Plenary Presentations 

The 2018 Presidential Strand Plenaries will feature in-depth keynote presentations that focus on this year’s theme: Speaking Truth to Power. These sessions have been organized by AEA President Leslie Goodyear and her Presidential Strand program committee to create a lively and critical conversation about the role of evaluators and evaluation in Speaking Truth to Power.

Speaking Truth to Power: What Does It Mean for Evaluators and Evaluation?

Wednesday, October 31

3:15 p.m. – 4:15 p.m.  
Leslie Goodyear

Over the past year, “speaking truth to power” has been used to describe actions as various as marching in protest, testifying to Congress, writing judicial opinions, hash-tagging on social media, making jokes at a gala dinner, and more. With deep roots in social justice movements, and multiple conflicting interpretations, when evaluators invoke the phrase, what do we mean; for whom; under what circumstances; and for what purposes? Join AEA president Leslie Goodyear for an exploration of the conference theme and reflections on its implications for evaluators and the field of evaluation.

American Grit

Thursday, November 1

9:15 a.m. – 10:15 a.m.
Brooke Haycock

Weaving quantitative data with narrative drawn from more than 300 interviews with youth, educators, and leaders from higher education, business, and industry, American Grit whips into a fever pitch a 100-year-old debate in education about the very role of secondary schools in America and what — and whose — children need to succeed. This docudrama follows cousins Deja and Darnell out the high school doors and deep into a post-industrial America, exposing the fault lines in the rhetoric of college and career readiness “for all” that swallow too many students and shake the very foundation of American Prosperity.

Equity in Action: Innovative Strategies to Build Culturally Responsive Evaluation Capacity Among Access to Justice Interventions

Friday, November 2

9:15 a.m. – 10:15 a.m.
Aurora Martin and Miguel Willis

How do we measure dynamic change and concurrent goals of equity, inclusion, and innovation for next generation social impact? Two projects set out to create learning communities and nextgen training programs with a triple bottom line set of goals: digital experiential learning; inspire and deliver digital innovation; and creation of cultural values for a new community of social change makers.

Access to Justice Tech Fellows – How do we evaluate this legal innovation fellowship program aimed at disrupting the delivery of legal aid across America?

Rural American Digital Lab – How do we evaluate #nextgen community building and social innovation in rural America?

Youth Voice in Evaluation: The Power of Participation, Perspective, and Practice

Saturday, November 3

12:15 p.m. – 1:15 p.m.
Katie Richards-Schuster and Bianca Montrosse-Moorhead

Participation is a fundamental right and a necessity for speaking truth to power. Deliberate and full stakeholder inclusion is a guiding principle within the evaluation community and in many global human rights declarations,  and yet, too often youth voice is left out of many evaluation efforts. This panel will focus on the power of including and engaging youth voice in evaluation.  Drawing on the expertise and voices of young people who have been engaged in evaluation work in both national and global contexts, this plenary will explore:

  • What it means to deliberately and meaningfully include youth in and through the evaluation process?
  • What practices are needed to authentically engage youth voices?
  • How youth voice shifts power within evaluation in national and global settings?

Regardless of our work contexts, these questions and answers are important and necessary to address as evaluation works to explore power and inclusion of youth voice.


Celia C. Soto

Celia Soto is a student at College of Lake County (Fox Lake, Illinois) where she is studying business and marketing. She was a 2015 Freedom Fellow of the Chicago Freedom School (CFS). At CFS, Celia also served as a three-year member of the Youth Leadership Board and the Evaluation Team. In addition, Celia leads workshops on self-care and LGBTQ issues.

Ana Amaya 

Ana Amaya is senior at Pathways in Education, planning to study psychology and sociology.  Ana is a 2015 Freedom Fellow at the Chicago Freedom Schools (CFS), a 2016 CFS Youth Leadership Board member, and a 2017 CFS Campaign Coach for Healthy Communities. Currently, Ana is a leader on the CFS Youth Evaluation Team and the Cricket Island Cohort. In addition, Ana co-facilitates workshops on Identity, Power and Oppression (IPO), Adultism, and Healing Justice for youth organizers.  Ana also works at two other organizations that focus on young people’s rights in schools and health care provider offices, and using art as a way for healing, expression and storytelling.

Jordan Scrimger

Jordan Scrimger is a senior in the Honors Program at Central Michigan University studying for her B.A. in Sociology with a concentration in social and criminal justice and Spanish. On campus she is a Resident Assistant, is involved in research regarding revenge porn legislation nation-wide and its impacts on the justice process, and is currently working on a capstone project surrounding gentrification and institutional racism in the city of Detroit. She has been a member of the Metro Youth Policy Fellows since her freshman year of high school. With her passion for policy analysis and local communities, she is applying to graduate school programs at the intersection of public policy and social work. 

Abhijay Kumar

Abhijay Kumar is 2018 graduate from Johns Hopkins University, where he completed his B.S. in Molecular and Cellular Biology and minored in Spanish for the Professions. He currently works as a research lab technician in the Lawlor Lab at Michigan Medicine, where he studies Ewing sarcoma, a pediatric bone cancer. He also coordinates a youth fellowship program on diversity and social justice with the University of Michigan School of Social Work. Abhi has been a member of Metro Youth Policy Fellows since his sophomore year of high school. Both a pre-medical student and a staunch advocate for youth, he plans to apply to medical school to become a pediatric specialist.

Qudratullah Jahid

Qudratullah Jahid is a Monitoring and Evaluation Specialist with work experience in international development and with the Government of Afghanistan. He is the Secretary of EvalYouth’s Global Mentoring Program and Board Member of the Afghan Evaluation Society. He is a current Fulbright scholar studying MA in International Development at Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts.