#Eval14 Grad Students Reflections Week: Andrea Guajardo on How Graduate Students Can Become More Involved in AEA

My name is Andrea Guajardo and I am the Director of Community Health for CHRISTUS Santa Rosa Health System and a doctoral student at the University of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio, Texas. I have been a member of AEA for exactly one year, and in that year, I was selected for the Minority Serving Institution Fellowship program, elected as the Co-Chair of the Multi Ethnic Issues in Evaluation (MIE) Topical Interest Group (TIG), and functioned as a core planning member of La RED (Latino Responsive Evaluation Discourse) TIG. In addition to these positions within AEA, I have also presented two poster sessions and one paper at AEA2013 and AEA2014.

I would like to use this platform to encourage other graduate students to seize opportunities for professional development afforded by active participation in AEA.   Your graduate education related to evaluation can be tremendously supplemented by creating relationships with experienced evaluators and by providing leadership for groups within AEA.

Hot Tip 1: Become an official member of AEA, join a TIG, and volunteer your time. TIGs are an essential part of the AEA experience both at the annual conference and throughout the year. TIGs are responsible for coordinating the review of proposals in their area of interest and developing a strand of conference sessions at the AEA annual conference, so volunteer help with this process is always appreciated.   TIG membership can help you create relationships with top evaluators and might afford the opportunity to learn about emerging ideas in your field or discipline.

Hot Tip 2: Don’t just attend the annual conference – participate in it. Submit your own evaluation work for a poster, paper, roundtable, or birds of a feather.   Even if your research is in progress, it is still an appropriate occasion to perfect your presentation skills.

Hot Tip 3: Find a mentor. Many experienced AEA members are very willing to provide guidance about how to become more involved and to help map out a path in evaluation at AEA. Their expertise and guidance is valuable as you begin to navigate which activities will benefit you the most in your evaluation career.

Rad Resources: Where do I find more information about joining a TIG or participating in the next annual conference?

For more information about Topical Interest Groups: http://www.eval.org/p/cm/ld/fid=11

For more information about how to submit your evaluation work at AEA2015 in Chicago, Illinois: http://www.eval.org/p/cm/ld/fid=170

We’re celebrating Evaluation 2014 Graduate Students Reflection Week. This week’s contributions come from graduate students of Dr. Osman Ozturgut of the Dreeben School of Education at the University of the Incarnate Word, along with students from other universities. Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to aea365@eval.org . aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

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