Creative Evaluation 2019
We are thrilled to introduce you to our 2019 Creative Evaluation Cohort members.
Sandy has an extensive history of arts, social and racial justice and leadership. Since the age of 9, she has professionally performed and taught dance, later moving into arts administration as director at Intermedia Arts, as former co-artistic core member of Mu Performing Arts and an early member of the Asian American Renaissance. She has served as Artistic Director at the Neighborhood House and as Program Officer at the Minnesota State Arts Board. She has been a facilitator-consultant conducting strategic planning to board development and has served on many non-profit boards and is a new member of the Charities Review Council.
As a teaching artist through the Children’s Theatre Company, Sandy has been part of a critical literacy, in-school program called Neighborhood Bridges and has helped develop curriculum for early learners. Sandy is currently an artist-in-residence working with individuals who have experienced drug or alcohol addiction and chronic homelessness.
David’s life themes are education and education reform, arts and cultural work, creating community and imagining and creating the future. He has followed these themes through senior positions at the National Endowment for the Arts’s, the John F Kennedy Center and the University of Minnesota. He has led three state agencies in Minnesota as president or CEO; The Perpich Center for Arts Education, MacPhail Center for Music and recently the Minnesota Humanities Center. He has consulted widely, nationally and internationally, with small and large organizations on these themes.
This is a moment of fundamental change in this nation and the world. Old narratives and the organizations they formed are failing; some are becoming destructive as they fall. David is committed to working with organizations to create the new relationships and new narratives needed to connect us all, to take us forward. To work with those who are creating the new organisms (rather than organizations) needed to thrive and sustain and create. He is passionate about working with people and organizations who want to make this transition and to walk into the future.
His PhD is in Theatre and Community and he is proud to be one of the founders of In the Heart of the Beast Theatre in Minneapolis.
Melissa Olson (she/her/hers) is a mixed-heritage Native woman who makes her living as a writer and producer of independent public media. The daughter of an Ojibwe adoptee, her award-winning audio documentary Stolen Childhoods (on Soundcloud) was produced in collaboration with KFAI producer Ryan Katz and edited by Todd Melby. She works with TerraLuna Collaborative as a consultant, an art-based developmental evaluation firm. Melissa attended the University of Minnesota as an undergraduate, and was a proud recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship in 2003 for her graduate work in American Studies. Melissa lives in Minneapolis with her boyfriend John and their bulldog Bronson.
Christen asks deep questions through research justice that challenge the status quo. Politics are embedded in data inquiry; this work is political. They seek to name and utilize bias for equity, particularly with young people. Neutrality and objectivity do not exist in their work. Through data, Christen amplifies community-based knowledges about pipelines to community well-being with marginalized populations, focusing on local, state, national, and international policy implications for sustainable systems change. Their passions include school pushout, health disparities, social justice, and systems navigation with youth.
As an Associate Consultant, they are maintaining a CV that is as many pages as the years they’ve been doing research justice and youthwork.
When not playing with data, Christen is trail running, spinning yarn, and baking bread.
Becca Starr is an expert in using mixed methods to conduct evaluations of programs and initiatives in the early care and education field. She earned her Ph.D. in child psychology from the University of Minnesota where she studied early cognitive development, and spent over a decade as a Research Scientist at Child Trends. There she designed and implemented research evaluating the quality of early care and education, professional development for early care and education providers, and effects on children’s developmental outcomes in Minnesota and nationally. Prior to that work, Becca served as an assistant professor at two liberal arts colleges where she conducted child development research and taught undergraduate courses and seminars in research methods, statistics, and applied developmental psychology. She currently provides research consultation for projects conducted by Reach Out and Read Minnesota, the Minnesota Children’s Museum, and Standpoint.
Becca prides herself on being a team-player and mentor who believes that relationships with colleagues and partner agencies are key to successful improvement initiatives. She is thrilled to have the opportunity to learn new approaches to evaluation with a focus on social justice and equity at TerraLuna through the Creative Evaluation Cohort.
Lovel Trahan, Mpp, MPH
Lovel Trahan is a graduate of the Humphrey School of Public Affairs and the University of Minnesota School of Public Health. He is currently the Founding Partner of Hearth Analytics LLP, an evaluation consulting firm based on principles of centering equity, collaborative engagement, and health system improvement. During his graduate studies, he worked as a research assistant with Allina Health for five years working closely with cultural communities in South Minneapolis. This resulted in several publications in the journals of Health Promotion Practice and Progress in Community Health Partnerships Research Education and Action. Following graduation, he worked for two years at the Center for Prevention at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota as a program evaluator.
He has extensive experience working with many cultural communities throughout Minnesota and has conducted research in both community and healthcare settings.
Darlene is a visionary leader in the field of comprehensive community development who believes that successful change requires the active engagement of communities to determine their future. She has 25 years of experience leading small and large-scale neighborhood revitalization efforts, both locally and nationally, within the non-profit, for profit and government sectors.
Throughout her career she has successfully partnered with individuals and organizations from communities facing decades of economic disinvestment to plan and build more economically vibrant and connected neighborhoods.
Darlene is currently founder and principal leader of Walser Consulting LLC, where she focuses on equitable, community-engaged development that links the design of physical places with the collective, and often intangible, resources of the community. Previously she served as Vice President of McCormack Baron Salazar, the nation’s leading developer of economically-integrated urban neighborhoods. She began her career as a community organizer, and has served as a HUD Community Renaissance Fellow for the Seattle Housing Authority, and as Executive Director of the Saint Paul Riverfront Corporation. She also led Hennepin County’s Bottineau Light Rail Transit Community Works Program, where she worked to ensure communities along the proposed Blue Line Extension LRT corridor were actively engaged in community-based planning that would leverage the proposed $1.5 billion transit investment.
Darlene received a B.A. from Macalester College and a Master in Public Administration from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. She is a 2006 recipient of the Bush Foundation’s Leadership Fellowship.
Darlene loves spending time in the mountains, in the woods, and in community.