Community Research Extension
We promote positive social change through community research and program evaluation. Our work informs public policy, improves organizational effectiveness, fosters innovation and data-driven decision-making, and expands community knowledge. Our research and evaluation advance equity in the community.
WORK WITH US
The mission, values, and activities of the Community Research Extension (CRE) help Weber State University fulfill its strategic goals.
- The CRE utilizes an equity lens in our work that focuses on reducing disparities in the community. (Goal 1:EDI)
- We guide our students through high-impact educational experiences that directly benefit our community partners. (Goal 3: Personal Connections and Academic Excellence)
- The trust we cultivate with the community has enabled us to develop robust partnerships with community organizations to build community prosperity. (Goals 3 and 4: Community Anchor Mission)
- We engage faculty fellows and support them through the breadth of the community research process. (Goals 3 and 4)
- Through the sum of our work, the CRE helps the community build capacity and promote systemic local change for a thriving community. (Goal 4)
Katharine French-Fuller, PhD
Katharine joined the Community Research Extension (CRE) in May of 2018 after working with non-profits and in research development. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in International Studies from the College of William and Mary, her Master’s in Latin American Studies from the University of California at Berkeley, and her PhD in history from Duke University. Katharine is a qualitative researcher with two decades of research experience in both Latin America and the United States. A Fulbright Scholar, she has conducted research in Mexico, Chile, Argentina, Washington, DC, and Ogden, UT. Her work at the CRE focuses on bringing projects to fruition that help partners make change happen in their community.
Yesenia Quintana, MEd
Yesenia Quintana is the Evaluation and Community Research Supervisor for the Center for Community Engaged Learning at Weber State University. She has nearly a decade of experience working with local nonprofits, school districts, and anchor institutions around community research and program evaluation. She has worked extensively with place-based initiatives such as Ogden United Promise Neighborhood and Ogden Civic Action Network. She previously worked with State GEAR UP as a college access advisor and data specialist.
She has received awards and recognition for her evaluation and research work with the Ogden United Promise Neighborhood Research Team and a college-prep STEM summer program. She is dedicated to helping organizations and people embrace evaluation as a learning experience from which they can better understand their efforts and their program’s impact.
Yesenia holds a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Weber State University and a Master of Education in Measurement, Evaluation, Statistics, and Assessment from the University of Illinois at Chicago.
Cassandra Backman, PSM
Cassandra joined the Community Research Extension in August 2019 after working for non-profits as an informal STEM educator, evaluator, and behavioral researcher. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Zoology in 2016 from North Carolina State University and her Professional Science Masters focused in education, evaluation, and not-for-profits from Colorado State University in 2018. Her focus is in grant evaluation, program evaluation, and food security research. She currently oversees two state-level grants focused on K-12 education and community partnerships and acts as research support for food insecurity initiatives in Ogden.
801-626-7870 Ext. 7870
CURRENT RESEARCH FELLOWS
Andrea Garavito-Martinez, PhD
Current Research Fellow
Dr. Andrea Garavito Martinez earned her bachelor's degree in Sociology and Chicana/o Studies from UC Santa Barbara and went on to earn her master's degree and ph.d in Education, Culture, and Society from the University of Utah. She joined Weber State as a faculty member in the Department of Teacher Education, Moyes College of Education in the Spring of 2020 and, if you ask many of her students, quickly became a rising star and one of their favorite faculty members due to how deeply she cares about seeing her students succeed. This year she was the recipient of the Weber State University Presidential Award for Teaching Excellence. She is also the recipient of the 2023 Hemingway Excellent Grant Award which will fund community-based research to create a WSU/Ogden Grow Your Own Educator initiative. This project seeks to increase the number of students from diverse backgrounds entering the teaching profession. Dr. Martinez is the incoming Co-Chair of the Faculty Senate EDI Standing Committee and the Co-Chair of the President's Council for EDI. She sits on numerous campus and community committees, including being a board member of the Salt Lake County Clark Planetarium. She describes herself as a "Citizen Scientist." She is the mother of two future scientists.
Jenny Gnagey, PhD
Current Research Fellow
Jenny Gnagey's work with the Community Research Extension has included helping local non-profits and the Ogden City government with needs assessments, surveys, and other research needs. She has a particular focus on issues of housing stability, quality, and affordability in the Ogden area. She also teaches as an adjunct professor in the Weber State economics department. She likes hiking in the Wasatch Mountains and spending time with her husband and their two girls in her free time. Jenny holds a bachelor’s in Economics from Iowa State University and a Ph.D. in Economics from the Ohio State University.
FORMER RESEARCH FELLOWS:
Ryan Cain, PhD, Assistant Professor of Teacher Education
Nicola Corbin, PhD, Associate Professor of Communication
Lisa Meerts, PhD, Assistant Professor of Outdoor & Community Recreation
Blanca Yagüe, PhD candidate of Anthropology at the University of Utah
- Whitney Fikstad, Psychology
- Joshua Wooton, Psychology
HOW CAN WE HELP?
The Community Research Extension is located on the garden level of the United Way building across the street from Ogden High School.
2955 Harrison Blvd, Suite 100
Ogden, UT 84403
Mail code: 4610