Evaluating Efforts to Cultivate Resilience in Orange County

Worksite Location
Orange County/Orange County Cooperative Extension
Project Dates
June 1-August 1, 2020
Faculty Sponsor
Laura Tach, Department of Policy Analysis and Management
Other Campus-Based Mentors/Supervisors
Elizabeth Day
Field Mentors/Supervisors
Susan McCormack and Julika von Stackelberg
Project Summary and Intended Outcomes

A substantial body of literature documents strong correlations between Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and negative outcomes across the life course. Research also points toward several strategies for cultivating resilience as a means of mitigating some of these negative effects. The Orange County Resilience Working Group, led by Cornell Cooperative Extension Orange County, is a team of diverse stakeholders working throughout Orange County to raise awareness about ACEs and create more trauma-sensitive institutions and services that foster resilience in their community. The goal of our summer project is to help Orange County evaluate the success of these efforts. More specifically, the CHE-CCE intern would help stakeholders evaluate 1) how effective outreach and education efforts are at increasing community awareness about ACEs and 2) whether specific trauma-sensitive reforms in education, health, and social service sectors generate positive outcomes for community members.

Roles and Responsibilities

The CHE-CCE intern would play a critical role in helping the Orange County Resilience Working Group to understand the impact of its efforts to cultivate ACE awareness and resilience and to increase that impact. The combination of the intern’s knowledge of program evaluation and implementation and stakeholders’ knowledge of the resources available and challenges present in Orange County would facilitate the successful evaluation of existing efforts and development of new ones. The intern would be responsible for working with the county to finalize a broader evaluation and data analysis plan, conduct preliminary analyses, and disseminate findings to the coalition stakeholders.

Qualifications and Previous Coursework

The CHE-CCE intern will be most successful if they have prior experience and/or coursework in a) research methods and b) social and policy influences on health and well-being. Strong communication skills and organizational skills are also important given the student will be working with a diverse coalition of stakeholders. Prior experiences working with community organizations that support vulnerable populations is a plus.

Benefits and Skills

At the conclusion of the project, the CHE-CCE intern will have gained an understanding of the benefits and challenges of bridging research and practice. More specifically, the student will have gained skills in 1) applying evaluation best practices to real-world situations and 2) effectively communicating evaluation findings to practitioners.