ImpactED Fellows Complete First Semester of Work

ImpactED Fellows Complete First Semester of Work

In 2017, ImpactED established new headquarters within the Fels Institute of Government. As part of our partnership with Fels, we launched the ImpactED Fellowship, which enables Master of Public Administration (MPA) candidates to gain evaluation and development experience by supporting our work for up to 20 hours per week.

Through the paid Fellowship, which began in September, our inaugural cohort of 9 students are building key skills, including developing survey and focus group instruments, and collecting and analyzing quantitative and qualitative data using tools such as Qualtrics, Excel, and Dedoose. Fellows also partake in ongoing training, and have completed sessions on logic models, metrics and indicators, and data collection and analysis. Reflecting on a semester of work, the Fellows noted the valuable community connections they’ve made with Philadelphia’s public institutions and leaders—and discussed what they’ve learned.

Samantha Apgar, a member of Fels’ Executive MPA program, has been supporting ImpactED’s evaluation of the Free Library of Philadelphia. Alongside other ImpactED Fellows and volunteers, she helped administer an intercept survey of 395 library patrons across 30 branches this past fall—and supported analysis of the results. “Working on the Free Library impact evaluation was such a wonderful way to not only improve my program evaluation skills but also to feel more connected to Philadelphia. It was so fun to see different parts of the city, talk to people, and hear firsthand all the ways they use the library.” Apgar said. “As a Fellow I have been constantly challenged to consider the most effective way to communicate results. I’ve learned so much about efficiently conveying data and considering the intended audience when writing memos.”

Alex Bird, who is pursuing a dual graduate degree in Public Administration and Education Policy, has been supporting ImpactED’s evaluation of the Neubauer Fellowship in Educational Leadership—the Philadelphia Academy of Schools Leaders’ program for exceptional principals. Her work has included preparing case studies of schools whose principals completed the program, and facilitating focus groups with parents, teachers, and principals to assess the program’s impact on principals’ leadership styles, school morale, and student achievement. Reflecting on her Fellowship experience so far, Alex said, “I’ve had the opportunity to not only develop and apply an array of analytical skills, but also to make meaningful connections with professionals in the Philadelphia area working to positively impact their communities. Assisting organizations with evaluating their programming and assessing their impact has been the most influential part of my graduate school experience thus far, and will undoubtedly prepare me well for endeavors after graduation.”

Through the Fellowship, students are discovering the challenges and rewards of evaluation and development work and building core skills for careers in the field, such as public-sector consulting. Delia Springstubb, an MPA candidate and Fellow who has been supporting our Social Impact Collaborative training program said, “I worked in the nonprofit sector prior to enrolling at Fels, and know that data and impact evaluation are essential to the success of public institutions. The skills I’m gaining as a Fellow—a stronger understanding of data collection methods and analysis, impact evaluation and reporting, and communication—will be extremely valuable in my career.”

Read more about our Fellows by checking out their bios here