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07/21/2021 HopeWell Announces Hiring of Vice President of Research, Policy and Learning

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HopeWell announces today that Julie Segovia has joined the organization as its first Vice President of Research, Policy and Learning. Segovia brings 15 years of experience in human service program management, including research design, implementation, and analysis. She worked, most recently, as a Doctoral Research Assistant in the Ensuring eXperiences for Children’s Early Learning Success (EXCELS) Lab at Tufts University. She is a former HopeWell Board Member.

“Julie has the perfect combination of professional background, knowledge, and lived experience to shape this inaugural role into a force for change at HopeWell,” said Shaheer Mustafa, HopeWell President and CEO. “She will play an integral role in HopeWell’s development of innovative, evidence-based programming that will not just fill the gaps in services for the communities we serve but will also support innovative ideas to sustain systems change that will enrich the lives and expand the opportunities of individuals and families in need of love, support, and safe places to grow and thrive.”

This is a new position for HopeWell. Priorities for this leadership role include developing a world-class research, learning and policy strategy for HopeWell to eliminate disparities in life outcomes for youth in foster care and people living with developmental disabilities as compared with their peers who are not in care or living with disabilities. The Vice President of Research, Policy and Learning will also build and strengthen HopeWell’s partnerships within the business, academic, political, and public policy communities to advance its mission. Central to this role will be the utilization of qualitative and quantitative data to build new knowledge and drive broader awareness and support of HopeWell’s innovative programs while simultaneously leveraging existing research related to foster care and services for people living with disabilities.

“I’m proud to join HopeWell as its first Vice President of Research, Policy and Learning to expand HopeWell’s ability to provide high-quality, equitable services to young people in or aging out of foster care, as well as adults living with developmental disabilities. There is great need to advance evidence-based policy and practice for these communities to catalyze and sustain systems change that will improve care, programming, and outcomes for them across Massachusetts and beyond,” said Segovia. “I’m excited to support collaboration within the organization to achieve our shared goals and to strengthen and create new partnerships in the broader community.”

As a Doctoral Research Assistant in the EXCELS Lab, Segovia co-supervised a 15-person research team for a National Science Foundation-funded Head Start learning and professional development randomized control trial. In that role she also conducted teacher interviews and child assessments, developed tools to measure preschool student engagement, and managed and analyzed project data.

Prior to that, Segovia was a Child Welfare Doctoral Intern for the Waltham-based Child Trends, where she analyzed data from New Jersey’s Youth at Risk of Homelessness program and composed reports, policy briefs, technical assistance products, interview protocols and data applications to support learning and evaluation partnerships.

Segovia’s professional work is informed by her personal experience in foster care. She entered the Massachusetts foster care system as a teen and experienced multiple placements before aging out at age 18. Like many youth who age out of foster care, Segovia struggled with the abrupt transition that is the hallmark of aging out of the foster care system. Her experience sparked her interest in the social, emotional, and academic development of children impacted by the foster care system and deepened her commitment to shifting the foster care narrative from a deficit-based to a strengths-based approach.

Segovia is a member of the Society for Research in Child Development. In addition to serving on HopeWell’s Board of Directors from 2018-2021, Segovia is a current board member of the Easthampton-based Treehouse Foundation and the New York City-based At the Table, organizations that provide enhanced services to youth in foster care. She is working toward a Ph.D. in Child Study and Human Development at Tufts University and holds a Master of Science in Speech-Language Pathology from MGH’s Institute of Health Professions and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and English from UMASS Boston.

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