In this feature ATE Central continues our "I Am ATE" series, which showcases an ATE PI, staff member, industry partner, or other ATE stakeholder. We are excited to help spread the word about the wonderful people who are at the core of the ATE community and the innovative work everyone is doing.
Name: Lyssa Wilson Becho
Title: Training and ATE Survey Coordinator
Institution: Western Michigan University
Center Name: EvaluATE
ATE Central: How did you become involved with ATE?
Becho: I started working with the ATE Survey in 2015 while working at The Evaluation Center at Western Michigan University. At first, I mainly analyzed data and created data visualizations. I continued to work with the survey and increased my role with EvaluATE to other training aspects, such as giving conference presentations, creating resources, and designing webinars.
ATE Central: Tell us about the goals of your center.
Becho: EvaluATE is the evaluation hub for the ATE program. We aim to advance evaluation in the ATE Program through workshops, webinars, resource materials, research on evaluation, networking, and technical assistance. Through these activities, EvaluATE strives to support improvements in the conduct and use of evaluation, increase professional exchange, strengthen connections among ATE evaluation stakeholders, and expand the evidence base for effective STEM education evaluation practices.
ATE Central: What makes the work of your center unique?
Becho: Part of EvaluATE’s body of work includes the annual survey of all ATE PIs. EvaluATE has run the ATE annual survey for 20 years. We are excited to release this year’s survey report with the data from the revised survey questions. We hope that the data from this survey helps the ATE community understand the activities of their colleagues, as well as the showcase the achievements of the ATE program as a whole. EvaluATE has archived survey reports dating back to 2003.
ATE Central: Do you have any advice for new ATE grantees?
Becho: My advice to new ATE grantees would be to think about evaluation early and often. We know that as new grantees you have many moving pieces to your new projects, but evaluation is an essential part of knowing whether your activities are working and how you can improve them. Make sure to set up a communication plan with your evaluator from the beginning with clear expectations of their responsibilities and yours throughout the evaluation process. EvaluATE has lots of great resources for new grantees!
ATE Central: What's the best part about your work with ATE?
Becho: One of my favorite parts about working with ATE is when people have their “ah-ha” moment around evaluation. When they say to us, “Now I get it!” or, “I can do this!” We know evaluation can seem like extra work for project staff, but it helps you make tough decisions and understand how your project is working and how to improve it. I really enjoy sharing my passion for the power of evaluation with others in the ATE community.
ATE Central: Tell us about a favorite book (or movie) and why you like it so much.
Becho: My favorite movie, since I was 13, has always been Singing in the Rain. I think I have watched this movie every day I’ve been sick and whenever I’m feeling down. Something about the dancing and singing of Gene Kelly, Debbie Reynolds, and Donald O’Connor always lift my spirits!
ATE Central: Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Becho: I recently defended my doctoral dissertation in July! My study explored the role of learning evaluation theory in increasing the quality of evaluation practice. While I appreciated my time in the Interdisciplinary PhD in Evaluation, I am very excited to share my research findings more broadly and with the evaluation and ATE communities.