As part of its mission to provide “Real-Time Data-Driven Decision Making,” Optimal routinely hosts members of the academic, research, business, and nongovernmental organization communities to participate in its Brown Bag Series. Held during lunch, the Brown Bag Series offers Optimal staff and invited guests the opportunity to explore state-of-the-art research methods and discuss research findings and innovative ideas.

Upcoming Events



Past Events

Date: November 13, 2018

Location: Washington, D.C

2018 ADRF Network Research Conference: Innovations in Administrative Data for Social Science

Optimal Solutions Group will share insight on working with federal agencies to obtain data, using administrative data to develop models and understand successes and flaws, and ways in which administrative data were used to track developments in USAID’s education strategy at the 2018 ADRF Network Research Conference: Innovations in Administrative Data for Social Science.

Date: November 3, 2018

Location: Cleveland, OH

Optimal to Discuss Logic Models at Evaluation 2018 Conference

Dr. Jennifer Auer of Optimal Solutions Group will offer a roundtable discussion, “Logic Models: Not All Stakeholders Are Equal” at Evaluation 2018: Speaking Truth to Power, hosted by the American Evaluation Association, on November 3 in Cleveland, Ohio.

Date: September 20, 2018

Location: College Park, MD

Demographics of the Entrepreneur Workshop

Dr. Jennifer Auer of Optimal Solutions presented a paper, “Business Assistance and Women Entrepreneurs” at the Demographics of the Entrepreneur Workshop on Sept. 20, 2018.

Date: July 27, 2018

Location: Washington, DC

2018 National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) STATS-DC Stats Data Conference

At this year’s NCES DC Stats Conference, “Visualizing the Future of Education Through Data,” Optimal Solutions shared its work on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) and with state assessment data via a presentation and demonstration booth.

Date: March 28, 2018

Location: Mexico City, Mexico

Reducing the Barriers for Data Driven Policy Decisions: Examining the Role of Standardized Open Data in Empowering the Global South

Donor-funded education interventions are quite common in developing countries that use rigorous evaluation designs to empirically assess the effectiveness of the treatment.  However, the data collected and analyzed to assess the intervention are not always published.

Date: February 24, 2018

Location: College Park, MD

Data Challenge: University of Maryland iSchool

In the coming weeks, the University of Maryland College of Information Studies (UMD iSchool) will host Data Challenge: a week-long event providing an opportunity for students to solve a challenging problem by using innovative and critical thinking paired with other aspects of their skill sets.

Date: September 28, 2017

Location: College Park, MD

Dr. Turner to Present “Open Data in the Public Sector” at UMD’s James Clark School of Engineering

The University of Maryland’s James Clark School of Engineering has partnered with Whiting-Turner Contracting Company to develop the Whiting-Turner Lecture Series.

Date: September 7, 2017

Location: College Park, MD

Maryland SAFE Center Visits Optimal

Laura Ardito is the Deputy Director of the University of Maryland SAFE Center For Human Trafficking Survivors. She has worked on human trafficking issues for over a decade from a direct services, programmatic, and policy perspective.

Date: August 2, 2017

Location: Washington, DC

2017 NCES DC Stats Conference: Using Tableau for Displaying Percentile and Regional Data Maps from NAEP Assessments

Dr. Brian Cramer and Rahul Rathi, along with Ebony Walton of NCES, presented on using Tableau for displaying percentile and regional data maps from NAEP assessments at the 2017 NCES DC-Stats in Washington, DC on August 2.

Date: July 13, 2017

Location: Brussels, Belgium

APPAM International Conference

This year, the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management (APPAM) will host the 2017 international conference in Brussels, Belgium, on July 13–14. Dr. Jennifer Auer, a senior research associate, will be a presenter.

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