Skip to main content
Equity. Access. Excellence.

Afi WigginsPhone: 512.475.9723

Dana Center Role

Afi has more than a decade’s worth of research and evaluation experience at the high school, community college, and university levels. As director of program evaluation and research at the Center, she leads the development of comprehensive and coherent strategies for research and evaluation initiatives. Afi manages internal and external collaborations to ensure research and evaluation work is completed on time and with quality. She accesses, mines, stores, secures, and manages data from state and national longitudinal databases as well as performs and supervises the performance of quantitative and qualitative analyses.

Before Joining the Dana Center

As senior research analyst at Texas State University, Afi created and maintained longitudinally linked data sets for use in statistical analyses and developed procedures to validate data integrity. She also collaborated with faculty to develop quantitative research, evaluation, and/or data analyses design and methodology.

Previously, Afi worked for Austin Independent School District, leading research, evaluation, and statistical analyses projects in the areas of college readiness, postsecondary enrollment and persistence, and career and technical education. While at University of Virginia Curry School of Education and University of Virginia Women’s Center, she conducted program evaluations of various aspects of a mentoring program pairing college women with middle school girls. Before that, Afi was a research analyst at Piedmont Virginia Community College, developing surveys and performing data analysis to assess the effectiveness of educational and administrative programs.

In addition, Afi has taught first and third grades, served as an assistant principal, and taught research, evaluation, and statistics at the undergraduate and graduate school levels. She worked in national education policy, serving as a writing group member on the 2011 Council of Chief State School Officers’ Interstate Assessment and Support Consortium (InTASC) Model Core Teaching Standards revision committee.


Ph.D., Research Statistics and Evaluation, University of Virginia, Charlottesville

Ed.S., Educational Leadership & Research and Evaluation Methodology, University of Alabama at Birmingham

M.Ed., Educational Administration, University of Montevallo, Alabama

B.S., Early Childhood and Elementary Education, University of Montevallo, Alabama

Selected Publications

Deringer, S. A., & Wiggins, A. Y. (2018). Lasting impacts of outdoor orientation programming: A preliminary study using longitudinal data. Journal of Outdoor Recreation, Education, and Leadership, 10(2), 139–152.

Van Overschelde, J. P., & Wiggins, A. Y. (2017, June). Planting seeds in fertile soil: Assessing teacher employment environments in Texas. The Journal of the Consortium of State Organizations for Texas Teacher Education: Texas Educator Preparation, 1, 7–20.

Deutsch, N. L., Wiggins, A. Y., Henneberger, A., & Lawrence, E. (2012, September). Combining mentoring with structured group activities: A potential after-school context for fostering relationships between girls and mentors. The Journal of Early Adolescence, 33, 44–76.

Selected Presentations

InTASC model core teaching standards: Empirical research support for a new vision for teacher standards. Paper Presented at the American Educational Research Association annual meeting, New Orleans, LA (April 2011).

Examining mentors’ inter-group learning through the lens of family and community relationships. Paper Presented at the 10th Annual Diversity Challenge: Race and Culture in Teaching, Training, and Supervision of the Institute for the Study and Promotion of Race and Culture at Boston College, Boston, MA (October 2010).

Fostering connection: Mentoring groups as a context for relational development for adolescent girls and their mentors. Paper Presented at the 13th Biennial Meeting of the Society for Research on Adolescence, Philadelphia, PA (March 2010).

Professional Memberships

American Educational Research Association

American Evaluation Association