the Department of Public Health at UTSA. She is a bicultural researcher and has contributed to several culturally tailored research projects. Her experiences include co-developing a home-based intervention and assisting with a promotora-led intervention on NIH funded studies. She has experience in designing, implementing and evaluating complex culturally tailored obesity interventions. These interventions have focused on lifestyle, policies, and systems changes. Her mixed-methods training has allowed her to investigate the roles of parenting, culture, and environment in children’s development and health behaviors and elucidate factors that influence Mexican American parents’ decision-making related to diet, physical activity and supporting their children’s healthy growth. She teaches the graduate Health Program Evaluation course.


LaJoy R. Spears, New Mexico State University 

LaJoy Spears is an Assistant Professor, Program Development and Evaluation Specialist who works in collaboration and partnership across NMSU Extension to assess community and statewide needs. She helps ensure those needs are met by developing innovative programming strategies and implementing applicable evaluative tools to demonstrate statewide impacts.

LaJoy is uniquely positioned to guide program development while building evaluation capacity within NMSU Extension and across the land grant system. After attending two land-grant universities, she gained many years of professional experience and service at 1862 and 1890 land grant universities, tribal colleges, and now NMSU, a Hispanic-serving institution.

LaJoy holds a PhD in Agricultural Education with an emphasis on Curriculum and Instructional Technology from Iowa State University; MS in Agricultural and Extension Education and a BS in Agricultural Economics and Business from the University of Tennessee.


Lynette M. Williamson, University of Hawai’i West O’ahu

Lynette M. Williamson, Ed.D., MBA, RHIA, CCS, CPC, FAHIMA is an assistant professor in the Health Information Management (HIM) Department at the University of Hawai’i West O’ahu (UHWO). She teaches a variety of courses related to HIM, medical coding, and healthcare administration.  Dr. Williamson is also the Vice-Chair of the Distance Education Committee at UHWO.  Before coming to UHWO, she was a Professor and Program Director at Santa Barbara City College (SBCC).  Additionally, Dr. Williamson has served in various volunteer capacities for the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) including the RHIT Exam Construction Committee.  For over six years, Dr. Williamson served in various roles for the Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education (CAHIIM).  Her roles included, Peer Reviewer, Board member, Secretary, member of the Finance Committee and most recently a member of HIM Accreditation Council (HIMAC).  HIMAC members were responsible for HIM academic program review at three levels, Master’s, Bachelor’s and Associate.  In 2011 Dr. Williamson was awarded fellowship from AHIMA and in 2017, she received the Merit Scholarship for Leadership from AHIMA.  Currently, she is serving on AHIMA’s Commission on Certification for Health Informatics and Information Management (CCHIM). 

Dr. Williamson is a Registered Health Information Administrator (RHIA) and a member of both AHIMA and the American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC).  Dr. Williamson educational background includes an BS in Health Information Management from Florida International University, a Master’s in Business Administration concentration in Global Management from the University of Phoenix, Philadelphia Campus and a doctoral degree in Educational Leadership from Gwynedd Mercy University.