Political science MA student Lulu Li and health sciences graduate students win the 2020 Student Evaluation Case Competition

July 13, 2020

Lulu Li and health sciences graduate students (Stephanie Liu, Cassandra Violet, Natasha Vitkin and James Young), with guidance from their coach, professor Beth Snow, won the 2020 Student Evaluation Case Competition (SECC) on June 15, 2020.

The SECC is a two-round Canadian competition for post-secondary students. Running for more than 20 years, it uses real-world programs and cases and requires student teams to generate proposals in a limited time.

The preliminary or first round occurred in February and the team had five and a half hours to prepare their response, which was evaluated by three judges. This year, 19 teams from universities across Canada participated in the first round.

The 2020 team’s response garnered praise and led them to the final round where they competed virtually against the University of Waterloo. Normally, the competition would have been held in person. However, due to COVID-19, this year it took place over Zoom. The team had five hours to analyze a new evaluation case. They then presented their response and won.

“Preparing a proposal for a new case in five hours is quite challenging, but our team had awesome coordination and each of us did our parts very well under pressure," says Li. “I really enjoyed the cross-faculty student collaboration. I’m very happy that I was able to use what I have learnt in political science courses and I am looking forward to taking what I’ve learnt back to my home department.”

The Department of Political Science congratulates the team on winning the competition.

About Lulu Li

Li first discovered the evaluation profession while attending a meetup networking event organized by the British Columbia chapter of the Canadian Evaluation Society (CESBC). She discovered that in real-life evaluations, evaluators use research skills and practical tools to systematically assess the effectiveness of programs, projects and policies. As a political science student interested in local politics and public policies, Li found the engagement with stakeholders that accompanies evaluation particularly appealing. As someone who has a passion for data and text visualization, she was also eager to learn about the practical tools evaluators use. Her interest in evaluation has driven her to be a volunteer with CESBC, compete in the case competition and take the Faculty of Health Sciences' course, HSCI 826: Program Planning and Evaluation.

“As an international master’s student in the Department of Political Science, I have kept exploring outside of my comfort zone and challenging myself over the past two years, during which my critical skills, logical thinking and adaptability skills have improved further,” says Li. “I believe these skills, as well as the qualitative and quantitative analytical skills I have acquired from taking courses taught by professors Clare McGovern and Mark Pickup, were a major advantage in preparing for the competition. “

Note: “Evaluation,” is defined by the Canadian Evaluation Society (CES) as, “the systematic assessment of the design, implementation or results of an initiative for the purposes of learning or decision-making.”