GSNE Week: Ayesha Tillman on Graduate Student and New Evaluator (GSNE) TIG Mentorship program

Hello, I am Ayesha Tillman, and I have all but deposited my dissertation for a Ph.D. degree in Educational Psychology with an evaluation specialization from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (Illinois). I along with Rae Clementz, Sarah Wilkey-Gordon, Tiffany Smith, Pat Barlow, and Nora Gannon-Slater are mentors in the Graduate Student and New Evaluator (GSNE) TIG Peer-Mentorship program. I have five mentees located across the U.S. including Louisiana, California, Michigan, Texas, and the Dominican Republic. So far, my participation as a mentor has been an incredibly rewarding and worthwhile endeavor.

Lessons Learned: All of my mentees joined the GSNE TIG peer-mentoring program because they were looking for someone to bounce ideas off of, share experiences with, and someone to give them tips/advice. Below is advice I have shared.

Hot Tip 1: Presenting. AEA, American Educational Research Association (AERA), and the Center for Culturally Responsive Evaluation and Assessment (CREA) are three conferences for evaluators to submit presentation proposals to. If you are uncomfortable submitting a paper, start with roundtable and poster presentations.

Hot Tip 2: Publishing. Publishing in evaluation can be tricky. Evaluation journals (and conferences) do not want submissions about the results of the evaluation. Research on evaluation and reflections on evaluation practice are well suited for publication. For example, the American Journal of Evaluation “explores decisions and challenges related to conceptualizing, designing and conducting evaluations.”

Hot Tip 3: Capacity building. The workshops at the AEA conference, the AEA summer evaluation institute, and AEA eStudies are great professional development opportunities for evaluators. The AEA Graduate Education Diversity Internship Program is an awesome opportunity for graduate students of color and from other under-represented groups who would like to extend their research capacities to evaluation.

Rad Resources:

  • GSNE mentorship program mentees. If you are interested in being a mentee, make sure you are a member of the GSNE TIG. You will receive an email once a quarter with the opportunity to become a mentee. If you are interested in being paired with a GSNE mentor, please send an email to Kristin Woods.
  • GSNE mentorship program mentors. If you are interested in being a mentor, you should have been an AEA member for two or more years and have attended at least one annual conference. If you are interested and willing to be a GSNE mentor, please send an email to Kristin Woods.
  • GSNE TIG Facebook page. The GSNE Facebook group is a great place to connect with other graduate student and new evaluators. We share resources, opinions, advice, and network on Facebook.

AEA is celebrating 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. 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.

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