IPE TIG Leadership Bio's
Elizabeth Taylor-Schiro - Chair
Elizabeth is committed to changing the narrative around advocacy and policy change through the intersection of social justice and evaluation. She is currently working toward a PhD in Evaluation Studies at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities with an orientation toward public health and policy change. She provides evaluation and research consulting from the local to the state level, while also providing health education and resources as a Health Educator through the Minnesota Indian Women's Resource Center Family Spirit Home Visiting Program and perinatal education as a Doula/Lactation Educator for the Division of Indian Work's Ninde Doula Program. Elizabeth believes in community participation and partnership, and she practices this through her roles as the Chair of the American Evaluation Association's Indigenous Peoples in Evaluation Topical Interest Group and a Professional Representative on the Minnesota Department of Health's Maternal and Child Health Advisory Task Force. She holds a B.A. in Human Development and Family Studies with a minor in Gender and Women Studies through the University of Wisconsin-Madison, an M.A. in Organizational Leadership, Policy, and Development through the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, a certification in Early Childhood Program Development, and a certification as a Birth Doula through DONA International. Her background includes extensive experience in early childhood education which she developed through various roles including teacher, team lead, program director, and advocate. Her life experiences, including personal and professional, have uncovered the ways in which evaluation implicitly and explicitly acts as an avenue of power allocation across sectors such as policy development and implementation. She is determined to shine a light on the way individual identities, biases, and values determine the decisions made throughout the evaluation and policy processes that have harmful impacts on historically marginalized communities.
Nicole Bowman, Ph.D. - Co-Chair
Dr. Bowman's Bio
Aneta Cram - Program Chair
Aneta is an evaluator whose extensive traveling experience and formative years at Kohanga and RumakiReo (native language schools) in Raglan, New Zealand have shaped the way that she approaches life, engaging with others and the social issues that defines her work. She has a Masters degree in Evaluation from the University of Melbourne in Australia and is currently working on a PhD at Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand that focuses on the importance of evaluation frameworks for Indigenous peoples.
Karen Alexander - Program Co-Chair
Karen is Anishinaabe (Ojibwe) and is a member of the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from Lake Superior State University in 2003 and her Master of Social Work Degree from Grand Valley State University in 2011. Karen is working toward her PhD in Evaluation at Western Michigan University. She is in the dissertation phase of her program with a focus on culturally competent evaluation methods. Her interest in evaluation is focused on both utilizing culturally appropriate evaluation methods and indigenizing mainstream evaluation to create a better fit with Tribal cultural beliefs and values. In addition, Karen has always been passionate about helping other Tribal members to heal from addiction and has worked over the years for Sault Tribe as a clinician and a therapist in substance abuse and mental health. In her free time, Karen enjoys spending time with family, learning more about her culture, and attending ceremonies
Mark D. Parman - Secretary
Mark is a citizen of the Cherokee Nation. He came to program evaluation from applied ecology. For 30 years he worked as a ranch management consultant in the northern plains. At one point in his career, he owned and operated the largest Angora goat ranch in Montana providing ecologically, economically and socially sound habitat manipulation.
In 2007 he was asked to provide program monitoring and evaluation of the Cherokee Nation’s Community Organization Training & Technical Assistance program. In 2008 that program was named one of the top 10 programs by the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives.
Mark continues to work for Cherokee community organizations within the Cherokee Tribal Jurisdictional Service Area as well as those Cherokee citizens who wish to form community organizations from Tacoma, WA to Tampa, FL.
Mark is proud to say; “TsiGoLiYiSGi”..."I am an evaluator."
Joan LaFrance - Communications Chair
I am the owner of Mekinak Consulting, a management and evaluation service in Seattle, Washington specializing in educational program evaluation, research, and management studies. I was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest to parents who worked for the BIA. Our family are members of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa. I share my home with my grandson and two daughters. Mekinak Consulting has a long history of evaluation programs in Tribal Colleges and Universities, Tribal and Indigenous communities, and for non-profit organizations. With support from the National Science Foundation (NSF) through a grant to the American Indian Higher Education Consortium (AIHEC), I worked with my late colleague, Richard Nichols, to conduct the research that resulted in AIHEC's workshops and book Indigenous Evaluation Framework: Telling Our Story in Our Place and Time (which is currently being revised). In addition to ongoing work in American Indian Tribal communities, I work on projects in the United States Affiliated Pacific Islands. I was a founding member of the IPE TIG, which started, ironically, in a meeting in the Captain Cook room at a casino in Reno, Nevada, the site of the 2003 AEA conference. I served as the Program Chair of the IPE TIG for 6 years. I believe that traditional Indigenous voices and values will make significant contributions to evaluation theory and practice and welcome the opportunity to serve as Communications Chair.
Mariah Norwood - Communications Co-Chair
Mariah is an enrolled citizen of the Cherokee Nation. She completed both her undergraduate degree in psychology and her Masters in Health and Human Services Administration at the University of Oklahoma. She works as the EHR Support Specialist and Research and Evaluation Coordinator for the Lower Sioux Indian Community in the state of Minnesota. She serves on the Mayo Clinic's Healthy Nations Advisory Board, the American Public Health Association's Tribal Public and Environmental Health Think Tank, The Minnesota Department of Human Service's Cultural and Ethnic Communities Leadership Council, and is a Tribal Researchers' Cancer Control Fellow. Throughout her education and career, Mariah has aligned herself with advocacy projects that address social determinants of health and strive to achieve health equity through policy and community-driven action strategies. Outside of work, she enjoys spending her free time hunkered down with books and good coffee, learning and practicing language, gardening, and adventuring through life with her partner.