SCEA Member Spotlight: Jacob Schreiber

Jacob_SchreiberName: Jacob Schreiber

Education:
California State University, Long Beach – Master of Arts in Applied Anthropology
University of California, Irvine – Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Social Behavior

What is your current position(s) and what do you do?
I am currently a Research/Evaluation Analyst in the Department of Medical Education at the Keck School of Medicine of USC (KSOM). In this role, I support the Director of Research and Evaluation to shepherd student and faculty projects towards presentation and publication. I also track the completion of research/evaluation projects, coordinate research/evaluation workshops and meetings, analyze and write reports, and disseminate those reports to various stakeholders throughout KSOM.

What led you to the field of evaluation?
I took a program evaluation course as a component of my master’s program at CSULB. I enjoyed the applied aspect of the field. I knew that I wanted to do something that made a difference, and to me the most important way to do that is to ground decision-making with data and facts. Although I don’t have a formal background or degree in evaluation, I enjoy that it brings many different disciplines together to solve real-world problems.

What has been your favorite moment in your career so far?
I am conducting a longitudinal qualitative study of student feedback of the medical school curriculum over a four-year period. When I presented preliminary findings to our leadership, they were impressed by the methodology and surprised by the detail of the results. Working in a medical school with primarily MD’s and life scientists, it has been rewarding to show them how social research can be used to effect decision-making.

What motivates you at work?
Hearing how much the students appreciate what our office does, and that they can see changes based on the feedback they provide us is a big motivator. With my background in Anthropology, I also enjoy knowing that the research I do effects the way that training is conducted at medical schools to produce doctors that are treating the whole person: taking cultural, socio-economic, and personal experience into consideration when treating their patients in the future.

If you could give advice to young professionals in evaluation, what would it be?
As a young professional in evaluation, myself I’m somewhat hesitant to offer too much advice. But if you are still in school, I’d recommend building your skillset as a mixed-methods analyst. I have found that being open to taking on a variety of responsibilities that are sometimes outside of my training, and being able to interact with people from other disciplines to understand their theoretical perspectives and methods has been a key to growing in the field. If you are in the market for an evaluation job, I recommend being persistent and getting creative with your search strategies. There are great organizations hiring people with evaluative skillsets that aren’t necessarily posting a position for an “evaluator.” That was something I learned after graduating with a degree in Anthropology, which is a discipline with skills that fill many organizations’ needs, but you will rarely see in a job title. I think that can apply to many of the social sciences.

What are your favorite resources for evaluators?
In my opinion, AEA remains the best resource for evaluators, and their job boards were where I found my current position. I think that it’s also important to keep in touch with related disciplines, so I still follow trends at the American Anthropological Association and the American Psychological Association.

What do you like to do in your free time?
I’m a big nerd who loves to play Dungeons & Dragons and video/board games. I also enjoy listening to and collecting records, seeing live music any chance I get, and singing karaoke.

SCEA will be posting member spotlights every other month on our website. Stay tuned to learn more about SCEA members and check out our events page for ways to connect with other local evaluators.

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