2018 AEA Awards

AEA offers awards in eight distinct areas to acknowledge outstanding colleagues and outstanding work. Through identifying those who exemplify the very best in the field, we honor the practitioner and advance the discipline. In any given year, there may be no winner or multiple winners for a particular award. Each proposal is judged on its individual merit. 

Congratulations to the winners of AEA's 2018 awards: 

Cindy Banyai, Evaluation and Design Advisor, the Southwest Florida Community Foundation  
2018 AEA Advocacy and Use Evaluation Award

Dr. Banyai has worked in the field of community development since 2000. In 2012, she joined a start-up nonprofit as its first Executive Director to develop the organization’s infrastructure and practice to provide housing and services to homeless families. In 2010, Dr. Banyai founded and served as the Principal Consultant of Banyai Evaluation and Consulting, LLC. She worked with many clients around the world to better understand their effectiveness and impact and to develop practices and processes that raise up the voice of those they wish to serve, paying particular attention to cultural nuance and language barriers.

Dr. Banyai is currently the Evaluation and Design Advisor at the Southwest Florida Community Foundation and teaches in the Department of Political Science and Public Administration at Florida Gulf Coast University. She received the Donald W. Littrell New Professional Award in 2015 from the Community Development Society for her work on regional initiatives at the Southwest Florida Community Foundation and for her commitment to community-based advocacy organizations such as BikeWalkLee. She is currently serving as the President of the Community Development Society and on the team of the Collaborative, Participatory and Empowerment Topical Interest Group organized by AEA.

Nicole R. Bowman-Farrell, President, Bowman Performance Consulting, Evaluator, WI Center for Education Research, University of Wisconsin-Madison
2018 AEA Robert Ingle Service Award

Dr. Nicole Bowman is the president and founder of the nationally award-winning Bowman Performance Consulting (BPC) in Shawano, Wisconsin, and a culturally responsive Evaluator at the University of WI-Madison’s Center for Education Research. She is from the Mohican and Lunaape (Delaware) Tribal community and is Lynx Clan.  Her spirit name is Waapalaneexkweew (wah-pah-lah-nay-wook; Flying Eagle Woman) Neeka ha (knee-kah-ha; she is) Newetkaski (Nah-wet-tah-kah-see; accompanied by) Newa (nay-wah; four)  Opalanwuuk (oh-pah-lun-knee-aye-wook; Eagles).  Waapalaneexkweew Neeka Ha Newetkaski Newa Opalanwuuk is her full name. She’s been a proud resident of northeastern Wisconsin (Packer/Cheesehead Country) for over four decades and happy spouse to David Farrell for almost 25 years.

Dr. Bowman earned her PhD in Educational Leadership & Policy Analysis (ELPA) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison (UW-Madison) in 2015, where she was an Academic Fellow and the first Indigenous woman to get her PhD from UW’s ELPA department and only the 11th American Indian to get a PhD from UW-Madison’s School of Education in over 150 years.  Her dissertation is recognized as the nation’s first multi-jurisdictional educational systems policy study in the country to systemically examine how Tribal and non-Tribal educational policy is developed and implemented. Through her work and networks at BPC and UW-Madison, she provides culturally responsive evaluation, research, and policy subject matter expertise where Tribal and non-Tribal governments and organizations collaborate.  As the president of BPC, Dr. Bowman has contributed over two decades of culturally responsive and multi-jurisdictional evaluation, research, training, and technical assistance.  BPC’s living mission and motto is "working WITH people and not ON them." This ethos has contributed to Dr. Bowman’s reputation as a responsive and respected subject matter expert on multi-jurisdictional, education policy, and Indigenous evaluation.  Dr. Bowman currently represents AEA on the International Work Group and on EvalIndigenous in the EvalPartners' global initiative to connect evaluation efforts around the world and is an evaluation and policy journal reviewer for numerous national and international publications.  She is also a proud Research Affiliate of the Center for Culturally Responsive Evaluation and Assessment (CREA) at the University of Illinois – Urbana Champagne. 

Krista Collins, Director, Evaluation & Insights, Boys & Girls Clubs of America
2018 AEA Marcia Guttentag Promising New Evaluator Award

Dr. Krista Collins is the Director of Evaluation & Insights for Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA) where she is responsible for developing and managing internal evaluation projects and advising strategic initiatives to optimize BGCA’s youth development portfolio. She guides the development and implementation of BGCA’s measurement strategy, and supports delivery of BGCA training programs designed to increase data literacy, data-driven decision making and high quality staff practices among all levels of Youth Development practitioners.  Previously, she worked as an external evaluator, partnering with school districts and non-profit organizations to secure and evaluate federally funded programs (e.g. Race to the Top, Investing in Innovation) that promote outcomes for underserved youth and their communities.  She currently serves on the California Afterschool Network Continuous Quality Improvement Workgroup and Youth Development Directors of Research and Evaluation Collaborative to drive partnership and alignment across the field of youth development to understand best practices that drive positive outcomes.  She holds a doctorate from Claremont Graduate University in Applied Developmental Psychology, and has been an active contributing member of American Evaluation Association, including leadership roles within the PreK-12 Educational Evaluation Topical Interest Group and the Atlanta-area Evaluation Association, since 2007.

J. Bradley Cousins, Professor Emeritus, University of Ottawa
2018 AEA Research on Evaluation Award

Dr. Cousins is Professor Emeritus of Evaluation at the Faculty of Education at the University of Ottawa.  Dr. Cousins’ main interests in program evaluation include participatory and collaborative approaches, use, and capacity building. He received his PhD in educational measurement and evaluation from the University of Toronto in 1988. Throughout his career he has received several awards for his work in evaluation including the ‘Contribution to Evaluation in Canada’ award (CES, 1999), the Paul F. Lazarsfeld award for theory in evaluation, AEA, 2008, and the American Educational Research Association (AERA) Research on Evaluation ‘Distinguished Scholar Award’, 2011. He has published many articles and books on evaluation and was Editor of the Canadian Journal of Program Evaluation from 2002 to 2010. Throughout his career he has had considerable experience with evaluation training and capacity building and collaborative approaches to evaluation.

Stewart I. Donaldson, Executive Director, Claremont Evaluation Center (CEC) Professor of Psychology, School of Social Science, Policy & Evaluation Professor, School of Community & Global Health, Claremont Graduate University
2018 AEA Alva and Gunnar Myrdal Evaluation Practice Award 

Stewart I. Donaldson has conducted numerous rigorous and useful evaluations, and published many scholarly contributions that advance evaluation practice consistent with AEA’s Guiding Principles.  He has provided developmental evaluation, formative evaluation, summative evaluation, and evaluation capacity building services to more than 150 different organizations and has been Principal Investigator on numerous evaluation grants and contracts at the Claremont Evaluation Center. He is a major evaluation practice thought leader as well as distinguished practitioner. His unique and innovative evaluation practice includes creating institutional structures and processes that build the capacity and expertise for evaluators to develop and enhance practice skills and knowledge.

His evaluation practice leadership includes creating and directing the Claremont Evaluation Center (CEC), reinvigorating The Evaluators’ Institute (TEI), directing the AEA Graduate Education Diversity Internship (GEDI) Program, helping build EvalPartners internationally, helping create the United Nations Institute for Training and Research Executive Leadership Program, and developing and leading one of the most extensive and rigorous portfolios of university-based graduate degree and certificate programs in evaluation.  He has taught numerous university courses, professional development workshops, and has mentored and coached hundreds of graduate students and working professionals to learn how to better practice evaluation over the past two decades. 

George Grob
The VOICES Evaluation Team 
2018 AEA Outstanding Evaluation Award

George Grob, President, Center for Public Program Evaluation, LLC, is now celebrating his 50th year as a policy analyst and evaluator. At the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, (now the Department of Health and Human Services), he served as Director, Planning and Policy Coordination, facilitating the development of legislative proposals and policy initiatives to support Secretarial priorities. Later, as Deputy Inspector General for Evaluations and Inspections, he supervised some 800 evaluations relating to policy and management. Since retirement from Federal service he has continued to evaluate policy advocacy programs in fields like tobacco control, housing, homelessness, and obesity. Today he is accepting this award on behalf of the Voices for Healthy Kids evaluation team. The team included more than a dozen senior evaluators from Johns Hopkins, Harvard, and Portland State universities, as well as Synthesis Professional Services, Inc., Barker Bi-Coastal Health Consultants, Inc., and the Gretchen Swanson Center for Nutrition. This was truly a team effort. Grob believes that very few people have been as lucky as him in his professional relationships.

Voices for Healthy Kids (VOICES) is a multiyear collaboration of the American Heart Association (AHA) and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RW JF) to improve children’s health by preventing childhood obesity. VOICES provides leadership and support to policy advocacy groups to convince state legislators, mayors, and Councils of large metropolitan cities to adopt policies (legislation, regulations, and management initiatives) prevent obesity. Examples are removal of junk food and beverages from schools and the promotion of physical activity. Policy makers in states and localities where VOICES advocates were active had enacted 127 legislative, regulatory, or management policies as of February 14, 2018. Their work continues to this day.

Melvin Hall, Professor, Educational Psychology, Northern Arizona University
2018 AEA Robert Ingle Service Award

Dr. Hall completed his B.S., and PhD, degrees at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign in Social Psychology and Educational Psychology respectively; and M.S. in Counseling at Northern Illinois University. During a forty plus-year professional career in higher education, Dr. Hall has served in four successive appointments, as an academic dean, comprised of positions at Florida Atlantic University, University of California-Irvine, University of Maryland at College Park, and most recently Northern Arizona University (NAU).  At NAU, Dr. Hall served as Dean of the College of Education and additionally was the principal investigator on two five-year US Office of Education GEAR UP grants providing dropout prevention programs and services to thousands of middle and high school students throughout Arizona. 

Returning to full-time faculty life in 2002, Dr. Hall has melded teaching and scholarship in Educational Psychology with responsibility as co-principal investigator on five-years of National Science Foundation support for the Relevance of Culture in Evaluation Institute. For several years, Dr. Hall served on the American Evaluation Association (AEA) Standing Committee on Diversity, initiating the association’s published statement on the importance of Cultural Competence in the field of Program Evaluation. In 2013, Dr. Hall began a three-year term as an elected member of the AEA Board of Directors.

Nick L. Smith, Professor Emeritus, School of Education, Syracuse University
2018 AEA Paul F. Lazarsfeld Evaluation Theory Award 

Dr. Smith is Professor Emeritus in the School of Education at Syracuse University. He received a PhD in Educational Psychology in 1975 from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Having taken his first evaluation position in 1973, he has worked in evaluation for over 45 years. Dr. Smith has served in numerous editorial and consultant positions, is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association and the American Educational Research Association, and was President of the Evaluation Network in 1980, and President of the American Evaluation Association in 2004. Dr. Smith’s research is in the areas of evaluation theory and applied methods of evaluation and social research. He is the author, co-author, or editor of numerous publications, including Smith, N. L. & Brandon, P. R., (Eds.). Fundamental Issues in Evaluation. New York, NY: Guilford, 2008.

Anne T. Vo, Assistant Professor of Clinical Medical Education; Director of Educational Research, Keck School of Medicine of University of Southern California
2018 AEA Marcia Guttentag Promising New Evaluator Award

Dr. Vo is Assistant Professor of Medical Education and Director of Educational Research at the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California. She contributes to understanding how evaluation can be better practiced and how this knowledge can be leveraged to drive change. As an evaluation scholar-practitioner, Dr. Vo has conducted program evaluations of academic support programs for students from disadvantaged communities; social interventions that are designed to address the pressing needs of current and former foster youth; leadership training programs for international educators working in politically challenging environments; social enterprises that have been tasked by private investors to demonstrate global social impact; and community-based organizations that serve those suffering from stigmatized health conditions such as HIV and obesity.  

Dr. Vo’s work has been disseminated in the form of invited lectures, workshops, peer-reviewed publications, and presentations at universities, evaluation societies, and medical conferences across the country. She serves as Editor of the American Journal of Evaluation’s section on Teaching and Learning Evaluation; Co-Chair of the Research on Evaluation Topical Interest Group; founding Co-Program Chair of the Health Professions Educational Evaluation and Research Topical Interest Group; and Chair of the Southern California Evaluation Association.


The 2018 AEA Awards will be presented at Evaluation 2018 on Friday, November 2. You can purchase tickets ($55) online or at registration.