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Spotlight on External Research Partner: Dr. Phil Pendergast

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“In academia, we often get stuck in an intellectual trap of doing evaluation for the sake of doing it even when it’s not making an impact in the world. I feel really motivated to seek out opportunities like this to work with government partners that care about doing rigorous research on programs they’re investing in,” said Dr. Phil Pendergast, an external researcher to the Colorado Lab on the Colorado School Counselor Corps Grant Program (SCCGP) evaluation. Dr. Pendergast earned a PhD at the University of Colorado Boulder and is now an Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology at Western Washington University, and the Director of the Tedrow Lab for Demographic and Social Research.

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“As the pool of schools receiving grants from this program grew over time, it became difficult to find comparison schools and show a cause-effect relationship,” Dr. Pendergast said. “I am working to statistically match the schools that received grants with similar schools that did not receive grants. We are using strong methods for this evaluation to get the best perspective on what the evidence is on the effectiveness of the program.” Dr. Phil Pendergast Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology, Western Washington University / Director of the Tedrow Lab for Demographic and Social Research

“This is an ideal collaboration for me because the evaluation is important to the Governor’s Office, helping them to understand whether the investments they’re making are worthwhile.”

The initial outcomes assessment will be completed by late summer and Dr. Pendergast anticipates the full evaluation being completed and reported on by the end of 2024.

For more information, please contact Dr. Ernest Boffy-Ramirez, Senior Researcher/Project Director for the Colorado Lab.