Dig Deep, Have Impact
Clients consistently say that they gain insights that help them dig deep. They are confident about the quality; it's careful and thorough. They know that my passion for making a difference in people's lives undergirds our work and helps them take actions that have impact. What follows are examples of past projects: one large, one medium, and one small.
An initiative in STEM education, led by a consortium, had several components well underway and delivering services. For one component, however, the road was built, yet almost no one drove it. The consortium needed to know why and what changes to make, if any.
I developed focus groups, in collaboration with the consortium, to evaluate the needs of the target audience and the design of the component. The responses indicated that the target audience was situated and content, and that no amount of encouragement, services, or money could entice any away.
The client chose to cease recruiting from the target audience, attach the component to another already existing program, and reroute funding to another objective.
A faculty designed an undergraduate research experience (URE) to expose students at a primarily Hispanic university to careers and graduate studies in sustainable agriculture. The client not only wanted to craft a study about developmental changes the students experienced, but also to understand the value students felt they gained from participating in the project.
I adapted existing measures to the context of the project and developed new ones. In addition, I carried out interviews with students and surveyed mentors to assess the project's value.
The client gained publishable research that contributes to knowledge about UREs in agroecology as well as evidence in support of similar projects in the future.
A researcher with education and experience in engineering ventured into a study of how people become better innovators. Suddenly, knowledge about building materials and physics didn't matter. The project required the eyes and ears of a social scientist.
I observed the study in action; perused the instruments, procedures, and tools for analysis; and uncovered similar studies for comparison.
The client gained an understanding of the language and reasoning of social science. She made adjustments to her study and incorporated human processes, not just materials and design. She discovered similar, previously unknown, research to reflect on.