Current Evaluation Ph.D. Students


Silvana Bialosiewicz

Silvana holds a BA in Psychology and Applied Statistics from Sonoma State University, a MA in Psychology from Claremont Graduate University, and is working towards a PhD in Evaluation and Applied Research Methods with an additional emphasis in Applied Developmental Psychology. Her professional goal is to help social programs, particularly those for at-risk urban youth, achieve optimal results through the design and implementation of rigorous, collaborative, theory-driven evaluations. Her current research focuses on developmental sensitivity and best practices in youth program evaluation. Her interests also include evaluation capacity building, non-profit evaluation, positive youth development, mixed methods research design, and teaching. Silvana is a Senior Research Associate and Project Manager at the Claremont Evaluation Center and Dr. Tiffany Berry’s research lab manager. Her current evaluation projects focus on afterschool programs in the greater Los Angeles area.

Susana Bonis

Susana Bonis holds a M.A. in Education from American University and is a doctoral student in psychology, and is seeking a Ph.D. with a co-concentration in evaluation and applied research along with organizational behavior. Her research interests include evaluation capacity building and evaluation practice and use in nonprofit organizations and philanthropic foundations. She is particularly interested in how evaluation can be used to strengthen grassroots organizations serving low-income people and communities of color. She is English/Spanish bilingual and biculturate and much of her work centers on Spanish-speaking communities in Los Angeles, the Central Valley of California, the Yakima Valley of Central Washington State, and Mexico. She has worked with nonprofit organizations for over 10 years, and for the U.S. Department of Education for 5 years, and often serves as a consultant in the areas of grant writing, strategic planning, and program evaluation.


Matt Galen

Matt received his B.A. in Psychology from Drew University and his M.A. in Positive Organizational Psychology and Evaluation from Claremont Graduate University (CGU). He is pursuing a doctoral degree in the Evaluation and Applied Research Methods program at CGU. Matt works to improve organizations’ evaluation effectiveness and efficiency, reduce their evaluation costs, and improve their evaluation quality. Matt recently worked with the Empowerment and Development Centre (EDC) of South Africa to develop a monitoring and evaluation system for the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), a large economic development program of the African Union. He has also recently consulted for the Vwa Ayiti (Voice of Haiti) organization to assist with their evaluation of water-treatment facilities in rural Haiti. Matt has also helped with coordinating an international monitoring and evaluation e-learning program for the popular website, in collaboration with the Rockefeller Foundation and UNICEF. Matt’s other recent projects include: an evaluation of the Getty Leadership Institute’s Museum Leadership program, in-depth analyses of relevant grantee indicators and outcomes for the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, and developing data efficiency mechanisms for the Lucile Packard Foundation for Children’s Health. He has also served as the project manager for several evaluations of programs intended to improve retention of underserved student populations within the University of California, Riverside. Matt was a recent recipient of the Larry and Jane Rosen Fellowship, and received an award for the transdisciplinary study of Cross-Cultural Knowledge Management at CGU. He is the current chair of the Theory-Driven Evaluation and Program Theory Topical Interest Group of the American Evaluation Association (AEA), after serving as the co-chair in 2011-2012.


Charles Gasper

Charles Gasper comes to CGU with a M.S. in psychology and in addition to being a doctoral student with an emphasis in Evaluation and Applied Research Methods, he also holds a Certificate of Advanced Study in Evaluation from CGU. Charles has previously worked in the area of health care delivery quality management as well as conducted evaluations in the educational and health care arenas. He currently serves as the Director of Evaluation for the Missouri Foundation for Health where he is responsible for oversight of the evaluation efforts for all of the Foundation's funding programs. Nationally, he serves as Co-Chair of the Nonprofits and Foundations TIG of the American Evaluation Association and is often invited by other foundations and professional groups to speak on topics related to evaluation.  His research interests focus on improving engagement in evaluation by organizations, its linkage to organizational learning, and how this affects organizational sustainability.


Jeanette Gurrola

Jeanette Gurrola is currently working towards a doctorate in psychology with a concentration in Evaluation and Applied Research Methods. Her research focuses on evaluator competencies and bridging the gap between evaluation theory and practice. Her educational background includes a B.A. in Economics and an M.A. in Demography and Social Analysis, both received from the University of California, Irvine. In addition, she is in the process of completing a certificate program in higher education assessment through the Assessment Leadership Academy, sponsored by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. She joined Claremont Graduate University in 2006 as the Institutional Research Officer.


Elena Harman

Elena received a B.S. in Brain and Cognitive Sciences with a minor in Political Science from M.I.T., and is currently pursuing her PhD in psychology with an emphasis in Evaluation and Applied Research Methods at CGU. Prior to starting the program, Elena was an internal evaluator at the Colorado Health Foundation where she helped to develop and implement a framework to evaluate the cumulative impact of the Foundation's grant portfolio. Her current research at CGU focuses on developed new and innovative methods for evaluation and applied research, with an emphasis on how crowdsourcing can be used in evaluation. In addition, Elena is an active external evaluation consultant. She runs a small consulting firm based in Denver, CO and works as a part of team of Claremont evaluators on an experimental evaluation of a pregnancy prevention program in Los Angeles.


Lara Hilton

Lara Hilton earned a B.A. from UC Berkeley in Sociology (Phi Beta Kappa), a M.P.H. from UCLA School of Public Health in Community Health Sciences, and she is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in psychology with an emphasis in Evaluation and Applied Research Methods at CGU. Her academic research pursuits are in the areas of evaluation capacity building and application of evaluation theory to program evaluation. Since 2000, she has been at RAND Corporation as a research methodologist specializing in health policy, evidence-based practice medicine, complementary, alternative, and integrative medicine, military health and program evaluation. She also holds a co-appointment at Samueli Institute. She is currently coordinating a large scale, multi-site RCT on effectiveness of chiropractic care for non-surgical low back pain, conducting program evaluations of integrative medicine clinics that treat chronic pain and PTSD, and soon will begin a project exploring the context of the alternative medicine health care encounter with an aim to develop context measures.


Miriam Jacobson

Miriam has a B.A. in Neuroscience and Psychology from Brandeis University and is in the doctoral program in Evaluation and Applied Research Methods at CGU. She is currently evaluating a wellness program for adults with disabilities at Casa Colina Centers for Rehabilitation, managing a multi-site evaluation of two language arts curriculums, and is involved in research on public perceptions of evaluation findings. Her research interests include programs for children with special needs, credibility of evidence, and the use of mixed methods.


Samantha Langan

Samantha holds a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and a M.A. in Health Behavior Research and Evaluation from Claremont Graduate University (CGU). She is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in psychology with an emphasis in Evaluation and Applied Research Methods at CGU. Samantha’s research and evaluation interests include studying the collective impact of large-scale initiatives and social change programs, stakeholders’ experiences with and use of evaluation, and evaluation capacity building. Samantha is currently working through the Claremont Evaluation Center with a variety of organizations (City of Hope, Project GRAD GEAR UP, etc.), the majority of which aim to help disadvantaged youth increase their social-emotional competencies and thrive academically. She is also working at Claremont McKenna College’s Kravis Leadership Institute (KLI), where she helps evaluate their undergraduate programs and conducts research with KLI staff and students.


Bret Levine

Bret earned his B.A. in Cognitive Psychology from the University of California, Irvine, and his M.A. in Organizational Behavior from Claremont Graduate University. Currently, Bret is a doctoral student studying Evaluation and Applied Research Methodology at Claremont Graduate University. Bret has worked at Pitzer College as an institutional researcher for over 2 years. He is also the current project manager for an evaluation of the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services (LAC DHS). His academic pursuits include politics in evaluation, theory of evaluation, and sports analytics.


Albertina Lopez

Aly has been trained in psychology and philosophy at the undergraduate level gaining her B.A. at San Jose State University. She is currently progressing in her studies toward a doctorate in psychology with dual concentrations in Evaluation & Applied Research Methods and Organizational Behavior. Her dual concentration reflects her interest in building evaluation capacity at the organizational level to contribute to effective decision-making and organizational effectiveness. More specifically, Aly’s research focuses on how evaluation is used in philanthropic foundations to increase evaluation capacity of grantee organizations and to contribute to organizational learning within the foundation. Additionally, Aly was the recipient of the 2012 Oskamp Fellowship award. She currently works in the Claremont Evaluation Center on program evaluations and applies her knowledge of evaluation and organizational behavior in the institutional research department at CGU (i.e., the Office of Institutional Effectiveness).

Sarah Mason

Sarah holds a B.A. in Political Science/International Relations, an M.A. in Development Studies and a Graduate Diploma in Early Childhood Education. She has seven years international development experience and has worked with non-profit organizations across South and South-east Asia, primarily in the education, media development local government sectors. Sarah is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Psychology with an emphasis in Evaluation and Applied Research Methods. She is currently working through the Claremont Evaluation Center on an evaluation of the City of Hope Science Education Partnership program. Sarah's research and evaluation interests include evaluation influence, communication in evaluation and methods for conducting evaluations in insecure and remote environments.


Nicole Porter

Nicole holds a B.A. degree in Psychology, and Leadership and Organizational Studies from Chapman University, and a M.A. degree in Psychology with a co-concentration in Positive Organizational Psychology and Evaluation from CGU. She is currently pursuing a doctoral degree with an emphasis in Evaluation and Applied Research Methods at CGU. Her evaluation and research interests include student support programs and leadership development in higher education, evaluator competencies, and research methodology. She is currently working on the evaluation of a program aimed towards increasing recruitment and retention of women and minority students in doctoral programs at UC, Irvine. Recently, she worked on the evaluation of a student-mentoring program at UC, Riverside, a community needs assessment for a local rehabilitation hospital, and a statewide needs assessment of workforce education and training programs of occupations relating to energy efficiency for the California Public Utilities Commission.


Jeff Sheldon

Jeff Sheldon is a doctoral candidate in the School of Social Science, Policy and Evaluation, specializing in Evaluation and Applied Research Methods. His research interests include organizational learning, evaluation capacity building, and the application of empowerment and self –determination theories as they relate to inclusive forms of evaluation in the fields of public health and education. Currently, Jeff serves on the Leadership Council for two of AEA’s TIGs: the Organizational Learning – Evaluation Capacity Building TIG and the Community Psychology TIG (past co-chair). Jeff is leading a team of authors through the preparation, editing and submission of articles for an upcoming American Journal of Evaluation’s Forum on the community psychology – evaluation nexus, and recently completed a book chapter on empowerment evaluation. Jeff has worked as either a co-researcher or lead researcher on evaluation projects with the Pew Charitable Trusts – Health Group, Methodist Hospital of Southern California, Riverside County Department of Mental Health, Harvard University, the University of Texas’ College of Education, and the Pew Charitable Trusts – Education Group. Jeff was an applied social science research and evaluation intern at McCord Hospital’s Sinik ‘I Themba HIV/AIDS Care Centre, Durban, South Africa and served as a research mentor to YMCA executives in helping them strategically position their respective Y as an instrument for community development.

Michael Szanyi

Michael Szanyi holds a B.A. in Psychology and Dance from Pitzer College and a M.A in Applied Social Psychology and Evaluation from CGU. He is currently pursuing a doctoral degree with an emphasis in Evaluation and Applied Research Methods at CGU. Michael’s work has focused on the evaluation of social services and educational programs for First 5 Los Angeles, Riverside Department of Mental Health, Los Angeles Unified School District, and University of Riverside. He is currently teaching high school psychology at The Webb Schools, California. Michael’s research and evaluation interests include design preferences and validity, advocacy in evaluation, art-based evaluation, and evaluation ethics.


Cristina Tangonan

Cristina Tangonan has a B.A. degree in Psychology and Social Behavior from University of California, Irvine and a M.A. degree in Positive Organizational Psychology and Evaluation from CGU. Currently, she is pursuing a doctoral degree with a specialization in Evaluation and Applied Research Methods at CGU. Her evaluation and research interests include the use of technology in evaluation, cross-cultural issues, development evaluation in Southeast Asia, and mixed methods research. Presently, Cristina is working on an evaluation of a teenage pregnancy prevention program implemented by Girls Inc. of Los Angeles. In the future, Cristina would like to conduct international development evaluations and work as a consultant for programs in developing countries.


Yumi Terahata

Yumi holds a B.A. in Policy Management from Keio University, a M.A. in Community Mental Health and a Postgraduate Certificate in Global Mental Health. She is also a doctoral student in psychology with an emphasis in Evaluation and Applied Research Methods at CGU. Her research interests include organizational capacity-building, culturally-responsive evaluation, and evaluation within humanitarian aid/disaster response. She spent 7 years in Gaza as a humanitarian aid worker, working to empower young men and women through psychosocial programing, bridging local NGO partnerships, and conducting program evaluations for the UN and other NGOs. She is also currently Country Representative for International Medical Corps, leading the organization's strategic planning, design, and implementation of programs to support Japan's immediate and long-term recovery after the Great East Earthquake/Tsunami of March 2011.


Shayla Velthuis

Shayla received a B.A. in Psychology and a minor in Philosophy from California State University of Fullerton. Recently she received a dual M.A in Psychology of Health and Human Behavior, and Evaluation from Claremont Graduate University. Currently, Shayla is finishing up course work for the PhD in Evaluation and Applied Research Methods at Claremont, and plans to start applying her skills in a corporate evaluation role while finishing her Ph.D. portfolio work. Research that she is currently engaged in deals with ethics in evaluation, specifically decisions evaluators make when reporting evaluation results to stakeholders. Shayla is interested in evaluation use to create impact in large industries in an instrumental way. Currently, she works in the Claremont Evaluation Center assisting in university projects and evaluations where she applies her skills of evaluation, statistics, and health behavior to assist in institutional decision making and university research.


Karen Widmer

Karen Widmer is an alumna of CGU’s Certificate of Advanced Study in Evaluation program and is a doctoral student with an emphasis in Evaluation and Applied Research Methods. She is interested in a mixed methods approach to Evaluation. She is currently studying how organizations build their capacity to formatively evaluate their work in situ by attending to the cultural dynamics surrounding and intellectual assets possessed by front-line members. Recent projects include an evaluation of a well-aging intervention for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities living in group homes and the design of a longitudinal cohort study of the effects of rehabilitation options on outcomes for persons with total brain injury.


  Recent Evaluation Alumni

Leslie Fierro, Ph.D.

Leslie holds a B.A. in Biology from Pitzer College, a M.P.H. in Epidemiology and Biostatistics from Loma Linda University, and recently completed her Ph.D. in Psychology with an emphasis in Evaluation and Applied Research methods in 2013. She worked as an epidemiologist or evaluator in a variety of capacities with or for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for 13 years. Her current research focuses on developing and refining methods for measuring evaluation capacity and evaluation practice within public sector organizations. Through this research, she intends to develop a practical method for assessing current evaluation-related capacities and practices within public sector organizations so that individuals can design evaluation capacity building activities that have a greater likelihood of producing long-lasting and healthy evaluation practice. She recently joined Deloitte Consulting LLP, where she is using her knowledge from CGU and her prior work history to conduct evaluations for federal agencies that focus on health issues.

Dreolin Fleischer, Ph.D.

Dreolin received a B.A. in English Literature from Mount Holyoke College, a M.A. in Psychology from CGU, and completed her Ph.D. in Psychology with an emphasis in Evaluation and Applied Research Methods at in 2013. Her research centers on evaluation use and influence. For her master's thesis, she conducted a survey of U.S. American Evaluation Association (AEA) members on the topic of evaluation use, resulting in a 2009 article entitled, “Evaluation Use: Results from a Survey of U.S. American Evaluation Association Members” in the American Journal of Evaluation. Her dissertation study focused on the relationship between stakeholder involvement and evaluation influence. Her work experience is varied with involvement in projects that range from an evaluation of a child abuse and neglect prevention project, a large-scale literature curriculum efficacy study, to a strictly qualitative evaluation of an art museum’s program meant to guide families with children through the museum. Most recently, she has worked at two evaluation firms where she assisted with proposal writing.

Michael Harnar, Ph.D.

Michael has a Master’s degree in Psychology with an emphasis in Program Evaluation and completed his Ph.D. in Psychology with an emphasis in Evaluation and Applied Research Methods in 2012. His research interests include educational programs for underserved minorities, community college faculty development, media effects, and youth participatory evaluation. He is currently an external evaluator for Pasadena City College’s Department of Education Title V grant. The grant funds a First Year Pathway designed to help underprepared minorities navigate the community college process using community building, linked basic skills courses, and supplemental student services. Included in this grant is a web portal that provides easy access to college information students need. His work for this client informs program development and summative reporting to external funding sources. He practices a stakeholder-engaged, participatory evaluation model employing both quantitative and qualitative methods serving program design, program development and end-of-cycle summative reporting.


John LaVelle, Ph.D.

John LaVelle holds a B.S. in Psychology and Spanish from University of Wisconsin-River Falls and a M.S. in Applied Health Psychology from University of Wisconsin-Stout. He completed his Ph.D. with an emphasis in Evaluation and Applied Research Methods at CGU in 2014. His research focus is on professional issues within the evaluation community, with an emphasis on evaluation training and development. Topics that he is interested in within this realm include educational opportunities available to evaluators, the recruitment and selection of evaluators, and professional regulation/certification. His dissertation took an in-depth view of evaluation education programs worldwide through online curricular document analysis, combined with a job analysis of evaluators working in different regions of the world.  He is an assistant Professor at the School of Human Resource Education & Workforce Development at Louisiana State University, past manager of the AEA365 tip-a-day project, and assisted with the AEA Graduate Education Diversity Internship (GEDI) program.