Dana Center Role
Afi has more than a decade’s worth of evaluation and research experience at the high school, community college, and university levels. As director of evaluation and research at the Dana 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 queries 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. She is an alumna of the Strategic Data Project Institute for Leadership in Analytics (SDP Institute) at Harvard University Center for Education Policy Research.
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
Current Research and Evaluation Projects
Launch Years: Redefining High School and College Readiness in Mathematics
Advancing Equity and Student Success in Mathematics Education at the Junior-to-Junior Level
Moving Mathematics Pathways to Normative Practice
Redefining Mathematics Pathways in Central Texas
Accelerating Mathematics Pathways in East Texas
Accelerating Mathematics Pathways in West Texas
College-Ready Math Initiative
Selected Committee Membership
Member, Knowledge Development Committee, Texas Association of Community Colleges
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.
Teacher preparation pathways: Differences in program selection and teacher retention. Paper presented at the American Educational Research Association (AERA) annual meeting, Toronto, Canada (April 2019).
Accelerated developmental reading and writing coursework and student preparedness for college-level reading-intensive and writing-intensive courses in Texas community colleges. Paper presented at the AERA annual meeting, New York, NY (April 2018).
InTASC model core teaching standards: Empirical research support for a new vision for teacher standards. Paper presented at the AERA annual meeting, New Orleans, LA (April 2011).
American Educational Research Association
American Evaluation Association
Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness