Our team is comprised of a broad array of evaluators, researchers, community psychologists, and community activists, who are passionate about creating a socially just world. As community transformation catalysts, we seek to confront injustice and inequity that may exist at all levels within and around communities. We firmly believe that the community must be at the heart of identifying the solutions to address their challenges and create their desired reality. By building trust and authentic relationships with our partners, we help communities see the big ideas and also help them implement those ideas to achieve their dream or vision. It is our greatest joy to participate in this work and spread hope and healing to all.
Dominica McBride, PhD, Founder and CEO
Dr. Dominica McBride, a leading thinker on how we evolve beyond the current racial-equity paradigm, a champion of Culturally Responsive Evaluation, and a grassroots advocacy strategist.
Dr. McBride founded BECOME in 2013 from a belief that communities should be at the center of creating the reality they want and need and that culturally responsive evaluation can be a tool for social justice and thriving communities. Previously she conducted program development and evaluation projects in Arizona, the Chicago area and in Tanzania, Africa. Dr. McBride has worked as a consultant, program director and adjunct faculty member in the field of community psychology and has provided adult, child and family therapy as well as substance abuse counseling. She is a sought-after speaker and trainer for communities, coalitions, and organizations nationally. Her published articles and chapters discuss including culturally responsive evaluation, cultural competence, and prevention and other topics.
Awards and honors Dr. McBride has received for her work include the The Chicago School of Professional Psychology Supervisor of the Year Award, Ed Marciniak Bright Start Award from the Bright Promises Foundation, American Evaluation Association Marcia Guttentag Promising New Evaluator Award and ARK of St. Sabina Dream Maker Award. She also served on the Board of Directors of the American Evaluation Association. She has a PhD in Counseling Psychology with a specialization in Consultation from Arizona State University.
Shemeka Woodson, CHW, Growth and Operations Lead
Shemeka, a nonprofit management professional, and a collaborative community change agent with a passion for people empowerment, human capital and serving marginalized populations. She carries eight plus years of administrative and managerial experience with a versatile skill set ranging from data entry, project management, program management and evaluation, grant writing, branding/marketing and social media management.
A Houston, Texas native, she began working in the non-profit sector as an affordable housing advocate in social services management for low income residents and families in South Texas. She has served on the City of San Antonio’s Community Action Advisory Board as a Private Representative in 2016. Shemeka is also the owner of Colorful Conscience LLC, a socially conscious business branding purposeful work to IGNITE change, INSPIRE communities and IMPACT the next generation using collaborative alliances within the public and private sector. Her mission is to address the Social Determinants of Health by creating bridges for people powered solutions that ignite social equity and change.
She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from St. Mary’s University (San Antonio, TX), a Community Health Worker certification from the State of Texas, a Non-Profit Leadership and Management graduate certificate and is pursuing her Masters of Public Administration from The University of Texas in San Antonio.
Gabriela Garcia, PhD, Capacity Building Partnerships Lead
Dr. Gabriela Garcia is driven by a commitment to advocate for and nourish communities that have been affected by poverty and injustice.
She has over 10 years of experience in evaluation and research design, qualitative methods, project management, theory of change and logic model development, and culturally responsive evaluation. She has led or co-led various mixed-method evaluations for a variety of federally- and foundation- funded STEM and health education initiatives. Some of her areas of evaluation, research and technical assistance work have included: curriculum development, after-school programs, diversity and equity-focused initiatives, and broadening participation in STEM projects.
She is active in presenting her research and evaluation work at professional conferences (e.g., American Evaluation Association, Center for Culturally Responsive Evaluation and Assessment, National Latino Psychological Association) and recently co-published the article “Situational Awareness and Interpersonal Competence as Evaluator Competencies” in the American Journal of Evaluation. She has a PhD in Educational Psychology with a Program Evaluation specialization from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and is fluent in Spanish and English.
Scott Christian, PhD, Development and Transformation Lead
Dr. Scott Christian is an outspoken advocate for equity and social justice. He has served on research, evaluation and documentation teams for grants and projects supported by the US Dept. of Education, the National Science Foundation, the Spencer Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Dewitt Wallace Foundation and the Annenberg Rural Trust, among others. His research background is weighted towards qualitative and mixed methods research. Recently, he has participated in evaluation projects with BECOME for the Chicago Foundation for Women, Black Men and Boys and Public Allies. His recent dissertation (2017) presented a sequential explanatory design mixed methods study regarding “Culturally Responsive Teaching and Student Self-Efficacy in Alaskan Middle School Classrooms.” He has served as the primary editor and/or writer for reports, articles and publications, mostly related to public education.
Lisa Sargent, MA, CAPM, Community Advocate and Co-Creator
Working at the intersection of community organizing and evaluation, Lisa envisions a world where all communities, especially those most impacted by inequity, hold the resources they need to thrive.
With experience in strategic communications, marketing, project management and evaluation, she has worked in nonprofit, government, philanthropic, and academic spaces. Lessons learned from her time as a community organizer and multi-issue advocate continue to ground her thinking around accessibility, nonprofit sustainability, and collective power building.
She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Mass Communications-Advertising from Texas State University and Master’s Degree in Sociology from the University of Houston.
Casey Solomon-Filer, MA, Community Advocate and Co-Creator
Casey’s passion for Culturally Responsive Evaluation stems from interest in how distributions of power influence the everyday lives of individuals and communities, and how evaluation can serve as a tool to help redistribute power towards a more just world.
Her background is in program evaluation, international development and education, teaching, social anthropology, and visitor studies. Her evaluation experience includes programs on civic engagement, training, informal learning, STEM, and conservation. Much of her evaluation projects have focused on youth programs. After living in Senegal, Gabon, France, and Yemen, Casey is delighted to currently reside in the Chicago area.
She has a Master of Arts in Program Evaluation from Michigan State University and another in Arab Studies with a concentration on Culture and Society from Georgetown University.
Keisha Farmer-Smith, PhD, Senior Partner Advocate
Keisha has partnered with organizations dedicated to supporting safe, healthy spaces for youth for 18 years.
In addition to consulting on culturally responsive evaluation and other projects for BECOME since 2016, she has extensive youth development experience. Her work experience includes supervising program outcomes and impact at Boys and Girls Clubs of Chicago, serving as Director of Programs at Family Focus Inc., managing gender-specific after school programs at Alternatives, Inc., and coordinating educational and vocational services for Illinois Department of Child and Family Services youth at UCAN.
Keisha has won awards for her Outstanding Service to Children including as a 2018 University of Illinois 2018 Civic Engagement, Community Service, and Community Organizing (CECSCO) honoree. She has graduate degrees in Counseling and Urban Planning, and a PhD in Public Policy Analysis from the University of Illinois.
Dara Lewis, PhD, Community Advocate and Co-Creator
Dara is guided by the principle of using research and evaluation as tools for building capacity within communities and increasing knowledge by drawing on cultural strengths.
She also serves as the Assistant Director for Loyola University’s Center for Research on Self-Sufficiency and adjunct faculty member for Loyola University Chicago and the University of Illinois at Chicago, teaching research methods courses. She has worked extensively in and with community organizations as a Family Prisoner Re-entry Program Developer and Director, Director of Supportive Housing programs for homeless women and children, program evaluator, consultant, advocate, mentor, and volunteer.
She has written and collaborated on numerous publications on topics including mass incarceration and father identity, fatherhood and self-sufficiency, and employment pathways among the incarcerated. She received her PhD in Sociology from Loyola University Chicago.
Cassandra Boyd, MSW, Community Advocate and Co-Creator
Cassandra is passionate about combining the areas of social work and program evaluation to influence data-driven change within nonprofit organizations.
Cassandra joined BECOME in 2020, bringing an interest in organization/community development and program evaluation. Other primary areas of interest include youth physical and nutritional well being as well as social emotional learning. Cassandra has delivered oral and poster presentations at the North American Association of Christians in Social Work and American Evaluation Association.
She holds a Masters of Social Work from the University of Michigan.