Vidya Shanker

Vidhya Shanker has joined the Extension Center for Family Development’s Applied Research and Evaluation Team as a graduate research assistant. She will support research, evaluation, and scholarship efforts for the Family Resiliency program area. Much of her time will be spent supporting evaluation of the Parents Forever™ educational program.

Before joining Extension, Vidhya spent 20 years in the public and nonprofit sector, working in large institutions and in grassroots, constituent-led organizations. She has conducted evaluations with communities of color, as well as indigenous, immigrant, and refugee communities in the United States. She also has done research on human services, poverty, and systemic inequality on the international level.

Vidhya has a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Art History from the University of Michigan. She also holds a Master of Arts degree in Public Affairs from the University of Minnesota Humphrey School of Public Affairs. She is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Evaluation Studies from the University’s College of Education and Human Development.

Vidhya’s areas of focus are racial, economic, and gender justice; participatory evaluation; and systems thinking.