In May 2018, Dr. Maysaa Alobaidi joined AAAS RCP as a Senior Program Associate to lead quantitative and qualitative evaluation of STEM programs. Read on for a Q&A with Maysaa about her work and its relevance to the missions of RCP and AAAS.
Can you tell us about your background and experience in conducting evaluations?
Maysaa: I studied Pharmaceutical Economics, Policy, and Outcomes Research at the University of Arizona. My research focused on examining the prevalence and causes of medication errors, and on assessing the impact of psychosocial work conditions on health outcomes. After completing my doctorate, I worked at the Henry M. Jackson Foundation (HJF) to lead need assessments and to develop and evaluate training programs to support global health practitioners and enhance their career readiness. Prior to joining AAAS, I worked at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) to develop, manage, and evaluate several programs to support the training, career development, and transition of post-baccalaureate, graduate, and postdoctoral fellows.
What aspects of RCP programming will you focus on?
Maysaa: Evaluation will be the primary focus of my work. Much of my time will be devoted to supporting RCP’s long-standing assessments of STEM programs including working with current and prospective partners to develop evaluation frameworks and plans, and designing quantitative and qualitative evaluation studies to assess the implementation, effectiveness, and impact of their programs. I will also be working on an internal initiative to capture the impact of the important work RCP has been doing over the past two decades to support STEM programs across the country and internationally. In addition to my evaluation work, I’ll also be managing peer review panels for external research grant competitions and supporting the development and delivery of RCP training programs.
How is the field of evaluation relevant to RCP’s work, and to AAAS more broadly?
Maysaa: Evaluation is at the core of RCP’s mission to support STEM and research competitiveness capacity building, both domestically and internationally. Since its establishment in 1996, RCP has worked with scientists and administrators in academia, government, private, and non-profit organizations to conduct programmatic assessments aimed at providing high-level strategic guidance on scientific and technical research plans, and feedback on the implementation and sustainability of their programs. By providing independent expert assessments, RCP has helped its partners highlight the achievements of their programs and identify potential opportunities for improvement. RCP’s work with its partners contributes directly to strengthening STEM education and research and fulfills AAAS' mission to advance science across the country and throughout the world.
What are the opportunities for growth within RCP’s evaluation work?
Maysaa: RCP is looking toward expanding the scope of evaluation support it provides to its current and prospective partners. This expansion involves engaging with a broad range of grant-funded STEM and research training and capacity building programs across the country and internationally. It also involves working with diverse audiences and tailoring evaluation services to fit their needs and to support all stages of proposal development and project implementation and evaluation.
Where do you see things going, as RCP continues to expand the evaluation component of our work?
Maysaa: RCP will continue to build on its highly successful and productive working relationship with U.S. federally funded INBRE and EPSCoR communities and international academic communities by offering a wider range of evaluation services to a broader spectrum of partners. In addition to conducting programmatic assessments and offering guidance on program design, implementation, and sustainability, RCP will be working with scientists competing for diverse funding opportunities (e.g., research capacity building, science literacy, and early career faculty development awards) to develop evaluation frameworks, logic models, and survey instruments, and to design evaluation research studies and statistical analysis plans to assess program effectiveness and impact.