AEA Graduate Education Diversity Internship Program (GEDI)
The American Evaluation Association welcomes applications for its Graduate Education Diversity Internship Program that provides paid internship and training opportunities during the academic year. The GEDI program works to engage and support students from groups traditionally underrepresented in the field of evaluation. The goals of the GEDI Program are to:
- Expand the pool of graduate students of color and from other underrepresented groups who have extended their research capacities to evaluation.
- Stimulate evaluation thinking concerning underrepresented communities and culturally responsive evaluation.
- Deepen the evaluation profession's capacity to work in racially, ethnically and culturally diverse settings.
Interns may come from a variety of disciplines, including public health, education, political science, anthropology, psychology, sociology, social work, and the natural sciences. Their commonality is a strong background in research skills, an interest in extending their capacities to the field of evaluation, and a commitment to thinking deeply about culturally responsive evaluation practice.
The Internship: Building on the training content described below, the interns work the equivalent of approximately two days per week at an internship site near their home institutions from approximately September 1 to July 1. The interns may work on a single evaluation project or multiple projects at the site, but all internship work is focused on building skills and confidence in real-world evaluation practices. Interns receive a stipend of $10,000 in recognition of their internship work based on completion of the internship and satisfactory finalization of program requirements, including any deliverables due to the host agency, progress reports, and reflections on the internship experience.
Training and Networking Components: It is assumed that students come to the program with basic qualitative and quantitative research skills. The GEDI Program then works to extend those skills to evaluation through multiple activities:
- Fall Seminar. An two to three day intensive seminar provides an orientation that expands the student's knowledge and understanding of critical issues in evaluation, including thinking about building evaluation capacities to work across cultures and diverse groups. The interns complete a self-assessment in the Fall, clarifying their own goals during program participation.
- AEA Annual Conference. Interns will spend a week at the American Evaluation Association annual conference. While there, they attend (a) pre-conference workshops selected to fill gaps in their knowledge and skills, (b) conference sessions exploring the breadth and depth of the field, and (c) multiple networking events to connect them with senior colleagues. The interns also conduct a small-service learning project in the form of an evaluation of one component of the conference.
- Winter Seminar. A three-day seminar, held in January or February, provides the students with additional training, coaching on their evaluation projects, and panel discussions with evaluation practitioners working in a range of contexts.
- Evaluation Project. Interns will have the opportunity to provide support to an agency's evaluation activities in close proximity to their graduate institution. Interns will provide three updates on their evaluation project activities as part of the internship program, describing and reflecting on the application of their evaluation knowledge to /the actual project activities.
- Monthly Webinars. The students gather each month for a two-hour webinar to check in on evaluation projects and site placements, add to existing skill-sets, and learn from invited guest speakers.
- AEA Summer Evaluation Institute. The program ends with attendance at the Summer Evaluation Institute held in Atlanta each June. There, students once again connect and finalize project reporting, attend training workshops, and participate in a graduation ceremony.
Specific Support Mechanisms: Interns are supported by colleagues at school, at their site placements, and within the sponsoring association:
- An Academic Advisor. The academic advisor at the Intern's home institution supports and coordinates coursework and other activities, while helping to integrate the internship program with the student's plan of study.
- A Sponsoring Agency. Students generally are matched with sponsoring agencies near their graduate institution that provide the opportunity to perform evaluation activities compatible with students' research interests and skills.
- Supervising Mentor. A colleague at the host site with evaluation experience acts as a guide and mentor throughout the program.
- GEDI Program Leadership. GEDI Program Director and AEA Past-President Dr. Rodney Hopson is an experienced evaluator. Working with a cadre of colleagues, he and Co-Director Dr. Brandi Gilbert oversee the curriculum and site placements. Throughout the internship the leadership are available to guide, advise, and support the interns in achieving their professional goals and the goals of the program.
- AEA Staff Support. AEA staff provides logistical support throughout the internship. Post-internship, they work to connect program graduates with opportunities for leadership, participation, and networking within the association.
- Online Community. The GEDI cohort uses an online community space for checking in, turning in updates, asking questions, and informal networking.
Student Benefits: Interns receive support from advisors and mentors, quality training focused on evaluation, real-world work experience, registration waivers and guidance at two/three professional evaluation conferences, and multiple opportunities for professional networking. In recognition of the time involved in the program (approximately 2 days per week), each intern also receives a stipend and is reimbursed for major travel expenses related to the program (airfare and shared hotel specifically).
Eligibility: We seek students who are not already enrolled in an evaluation program/specialization or pursuing an evaluation degree who:
- Are enrolled in a masters or doctoral-level program in the United States and have completed the equivalent of one full year of graduate level coursework;
- Are residing in the United States;
- Have already been exposed to research methods and substantive issues in their field of expertise;
- Demonstrate via written essays the relevance of evaluation training to their career plans and their commitment to culturally responsive practice;
- Are eligible to work for pay in the United States outside of an academic environment (non-U.S. citizens will be asked to provide documentation of current eligibility); and
- Have support from his/her/their academic advisor.
Criteria for Selection: The interns will be selected based on their completed applications, materials provided, and subsequent finalist interviews focusing on:
- Their thinking around and commitment to culturally responsive evaluation practice;
- The alignment between their skills, aspirations, locale, and internship site placement needs;
- The quality of their academic, extracurricular, and personal experiences as preparation for GEDI; and
- Their capacity to carry out and complete the program, including support from an academic advisor
- One of the goals of the GEDI Program is to expand the pool of graduate students of color and from other under-represented groups who have extended their research capacities to evaluation. Briefly describe how you meet the eligibility requirement of being a graduate student of color and/or historically underrepresented.
- A letter of reference from a professional reference at your home institution who agrees to serve as an academic advisor during this internship process and who can speak to your qualifications for the internship program.
- Individual essay prompts. Each response should be no less than one page double-spaced and no more than two pages double-spaced. Please submit responses in a single word processing file with all four answers and include your full name at the top.
- How do you foresee the relevance of the evaluation internship program in your current and future work or career aspirations?
- What coursework and/or experience have you had to date related to conducting research?
- In what ways do your background, studies, and work/life experiences prepare you to think about and employ culturally responsive evaluation practices?
- How would you describe your ideal work environment?
- A 2-3 page vitae including a list of professional organizations with which you are affiliated