Over the years, EnCompass has been a strong supporter of the American Evaluation Association Graduate Education Diversity Internship (GEDI) Program, regularly hosting roundtable events and networking discussions for the cohorts. As such, in 2020, we were thrilled to be in a position to host our very first GEDI, Alexandra Mack. Ms. Mack joined our team in September 2020 for a 10-month, hands-on internship, where she concentrated on utilization-focused and culturally responsive evaluation projects.
The GEDI Program provides paid internship and training opportunities during the academic year to graduate students. The program works to support students from traditionally under-represented groups in the field of evaluation. The goals of the GEDI Program are to deepen the evaluation profession’s capacity to work in racially, ethnically, and culturally diverse settings, stimulate evaluation thinking concerning under-represented communities and culturally responsive evaluation, and expand the pool of graduate students of color and other under-represented groups. Ms. Mack was one of only 10 GEDI chosen for the 2020–2021 cohort (cohort 17), selected out of a pool of more than 50 applicants. Out of 25 applicant organizations, EnCompass was one of only 12 hosts selected for the program.
Ms. Mack worked on several projects during her time at EnCompass, including evaluation work with a variety of U.S. Government and nonprofit organizations. Through her work, she had the opportunity to develop matrices and learn more about the participatory data analysis and interpretation processes we use in our practice. For the U.S. Department of State’s Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons Program to End Modern Slavery (PEMS) project, Ms. Mack conducted a gender analysis by examining the program’s implementation efforts from a gender lens. She applied concepts from USAID’s gender integration continuum in combination with criteria that were developed by other experts to frame gender awareness within the PEMS evaluation. During her time at EnCompass, she was also able to attend USAID’s Asia Counter-Trafficking in Persons Evidence Summit: From Evidence to Action and a U.S. Department of State program on The Future of the Anti-Trafficking Movement, as well as other learning events.
As part of her internship, Ms. Mack also worked on the GEDI Group Service project, “The Impact of COVID-19 on the Virtual Experience of Conference Attendees.” Every year, the GEDI cohort commits to conducting a service project that is intended to benefit the evaluation sector. The purpose of the project was to focus on the impact of COVID-19 on the virtual work environment, making connections and networking in the virtual environment, and the digital conference experience. Ms. Mack designed a survey to garner information about participants’ experience during the AEA Eval20 Reimagined Virtual Conference. The findings from the project were presented at the AEA GEDI graduation ceremony on June 15.
Throughout her time at EnCompass, Ms. Mack worked closely with her internship mentor, Lauren Else, as well as many other members of the EnCompass staff. “I could not have asked for a better way to start an internship than to spend time getting to know the incredible individuals that make up EnCompass,” Ms. Mack said. “As my internship has progressed, I had the opportunity to meet even more team members through virtual coffees and various team meetings—growing my appreciation for the EnCompass culture.”
Ms. Mack is a recent graduate of Howard University with a Masters of Social Work (MSW) degree. She plans to focus her career on social work and issues of migration and displacement. “I know for certain I will carry the experiences gained and lessons learned at EnCompass with me throughout my career and life,” she said.
At EnCompass, we are proud to be supporting the next generation of evaluators through our Eval4Action commitments, our scholarship programs with EvalYouth and Washington Evaluators for the EnCompass Learning Center, and our support for the GEDI Program. We are so appreciative of all that Ms. Mack has contributed to our evaluation team, to our clients, and to our lives over these past 10 months. We wish her all the best as she moves on to her next chapter, and we look forward to working closely with the GEDI program in the years ahead.
You can learn more about how to become a GEDI scholar on the AEA website or by emailing GEDI@eval.org. To learn more about EnCompass’ internship and job opportunities, visit our careers and consulting page. Please reach out to our team at email@example.com with any questions.