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Evaluation Team

Shelly Valdez
Founder of Native Pathways, LLC

Dr. Shelly Valdez is a member of the Pueblo of Laguna Tribe, located in central New Mexico, and Hispanic descent. Shelly’s company, Native Pathways, LLC ( focuses on advocacy of worldviews in science education (informal and formal) and advocacy for indigenous processes and decolonizing approaches to program evaluation. Shelly has worked in the K-12 educational environment for 38+ and as a program evaluator for 20 years. Shelly is a traditional pueblo potter, trained through the gifts of knowledge transferred to her from her mother. She utilizes this art form to amplify her passion and work within a Science of Place.

Jill Stein
Founder and Principal Researcher of Reimagine Research Group,

Jill Stein is Founder and Principal Researcher of Reimagine Research Group, based in Corvallis, OR, and has been doing audience research and program evaluation since 2004. She has worked with a broad range of cultural and educational organizations, including science museums and centers, cultural heritage and history museums, tribal museums, historic sites, art museums, and children’s museums, as well as in K-12 and higher education settings. Her focus areas include the role that culture plays in learning, evaluation practices that attend to equity and inclusion, and partnerships between tribal and non-tribal organizations. In collaboration with Dr. Shelly Valdez of Native Pathways (Laguna, NM), Ms. Stein has led evaluation and research on numerous projects funded by NSF, NASA and IMLS around bringing together Indigenous knowledge and western science, engaging Native youth in STEM through their cultural knowledge systems, and building awareness and capacity for non-Native educators and museum professionals to engage in respectful, sustainable partnerships with tribal communities. Ms. Stein has a Master’s degree in Folklore and Anthropology with an emphasis on Museum Studies from Indiana University, Bloomington, and is a PhD candidate in Applied Anthropology at Oregon State University. She also serves as incoming president for the Visitor Studies association.

Rita Y. Martinez
American Indian Development Associates, LLC (AIDA)

Rita Y. Martinez, MCRP, MPA, is a citizen of the Pueblo of Laguna and a member of the Pueblo of Jemez. She is of the Roadrunner and Fire clans. Rita is a mother of three boys and is married to Ruben Martinez. She has over fifteen years of management and research experience as Vice President for American Indian Development Associates, LLC (AIDA). As Vice President, Rita oversees daily operations with accounting, human resources, contracts, and reporting. In addition, she manages multiple research, evaluation, and assessment projects with varying methodologies and topics in tribal locations nationwide. Rita is currently helping to lead the field implementation of the National Baseline Study: A study of health, wellness, and safety among American Indian and Alaska Native women living in tribal communities. In addition, she is a Native FEWs Alliance Evaluation Team Member through Native Pathways, where she provides input on the evaluation design, data collection, and analysis. She holds a Master’s in Public Administration, a Master’s in Community and Regional Planning, and a Bachelor of Arts in Criminology from the University of New Mexico (UNM). She is a Tribal Data Champion Fellow through the Center for Participatory Research, College of Population Health, UNM. In addition, she completed an advanced research course through the Alaska Indigenous Research Program, Alaska Tribal Health Consortium, and Alaska Pacific University. Rita’s mission is to use the knowledge, skills, and abilities obtained from her education, research, and project management experience to implement culturally relevant and community-based solutions through Indigenous planning, policy, programs, research and education, and community development within American Indian and Alaska Native communities.