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Every few months, MNEA highlights a student member entering the field of evaluation. It's a great way to make connections and reach out to other members! If you are interested in signing up for the Student Spotlight, email Tom Wade ( or Kayla Gross (

Spring 2021: Doris Espelien (she/her)

Program: University of MN, Evaluation Studies

Expected Graduation Date: 2026

Thesis/Dissertation Topic: Evaluator education

Areas of interest and or expertise: neurodiversity DEI, accessibility of evaluation as a tool, formal and informal evaluator education, the psychological and anthropological study of evaluators themselves

Available for full/part-time contracts

Contact info:

P: 703-310-8268

What is your favorite thing about evaluation?

"I think evaluation is the closest thing you can get to a “right” answer in the social sciences. It’s a powerful tool for understanding what you’re seeing, probing and examining the nuances of a program/policy, and guiding decisions for improvement. It’s an equalizing means by which people can ensure that they’re doing what they mean to be doing, justify that to others, and critically appraise their own work."

Who are your evaluation role models?

"I’m a huge fan of Donna Mertens, John LaVelle, Hallie Preskill, David Fetterman, and Abraham Wandersman, for their humanizing of stakeholders and devotion to inclusivity."



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Minnesota Evaluation Association

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Twitter: @mnevaluation

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