Sheila B Robinson on Perspectives from First-Time #Eval14 Attendees

Hello! I’m Sheila B Robinson, aea365’s Lead Curator and frequent contributor with a woman-on-the-street (well, woman lurking in conference room) report from first time attendees at #eval14.

This afternoon, I caught up with participants from Presenting Data Effectively: Practical Methods for Improving Evaluation Communication.

Tanya Hills, Evaluation Manager with the USTA Foundation wanted to learn more about technology to better display data she has to report. “I wanted to learn more about different options for graphs and charts.” She shared that she learned a lot of useful and applicable information about how to visually present data using visual learning theory.

Tanya decided to take full advantage of professional development sessions and is looking forward to Evaluation-Specific Methodology and Leading Through Evaluation later this week. Like many attendees, she chose sessions based on their descriptions.

Tanya downloaded the new conference app and is interested in using is as a networking tool. “I’m excited about being among a group of people who have similar interests who are excited about data and are trying to make a positive impact on the world.”

Next, I met Diane Mashburn, Instructor for Program Planning, Evaluation, and Accountability at the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture. Before I could even ask her impressions of the workshop, she shared a “small world” story with me. Diane sat at a table with Mark Parman, Evaluation Outcomes Measurement Specialist of the Cherokee Nation. Conversing about bookstores and restaurants in California, Diane and Mark discovered that Diane was born in the same town as Mark’s wife. They then figured out that Mrs. Parman graduated high school with Diane’s mother and Mark remembers having been at their house in years past! Talk about networking!

Diane chose today’s workshop because she’s in charge of federal reporting. “I’m new in the position so I’m always looking for ideas for how to present all the data I’m in charge of collecting.” As for what she’s learned thus far: “I have so many ideas I’m going to have to make a priority list for what I’m going to tackle first!”

To choose sessions for the rest of the week, Diane found the TIG most closely related to what she does – the Extension Evaluation TIG – and decided to attend a number of their sponsored sessions. She started with the online catalog, but then downloaded the conference app to add more to her schedule.

As for networking, she jokes, “There’s no telling who else I might meet who knows my family!” She’s excited about professional networking, too. “I’ve already met a couple of other people that do extension work. I can tell that networking will be really good with this conference.”

Stay tuned this week for more #eval14 action!

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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