#Eval14 Grad Students Reflections Week: Denise Ramón on Building Relationships and Enhancing your Network System: Eval2014

Hi! My name is Denise Ramón. I am a doctoral student in education at the University of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio, Texas and work at the Center for Civic Leadership that focuses on civic engagement and leadership. More specifically, I help to connect my university to the community. I am interested in Asset Based Community Development (ABCD).

Lessons Learned: While at the AEA 2014 Denver conference, I attended a session that was of particular interest to me, Altschuld, Hung, and Lee’s Getting Started in an Asset/Capacity Building and Needs Assessment Effort. Two dichotomous philosophical approaches were presented, needs assessment and asset / capacity building (A/CB). One of the main ideas stemming from this presentation was to create a hybrid framework between needs assessment and asset mapping. If evaluation is evolving to be visionary and sustainable, mixing traditional models, such as needs assessments, with newer ideas, such as capacity building and asset mapping, seems rather logical. This way, the best of both worlds can be extracted and can fill each other’s gaps, one can complement the other rather than being at odds. With this innovative notion, more research is needed to see if a model can really be developed and effectively implemented.

Coming to my second AEA conference enhanced my network system. I participated in most of the social events hosted by AEA, such as the TIG social events, the poster presentation session, and the silent auction. Getting to know others in the field gives me confidence to participate in more evaluation activities because I know I can ask for help and turn to other veterans with more expertise. Lesson learned: Jump in to AEA with confidence and an open mind. Reach out to others. Network.

Rad Resource: Using the AEA Public elibrary to find the presentations was so very useful for me. I was able to download the presentations and can now possibly use the document as a reference for my research. I highly recommend using the AEA e-library. You can also upload your own presentation and documents. It is another way to promote your work.

As a doctoral student and novice to the evaluation field, the mere experience of attending the conferences has enhanced my overall learning and understanding of evaluation. Not only have I learned about new resources to tap into, like the e-library, but I have been able to relate newly learned evaluation concepts to other parts of my professional and academic life and research. This has been in part to having made new connections.

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.

1 thought on “#Eval14 Grad Students Reflections Week: Denise Ramón on Building Relationships and Enhancing your Network System: Eval2014”

  1. Great read! I love that you pointed out how when meeting new individuals in your field you realize you can turn to them for advise! Usually it will be the best advice anyone can ever provide, because it comes from real world experience, and when you’ve gained an acquaintance or a friend they give you a straighter form of the truth. The AEA E-Library seems like a fantastic place to access other publications as well as share your own!

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