AEA Minority Serving Institution (MSI) Fellowship

The AEA Minority Serving Institution initiative brings a cohort of faculty from MSIs together throughout the 2018-2019 academic year and into the 2018 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 2018-2019 MSI Cohort!

Shetay Ashford, Texas State University

Shetay Ashford is a tenure-track Assistant Professor in the Department of Occupational, Workforce, and Leadership Studies at Texas State University.  Her research agenda primarily focuses on broadening the participation of historically underrepresented minorities and women of color in the STEM workforce through community and workforce development, program design and evaluation, intrapreneurship and entrepreneurship, and cyber learning.  Prior to joining Texas State, Shetay worked for 13 years in the high technology industry as a Technical Trainer, Consultant, and Global Training Program Manager with Fortune 500 multinational corporations (e.g., General Electric, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Dell Computers), which informs my research agenda.  I hold master certificates in project management and evaluation.  Currently, She is the PI of ACCEYSS (Association of Collaborative Communities Equipping Youth for STEM Success), which is funded by the NSF INCLUDES program.

Tiffany Davis, University of Houston

Tiffany Davis, a Clinical Assistant Professor of Higher Education in the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies at the University of Houston, serves as Program Director of the Higher Education Master’s Program. She has taught courses related to administration and finance of student affairs; assessment, evaluation, and research methods; current issues in higher education; postsecondary access and success; and internship experiences in educational leadership. She earned her Ph.D. in Counseling and Student Personnel Services and a graduate certificate in Interdisciplinary Qualitative Studies at the University of Georgia, a master’s degree in College Student Personnel and graduate certificate in Organization Development and Change from Bowling Green State University, and a bachelor’s degree in Human Ecology from the University of Tennessee.

Tiffany is a higher education scholar whose classroom teaching, scholarly work, and professional service broadly focus on issues related to diversity, equity, and inclusion within postsecondary contexts. She has a specific focus on issues that influence college student learning, development, and success that stems from her administrative background across various functional areas in college student affairs: residence life, multicultural affairs, fraternity and sorority life, first year programs, undergraduate research, TRiO Programs, service-learning, and leadership programs.

As a clinical faculty member, Tiffany enjoys much flexibility in conducting research that is collaborative in nature and does not adhere to a strictly defined, single-focus research agenda. Therefore, she has been able to conduct research of interest at various stages of her career and in support of students and colleagues. Thus, she has conducted research related to the experiences of Black male and female NCAA student athletes, the relationship between sexual assault prevention programs and bystander intervention, Black women contingent faculty members, and the socialization of new professionals in student affairs. 

Tiberio Garza, University of Nevada, Las Vegas

Tiberio Garza holds a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology with an emphasis in quantitative methods and bilingual/ESL education from Texas A&M University. His research is interdisciplinary and at the broadest level focused on opportunity to learn among populations of diverse and at-risk students. Dr. Garza is a Research Assistant Professor of Educational Psychology at the University of Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV) and Associate Director for UNLV’s Center of Research, Evaluation, and Assessment (CREA). He is active in conducting federal and state evaluations concerning English Learner academic achievement (e.g., Office of English Language Acquisition [OELA], U.S. Department of Education; Nevada’s Zoom Schools Program) and teaches statistics for UNLV. Prior to UNLV, Dr. Garza served as a regional evaluator for the Texas Department of State Health Services. His interest is the application of advanced statistical analysis to evaluation research and methods. In his position, he works with community, school, and university advocates for the betterment of young students’ lives and motivating them to pursue higher education. He is passionate about utilizing evaluation for helping young people, regardless of language and culture barriers, become resilient and succeed in their life and educational pursuits.

Cynthia Gonzalez, Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science 

Cynthia Gonzalez, MPH, PhD is the Assistant Director of the Division of Community Engagement and Assistant Professor in the College of Science and Health MPH program in Urban Health Disparities at Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science (CDU). Cynthia attended UCLA where she majored in Chicana/o Studies with a minor in Public Health and completed her MPH from USC in Epidemiology and Biostatistics. She received her PhD from the California Institute of Integral Studies in Social and Cultural Anthropology where she engaged interdisciplinary methodology via social ethnography and community based participatory research. Cynthia focused her research in Watts, an inner-city neighborhood in Los Angeles and her hometown, where she aimed to determine quality of life in the area as identified by the residents. Influenced by her Mexican-American heritage and upbringing in Watts, Cynthia is interested in place-based initiatives through community engagement and neighborhood assessments to improve the quality of life in under-resourced neighborhoods. Rooted in a social justice framework and asset-based approach, Cynthia has developed partnerships between community, government, and academia through efforts like the Watts Community Studio and Los Angeles Promise Zone Young Ethnographers Program where she seeks to identify local solutions to local problems in under-resourced neighborhoods via community assessments.

Brianna Lemmons, California State University

Brianna P. Lemmons is an Assistant Professor in the School of Social Work at California State University, Los Angeles. She received her Bachelor of Arts Degree from Spelman College in 2004 and went on to pursue her Master of Social Work (MSW) degree from Howard University School of Social Work in 2006. Upon completion of her MSW degree, she served as an After-School Program Coordinator at Sasha Bruce Youthwork, Inc. in Washington, DC for 2 years prior to returning to Howard University School of Social Work to pursue her doctoral degree, which she completed in 2016. During her doctoral studies, she served as a program evaluator for Concerned Black Men, a national mentoring program for school-age black males. In addition, she also worked in the Department of Research and Evaluation at the Children and Youth Investment Trust Corporation where she took part in efforts to assist grantees in meeting program evaluation goals. She is particularly interested in best practices for teaching program evaluation methods to bachelor’s and master’s social work students and the integration of program evaluation content into social work curricula and practice settings.

Sunny Liu, University of La Verne

Sunny Liu's research and scholarship stems from three strands of her research interests. The first strand is research methodology and longitudinal data analysis with a large-scale dataset. It is her belief that rigor of research methodology is the foundation of any valuable research, and research methodology is the primary focus of her teaching. The second strand of research interests is in the higher educational pipeline and community college. More specifically, she is interested in studying the achievement gap among community college students by focusing on key transitions from high school to college, and from college admission to the completion of a degree, transfer to a four-year university, or employment. Naturally, the third strand of her research interests is educational evaluation and assessment because it combines her first two interests into one. Evaluating the program/policy effectiveness is an integral part of my research. 

Before becoming an Assistant Professor at the University of La Verne, Sunny worked in the research office at a community college where she led an evaluation effort to assess students’ development under three multi-million-dollar federal grants with the purpose to increase the number of Hispanic and other underrepresented students such as veterans attaining degrees in the fields of science, technology, engineering, or mathematics and in the field of teaching. All the grants served the goal to build a stronger educational pipeline by integrating surrounding high schools, colleges, and universities into a community support system. In conducting the assessment projects, she appreciated the pragmatic perspectives of evaluation, the judgment of the evaluation team, and the need to conduct evaluation systematically on top of following the logic of evaluation.

As part of her research agenda after she arrived at University of La Verne, she continued working with the researchers in the community college leadership field to produce research papers that have both theoretical and practical impact. She plans to further collaborate with her colleagues in grant application with the goal to increase research opportunities at community colleges and Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs) by integrating research into the core curriculum and thus expanding the pipeline of Latina/o students in STEM fields. As the essential component of the grant application, evaluation is required to demonstrate the soundness of the design and measures (e.g. the standards and criteria for the measurements), the considerations of sampling and sample size, the rigor of data collection and analysis, the sustainability and capacity of the program, etc. 

Darla Scott, Bowie State University

Dr. Darla Scott currently serves as an Assistant Professor in the School Psychology program at Bowie State University. Darla has over a decade of expertise in instructional design and delivery and STEM program development and delivery.  Dr. Scott conducted her doctoral dissertation on the utilization of culturally relevant pedagogy with African American students at Howard University. Before her tenure at Bowie State University, she has served in an instructional capacity at Delaware State University, Coppin State University, and Howard University.  Prior to her full time academic appointment, Darla Scott served as the Director of Training and Curriculum Development at the Capstone Institute at Howard University. In this capacity, she was primarily responsible for several international professional development, program evaluation, and capacity building educational interventions. Her primary expertise is in instructional design and delivery especially for culturally diverse communities. 

Dr. Scott earned her master’s (M.S.) and doctoral (Ph.D.) degrees from Howard University in Washington, DC.  Darla earned her bachelor’s (B.S.) degree in psychology and sociology at Southern University and A&M College in Baton Rouge, LA.    Originally from the San Francisco bay area of northern California, Dr. Darla Scott currently lives in Washington, DC and enjoys working on writing and research projects with her students. Dr. Darla’s research interests focus on the development of educational equity through inclusive, high quality instructional strategies throughout the American educational system. Currently, Dr. Scott’s program of research focuses on academic risk taking and optimizing transactional instructional practices in the classroom.  She is primarily responsible for designing and implementing the graduate level research methods and program evaluation course in her current position.