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Jessica Slaton

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Jessica Slaton
image of Jessica Cooper, senior analyst
Associate Partner
Policy and Evaluation

Background: Jessica is an associate partner in the Policy and Evaluation practice area, where she's worked since 2018. Prior to joining Bellwether, Jessica worked as an education evaluator in the Office of Education at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). At NOAA, Jessica focused on diversity and inclusion, particularly around access to NOAA’s higher education opportunities. Jessica also facilitated the implementation of the NOAA Monitoring and Evaluation framework with an emphasis on workforce development, and provided technical assistance to NOAA educators working to improve individual program evaluation plans. In addition, Jessica has worked on a variety of program evaluation projects including the Alabama statewide evaluation of the 21st Century Community Learning Center (CCLC) grants and the National Science Foundation-funded Nanobio Intervention spearheaded by Tuskegee University. Jessica’s work has primarily included program evaluation and research support across a variety of topics related to education and the impacts of equity and accessibility for marginalized groups.

Jessica holds a bachelor’s degree in child development from the University of Georgia and a doctorate degree in Educational Psychology with a focus on program evaluation from Auburn University.

Experience at Bellwether: evaluation, research support, quantitative and qualitative data collection and analysis  

Client segments served: K-12 schools, intermediaries, higher education, government, nonprofit organizations

Sample clients: RePublic Schools, Collegiate Academies, Pathways 2 Tomorrow, Walton Family Foundation, National Association of Latino Elected Officials (NALEO) Education Fund

Why I do this work: As a first-generation college student, education has always been a very important part of my life. Although I excelled in elementary and secondary school, I was very unsure of what I wanted to do with my life, which led to me enlist in the Army during my junior year of high school. I was slated to ship out to basic training one week after graduation, but my uncle encouraged me to pursue my education further. Fortunately I applied and was accepted to a four-year university. That one decision changed the course of my life and gave me options that I never knew were possible. I believe in education and making sure even the most marginalized groups feel empowered and have the opportunity to pursue their dreams, even if they don’t yet know what they are.