Entering the world of blogging and tweeting

For almost 2 years now, one of my mentors at UMBC, Renetta Tull , has been stressing the importance of having and maintaining a professional online presence. She encouraged students in Maryland’s AGEP: PROMISE to have and maintain a LinkedIn Profile, a professional Facebook profile, a twitter account, and a professional blog or website.

At first, I didn’t fully understand the need for this, especially for tweeting and even more for a PhD student trying to finish their dissertation in a timely fashion. I thought,”Who has time to tweet and blog on a regular basis when I have to read, collect and analyze data, write my dissertation and present my research.” However, being the open-minded woman I try my best to be, I took the advice, began to process it, and agreed to begin to make my online presense important. 

I start by completing my profile on LinkedIn, started a wordpress blog, and opening a twitter account in Fall 2009. However, with school and life I did little beyond update my facebook status and continue to make connections on LinkedIn. Every once in a while I would use facebook to locate and work with colleagues in my field or spread the word about educational opportunities to my network. But someone, when I posted a FB status that I was using Facebook for work, no one seemed to believe me.

Then, as I started an internship with the Annie E. Casey Foundation in Fall 2009, I was one of nine diverse interns across the nation conducting evaluations at non-profits, government agencies, university research centers, and private organizations. I began to see the need for my online presence as we communicated via webinars on skype and conducted a group evaluation of the previous five years of the internship, which required finding and interviewing previous interns mainly via their online presence. I realized that if both the previous interns and the program had an online presence then the evaluation would have been better. I even saw the need for tweeting because the evaluation techniques I was using in my own project are very dynamic. Tweeting and following tweets helped to stay abreast of how other evaluators were using various evaluation techniques.

Next, I finally added a theme, photo and information to my wordpress blog when I was invited to speak at MIT in Summer 2010. However, it wasn’t Fall 2010 when my Morehouse brother, Richard Hilliard, volunteered and created an AWESOME webpage for me that I was energized to enter the world of blogging and tweeting on a regular basis. I look forward to having a place to share some of my thoughts and experiences through my life journey with others and hope it provide some benefit. If not, it’s still  a great place and way for me to record the life I have been blessed to live and love. If you’re looking for the website, Brother Richard and I are still working on it but expect to be done by next week – just in time for another post. . .

Evaluation – Motivation – Dissertation

I recently returned to Maryland after a whirlwind trip of professional obligations involving evaluation and motivation but all the while keeping my (and even others) dissertation(s) in my mind.  I’ll share some of my learnings and fun from these experiences as my first post on my blog that illustrates my life – academically, professionally, and personally . . .

As one of nine 2009-2010 American Evaluation Association Graduate Education and Diversity Interns aka GEDIs, I participated in our last group event and meeting with hundreds of other evaluators. It never ceases to amaze me that evaluation is done on such a wide variety of populations and the concern and care that goes into both helping others as well as designing and conducting quality evaluations.  I feel priviledged to have been trained as a culturally responsive evaluator in a leading non-profit organization and look forward to using my evaluation skills and training in my professional and academic opportunities.

I left the meeting with my fellow GEDIs early to speak to the 2010 cohort of MIT Summer Research Program participants about winning fellowships to fund their graduate education. This was my first co-invited talk with my fellowship colleague Patti Ordonez-Rozo. Without Patti, we would not have gotten this opportunity so I will be forever grateful. As winners of numerous fellowships to fund our graduate education, Patti and I worked well as a team at MIT. Our combined skills were especially important in this diverse audience with students hailing from various levels of Research Universities, Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Hispanic Servig Institutions (HSI) all interested in becoming the next generation of technical leaders. After answering tons of questions and seeing the students start on their application essays immediately during the workshop portion of our session, Patti and I left believing that we had motivated these talented students to continue to stretch themselves!  But who was more excited . . . Us or Them 🙂

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