HUP Evaluation Assistantship

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. The county-identified evaluation topics for 2024 are “Streets to Housing Evaluation” and “Status Neutral Strategies to Reduce HIV Incidence Among Young Black Men”. Learn more about these topics. For questions, please email us at [email protected].

Program Overview

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 subject matter experts, with additional guidance provided by county mentors and UMN faculty. Throughout the program you will will have a high level of autonomy to lead your own work, similar to an external consultant.

HEA students will lead the evaluation design process from conceptualization to execution. This is divided into three distinct stages: 

  • Spring | Planning: GRAs will (1) conduct initial background research, and (2) develop a project scope that identifies needs, goals, limitations, and resources.
  • Summer | Creating: GRAs will (1) create an evaluation plan and accompanying tools (e.g. surveys, focus group/interview questions, etc.), and (2) continue research as-needed.
  • Fall | Executing/Offboarding: GRAs will begin executing on the evaluation and/or help transfer the evaluation effort and research findings to Hennepin County staff.

2024 Key Details:

  • Application Period: October 27 through November 13
  • Program Duration: January 11, 2024 - January 8, 2025
  • Hours: Spring = 10 hrs/wk (50% tuition benefit), Summer = 20 hrs/wk (no tuition), Fall = 10 hrs/wk (50% tuition benefit)
  • Hourly Rate: $21.58 (MA level), $24.40 (PhD level)
  • Location: hybrid work + in-person cohort activities

Students will be "re-hired" each semester, contingent on performance. Students who anticipate graduating in May 2024 are welcome to apply.

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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 13, 11:59pm CST. Use the instructions linked here to complete your application. You will be notified of the final decision by December 1.

Selection Process

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 December 1.

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
  • Resume
  • Class list
  • Reference

Previous Cohorts

2023 Cohort

  • Mirinda Morency, College of Education and Human Development: conducted developmental evaluation work to assess the impacts of Hennepin County's violence prevention programming. 
  • Margaret Turvey, Humphrey School of Public Affairs: established evaluation frameworks to assess the impact of Hennepin County's Affordable Housing Incentive Fund.