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Letter from the MNEA President: Alissa Jones

19 Feb 2024 8:39 AM | MNEA admin (Administrator)

Dear MNEA Community, 

I hope you are sliding into 2024 with renewed energy and a positive outlook for all this year has in store for you! I am Alissa Jones, the 2024 MNEA president. Before I dive into MNEA updates, I’d like to share a little bit about myself. Firstly, in my free time I love to snuggle with my senior dog (Moxie), read, and play Sudoku- the latter of which are usually done in conjunction with the first. I am a doctoral candidate in organizational leadership, policy, and development with a focus in evaluation studies at the University of Minnesota. My research focuses on reflexivity and how its use in evaluation can address social justice issues. I work full-time and hope to defend in the fall and officially focus on only work-life harmony. I started my dream job two years ago as the Associate Director of Operations at Wilder Research, a division of the Amherst H. Wilder Foundation. In addition to leading our central operations for research and evaluation team, I enjoy working with clients on data-informed strategic plans and supporting our culturally responsive and equity-focused work. I describe myself as “someone that takes their work seriously, but does not take themselves seriously”. Now, enough about me, let’s get to MNEA!

MNEA Board Updates

A big SHOUT OUT to our outgoing 2023 board members, Elizabeth Taylor-Schiro (Past President) and Spectra Myers (Communications Co-Chair)! Thank you for your gifts of leadership, talent, and time!

A huge WELCOME to our new board members: Jennifer Aranda (Communications Co-Chair), Ashley Estrella (Membership Co-Chair), Molly Illes (Program Co-Chair), Ivory Love (Student Representative), and Kylie Nicholas (President-Elect). Looking forward to doing amazing things with you all!

An enormous THANK YOU to our continuing board members: Carolina De La Rosa Mateo (Communications Co-Chair), Molly O’Connor (Past President), Robin Phinney (Secretary), Veronica Seifert (Membership Co-Chair), Sam Stork-Post (Treasurer), and Ava Yang-Lewis (Program Co-Chair). Couldn’t be happier to continue this journey with you. Buckle up!

Please check out our board member bios to learn more about the wonderful people serving MNEA! 

Lastly, it’s never too early to consider joining the MNEA board in 2025! Elections will open in fall 2025. Check out the board member descriptions and reach out to MNEA ( if you have questions!

What can you expect from MNEA in 2024? 

We are still getting our loons in a row, but here is a glimpse of what you can expect:

  • Our programmatic addition this year is Hot Pocket Topic! I will facilitate this monthly series, which  provides members with an opportunity to ask questions and share perspectives/experiences about current evaluation-related topics. Content for these meetings is sourced from AEA365 posts, evaluation blogs, and from members like you! The first event will be held on February 29th and focuses on Artificial Intelligence (AI). Sign up here to join! If you want to learn more about AI, check out Introduction to Chat GPT4 provided by The Evaluators’ Institute at Claremont Graduate University, March 28-29.

  • Molly O’Connor will continue to host Making Connections events aimed at community-building.

  • We will get together at AEA’s Amplifying and Empowering Voices in Evaluation 24 in Portland, Oregon. We will aim to find a time that works well between October 23-25. There’s still plenty of time to consider submitting a proposal (deadline is March 22)!

  • We’ll close the year with an in-person end-of-the-year celebration and a virtual annual business meeting. 

Our programming aims to meet your needs and interests, so please consider suggesting a topic or volunteering to speak or host an event.  Keep an eye on your inbox for event invites or checkout upcoming events on the MNEA website.


MNEA has experienced a drop in membership after the free COVID-19 free membership was discontinued, and we now have approximately 340 members. We have raised the professional and organizational membership by $10, and student membership continues to be $10 a year. We are also offering a community-funded membership, which is available for 10 members experiencing financial hardship and/or interested in learning about evaluation. Check out our membership prices and benefits and encourage your colleagues to consider joining MNEA!

Thank you for continuing to support MNEA, and I look forward to seeing you at an upcoming event!


Alissa L. Jones

MNEA President 2024



AEA affiliate 
since 2004

Minnesota Evaluation Association

P.O. Box 581114,

Minneapolis, MN 55458



Twitter: @mnevaluation

MNEA is a 501(c)6 organization 

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