Marcia Bernbaum, PhD


Dr. Marcia Bernbaum, mother of Leah Zallman, has a PhD in Developmental Psychology with a focus on research. She spent the majority of her career as a Foreign Service Officer with the United Stated Agency for International Development (USAID) where she served in Panama, Nicaragua, Honduras, Kenya, and in USAID/W as a human resources development officer (where she was responsible for designing, implementing and evaluation programs in primary education, vocational skills and management training) before becoming a Senior Foreign Service Officer and moving into Senior Management. Before retiring in 1996, she served in a position created for her at USAID’s Center for Development Information & Evaluation (CDIE) where she conducted impact evaluations of USAID programs and designed a mechanism for ensuring that CDIE’s impact evaluations were disseminated and read by key audiences.

Since retiring, she has led numerous teams contracted by USAID to develop strategies and carry out program evaluations in Central and South America and Africa focusing on education and on strengthening civil society. She has also carried out five in-depth case studies (two in Peru and three in DC) with a qualitative orientation focusing on grassroots programs that promote empowerment, human rights, and social justice. Eager to develop one-on-one contact with underserved populations, she has spent the last ten years collaborating alongside individuals who are and have experienced homelessness in DC. Two years ago, she expanded her focus to collaborate with programs supporting immigrant and refugees. She is excited to serve as an advisor to the Leah Zallman Center, given the Center’s focus on immigrants and its qualitative beneficiary centered research approach – which coincides with her own qualitative research experience and continued interest.