Dr. Mykal Leslie knows how to read the story that the numbers tell – and how to find the parts of the story they don’t tell. He will have plenty of opportunities to do both as the new Director of Evaluation for HDI. “We do internal and external evaluation,” Leslie said. “We make sure that people know what they’re looking for and have adequate ways to assess their progress and value”. That means working with a lot of raw data, numbers, and people. “Oftentimes, within our evaluation plans, we rely heavily on a wide range of mixed methods research,” he said. That means that Leslie and his team use a variety of ways to figure out what is best for different projects.
Leslie said that he always liked the idea of going into a helping profession, and a mentor set him on the road of working with people with disabilities. After finishing his undergraduate studies, he did a research project about people recovering from traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries and strokes. Leslie loved the work and followed it up by pursuing a master’s degree in clinical rehabilitation counseling, earning a license as a clinical mental health counselor, and completing a PHD program in counselor education and supervision. Another mentor, Dr. Phil Rumrill, currently working at HDI, led him to research grant writing and evaluation.
Leslie joins HDI from Kent State University’s Center for Disability Studies where he coordinated a master’s program for clinical rehabilitation counseling for six years. Leslie said he’s “never really been another place that’s doing the level and quality of work that HDI is doing, and they are doing it the right way.”
Learn more about HDI’s work in research and evaluation at https://hdi.uky.edu/category/priority-area/research-evaluation.