Graduate Education Diversity Internship Program Directors

The American Evaluation Association is pleased to announce the new Host Institution and Directors for the Graduate Education Diversity Internship (GEDI), Dr. Rodney Hopson (George Mason University, Program Director) and Dr. Brandi Gilbert (Urban Institute, Co-Director). As Program Director, Dr. Hopson (with support from Dr. Gilbert), will be responsible for overseeing the curriculum, facilitating evaluation training, and serving as a mentor to the GEDI scholars.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.


Dr. Rodney Hopson, Program Director, University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign

Dr. Hopson serves as Professor of Evaluation in the Department of Educational Psychology, College of Education, University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign. He received his Ph.D. from the Curry School of Education, University of Virginia with major concentrations in educational evaluation, anthropology, and policy, and sociolinguistics. Dr. Hopson served as the 2012 President of the American Evaluation Association.

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Dr. Brandi Gilbert, Program Co-Director, Community Science

Brandi is a Managing Associate at Community Science in Gaithersburg, MD. Her work has primarily focused on evaluations of a range of disaster preparedness and response, education, and public health initiatives. She earned her Ph.D. in sociology from University of Colorado Boulder and was formerly an intern in the GEDI program in 2007. Dr. Gilbert has served as chair of the American Evaluation Association Disaster and Emergency Management Topical Interest Group from 2012 to 2014.


Saúl I. Maldonado, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Dual Language and English Learner Education at San Diego State University; research associate at the Center for Equity and Biliteracy Education Research; and principal investigator of the Developing Effective Bilingual Educators with Resources Project (funded by the United States Department of Education). Maldonado investigates the intersection of language, literacy and K-12 achievement using techniques such as propensity score matching and multi-level modeling on surveys, assessments, and observation protocols. A member of the GEDI familia (SANKOFA, 2012-2013), Maldonado’s evaluation experience includes contributions to programs and initiatives for school districts, county offices of education and federal agencies. Maldonado collaborates with colleagues on Formadores de Docentes Binacionales, a binational teacher preparation consortium of institutions of higher education and state departments of education.

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Hazel Symonette, Program Development & Assessment Specialist Emerita, is an Evaluation Researcher & Facilitator at the Wisconsin Center for Education Research—the LEAD Center (Learning through Evaluation, Adaptation and Dissemination) and the Wisconsin Evaluation Collaborative at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.  She also serves as Social Justice Educator with the UW First Wave Hip Hop and Urban Arts Program.

Her work focuses on capacity-building strategies using multi-level assessment/evaluation processes to advance a diversity-grounded and equity-enabling personal transformation, organizational development and social justice change agenda. That work undergirds her long-standing involvement in creating authentically inclusive and vibrantly responsive teaching, learning, living and working environments that are conducive to success for all.

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Ananya Tiwari is a doctoral candidate in educational psychology at the University of Illinois, Urbana – Champaign. She uses developmental psychology to study Socio-emotional (SE) skills at the intersection of poverty and gender. She is the recipient of the Illinois Innovation Prize 2020 and the Illinois International Achievement Award 2019.