LEARNING

AEA Graduate Education Diversity Internship (GEDI)

    GEDI Interns 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. Meet the 2017-2018 GEDI Cohort!


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    Estivaliz Castro is pursuing a masters degree in public health at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Estivaliz is passionate about partnering with communities of color to build healthy and thriving neighborhoods. Her background lies in evaluating violence intervention programs and in workforce development for returning citizens. For fun, Estivaliz enjoys trying new food, exploring her neighborhood, and walking as much as possible. 

    Webp.net-compress-image (6).jpg Taylor Darden is a third-year in the Community Psychology Ph.D. program at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. She received her M.A. in Counseling Psychology from Towson University and her B.A. in Psychology (with a minor in Spanish) from the University of Dayton.  Her research and professional interests center on how social determinants (e.g., racial discrimination, SES, gender, etc.) impact health inequities and other social issues in marginalized communities, such as African-Americans and those from low-income backgrounds. She strives to expand her research skills to include evaluation to help ensure programs and policies made for these populations are culturally responsive.

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    Kelly N. Giles is pursuing her doctorate degree in Sociology at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Her research centers the intimate, sexual and romantic lives and experiences of African-American women to better understand how they redefine, reconstruct and renegotiate their ideas about love, dating, sex and intimacy during their mid-30s to mid-50s. Kelly has a BA from the City University of New York (CUNY), Baccalaureate for Unique and Interdisciplinary Studies Program (CUNY BA) with concentrations in Sociology and Gender. As a GEDI intern, Kelly will be working at the Northeastern University Public Evaluation Lab (NU-PEL).

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    Rachel Johnson is currently a PhD student in the Department of Educational Policy Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her research is largely driven by her experiences as a Black mother and interest in K-12 education. She’s studied Black parents' experiences in traditional schools as well as an African American Immersion school. Her current research focuses on all-Black learning spaces that operate outside of mainstream school systems. As a parent, scholar, and advocate, Rachel has served on family-community engagement teams and school leadership teams, encouraging input from Black families in school decisions and advocating for support for Black students.

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    Natasha McClendon is a third year doctoral student in the Educational Policy Studies, Social Foundations program at Georgia State University. She has pursued her interest in evaluation through her work on an APLU grant funded project on social justice and student success. She has also conducted  qualitative analysis of educational assessments for the Black Leadership Kitchen Cabinet in Santa Clara County, CA.

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    Esther Nolton is a second year PhD student at George Mason University—specializing in Exercise, Fitness, and Health Promotion and Research Methodology. Her primary research interests are in disparities in access to healthcare services and education; social determinants of health; and measurement methodology. Her evaluation-related interests are in policy implementation evaluation and developmental evaluations. She is currently coordinating a project funded by the Virginia Department of Health and CDC regarding concussion management policy implementation. As a GEDI scholar, Esther will be working at the National Science Foundation (NSF) in Alexandria, Virginia with the Office of Integrative Activities

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    Veeta Nowell currently serves as the Director of Community Engagement for the City of Chicago and works to increase civic participation by organizing community events and providing city services. Prior to the City, she worked for the Respiratory Health Association as a TB Research Coordinator where she was employed under a contract awarded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that was dedicated to the elimination Tuberculosis. Today, she is a PhD candidate at National Louis University expanding her knowledge and research skills.  Ms. Nowell is a native Chicagoan currently residing on the south side. 

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    Stephanie Renteria Perez is a second-year Master of International Administration at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies, University of Denver. Prior to grad school, Stephanie worked at the Goleta Boys and Girls Club for two years as the Program Director where she would plan programs on different issues for low-income students. Stephanie is interested in exploring children’s human rights and access to education in small towns in Mexico. Currently Stephanie works with the Direct Action Team in Denver, in which she helps day laborers recuperate stolen wages through protests, small claims court or calling campaigns. 

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    Breauna Marie Spencer is a third-year Ph.D. student studying Sociology at the University of California, Irvine. Ms. Spencer received her undergraduate degrees in Sociology and Education Sciences and M.A. degrees in Sociology and Demographic and Social Analysis from the University of California, Irvine. Furthermore, her research agenda is tailored to increasing the number of underrepresented minority (URM) students and women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) degree programs at both the undergraduate and graduate level. As a doctoral student, her current scholarship focuses on the academic experiences of Black, Latino and White enrolled in STEM doctoral programs. As a GEDI intern, she will be working with WestEd. 

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    J. Alexander Watford is a fourth-year doctoral student in the Psychology and Social Intervention program at New York University's Steinhardt School. He graduated from Morehouse College with a B.A. degree in Psychology. His current research explores how a school's ethnic-racial climate can shape Black and Latino adolescents' ethnic-racial identity development and academic outcomes. Alex comes to the GEDI program deeply invested in the broad goal of promoting positive youth development in contexts commonly considered "at-risk". As a GEDI scholar, he will be working with the American Museum of Natural History to streamline the evaluations of their multiple youth development programs.

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    Jade Wong is a doctoral student at the School of Social Service Administration, the University of Chicago. Before moving to Chicago, Jade lived in Sydney, Australia, where she worked as a social outcomes evaluator. Her research focuses on the processes of evaluating, including the technical, moral, and politico-economic dimensions of evaluating, how individuals enact and deploy their role as evaluators in everyday evaluation practices, and how evaluation shapes our understanding of people, programs, and social problems. Through the GEDI program, she will be working alongside community-based evaluators at the University of Illinois Chicago’s Cancer Institute.