Category Archives: Event

Member Spotlight – Nida Rinthapol

Nida ImageEducation:

University of California Santa Barbara

Ph.D. Education with emphases in Cultural Perspective and Comparative Education and Quantitative Methods in Social Sciences.

M.A. Education

B.A. Psychology

What is your current position(s) and what do you do?

I am currently teaching research method courses in the Department of Child and Adolescent Development at California State University Northridge. I am also serving as a Co-Chair in the data and analytics workgroup within the Southern California Evaluation Association (SCEA) where I manage and maintain membership information, develop various surveys, and compile reports to support the SCEA with data and analyses to inform planning and decision making within the organization.

What led you to the field of evaluation?

My dissertation committee member, Dr. John T. Yun, the former director and founder of University of California Educational Evaluation Center (UCEC) got me involved in the field of evaluation. By participating in the UCEC during graduate school, I learned and developed skills and interest in the field. That was where I met Dr. Anne T. Vo who was also a graduate student working for the center at the time. Dr. Vo is now serving as a Chair for the Southern California Evaluation Association (SCEA).

What has been your favorite moment in your career so far?

At University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), where I was the Associated Director for Data Resources, my colleague Kelly Wahl and I worked on evaluating grading practice and its impact on student academic success. We found that criterion-referenced grading (i.e., assigns grades without curving) promotes learning and minimizes achievement gaps in school. With this knowledge, we aimed to encourage faculty and educators to incorporate this way of grading into their teaching practice.

Moments like that made me recognize the power of research and evaluation in the context of school reform.

What motivates you at work?

My students. I love seeing how their eyes light up when they talk about their research interest or when they finally understand difficult course concepts that they had been struggling with. The opportunity to mentor and also learn from my students, their interests, aspirations, and goals continue to motivate me as an educator.

If you could give advice to young professionals in evaluation, what would it be?

Networking. Networking. Networking. I can’t stress that enough. It does not have to be something formal like academic presentations or workshops. At SCEA, we offer many opportunities to network with fellow local evaluators in Southern California through happy hours, and other local gatherings (we have academic workshops and professional panels too!).

What are your favorite resources for evaluators?

American Evaluation Association (AEA) website ( is probably the most well visited site among evaluators. I personally would recommend other evaluators not to forget resources near you such as your employer, professors, or colleagues. Most of my opportunities have come from those that I have already known.

What do you like to do in your free time?

I am fascinated by the real estate market in Southern California. I started investing in real estate after graduate school, and I often check out different listings online during my free time and go to open houses on the weekends. The nerd and entrepreneur in me have developed evaluation rubrics in assessing values and returns as I come across each property.


News from the SCEA Evidence-Based Policy Making Panel Event

On Friday, August 17, 2018, the Southern California Evaluation Association (SCEA) co-hosted an Evidence-Based Policy Making Panel Discussion with the Claremont Evaluation Center (CEC) as part of their Professional Development Evaluation Workshop Series. A panel of four evaluation professionals discussed emerging issues and strategies for supporting evidence-based decision-making in organizations. These individuals included Leslie Fierro (Claremont Graduate University), Nick Hart (Bipartisan Policy Center), Andrew McEachin (RAND Corporation), Stephanie Shipman (U.S. Government Accountability Office, retired).

The event was held in person at Claremont Graduate University and broadcasted as an online webinar with over 50 attendees participating worldwide. Panelists shared their thoughts and experiences on the perceived nature of evidence, its uses and non-use in decision-making processes, and how evaluators can translate the implications of federal expectations to practice across different contexts. Panelists also shared their tips on on finding creative ways to engage policy makers who are not interested in reading lengthy journal articles or reports, finding ways to broker knowledge, and explaining the importance of evidence to policy makers.

A big thank you to our great panelists and to everyone who attended in person or online.

Stay tuned for more SCEA events! We will be hosting another event in the fall. If you are not currently an SCEA member, become a member here.

SCEA Event: Evidence-Based Policy Making Panel Discussion on August 17

Please join us for an expert panel discussion on Friday, August 17th from 12:15pm-1:15pm in Claremont! This event is free and is co-sponsored by the Southern California Evaluation Association (SCEA) and the Claremont Evaluation Center (CEC) as part of the CEC Professional Development Evaluation Workshop Series. Our panelists will discuss emerging issues and strategies for supporting evidence-based decision-making in organizations.

Panelists will include:

  • Leslie Fierro, Ph.D., Claremont Graduate University
  • Nick Hart, Ph.D., Bipartisan Policy Center
  • Andrew McEachin, Ph.D., RAND Corporation
  • Stephanie Shipman, Ph.D., U.S. Government Accountability Office (Retired)

Join the online webinar or come in person to meet others in the evaluation community.

Please click here to register for the event or enter the following address in your browser:

Details on location, parking, and virtual meeting information will be emailed to those who register.

Have questions, comments, or concerns? Email

Thank you, and we look forward to seeing you then!
Miriam Jacobson
Astrid Hendricks
SCEA Events and Community Engagement Team

SCEA Flyer_8.6.18

News from the SCEA Board Retreat

On July 13th, SCEA held their annual board retreat. The group discussed the organization’s mission statement, work accomplished this past year, and short and long-term goals. We are excited about the upcoming year! 

Planned are professional development events, networking opportunities, and recruitment of additional SCEA board members. We are eager to expand the work of SCEA to offer evaluators in our community more opportunities for learning and collaboration. 

Interested in getting more involved with SCEA? We are currently seeking volunteers. For more information, please contact Anne Vo at You can read more about our current board members here.

Thanks to all our members for being involved — we look forward to seeing you at future events!

SCEA Event Recap: Data Visualization 101 for Evaluators (April 28, 2018)

On April 28, SCEA organized and facilitated an event focused on data visualization at WeWork in Hollywood. The topic came from our members, who indicated on a membership survey in 2017 that this was an area of professional interest. Two groups of presenters shared their expertise with us: Stephen Maack and Arlene Hopkins (GIS and Evaluation), and Alma Boutin-Martinez and Hilary Molina (Infogram and Tableau). It was a great time of learning and networking! Special thanks to Laura Keene for offering us a venue at WeWork to host our event.


Data visualization resources identified as useful by our presenters:

It was great seeing old and new faces. We hope to see you at our upcoming event in August! More information to come soon.

RSVP for the Data Visualization 101 for Evaluators event on April 28!

Join us on April 28, 2018 from 1:30 – 4:00 pm in Hollywood for our event “Data Visualization 101 for Evaluators”! We have an exciting program that will feature two groups of presenters. They will discuss the use of data visualization techniques, such as GIS, Tableau, and Infogram, in their evaluation work.

Click here to RSVP!

1) Overview of GIS in Evaluation
Stephen C. Maack and Arlene Hopkins
DBA REAP Change Consultants

About the speakers:

Dr. Stephen C. Maack, Owner and Lead Consultant of REAP Change Consultants, has a Ph.D. in Anthropology with a specialty in Social Change.  He became interested in Geographic Information Systems (GIS) around 1978 when he was working as a City Planner at St. Paul (MN) City Planning.  He first had a colleague run a GIS process (geocoding) while liaison for the City of St. Paul to the U.S. Census Bureau during the 1980 census. He has watched the field grow from highly specialized programs run only on mainframe computers to a variety of specialized but accessible application available on multiple platforms, including laptops, with multiple uses.  He finally learned to program in ArcView by ESRI, the major commercially available GIS software, in 2002/2003 when he took GIS courses at Rio Hondo College and has offered computer mapping services through his firm since about 2004. He facilitated a workshop on GIS and Anthropology in 2005 and between 2009 and 2012 he and Arlene Hopkins offered a workshop at AEA Annual conferences titled “Introduction to GIS and Spatial Analysis in Evaluation”.  He, Ms. Hopkins and Aaron Wilson Kates are offering two half-day workshops titled “Computer Mapping (GIS) Applications in Evaluation” at the AEA 2018 Summer Institute in Atlanta on June 19, 2018.

Arlene Hopkins, Principal of Arlene Hopkins and Associates, is an architect, evaluator and educator.  Among her public service roles, she presently serves on the Board of the Santa Monica Public Library.   As a member of the Resilience Thematic Group of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), Graduate Women in Science, American Evaluation Association, American Library Association and the California Native Plant Society, among others, she maintains a trans-disciplinary approach to thinking boldly – and with an empirical basis, about how we need to adapt and innovate our cultural systems to both regenerate ecological systems and the equitable commons.  GIS is an essential tool for this work. She regularly attends ESRI conferences, and she has taken courses in GIS at Santa Monica Community College in Santa Monica, CA. She co-facilitated the AEA Annual conference workshops titled “Introduction to GIS and Spatial Analysis in Evaluation” between 2009 and 2012. She will be co-facilitating the half-day workshops titled “Computer Mapping (GIS) Applications in Evaluation” at the AEA 2018 Summer Institute in Atlanta on June 19, 2018.

About the presentation:

GIS is an underused technology in evaluation, with only two articles about it published in the American Journal of Evaluation.  It has most frequently been used in public health and environmental program evaluation. While many people are now familiar with Google Maps and the use of computer maps for navigating around cities and across the country with the help of the related Global Positioning System (GPS) technology, few understand how GIS can be used in evaluation.

During this brief overview presentation attendees will:

  • Hear a brief explanation of how GIS works;
  • Learn about several of the selection and analysis features of GIS software that make it a potentially powerful software tool in evaluation;
  • Hear how GIS can be used in program and policy evaluation for needs assessment, visualizing spatial relationship of disparate data, combining data from program and secondary sources, showing data correlations, mapping changes over time, tracing networks, displaying evaluation results, statistically testing evaluation results, and combining quantitative and qualitative data;
  • Gain a knowledge of specific examples of GIS uses in health, public safety, social services, fiscal/economic, environmental, education and other program and policy evaluations.   

2) Survey Data Visualizations Using Tableau and Infogram
Alma Boutin-Martinez and Hilary Molina
Fielding Graduate University

About the speakers:

Dr. Alma Boutin-Martinez is the Senior Institutional Research Analyst at Fielding Graduate University. In this role, she provides data and analyses to support program evaluation, institutional and program accreditation, learning assessment, and institutional decision-making to advance the university’s mission. She has created dashboards in Tableau that examine strategic enrollment management and alumni survey data. She has also used Tableau to present diversity and inclusion survey data. Before joining Fielding Graduate University, she conducted educational program evaluation research on the multi-campus UC online program. She also worked closely with Mosaic Network, Inc. to investigate how the Grant Evaluation and Management Solution (GEMS) system was used at the Partnership for Children of Cumberland County (PFC), and the degree to which participants perceived that it was improving the efficiency and outcomes for PFC. She earned a Ph.D. in Education from the Gevirtz Graduate School of Education, University of California, Santa Barbara. She has published research on parental engagement, literacy, academic intrinsic motivation, and resilience.

Hilary Molina, M.S currently works for Fielding Graduate University as the Director of Alumni Relations. She is responsible for the planning and implementation of university-wide strategic initiatives that engage alumni and provide tangible benefits to graduate and current students. Hilary’s experience in data analysis and evaluation began during her graduate work at California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo. Her thesis research focused on the quantitative analysis of statewide exercise testing protocols and test results for firefighters, which was later used to propose California state standards. PowerPoint was the norm for static data visualization presentations at this time and when she transitioned into account management, she honed her skills in data analysis and professional presentations during her time in title insurance. It was not until Hilary began working in higher education with large-scale data that creating data visualizations became an integral part of her work. Her most recent alumni survey data continues to drive strategic planning for the university. Her office works closely with the institutional research department to develop, administer, and analyze alumni survey data. With the use of programs such as Infogram, Hilary has evolved her alumni survey data presentations into more dynamic and interactive demonstrations based on the audience and platform (e.g., print, PowerPoint, Prezi, website embedded, virtual)

About the presentation:

This presentation will examine data collected from the Fielding Graduate University Alumni Relations Survey. This presentation will include survey results disaggregated by program, alumni demographics, and describe how visualizations were created using Tableau and Infogram.

During this presentation, attendees will:

  • Obtain a brief overview of Infogram and Tableau;
  • Understand when it is best to use a bar graph, pie chart, and line graph;
  • Review the Data Visualization Checklist created by Stephanie Evergreen and Ann Emery;
  • Gain knowledge of best practices when creating dashboards; and
  • Understand how data visualizations created with Infogram and Tableau were used to inform decision making and evaluation.

SCEA April 28 2018 Event_Data Viz 101

Michael Quinn Patton on Evaluation Science: How Knowledge is Validated, How the World is Changed, and How Nobel Prizes are Awarded

Don’t miss Michael Quinn Patton’s webcast lecture, “Evaluation Science: How Knowledge is Validated, How the World is Changed, and How Nobel Prizes are Awarded.”

The event will be held at the Albrecht Auditorium at Claremont Graduate University on Thursday, April 12 at 4:00pm.

The lecture is also available as a webcast. Sign up here!