Three cheers — for Lizanne DeStefano, Jennifer Greene and Thomas Schwandt — from Emily Gates, on behalf of the legion of mentees she’s sure share her sentiment.
“Together, the trio of Lizanne, Jennifer and Tom as mentors have shaped who am I as an evaluation scholar and practitioner. And I am definitely not alone,” says Gates (MS ’13, education; Ph.D. ’16, educational psychology, evaluation), now an assistant professor of evaluation at Boston College.
“They have shaped the trajectories of the next generation of evaluators and some of my closest friends. Together, we will try to continue their legacies and engage in evaluation as a means to bettering our society and world and particularly, bettering the lives of those least well served.”
One by one and in no particular order:
— “Lizanne directed the Illinois Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Education Initiative (I-STEM) on campus. For three years, I worked there assisting and co-leading evaluations of various federally funded educational initiatives.
"Lizanne modeled what it means to be politically savvy and ethically grounded as an evaluator — and I continue to turn to her for advice on my evaluation work. Moreover, she provided opportunities combined with her backing that allowed me to really grow as a leader and manager."
— “Jennifer served as my advisor throughout my doctoral program, providing unwavering support as I discovered my research interests and direction. I also worked with her on several evaluations.
"Jennifer’s thoughtfulness and openness as a scholar and her care for cultivating relationships has stuck with me as a model to aspire to in my work. She also taught me — and the mixed methods field — the value of using multiple methods and ways of knowing to better understand the complexity of our world."
— “Tom took me in under his wing and supported several early independent studies, which allowed me to pursue a cross-disciplinary research focus. He is a brilliant thinker who asks the kinds of questions that challenge, inspire and raise the collective intelligence of any group he’s part of.
"He was the research director for my dissertation and, under his guidance, I was awarded a dissertation completion fellowship and was able to publish three articles within a year of graduating. This no doubt helped me secure a tenure-track faculty position.
"I currently work with another former student of Tom’s and we can see in each other the ways Tom shapes our thinking and teaching.”