AEA Minority Serving Institution (MSI) Fellowship

The AEA Minority Serving Institution initiative brings a cohort of faculty from MSIs together throughout the 2023-2024 academic year and into the 2024 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 2023-2024 MSI Cohort!

Rachel L. Berkowitz, PhD ​ San José State University 

Dr. Rachel L. Berkowitz (she/her) is an Assistant Professor at San José State University (SJSU) within the Department of Public Health and Recreation. Dr. Berkowitz has been working for over a decade in public health as a researcher, teacher, and practitioner. Throughout her career, she has focused on understanding and addressing the ways in which systems, structures, and places create and perpetuate health inequities. Her research uses quantitative, qualitative, and participatory methods and draws on the principles and approaches of critical race theory, applied research, community-based participatory research, human-centered design, and implementation science. She teaches both undergraduate and Masters students and loves teaching approaches and methods that students can apply in their own work, such as through the Evaluation Methods for Public Health Practice course. Her earlier work as a public health practitioner included the design and implementation of evaluation for programs in community and clinical settings. She currently leads the evaluation efforts for the SJSU Masters of Public Health (MPH) program, and she is currently supporting the development of a participatory evaluation strategy for a local foundation. She received her MPH in Global Health, Community Health and Development from Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University and her DrPH from University of California, Berkeley. 

Elizabeth Bishop, PhD, Texas State University

Dr. Elizabeth Bishop (she/her) is an Associate Professor in the Department of History at Texas State University. In this role, Elizabeth aims to drive interdisciplinary and community-engaged research regarding transparency in governance; she holds methodology strengths in program evaluation and stakeholder development. Prior to coming to Texas State, Elizabeth received her doctorate from the University of Chicago in the history of the modern Middle East and aligned fields. Elizabeth began her work in evaluation as technical specialist, deputy Chief of Party, and ultimately Chief of Party responsible for the monitoring and evaluation unit attached to USAID/Egypt's "Growth Through Globalization" results package, which played a key role in shaping her professional identity as an evaluator, community-engaged researcher, and scholar. Subsequently, Elizabeth worked within the American University in Cairo's graduate programs to actively engage stakeholders, current students, alumni, and community partners in order to inform and improve program design so as to foster and sustain an inclusive, diverse, and equitable environment for students, faculty, staff, and external stakeholders. These hands-on experiences have led to both leading and supporting evaluation efforts both inside and outside Texas State University. Elizabeth hopes to augment these experiences and current responsibilities with the theoretical underpinnings, methodology, and key tenets of evaluation through the MSI Fellowship Program.  

Kunga Denzongpa, PhD, Community-Campus Partnerships for Health (CCPH)

Dr. Kunga Denzongpa is a Data and Evaluation Manager at Community-campus partnerships for health, a non-profit organization that promotes health equity and social justice through partnerships between communities and academic institutions. Her research interest centers minoritized populations, and her current role provides her with the opportunity to liaise community-engaged research between minoritized communities and academic institutions to ensure equitable approaches to partnerships and engagement throughout the research process.

She received her PhD in community health education from University of North Carolina Greensboro (UNCG). Her doctoral training focused on community engaged methodologies where she explored maternal health experiences of refugee women resettled in the United States. She also has taught public health courses such as refugee and immigrant health, global health, public health data analysis, and race ethnicity & health as an adjunct instructor at UNCG. As an instructor, she leveraged her community-engaged research training to contextualize her teaching modules to ensure her students learnt and explored real-time issues in the context of health disparity. 

Dr. Denzongpa is committed to health equity and has 7+ years of experience in Community-based participatory research among culturally diverse communities.

Reynold V. Galope (he/him/his), Metropolitan State University College of Community Studies and Public Affairs

Rey Galope is an Associate Professor in the College of Community Studies and Public Affairs (CCSPA) at Metropolitan State University (Saint Paul, MN), where he teaches program evaluation, policy analysis, economic reasoning, and applied research methods and statistics to public and nonprofit professionals, including data and policy analysts, program evaluators, and social change advocates.

Rey received his Ph.D. in Public Policy from Georgia State University (Andrew Young School of Policy Studies) and the Georgia Institute of Technology (School of Public Policy) as a Fulbright Scholar and his Master of Public Policy (MPP) from the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy of the National University of Singapore (NUS) as a Temasek Scholar. His graduate training in econometrics and quantitative methods influenced much of his prior program evaluation work. His evaluation of the certification and additionality effects of the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program, a federal program that co-finances R&D with promising small businesses, used propensity score matching to improve homogeneity between treated and untreated groups, and his most recent work investigating the impact of online teaching on student learning exploited a natural experiment to make the ignorability of treatment assignment assumption more plausible.

Rey recognizes the limitations of the quantitative approach in establishing and measuring the impact of a government or nonprofit program and aims to broaden his
methods and techniques in policy and program evaluation through the Minority Serving Institution (MSI) Fellowship of the American Evaluation Association (AEA). He is excited to be a part of a special group of program evaluation practitioners and educators who
will be learning together for a year to advance the practice and teaching of Culturally Responsive, Equitable, and Transformative Approach to Program Evaluation.

Rey is optimistic that participating in AEA’s MSI Fellowship will strengthen the content and pedagogy of his program evaluation course at Metropolitan State University and help their graduate students become more mature, well-rounded, and effective program evaluators in their respective communities.

Yiwei Zhang​, University of Nebraska at Omaha 

Dr. Yiwei Zhang is an Assistant Professor at the University of Nebraska at Omaha and teaches social work courses on program evaluation, research methods, and social welfare policy. She received her Ph.D. from Fordham University in social work. Her primary research focus is on child well-being and its association with household and neighborhood factors. She also published on the mental health of parents of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

Dr. Zhang strives to be a community-engaged scholar through her research and teaching practice. She conducts evaluation research for local organizations at the Support and Training for Evaluations of Programs (STEPs), a UNO-based program evaluation institution, with the aim of promoting evidence-based decision-making. She is currently managing a mix-method evaluation project for the Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative Institute on Civic Engagement at UNO to assess the program’s performance according to the grant’s evaluation standards. Dr. Zhang also utilizes the service-learning pedagogy in her program evaluation course to collaborate with human service agencies with limited resources for evaluation. These service-learning projects both address the evaluation needs of those agencies and offer students hands-on experience in evaluation research.