Curator’s note: While Saturdays are usually reserved for posts from our aea365 team, we made an exception for our GEDI scholars as there were exactly 7 in the cohort and all had excellent posts to contribute.
I’m Kisha Porcher, an alumna of the GEDI program’s 12th cohort, Funtunfunefu Denkyemfunefu (Unity in Diversity). I am a doctoral candidate at George Mason University, focusing on urban teacher preparation and accountability. I am currently an education consultant in New York City.
As a GEDI scholar, I interned at two sites, Education Development Center and Westat, which was a first in the program. I was also a full time program coordinator, doctoral student, and yoga instructor. For students applying to become a GEDI scholar or for any evaluator seeking work-life balance, I offer some advice.
Lesson Learned: Add to your plate only what contributes to your goals. As a GEDI scholar, I had no prior evaluation experience and I wanted preparation for the evaluation I would conduct as a program coordinator. When I applied for the program, I knew that it would not only build my evaluation expertise, but also ensure that I understood what an equitable evaluation looked like. Many thought I was crazy for adding an internship opportunity to my already full plate but I knew that the only way I could prepare myself was to get some help. Keep your goals in mind, and move towards them.
Lesson Learned: You will bend, but you will not break if you communicate effectively. My two sites were on opposite ends of the town. My supervisors were human; they knew that I had a lot on my plate so they provided the opportunity to work remotely on occasion. This flexibility might not have been available if I didn’t communicate effectively. Graduate students want to put our best foot forward and ensure that our work is the best representation of who we are. However, we can’t escape the woes and realities of life. Communicate with your supervisors and team members often so that can produce your best work.
Lesson Learned: You are your own best thing. Even with all of your work, don’t forsake self! I began my journey practicing yoga because I knew that I was so caught up in my career that I didn’t take time for myself. I have learned that you cannot be the best asset to your career if you are not taking care of yourself. I am beyond thankful for the mentors around me that encouraged me to take it one day at a time, or to do something that makes me smile.
I realize this is not your normal post, but students and professionals must look at the realities of balancing many things to ensure that we can be the best evaluators.
Rad Resource: Drexel offers good ideas to assist you on your work-life balance journey.
The American Evaluation Association is celebrating Graduate Education Diversity Internship (GEDI) Program week. The contributions all this week to aea365 come from AEA’s GEDI Program and its interns. For more information on GEDI, see their webpage here: http://www.eval.org/GEDI 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.