Vivien AhrensGraduate Student

I believe that program evaluation is more than just an accountability tool. As a former Escalera youth program coordinator, for me, evaluation is a vehicle for participation and a way for students and staff to communicate their experiences to the public.

I aim to leverage the reflective potential of participatory evaluation to strengthen youth voice, critical consciousness, and well-being in informal learning spaces. In particular, I collaborate with Centro Hispano of Dane County’s Youth Evaluation Team to explore students’ perspectives on their after-school programs.

In addition, I am a project assistant with the Center for Research on College-Workforce Transitions. Here, I support the qualitative analysis of students’ experiences with college internships.

I earned a bachelor’s degree in cultural anthropology and art education and a master’s in cultural anthropology from the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität in Munich, Germany. During my master’s studies, I spent one year at the Universidade de São Paulo in Brazil studying museology and social sciences and conducting collaborative field research with the Projeto Ecomuseu São Jose Dos Campos.

While in Munich, Germany, I facilitated various educational formats and international exchanges, including MindLinks (a student-refugee exchange platform), PerspektivenBilden (a seminar for youth in orientation phases), and global learning workshops with Commit e.V. and GLOBE.

Blog Posts

Professional portrait of Vivian Ahrens in front of a decorative window with bright colored glass circles and curved lines.


  • Civil Society & Community Studies

Degree Program

  • PhD Human Ecology: Civil Society & Community Research