I'm currently working as the lead investigative evaluator and qualitative analyst for the TerraLuna Collaborative's Lived Experience Project. I'm based in Minneapolis, but the project’s focus is the juvenile justice system in Douglas County, Nebraska. My work for the project draws on two decades of investigative and storytelling work. Before coming to TerraLuna, I reported from the Middle East and United States. My work has been published by American Public Media, New York Times, Marketplace, GOOD, Utne Reader, Al Jazeera America, and others.

It was as a journalist that I learned the investigative and data techniques that are the core of the Lived Experience Project’s investigative evaluation work. Investigative evaluation, a discipline I am developing along with my colleagues at TerraLuna, draws on the methods of investigative social research, investigative journalism, and developmental evaluation to evaluate complex institutional systems. The work of investigative evaluation centers on acquisition and analysis of public documents and data, the construction of custom data sets and interfaces, and relationship building with individuals who are immersed in a particular system and can serve as partners in meaning-making. The purpose of the work is to illuminate systemic patterns that harm or marginalize individuals and groups.

In the Lived Experience Project, this means pursuing data and relationships that help to illuminate patterns and irregularities in the juvenile justice system that are harmful to youth and families and either invisible to or ignored by the system as a whole (or its components).

What becomes of all this work? We share what we've learned with people working in the system and with the people impacted by the system (in formats as varied as community forums, investigative reports, and comic books), collaborating with these audiences on meaning-making and next steps.

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