STEM TIG WEEK: Engaging Others, Engaging Ourselves: Lessons from across the STEM Learning Sector by Karen Peterman and David Sul

Hello! We are Karen Peterman ( and David Sul (, the outgoing and current Chairs of the STEM Education and Training TIG. Until last year, our TIG had a small and active leadership team and we met as a larger community at the annual meeting. The pandemic changed that.  Today’s blog, and those that follow as part of STEM TIG Week highlight some of our responses to the pandemic and to the conference going virtual in 2020. Not a STEM evaluator? We think the approaches presented this week are applicable to non-STEM evaluators and other TIGs. Let us share with you how our STEM TIG members are doing their share to advance the field of evaluation!

Rad Resource

Is it too egotistical to say the rad resource is the STEM TIG itself?!? Maybe so…but we’re going to try it anyway.  

In May 2020, we started hosting happy hour events. These started out as themed conversations, but we quickly realized that people just wanted and needed to be as “together” as possible, and so the format shifted (and continues to this day) to be totally informal. It is simply a time to congregate and talk evaluation (or not!) in small groups. If you are looking for some camaraderie, join us! Our next happy hour event is in July. Register here to attend.  

After George Flyod’s murder, the TIG leadership team had several conversations about how we as evaluators are complicit in the racism that is inherent in the systems in which we work. These conversations felt powerful and important, and so we started a Discussion Series. In 2020, we hosted two events that focused on topics related to equity, inclusion, and broadening participation in STEM. You can check our archive of past discussions and see what’s coming in 2021 at the link. 

Rad Resource

The discussion series culminated in a discussion with Veronica Thomas about her new book, Evaluation in Today’s World. You can find the recording of the conversation on the Discussion Series page of our web site. This book is a great resource for those interested in thinking critically about the role that evaluator’s play in the world and strengthening both evaluator’s intentionality and their practice. 

While 2020 and 2021 have left much to be desired, the strengthened connections we have made through the STEM TIG stand out as silver lining. We have found new ways to engage one another, and had new conversations about how to engage stakeholders and communities in meaningful ways. This week’s blog posts were originally submitted as sessions for the 2020 conference. We present them here to give this work voice across the AEA and to exemplify lessons learned by our community about engagement across the broad range of contexts that make up the STEM education landscape. 

The American Evaluation Association is hosting STEM Education and Training TIG Week with our colleagues in the STEM Education and Training Topical Interest Group. The contributions all this week to aea365 come from our STEM 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. 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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