By Kelly Davis
Name: Ashley Morgan
Program: Community Research and Program Evaluation
As anyone who has worked for a nonprofit can tell you, being able to prove you’re having an impact is key to your program’s success. UC San Diego Extension’s certificate in Community Research and Program Evaluation provides nonprofit professionals with the tools they need to gauge their organization’s effectiveness. Ashley Morgan, vice president of operations at Reality Changers—a nonprofit that helps underprivileged youth prepare for college—is one of the students who’s benefitted from program, which she says will help her expand Reality Changers’ mission.
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I work at Reality Changers, a local nonprofit that helps students from disadvantaged backgrounds go to college. My main responsibilities fall within operations, financial management and data.
Why did you decide to study at Extension?
I was really interested in the evaluation program and how it could help Reality Changers. I have some background in research, so the idea of marrying that with program evaluation is an ideal fit to expand my skills and help Reality Changers.
What have you learned in your classes?
I really appreciated the courses in foundations of program evaluation and public data resources. I was not familiar with the field of program evaluation, so discussions were really helpful in planning internal evaluations. As for public data resources, I had a very basic knowledge of how to use census data, but had no idea that there are so many free, credible data resources available.
What advice would you give to incoming Extension students?
For incoming students, I would suggest they use all of the resources available to them, including the instructors. The instructors that I have learned from are practitioners and are very knowledgeable about their fields. This program is accessible and the other students in my courses were from a variety of backgrounds. This allowed for a rich learning environment.
How has your experience at Extension changed your life?
Extension has enriched my life because I was able to continue my education in a skill that I love, which is research. Learning about program evaluation has strengthened that skill, in addition to offering a new perspective on how it can be used.
Learn more about the Community Research and Program Evaluation certificate program and courses on our website, or contact the program manager at firstname.lastname@example.org, or (858) 822-3552.