GSNE TIG Week: What Happens After Grad School and After “New Evaluator” Status Ends? by Maddison Staszkiewicz

This week, AEA365 is hosting GSNE Week with our colleagues in the Graduate Student and New Evaluators AEA Topical Interest Group. The contributions all this week to AEA365 come from our GSNE TIG members. We hope you enjoy! -Liz DiLuzio, Lead Curator

Hi! My name is Maddison Staszkiewicz, and I am the Chair for the Graduate Students and New Evaluators Topical Interest Group. I became involved in the TIG a few years ago, when I was both a graduate student and new evaluator. Since then, I have finished graduate school, changed jobs, and am reaching the end of the standard “new evaluator” period, approximately five years by most definitions. This is not a unique experience, and I have seen members of the GSNE TIG complete this phase of their career. We will all face professional identity changes throughout our careers, and through the nature of being a graduate student or new evaluator, these are identities that we will each eventually outgrow. So where does that leave us?

Many of my peers have written this week about what it means to be an evaluator, how to know if graduate school is right for you, and many other tips and tricks. In addition to these resources, be sure to check out the GSNE Resource page. However, for those of you that are in a similar position to me, in a position of transition, I want to recognize this shared, sometimes uncomfortable, experience and offer the following advice and resources.

Rad Resources:

  • Face Imposter Syndrome – This is a common experience, and a blog from 2020 from Kimberly Castelin on imposter syndrome provides many helpful tips on facing imposter syndrome head on. You don’t need to deal with this experience alone!
  • Publishing your work – This post from 2019 by Dr. Elizabeth Oyer offers insight into whether an organization wants to publish their evaluation work, but consider it from a personal lens as well. Is there anything you could leverage from course work? How can you use existing work to gain experience submitting publication proposals?
  • Job searching – Regardless of how you entered into evaluation or whether you have a formal education, there will likely be a time when you look for new job opportunities. These tips from Dr. Kavita Mittapalli are geared towards finding your first job, but they apply broadly as well.
Get involved!

Find a local affiliate, get involved in TIG leadership, attend conferences, or find other opportunities in the evaluation community. As formal curriculum comes to an end after graduate school or the newness of entering the evaluation field wears off, having already established avenues to engage with others and continue to build your practice will result in great returns.

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 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators. The views and opinions expressed on the AEA365 blog are solely those of the original authors and other contributors. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of the American Evaluation Association, and/or any/all contributors to this site.

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