Learning through Evaluation,
Adaptation, and Dissemination



Christine Maidl Pribbenow, Ph.D.

Christine Maidl Pribbenow, Ph.D., is a Senior Scientist and Director of the LEAD Center. As a professional evaluator, she uses mixed methodology to assess student and faculty learning, and to evaluate educational programming for postsecondary institutions and organizations. She has been the Evaluation Director on a variety of programs to increase the number of underrepresented minorities in STEMM, including women and different racial/ethnic populations. As the Director of LEAD, she works with potential partners to develop evaluation plans and after funding, oversees professional evaluators who conduct the evaluation.


Mohammad Akanda

Mohammad Akanda, Ph.D., is an Associate Researcher at the LEAD Center/Gear Learning, WCER. He is exploring game-based learning outcomes using data analytics and conventional research designs. Before this position, he worked on online game development to understand how children learn. Mohammad also worked in visualization components development to support symbolic and non-symbolic fraction learning. Having an engineering and applied mathematics background, he is passionate about solving real-world problems using mathematical techniques.

Christine Fabian Bell

Christine Fabian Bell, M.S., is an Assistant Researcher and Evaluator. She began her position with the LEAD Center in 2014 where she provides internal and external evaluation services for programming in higher education. Christine is experienced in the evaluation of workshop development processes and evaluating workshop effectiveness, especially in terms of supporting student and faculty training that goes beyond enforcing policy and leads to authentic changes in academic culture and work climate. She has experience with evaluation requirements for NSF, NIH, and HHMI funded programs, however, she values going beyond meeting reporting requirements of grant funding in order to sincerely support the development of programs and the human lives that are affected, and contribute to broader research impacts. Christine uses mixed methods with a focus on qualitative methods for evaluating programs related to women in STEM, workshops for faculty, staff and students, STEM training programs, and more. She has bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Sociology and Rural Studies from South Dakota State University.

Nicole Bowman-Farrell

Nicole Bowman-Farrell (Mohican/Munsee), Ph.D. is a Researcher and Evaluator in the LEAD Center. Culturally and contextually responsive educational research, evaluation, and policy studies are central to the work Nicole has carried out over nearly two decades.  By working “with” people and not “on” them, Nicole is known as a responsive and effective multi-jurisdictional and government systems subject matter expert.  She has been a leader on educational and government initiatives where Tribal and non-Tribal agencies partner to improve outcomes, capacities, and competencies for more effective, responsive, and impactful programming.  As an evaluator, trainer, and technical assistance provider, Dr. Bowman has increased the skills, competencies, and capacities for many university, non-profit, and for-profit academic organizations working with Indigenous and other marginalized populations.  In May 2015 Nicole graduated with her PhD from the Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis Department at the University of WI-Madison.  Her multi-jurisdictional educational policy study was the first in the country to examine how Tribal and non-Tribal educational policy is developed and implemented as public and Tribal governments educate Indigenous students attending K-12 public schools.   Dr. Bowman currently is an active elected leader, international annual conference trainer, and/or an appointed advisory member for several work groups under the American Evaluation Association, the Center for Culturally Responsive Evaluation and Assessment, and the Eastern Evaluation Research Society.

Kyrie E. H Caldwell, SM

Kyrie E. H Caldwell, SM, is an Assistant Researcher with The LEAD Center and Gear Learning. She conducts research and evaluation on digital games in education and culture via a background in qualitative and humanist methodologies and feminist and social justice lenses. Kyrie has been active in numerous aspects of national and international research in games-based learning and games studies since 2013. Her interests lie in how digital games and the creative industries around games participate in, reflect, and challenge the complex systems of human learning, interaction, and emotionality, especially around transcending and changing oppressive roles and narratives. Previously, Kyrie has assisted with developing tools, curricula, and institutional processes around qualitative research and evaluation methods; she has also assisted in curating artworks on paper. Kyrie holds an SM from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Comparative Media Studies and a B.A. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in Art History and Religious Studies.

Donald D. Dantzler Jr.

Donald D. Dantzler Jr. (Ph.D./ABD) is an Assistant Researcher and Evaluator at the LEAD Center. He evaluates the Fair Play Project, which is a computer-based designed to highlight implicit bias incidents in academia. Before this position, he was an Inclusive Excellence Fellow for two years at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater in a dual appointment between the College of Business & Economics and the College of Education and Professional Studies. Donald also consults on several projects analyzing and developing structured mentoring programs for African American males. Having an Economics and quantitative research background, he is passionate about solving real world problems using statistical techniques.


Nafsaniath Fathema, Ph.D

Nafsaniath Fathema, Ph.D, MBA, is an associate researcher and evaluator in the LEAD Center. She studies technology adoption and its impact on teaching-learning processes. Her other areas of research explore technology based innovative teaching practices in higher education with special focus on STEM education. Dr. Fathema is currently working on a number of national and local projects focusing on areas like: transforming lecture-based courses into technology enhanced active learning courses, developing inclusive and diverse national faculty to broaden success of underrepresented STEM students and creating flexible pathways to STEM degrees for ‘transfer Students’ in the University of Wisconsin system. Being a mixed method researcher, Dr. Fathemautilizes quantitative, qualitative or mixed methodology to study different research phenomenon. She taught a wide variety of graduate and undergraduate educational research methods and business courses in the US and abroad for over ten years. Dr. Fathema holds a Ph.D from the Auburn University. As a Fulbright fellow, she earned her MBA in MIS and e-commerce marketing from the Rochester Institute of Technology.

Kate McCleary

Kate McCleary, Ph.D., is an Associate Researcher with the LEAD Center.  Evaluation and assessment has been central to the work Kate has carried out in international education over the past decade.  She uses evaluative practices in examining undergraduate intercultural learning and cultural adjustment, and establishing and reviewing international, university-partnerships within higher education settings.  She was a member of a longitudinal, team-based, evaluation of a girls and marginalized children/youth empowerment program carried out in eight countries through the Minnesota International Development Education Consortium. Kate appreciates the utilization of mixed-methodology in evaluation studies, and has taught qualitative research methods at the undergraduate level.  She values the insight and understanding that her work provides to institutions and organizations with which she partners. Kate holds a Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota in Educational Policy & Administration with a focus in Comparative International Development Education.

Hazel Symonette, Ph.D.

Hazel Symonette, Ph.D., Program Development & Assessment Specialist Emerita, is Evaluation Facilitator at the Wisconsin Center for Education Research—the LEAD Center (Learning through Evaluation, Adaptation and Dissemination) and the Wisconsin Evaluation Collaborative (WEC). Her work focuses on using assessment and evaluation as participant-centered self-diagnostic resources for continuous improvement, developmental innovation, and strategic image management. She moves this agenda forward through a variety of capacity-building strategies using multi-level assessment/evaluation processes to advance a diversity-grounded and equity-minded personal transformation, organizational development and social justice change agenda. That work undergirds her long-standing involvement in creating and sustaining authentically inclusive and vibrantly responsive teaching, learning, living, and working environments that are conducive to success for all. Her work draws on social justice and systemic change research to create meaningful and life-changing interactions among students, faculty, staff and administrators.  

The cross-campus/cross-role incubators for this work was the UW Excellence through Diversity Institute (2002-2009) and the Student Success Institute (2010-2017). Both were year-long weekly communities of practice organized around mainstreaming assessment and evaluation in the service of diversity, equity, inclusive excellence and social justice for students, faculty, staff and administrators.

Dr. Symonette is very active within the professional evaluation community. She has served on the American Evaluation Association (AEA) Board of Directors, as Co-Chairs of AEA's Building Diversity Initiative and the Multi-Ethnic Issues in Evaluation Topical Interest Group and many other progressive change initiatives. Currently, she serves on the AEA Task Force on Evaluator Competencies.  Since 2008, she has also been serving on the Joint Committee on Standards for Educational Evaluation--initially as AEA’s Representative and now as an At-Large member. Hazel is an active Fellow within the University of Wisconsin Teaching Academy.


Kim Kile

Kimberly Kile, Ph.D., is the Program Manager for the LEAD Center, managing both the Center, and grant-related projects and activities. As the Program Manager, she leads educational, professional development, and outreach activities.  She is passionate about the student experience in post-secondary education and uses her expertise in student learning and development, curriculum development, faculty development, and implementation strategies as a framework for success.  For over two decades, she has served students, faculty, and staff within diverse institutions, including a technical college, a private liberal arts college, a state comprehensive institution, a research university, a central administrative office for a state system, and a nationally-ranked teaching hospital. She is widely regarded within the University and across the state for her communication, collaboration, and relationship building skills. Dr. Kile holds a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a M.S.Ed. in College Student Development and Administration from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse.