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About Us

Our Approach

At Helix Solutions, our approach is to engage in a collaborative relationship with our clients—starting from initial proposal ideas to submitting final evaluation reports. We believe our best work comes from incorporating an iterative process with clients to develop goals and objectives, research questions, data collection instruments and, to a certain extent, findings. Moreover, we want to meet the requirements of our clients’ funders and, especially, identify program strengths and weakness, which yield programmatic improvements.

If you are considering Helix Solutions for a grant project, it is our approach to work together with our clients to develop evaluation plans, free of charge. During the proposal development process, we further assist our clients by:

  • Clarifying goals and objectives
  • Collecting and analyzing demographic and socioeconomic data for a proposal’s target geographic area (i.e., zip codes, Census Tracts, school district boundaries, etc.) to develop a problem statement
  • Developing a logic model for the program
  • Creating data visualizations (including high-quality maps)


Christopher C. Villa

Principal Consultant

A member of the American Evaluation Association since 2007, Christopher C. Villa received his B.S. in Civil Engineering at The University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) in 1998. Upon graduation he was employed as a payloads engineer at the Boeing Company in Seattle, Washington, where he worked until June 2003. In August 2003, he enrolled in UTEP’s Master of Business Administration (MBA) program. In 2004, he added the Master in Public Administration (MPA) curriculum to his coursework and was accepted into the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Community Development Work Study Program. Villa earned the dual MBA/MPA degrees and received the “Outstanding Public Administration Research Award” in May 2007. During his academic tenure, he came to the realization that the El Paso community had a need for objective program evaluation for non-profit and public organizations. As a result, Helix Solutions was formed. Villa was also recognized as an “Outstanding Alumnus” by the UTEP MPA program in 2016. His work has been published in The Interdisciplinary Journal of Problem-Based Learning.

Senior Consultant

Randy Taylor worked as a researcher and instructor at the University of Texas at El Paso from 2011 to 2017 while completing his M.A. and Ph.D. in the Department of Psychology. His graduate research focused on applying experimental research methods and statistical analyses to the fields of human memory and bilingualism. He was honored to have his research selected for presentation at conferences and published in peer-reviewed journals as well as being awarded the UTEP Graduate School Dodson Dissertation Research Grant and receiving the Department of Psychology Most Productive Graduate Student Award. While in the final year of his doctoral program, Randy accepted a position as a program evaluator with the El Paso Independent School District where he applied the skills he gained in his previous experiences and gained new skills in the areas of program implementation in a K-12 setting and data visualization. He is proud to now work with Helix Solutions and shares the firm’s commitment to providing the highest quality service to organizations in the El Paso area.

Senior Consultant

Dr. LaJoy R. Spears, an Assistant Professor and program development and evaluation specialist within the NMSU Cooperative Extension Service, brings extensive expertise to Helix Solutions. With a background in teaching, research, and outreach, she collaborates with stakeholders to assess community needs and enhance program efficacy. Holding a Ph.D. in Agricultural Education and Studies, Dr. Spears fosters a deep understanding of evaluation methodologies and culturally responsive practices. Her leadership roles in professional organizations like the American Evaluation Association highlight her commitment to advancing evaluation standards. Engaged in initiatives such as the Leaders in Equitable Evaluation and Diversity (LEEAD) program, Dr. Spears exemplifies her dedication to diversity in evaluation. Adept in securing grants, including USDA/NIFA grants, she navigates complex evaluation projects adeptly, ensuring their success.


Anne Giangiulio is an Associate Professor of Art, Graphic Design at The University of Texas at El Paso. She received a BA in English from Villanova University. After serving in the Peace Corps in Cape Verde, West Africa, teaching English as a Foreign Language, she attended Temple University’s Tyler School of Art and Architecture, where she received her MFA in Graphic and Interactive Design. Her teaching focus is on typography and the history of graphic design. She has an active freelance practice; her designs have won numerous awards and have been exhibited around the world.

Lucía Durá, Ph.D., is Associate Professor of Rhetoric and Writing Studies in the English Department and Associate Dean of the Graduate School at The University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP). Her work on positive deviance, intercultural communication, and participatory methodologies focuses on understanding and leveraging the assets of vulnerable populations to solve complex problems. Dura’s research has yielded numerous publications, presentations, and awards. 

Elaine Hampton, Ph.D., (, a retired Associate Professor and Department Chair in the College of Education at The University of Texas at El Paso, has led multiple program evaluations at four research universities as well as the W.K. Kellogg-funded education initiative in Doña Ana County, New Mexico. Her research in border themes has resulted in three books and multiple scholarly articles.  

David S. Knight, Ph.D., is Assistant Professor in the College of Education at the University of Washington. He studies school finance, educator labor markets, and cost-effectiveness analysis. Through his work, Knight seeks to understand the influence of state school finance systems on educator labor markets and school resource allocation. Knight’s research centers on addressing disparities in educational opportunities and identifying strategies to allocate school resources more equitably and efficiency. His evaluation work includes direct consulting with school districts and collaborative efforts with university faculty. Knight previously served as the Director of the Center for Education Research and Policy Studies (CERPS) and Assistant Professor in the Educational Leadership and Foundations Department at The University of Texas at El Paso. Knight’s work has been published in Educational Administration QuarterlyEducational Researcher, Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, and other outlets. Knight earned his doctorate in urban education policy and master’s in economics from the University of Southern California.

About Us