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2020 Board of New Mexico Evaluators

Nancy Hood


Nancy Hood has almost 20 years of experience planning and evaluating multi-faceted efforts to improve public health, behavioral health, affordable housing, workforce development, and intergenerational poverty. She has worked in local and federal government, academic, and nonprofit settings in New Mexico, Colorado, Ohio, and Georgia. Her passion is to help organizations integrate data collection into practice and use data to improve service delivery and outcomes for participants and communities. Nancy is Director of Research and Evaluation at the University of New Mexico ECHO Institute. She has a Master's degree in public health from Emory University and a Ph.D. in public health from Ohio State University with a focus on health promotion, research methods, and biostatistics. She has served on the board of New Mexico Evaluators for three years. 

Kathryn Lowerre

Co-President Elect

Kathryn Lowerre is the lead program and policy evaluator for the Drug Overdose Prevention Program at the New Mexico Department of Health, Epidemiology and Response Division. She joined NMDOH in 2014 as bureau evaluator for Environmental Health Epidemiology, and has worked with multiple CDC-funded programs. Previous positions include college and university teaching, work at county and regional health departments on health impact assessments (HIAs) and population health indicators, and in drug regulatory affairs as a consultant. Her first health-related position, in clinical trials coordination, was at Duke's AIDS Research and Treatment Center, where she volunteered and worked part-time while completing her doctorate in historical musicology. She subsequently earned her MPH at Michigan State University.

Tamara Grybko

Co-President Elect                                

Tamara Grybko has over 20 years’ experience in informal learning environments, working in museums, libraries, and cultural centers. She began her career as the Collections Manager at the Boston Children’s Museum, where she developed a passion for facilitating lifelong learning and connecting individuals, families, and communities through meaningful and inclusive experiences. Tamara has developed dozens of programs and managed projects for students, teachers, adults, children, and families. Most recently, Tamara was the Program Data & Evaluation Manager at Explora Science Center and Children’s Museum. 

Mitch Herz

VP of Finance

Mitch has extensive experience with data and evaluation in the education sector. His graduate school training focused on research methods and program evaluation, and he has worked as an evaluator and program administrator with the Legislative Education Study Committee, Albuquerque Public Schools, and the Public Education Department since coming to New Mexico. Currently, he is a Senior Research Scientist at UNM's Project ECHO. He is a former teacher and committed to helping educators use data to better inform their decision-making processes.

Ranjana Damle

VP of Membership

Ranjana is recently retired and was previously research faculty at the University of New Mexico's Cradle to Career Policy Institute (formerly the Center for Education Policy Research, CEPR). She has a doctorate in sociology and her graduate projects included research on social stratification based on gender, race/ethnicity, and income, and its impact on women and minority youth. Ranjana subsequently transitioned to the field of education and developed extensive experience in PreK-12 education research and evaluation. Her primary evaluation project focuses on community schools, a school reform strategy with promising outcomes for students, families, and communities. Her research interests comprise education policy, school reform, and equity and inclusion in education. She is a past president of NM Evaluators.

Michele Banner

Co-VP of Programs

Michele Banner is the Associate Director of Crimson Research, a program evaluation agency at New Mexico State University (NMSU), and a Senior Research Scientist in the Department of Public Health Sciences at NMSU.  She has over 20 years of experience as a researcher and evaluator in both the private sector and academia across a variety of disciplines.  Most recently she has led several grants in the area of mental health awareness education and stigma reduction as well as varied evaluation efforts for the Doña Ana County Health and Human Services Department.  While at Crimson Research she has conducted evaluations in the southern NM border region, Juárez, El Paso, and nationally, maintaining a focus on health disparities, marginalized populations, and achieving equity.  Her doctorate and Master’s degrees are in Social Psychology.

Cathy Callow-Heusser

Co-VP of Programs 

Rissa Lane

VP of Communications

Rissa Lane is an Evaluator at Apex, an Evaluation consulting firm in Albuquerque. Rissa received her Master of Science in Population Health Sciences from the University of Wisconsin - Madison before moving to New Mexico. At Apex, Rissa's leads the evaluation of state-funded school-based health center programs in Colorado and Massachusetts while also supporting other public health and education program evaluation efforts. Previously, Rissa support evaluation efforts of FoodWIse, Wisconsin's federally funded Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program-Education and the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program. Rissa seeks to support programs and efforts to promote health, education, and equity through her work as an evaluator. 

Scott Hughes

 Past President

Scott D. Hughes currently serves as the Associate Research Professor at the Cradle to Career Policy Institute (formerly the Center for Education Policy Research, CEPR) located at the University of New Mexico. Scott brings nearly eighteen years of research and policy  experience. He serves as the principal or co-investigator on a number of studies related to early childhood. He currently serves as one of two representatives from New Mexico on the Board of Governors for the Regional Educational Laboratory Southwest and on the Board of NM Evaluators. Prior to coming to CEPR, Scott served as acting director for the New Mexico Office of Education Accountability (OEA) within the Department of Finance and Administration where he had been on staff since April 2004 serving as deputy director and senior policy analyst. Originally from Michigan, Scott has lived in  New Mexico since the fall of 1981. He has a BA in history from Michigan State University and a MA and PhD in U.S. history from the  University of New Mexico.

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