The HUP Evaluation Assistantship (HEA) pilot provides paid year-long positions for two graduate research assistants (GRAs) to develop evaluation tools that help Hennepin County improve its ability to reduce disparities and create an environment where all residents can thrive. As a part of the HEA you will interact closely with Hennepin County leaders while maintaining a high level of autonomy to conduct your own work, similar to an external consultant.
The county-identified evaluation topics for 2023 are “Promoting Safe Communities” and “Affordable Housing Incentive Funding”. Learn more about these topics.
Meet the 2023 Evaluation Assistants
Mirinda Morency | Promoting Safe Communities
Mirinda Morency (LMSW) is a second-year doctoral student in the joint Developmental Psychopathology and Clinical Science program at the University of Minnesota, Institute of Child Development. She is primarily interested in the role of context (family, school, community) in shaping adolescent development and psychological well-being among ethnic-racial minority youth and in understanding the determinants and processes of risk and resilience across the lifespan. Originally from the south suburbs of Chicago, she has done community-based participatory research (CBPR) in Chicago through a cross-age peer mentoring program designed to reduce negative outcomes related to violence exposure/engagement and promote positive youth development. Before arriving in Minnesota, she received her MSW from Columbia University in New York City and spent the last few years providing trauma-informed, culturally-responsive clinical services in the city.
Margaret Turvey | Affordable Housing Incentive Funding
Margaret is a first year public policy student at the Humphrey School. They are focusing on social policy and policy analysis methods. They also volunteer with the local advocacy group Neighbors for More Neighbors. In their free time, Margaret enjoys reading and lots of outdoor activities.
HEA Pilot-Year Model:
Building Capacity for Evaluation
HEA students will help plan and design evaluation frameworks, processes and tools that will build capacity for Hennepin County policymakers to make ongoing and long-term strategic decisions. This work will be done in partnership with county administration and subject matter experts, with additional guidance provided by county mentors and UMN faculty.
Integrated, Year-Long Cycle
HEA students will lead the evaluation design process from conceptualization to execution. This is divided into three distinct stages:
- Planning (spring 2023): GRAs will work with county staff to (1) conduct initial background research, and (2) develop a project scope that identifies needs, goals, limitations, and resources.
- Creating (summer 2023): GRAs will (1) create an evaluation plan and accompanying tools (e.g. surveys, focus group/interview questions, etc.), and (2) continue research as-needed.
- Executing/Offboarding (fall 2023): GRAs will begin executing on the evaluation and/or help transfer the evaluation effort and research findings to Hennepin County staff.
Optional Graduate Minor in Program Evaluation
An added benefit to participating in this program is that students can enroll in many of the course requirements for the UMN Graduate Minor or Certificate in Evaluation Studies as part of their HEA experience. The HEA enables students to obtain 6 of the 9 credits required for the Graduate Minor or Certificate by:
- Enrolling in the Principles & Methods of Evaluation (OLPD 5501/EPSY 5243 - 3cr.) course over summer
- Using the HEA experience to meet the Evaluation Internship (OLPD 8596 - 3cr.) requirement
- Note: Students interested in the Minor or Certificate would also need to enroll in OLPD 5502 (Evaluation Theory-to-practice) to satisfy the program requirements.
- Application Period: October 17 through November 14
- Program Duration: January 17, 2023 - January 10, 2024
- Hourly rate: $20.75 (MA), $23.46 (PhD)
- Spring semester 2023: 10 hrs/wk (50% tuition benefit)
- Summer term 2023: 20 hrs/wk (no tuition benefit)
- Fall semester 2023: 5 hrs/wk (25% tuition benefit)
Students will be "re-hired" each semester, contingent on performance. Students who anticipate graduating in May 2023 are welcome to apply.
The UMN requires that GRAs be:
- Admitted to a graduate school degree program or a post-baccalaureate professional degree program.
- Registered for the minimum number of required credits for an assistantship during both Fall and Spring terms (more info)
- Authorized to work in the United States (International students who work on-campus are eligible)
In addition to the above eligibility requirements, this program is a good fit for students who:
- Have an interest in evaluation, and who want to grow and creatively apply these skills and knowledge to community issues
- Are passionate about working to address racial disparities and other forms of inequity
- Want to work in an environment with a high level of collaborative teamwork and professional autonomy and responsibility
- All graduate level students are welcome to apply. This program is a particularly good fit for students who are considering, or currently enrolled in, a PhD program.
How to Apply
Disparity Reduction and Climate Action are emphasized in all county work. We encourage you to review Hennepin County’s Disparity Reduction and Climate Action priorities to familiarize yourself with current efforts.
Fill out the online application by Monday, November 14, 11:59pm CST. Use the instructions linked here to complete your application. You will be notified of the final decision by December 1.
After the application closes, HUP staff will review applications and invite applicants to a first-round interview during November. After first-round interviews, HUP staff will extend an offer for second-round interviews. All applicants will know the result of their application no later than November 30.
Applicants will be evaluated based on the following criteria:
- 50%: Ability and motivation to conduct evaluative work with a local government partner. This requires:
- Strong communication and interpersonal skills
- Strong analytical skills
- Curiosity, and an ability to observe and question
- Ability to lead a project with limited oversight
- Ability to effectively adapt and work within strong organizational cultures
- Self-awareness of one’s strengths and weaknesses
- 25%: Transferability of skills, experience, and knowledge to the preselected evaluation topics
- 25%: How participation in the program will benefit the student in their academic and professional development.
We will use the following sources to evaluate applicants:
- First- and second-round interviews
- Short answer responses
- Class list