Tips for Navigating Evaluation 2017 Education by Education Team Member Lauren Lawson

It’s finally feeling like fall in the DC area, which can mean only one thing…Evaluation 2017 is right around the corner!  My name is Lauren Lawson and I am a member of the AEA education team.  I’ve worked for AEA since 2013, and manage the educational content (sessions) for the annual conference and Summer Evaluation Institute, as well as oversee all online learning including Coffee Breaks, eStudies, and Lunch Hours.

Since Evaluation 2017 is less than two weeks away, I thought I would take a minute today to share a few tips for maximizing your conference experience.

Hot Tip: Mobile App

With over 800 sessions and 4,000+ attendees, figuring out what to attend and who to network with can be overwhelming.  In advance of arriving in DC, I suggest downloading the mobile application* for the conference and creating a user profile.  After downloading the app, you can search sessions by TIG, speaker, or keyword, and by creating a profile, you can connect with similarly-minded people.  You can also save sessions to your personal agenda which should make navigating the conference a bit simpler when you arrive. The mobile app invitation is automatically sent to all registered attendees.

Hot Tip: Know the Session Types

Familiarize yourself with the various session types.  For example, ignite presentations are short 5-minute presentations with automatically advancing slides.  There are 10+ speakers organized into each ignite session and there are five of them during the conference.  There are also roundtables, demonstrations, panels, and more!

Hot Tip: Take a Break

Recognize that you don’t have to attend every possible session.  The conference days are long, so take a break and remember that missing a session here or there to connect with colleagues over a cup of coffee is a good reset!  Plan your agenda to see what matters to you, but don’t forget to take a step back to digest what you have learned.

Hot Tip: Meet the AEA Staff

Lastly, please reach out and introduce yourself to the AEA staff.  We will be at registration, at the info desk, helping direct people, and checking on speakers throughout the conference.  We would love to get to know you and hear what you think of the conference.  It’s always nice to put a face with an e-mail address!  I look forward to welcoming all of you to our hometown soon.

*The app invitation email also has a link to a web-based version if you do not have a smart phone.


Lauren Lawson is Senior Manager of Education and Learning Services for AEA.  She attended James Madison University and currently resides in Richmond, Virginia with her husband, Brian, 9-month-old daughter, Abby, and Bernese Mountain Dog, Harper.

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.

1 thought on “Tips for Navigating Evaluation 2017 Education by Education Team Member Lauren Lawson”

  1. Hello

    I would like to know what is the difference between a Review of the program vs. Evaluation of the Program?

    example of each would be greatly appreciated.


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