Jeff currently serves as the Executive Director of The Evaluation Center. Jeff is responsible for the oversight of all active evaluation projects as well as the administration of The Evaluation Center.
Since joining the team in 2008, Jeff has had the opportunity to lead the evaluation of a wide range of projects including the State Opioid Response grant, Strategic Prevention Framework – Partnerships for Success grant, Colorado Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute, and State Epidemiological Outcomes Workgroup. He has also led and supported evaluations for local nonprofit organizations, state funded initiatives, and federally funded programs.
Jeff is passionate about supporting programs that aim to improve the lives of individuals and their communities, and is especially interested in programs that address the social determinants of health. He enjoys working with organizations to figure out how they can use data and evaluation findings to help their programs achieve greater impact.
Jeff developed The Evaluation Center’s Cultivating Evaluation Education and Development (CEED) program, which provides pro bono evaluation services to selected non-profit organizations in Metro Denver. The CEED program allows The Evaluation Center to give back to organizations that are doing important work in the community, while providing an excellent professional development opportunity for the Center’s junior staff to lead the evaluations.
Jeff holds degrees from Colorado State University (B.A. in Business Administration, Concentration: Marketing) and the University of Colorado Denver (Master of Business Administration, Concentrations: Decisions Sciences and Managing for Sustainability).
When Jeff is away from the office he enjoys spending time outdoors hiking, fishing, and camping with his family, friends, and dog.
Susan Connors, Ph.D.
Dr. Connors currently serves as an Associate Director and Senior Evaluator at The Evaluation Center. In this role, she currently serves as the project leader for education-focused evaluations for projects including NxtGEN (a U.S. Department of Education Teacher Quality Partnership grant to the CU-Denver School of Education and Human Development and Denver Public Schools), two National Institutes of Health grants to the University of Zimbabwe College of Health Sciences, the STEM program in Englewood Public Schools, Engaging Schools, and the CU-Denver Center for Faculty Development. She contributes to the evaluation of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) grants to five communities in Colorado and other projects conducted by The Evaluation Center.
Prior to joining The Evaluation Center, Dr. Connors spent 30 years as a Teacher and Counselor in Adams 12 School District. Additionally, she served as test coordinator for national and state assessments, data analyst, and an evaluator for North Central Association. She served as a college coach for the Daniels Fund College Scholarship Program and as a mentor/trainer for other grant awardees for the National Education Association.
Dr. Connors’ goals in evaluation work are to involve participants in all steps of the evaluation process and to advance the understanding of evaluation for both program leaders and future evaluation practitioners. She is especially interested in providing credible and actionable evaluation data to leaders of programs who are working to increase the access of under-served populations to quality education and healthcare.
Dr. Connors holds degrees from Creighton University (B.A. in English and History) and the University of Colorado Denver (M.A. in Guidance & Counseling and Ph.D. in Educational Leadership).
When Susan is away from The Evaluation Center, she loves spending time with her granddaughter, planning and cooking for family celebrations, and traveling.
Tracey O’Brien, MPA
Tracey serves as a Senior Evaluator at the Evaluation Center. She is a Colorado native who over the last 20 years has led a number of initiatives to improve the evaluation strategies of human service organizations serving our most vulnerable populations.
Tracey’s work in the field of housing and homelessness spans projects such as the Statewide Point-In-Time Homeless studies; asset mapping services for persons experiencing homelessness; and research of Discriminatory Predatory Lending Practices for the Colorado Civil Rights Division. From 2009 through 2014, she was the lead in organizing the collection of Denver Metropolitan area homeless data which included participation on advisory committees, designing and field-testing survey instruments, developing training materials, planning logistics, training agency staff and volunteers, analyzing data, and the preparation and editing of reports of findings and recommendations.
Additionally, Tracey has a keen interest and extensive experience evaluating education programs. She has conducted work in the early childhood arena such as the Early Childhood Care and Education (ECE) Needs Assessment for the Piton Foundation; evaluation of early intervention programs such as Colorado Bright Beginnings, Parents as Teachers (PAT), and Home Instruction Program for Preschool Youngsters (HIPPY). She has also conducted program evaluation for various K-12 initiatives such as the dropout prevention programs for the Engagement Centers and Credit Recovery programs through Denver Public Schools; online learning program for the Colorado Department of Education; and an assessment for statewide integrated ECE data system for the Head Start State Collaboration office. Recently, she completed a complex Child Care Market Rate Survey study for the Colorado Department of Human Services.
Most recently, Tracey has focused on the field of public health. She is currently leading a three-year, statewide, multi-level tobacco education and prevention program evaluation. This is a collaborative project with the Colorado School of Public Health Community Epidemiology & Program Evaluation Group (CEPEG) to assist program grantees in designing and implementing evaluation of tobacco control program activities conducted with Amendment 35 grant funding during FY2015-2018.
Christine Velez, M.A.
Christine Velez is a Senior Evaluator with 25 years of experience in program evaluation. For most of her career, Christine’s work and interests have been focused on housing, education and work with vulnerable populations. She serves as the co-lead for the process evaluation of Denver’s Supportive Housing Social Impact Bond Initiative which provides supportive housing to chronically homeless individuals in our community.
Christine’s strengths lie in her depth of experience working in diverse communities and in a variety of contexts. For ten years, she was part of the team that managed and implemented the Indian Housing Block Grant (IHBG) program for the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) which included providing on-site technical assistance to Indian Tribes across the U.S. She is currently the lead evaluator on the Environmental Stewardship of Indigenous Lands, a National Science Foundation (NSF) project which calls for culturally relevant approaches in all aspects of evaluation from communication with tribal members to data collection methods that are based in cultural traditions.
As a native Spanish speaker, Christine’s work with monolingual Spanish speaking communities is invaluable to ensuring evaluation is also inclusive of the Latino voice. Her experience has included conducting interviews and focus groups with a range of Spanish speaking stakeholders such as child care providers, parents, the business community and elected officials. She coordinated and worked as a translator for the U.S.-Nicaragua Housing Policy Leadership Forum. As the lead evaluator for the NSF National Resource Hub for STEM Education at Hispanic-Serving Institutions, she is proud to work with leaders from New Mexico and California who promote STEM success for underrepresented students.
Christine also serves as a mentor in the Leaders in Equitable Evaluation and Diversity program designed to develop a pipeline of diverse leaders. She is a member of the Advancing Culturally-responsive and Equitable (ACE) Evaluation Network, a community of racially and/or ethnically diverse evaluators whose mission is to both drive and support the practice of excellent, culturally responsive and equitable evaluation. She participated in the 2018 Colorado Equitable Evaluation Cohort and is committed to deepening her culturally responsive and equitable evaluation practice.
Christine holds degrees from St. Joseph’s College (B.A. in Human Relations) and Michigan State University (M.A. in Sociology).
Downtime from the office includes playing softball, practicing yoga, traveling, and connecting with family and friends.
Goldie Komaie, Ph.D.
Goldie Komaie is a Senior Evaluator at the Evaluation Center. She brings nearly 10 years of experience in community-based research and evaluation in public health programs that aim to improve health care access and reduce health disparities in medically underserved populations. Goldie is currently the Evaluation Core Director for the Colorado Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute (CCTSI) at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus.
Previously, Goldie was a Senior Scientist at Washington University in St Louis School of Medicine. She evaluated the Community Research Fellows Training (CRFT) program, a 15-week public health training to engage and build research capacity among community health stakeholders. Goldie has published about the CRFT program in Health Equity, Journal of Empirical Research on Human Research Ethics and Pedagogy in Health Promotion.
Goldie earned her PhD in Sociology from the University of California, Irvine. She is a member of the Advancing Culturally-responsive and Equitable (ACE) Evaluation Network, a community of racially and/or ethnically diverse evaluators whose mission is to both drive and support the practice of excellent, culturally responsive and equitable evaluation.
Away from the office, Goldie enjoys spending time with her family, camping, hiking, exploring Colorado, and visiting her family and friends in Southern California.
Bridget Nuechterlein, M.A.
Senior Evaluation Specialist
Bridget is currently an Evaluation Specialist with the Evaluation Center. She provides assistance with quantitative and qualitative data collection, management, and analysis for a variety of projects within the center.
Prior to joining the Evaluation Center, Bridget worked as a program evaluation specialist at the Office of Inclusion and Outreach at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus. The Office of Inclusion and Outreach promotes several different educational opportunities to underrepresented and underserved populations.
Bridget’s experience as a graduate student, program evaluation specialist, and business consultant, has given her the opportunity to cultivate a wide understanding of data collection methodologies, data analysis techniques, and evaluation design. She is passionate about the story behind the statistics and is particularly interested in educational and health disparities. She believes that evaluation is one of many tools that can be used to increase the effectiveness and impacts of educational programs and interventions.
Bridget holds degrees from University of Colorado Denver (M.A. in Educational Psychology, Concentration: Research and Evaluation) and Christian Brothers University (B.A., Psychology).
In her free time, Bridget enjoys everything Colorado has to offer. You can find her spending time with her family, hiking, wake-boarding, playing sports (e.g., tennis, volleyball), snowboarding, and traveling.
Peter Rumbach, M.P.A.
Senior Evaluation Specialist
Peter is a Senior Evaluation Specialist with The Evaluation Center and provides evaluation services in a variety of content areas, including public health, behavioral health, substance abuse, community health coalitions, youth engagement, and medical education. In addition to program evaluation, Peter enjoys working with clients on capacity building, training, and technical assistance. He currently leads the health partnership evaluation of Rise Above Colorado’s Constellation Model of Governance which seeks to understand the effectiveness of the organization’s local and state partnerships whose goals are to increase Positive Youth Development and decrease youth misuse of prescription drugs.
Peter believes program evaluation provides organizations an opportunity to make evidence-based decisions and strive for continual quality improvement; he enjoys being out in the community working face-to-face with clients to increase the use and understanding of evaluation. Peter is most adept at collaborating with communities to build their evaluation capacity via in-person and web-based evaluation trainings, producing user-friendly evaluation products, and finding innovative ways to promote evaluation utilization.
Prior to beginning his post-graduate studies, Peter worked for eight and a half years in the education field including, four years as an instructor and student counselor in an adult, English language school; two years as an Education volunteer with the United States Peace Corps in Thailand; and two years as a preschool teacher. In addition to his work in education, he also served as an HIV/AIDS resource volunteer with the Peace Corps. He brings this passion and experience to his work at the Evaluation Center.
In addition to the work with communities, Peter appreciates time to conduct literature reviews, collect and analyze quantitative and qualitative data, and apply innovative technologies for data presentation.
He received a Master of Public Administration with a concentration in Nonprofit Management from the School of Public Affairs at the University of Colorado – Denver and holds a B.A. in Humanities from the University of Colorado – Boulder.
He has a keen interest in international travel and work, having been to over 15 countries outside the U.S. The next country on his list is to revisit Thailand after many years away. He also loves all the outdoor Colorado activities, including snowboarding, backpacking, and trail running.
Erica Clarke, M.A.
Senior Evaluation Specialist
Erica Clarke is a Senior Evaluation Specialist at The Evaluation Center with more than ten years of experience in evaluating hospital and health center based interventions and programs, community-based coalitions and statewide public health initiatives. She is passionate about employing a participatory approach to evaluation and values engaging stakeholders early in evaluation planning to encourage utilization of evaluation results for decision-making and program improvement.
Currently, Erica is leading a research study examining the functioning and sustainability of the community coalitions funded through the Colorado Department of Human Services Office of Behavioral Health Partnerships for Success Grant. Additionally, she is co-leading the needs assessment and evaluation of a collaborative project funded by the Colorado Department of Human Services Office of Behavioral Health project that aims to support prevention education with the end goal of reducing youth marijuana use and delaying the age that youth first use marijuana. For three years, she provided evaluation training and technical assistance to staff at local public health agencies across Colorado and led an evaluation study of the community grantees’ programs and policy work for the State Tobacco Education Prevention Partnership (STEPP).
Prior to joining The Evaluation Center in 2015, she worked for nine years evaluating hospital and health center based interventions and programs at the Center for Community Health Improvement at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. There she also gained experience working with community-based coalitions doing prevention work in the areas of underage drinking, opioid misuse and overdose and obesity. She has worked with a wide variety of stakeholders across multiple health issues.
Erica earned her Master’s Degree in Psychology in at Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts and received her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from the University of Colorado, Boulder.
When not at the office, she enjoys spending time with her family in Colorado’s beautiful landscape.
Shuyuan Tan, M.A.
Shuyuan is an Evaluation Specialist at The Evaluation Center. She provides evaluation services in quantitative and qualitative data collection, management, and analysis for a variety of projects. Specifically, Shuyuan currently works on several projects focused on education development and public health. She also provides evaluation support to the education pillar for Colorado Clinical Translational Sciences Institute (CCSTI). In that capacity, she manages the overarching database, tracks grant outcomes, and provides bibliometric analysis.
Shuyuan holds a Master of Art in Education and Human Development, concentrated in Research and Evaluation from University of Colorado Denver. Prior to CU Denver, she earned a BA in Applied Psychology from Guangxi Teachers Education University in China. She is very interested in cultural diversity and adaption, and issues that related to education.
In her free time, she enjoys watching movies, reading books, and spending time with her family.
Liz Sweitzer, M.A.
Liz Sweitzer is an Evaluation Specialist with The Evaluation Center. Trained as a medical anthropologist, Liz has extensive experience working with community-driven health initiatives, working with vulnerable populations, and adapting research and evaluation to be culturally appropriate and salient in different contexts. She is the lead evaluator for the Community Engagement programs under the NIH- funded Colorado Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute, including their community-based participatory research projects centered on empowering underserved communities to have equal voice and control in the biomedical research that impacts them. She also leads the evaluation of the Peer Recovery Coach program under the State Opioid Response grant funded by SAMHSA. Liz has worked in or collaborated with partners in the Middle East, North Africa, Western Asia, and the U.S. Her passion lies in using participatory and qualitative methods to amplify the stories of program participants and community members and centering equity and social justice in her work.
Liz holds a Master of Arts in Medical Anthropology from the University of Colorado Denver and a B.A. in Cultural Anthropology from the University of Asheville North Carolina. Her previous research includes cultural impacts on biomedical acceptability amongst women, impacts of racial and geopolitical anxieties on performance mediums, and decision-making practices and governing structures within intentional communities. Her graduate work included program evaluation, data analysis for the American Pediatric Association, volunteering for the Harm Reduction Action Center of Denver, and serving as a Resource Specialist for United Way.
In her free time, Liz loves traveling, performance art, board games, and her parrot Dali.
Haley Sammen, M.A.
Haley worked with The Evaluation Center as a graduate assistant during her master’s degree and found evaluation to be a perfect fit for her love of using both small details and big picture thinking to ask strategic questions about education and community engagement. She is excited to be back at The Evaluation Center as an Evaluation Specialist. Currently she is working on a variety of projects assisting with data collection, analysis, visualization, and reporting.
Prior to working with The Evaluation Center, Haley had 10 years of experience working in and studying models of community engagement and education. She earned her B.A. from Evergreen State College and her M.A. from the University of Colorado – Denver. Her graduate research was on education theory and the social determinants of education. She enjoys using evaluation to connect social theory with on the ground work.
Outside of work Haley spends time with her husband and two children on their urban farm in NW Denver, as well as exploring Colorado, and visiting her hometown in the Pacific Northwest.
Evaluation Data Manager
Allyssa is an Evaluation Data Manager at The Evaluation Center. She has years of experience providing administrative support, coordinating evaluation activities, and fulfilling reporting requirements. Currently, Allyssa oversees data collection, data entry, and reporting for the State Opioid Response (SOR) project. This includes oversight and coordinating of data collection contractors, collaborating with state partners, and providing training on reporting requirements. Previously at TEC, Allyssa supported evaluation projects across TEC and led internal administrative operations.
Prior to joining The Evaluation Center, Allyssa worked as a youth specialist at Community Reach Center, a local mental health center. In this position, she worked directly with school-aged youth facilitating substance use prevention education classes and collecting youth data through surveys and focus groups. She brings this passion for behavioral health to her work at The Evaluation Center.
Allyssa holds a B.A. in Sociology from Regis University. A Denver native, she loves to be outdoors and explore beautiful Colorado. In her free time, Allyssa enjoys spending time with family, friends, and running with her dog, Nuke.
Marlene is a graduate assistant at The Evaluation Center. She assists with data collection, analysis, and management on several projects. She also supports projects with Spanish language translation and data collection with Spanish speaking individuals.
Marlene is a first-generation Latinx graduate student; she holds a B.A in psychology from CU Boulder and is currently at CU Denver in the School of Education and Human Development Masters Counseling program. She is specializing in Couple and Family therapy specifically, treating mental and emotional disorders while promoting relational health through a systemic and holistic approach. After graduating, Marlene plans to continue her education by pursuing a PsyD or Ph.D. in Psychology; her goal is to provide bilingual and culturally competent therapeutic services.
During her time as an undergrad and graduate student, Marlene worked on various research projects; her previous research includes the significance of extreme perturbations in positive emotion, early intervention services for the prevention of child abuse and neglect, as well as measuring and scaling quality preschool programs. Marlene also interned at the International Society for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect and at Blue Sky Bridge as a case support advocate for abuse victims.
In her free time, Marlene enjoys exploring local coffee shops, watching documentaries, and spending time with her family. She also likes to spend time outdoors, whether it is a hike to watch the sunrise or relaxing by the riverside.
Emily is an Evaluation Coordinator at The Evaluation Center. She recently graduated from the University of Colorado Denver with a Master of Arts in Medical Anthropology, along with earning a certificate in Latino Public Health from the Colorado School of Public Health. While she was earning her degree Emily worked as a graduate assistant at The Evaluation Center and assisted in qualitative and quantitative data collection, management, analysis, visualization, and reporting on a variety of projects. She is excited to be back with the team continuing to provide evaluation services, as well as supporting the internal administrative operations of The Evaluation Center.
Emily’s passion lies in using evaluation to increase health and educational equity in our Colorado communities. Prior research included health disparities, especially in regard to health access and utilization among Latinx immigrant populations. She also evaluated a diabetes prevention program tailored to Latinx communities in Denver, and was part of a team that completed a community health assessment for a local federally qualified healthcare facility. Emily’s Spanish language skills are also key to engaging and collecting data with the LatinX communities in Denver.
Emily spends her free time with her family and friends, whether that be in a bowling league, watching movies, or backpacking around Colorado and the West. She also enjoys traveling, especially with her husband, to visit family and friends in Ecuador.
Rebecca is a graduate student at the University of Colorado Denver working towards a Master’s degree in Medical Anthropology. She holds a B.A. in anthropology from Saint Mary’s College of Maryland. Rebecca is focusing on issues of migrant health, particularly barriers to care in the current hostile immigration climate. After graduating, Rebecca hopes to practice applied anthropology to work towards equity in migrant and health fields.
As both an undergraduate and graduate student, Rebecca has conducted qualitative research. She has worked on and facilitated projects on migrant health behaviors at a local federally qualified healthcare facility, in addition to projects focusing on xenophobia and infectious disease. She has also interned as a health care safety net coordinator.
In her free time, Rebecca enjoys playing video games or Dungeons and Dragons, thrift shopping, and saying hi to other people’s dogs.
Sydney is a graduate assistant at The Evaluation Center. Primarily, Sydney supports the monitoring of the State Opioid Response (SOR) project. This includes coordinating and conducting interviews with clients receiving treatment funded by the SOR grant using the mandatory federal reporting GPRA (Government Performance and Results Act) Client Outcome Measures Tool. During the interviews, she builds rapport with the SOR clients and remains in contact with them throughout their treatment program. In addition to the SOR data collection, Sydney is responsible for entering data into the federal reporting system as well as managing clients in internal tracking systems, and providing additional support to the SOR evaluations.
Sydney holds a B.S. in exercise science from Southern Utah University, and is currently attending the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus where she is pursuing a Master of Public Health with a concentration in health systems, management, and policy. Prior to starting her Master’s degree, Sydney spent over three years assisting youth who have emotional and behavioral disorders. She spent her days helping them succeed in everyday tasks leading to a more positive lifestyle. It was through this work that she realized her passion for healthcare change. After graduation, Sydney hopes to take an active role in healthcare policy at the local level, specifically regarding opioid treatment accessibility.
After a lifetime of traveling and living in Alaska, Brazil, and Utah, Sydney has decided to make Denver her home for now. During her free time, she can be found coaching gymnastics, exploring the backwoods with her dog, or traveling the world, especially Brazil where she can continue to use her Portuguese language skills.