S-STEM Logo Color | on Low-Income STEM Student Decision-Making and Pathways

External Evaluator

external evaluation

conducted by MNA

MNA is a woman-owned, small business based in Northern VA that specializes in providing education research and program evaluation services to clients across metropolitan DC and beyond. Established in 2004, MNA is headed by Kavita Mittapalli, Ph.D. who has over 20 years of experience in conducting research and evaluation for various programs and initiatives for not-for-profit, for-profit; state, and higher education agencies and institutions. MNA’s work is guided by the principles of the American Evaluation Association (AEA) and harnesses the training and experience of its team members in qualitative and quantitative research methods, design, statistical analyses, program management, technical assistance, and decision-making skills.

Community College S-STEM External Evaluator

Three evaluation questions will guide MNA’s mixed methods approach to the evaluation of CCSN:

1. To what extent does the CCSN generate new knowledge and evidence-based information, methods, tools, and templates to enhance student decision-making and success in CC STEM pathways, including entry into STEM careers?

2. To what extent does the CCSN create, build, and support a network of CC recipients of S-STEM grantees that expands to include CCs seeking S-STEM funding to improve STEM pathways for low-income CC students?

3. To what extent are new knowledge and evidence-based information shared with and used by CC stakeholders, including the growing CCSN network?

Lead Evaluator

Kavita Mittapalli

Kavita Mittapalli, Ph., is the CEO and Co-Founder of MN Associates, Inc. She worked at various consulting firms before founding MNA in 2004. Kavita started her career in Agricultural Science before becoming an Applied Sociologist and a mixed methodologist with an interest in research design. She brings her multi-disciplinary skills and knowledge to all the work she does at MNA. Kavita received her bachelor of science degree in agricultural sciences from Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi, India, her master of arts degree in applied sociology, and her doctorate in research design and methodology from George Mason University.

Evaluation Team Member

Nina de las Alas

Nina de las Alas is a senior research associate at MNA, where she has worked on evaluating multiple grant projects funded by the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Department of Labor, and the U.S. Department of Education, among others. Prior to working at MNA she was a senior research associate at the Council of Chief State School Officers and worked on policy and program research in areas such as K-12 standards, assessment, and accountability, school improvement, teacher quality, and STEM education. She was also a research associate with George Washington University providing technical assistance on comprehensive school reform. She has over 23 years’ experience in research and evaluation in human and institutional capacity-building from early childhood to workforce development.