Mary A. McEathron joined Rainbow Research in April 2014. She began her career in nonprofits in 1990, working for the Academy for Educational Development (AED) in Washington, DC, in both domestic and international programs. Returning to Minnesota, she worked for the Community Design Center of Minnesota and attended Hamline University, earning a Masters of Liberal Studies in Creative and Critical Writing. Mary’s first experience with program evaluation at AED, along with her long-standing interest in supporting the strengths of individuals and communities, led her to pursue a doctorate in evaluation studies at the University of Minnesota.
Prior to joining Rainbow Research, Dr. McEathron was the director of the Evaluation Group at the Institute on Community Integration, University of Minnesota. She has been the lead investigator for a number of state- and federally- funded projects including a 4-year evaluation of the Minnesota State College and University System’s Access and Opportunity Center for Excellence, which provided coordinated services to increase the college readiness, retention, and graduation rates for underrepresented students; Manoomin: the Past, Present, and Future Conditions of Wild Rice Lakes, a 5-year community-based participatory research project conducted in collaboration with the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Reservation; and a study to develop the Taxonomy for Postsecondary Education Program for Students with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities.
Mary’s research interests focus on systems approaches in evaluation and evaluation’s role in bridging academic research with community knowledge, practice and policy making.
She is an active member of the American Evaluation Association (AEA), having served as program co-chair for the Environmental Evaluators and the Systems in Evaluation Topical Interest Groups.