Who We Are

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Gretchen Biesecker, Ph.D.
Principal Consultant

Gretchen is a developmental psychologist and program evaluator, with 25 years of experience across multiple settings and countries and special expertise in longitudinal research. She has provided consultation to a range of nonprofits and foundations to build evaluation capacity to maximize learning and impact. 

Before starting Bee’s Knees, Gretchen served for over 7 years as the Vice President of Evaluation at City Year Headquarters, overseeing their national evaluation work across nearly 300 schools, reaching more than 150,000 students annually. 

At City Year, Gretchen built a research program and portfolio of evidence for a new City Year service model and empowered staff and AmeriCorps members with data and related insights. She provided consultation to City Year leaders and evaluation staff in 26 cities in the U.S., as well as affiliates in the UK and South Africa. She engaged a wide range of stakeholders in using data and developing systems for organizational learning, progress monitoring, performance measurement, and reporting. Her team led the design of City Year’s internal evaluation instruments and studies, approaches to analyzing data, and tools to help field staff collect data and use it. Gretchen also coordinated City Year’s external evaluation studies, identifying and partnering with third party researchers.

Before joining City Year in April 2008, Gretchen was a Research Assistant Professor for the Institute for Juvenile Research at the University of Illinois at Chicago. For five years, she served as the Research and Policy Coordinator at the Children's Trust, a leading family support nonprofit created by the Massachusetts legislature to prevent child abuse and neglect. In this role, she helped successfully advocate for the establishment of the largest, statewide newborn home visiting program in the country and participated in the development of the program, translation of its evaluation, and use of data in policy and practice.

Gretchen has taught at multiple universities including Tufts University and the University of Massachusetts Boston. She has served as a mentor and coach in a range of professional and academic roles, and it is one of her greatest joys. She's been a service provider in child care, family support, clinical, and museum settings. She is a member of the National Evaluation Advisory Board for After-School All-Stars and a Greater Boston Evaluation Network Advisory Board Member. Her publications span the areas of psychology, epidemiology, and social policy. 

Gretchen earned her undergraduate degrees in Psychology and History from Carnegie Mellon University, a Ph.D. in Applied Child Development from Tufts University, and she completed a post-doctoral fellowship in Psychology at Örebro University in Sweden. 

Affiliates 

Through her network of relationships with nonprofits, independent consultants, and universities, Gretchen is able to bring in the expertise of a range of professionals as needed. 

You 

We believe in the power of teams. When we work with you, we are a team with you.

"Translating evaluation so it's understandable to all, breaking down the complexity of implementation into simpler steps, and strategic thinking are among my strengths."