Going into undergraduate studies, I knew that I wanted to take what I learned to help people. I didn’t know exactly how or what it would look like at first, but the more I learned the more I knew I wanted to provide direct services to those who lack access and resources. To gain experience, I interned at a wonderful family services organization. It had a thoughtful and committed staff and was well funded. From the outside, it seemed like there wouldn’t be any problems with serving the community.
However, it wasn’t long before I saw that we kept hitting roadblocks while implementing programs for families. It was frustrating to say the least. We seemingly had all the tools needed to be successful, but I, along with other staff, felt like we could be doing more. We just didn’t know what to do or how to do it. After some time, I realized that I wouldn’t last long doing what I was so sure I was meant to do. My frustration with not understanding what wasn’t working within this organization paired with my (surprising) love of research methods and statistics led me to want to research the processes and effectiveness of programs that provide direct services to people to help organizations better serve their communities. Turns out I wanted to be a program evaluator, something I didn’t even know existed.
Flash forward to today and I am a Research Assistant at EVALCORP doing what I now know is what I am meant to do. I am not only learning about consulting and an applied approach to research that stretches beyond what I learned in school, but I am also gaining knowledge about education, substance abuse, health, criminal justice, mental health, and other public services sectors. I look forward to continuing to grow as a program evaluator and learn from our intelligent team and partners to positively impact our communities.