Sylvia Epps, PhD Board Member

Leadership & Board › Sylvia Epps, PhD

Dr. Sylvia Epps is the President at Decision Information Resources (DIR), a well-respected minority-owned and women-led full-service research and evaluation firm in Houston, Texas. Founded in 1984, DIR has a distinct mission: to provide a platform for researchers of color to make meaningful contributions to the field. With over two decades of leadership, Dr. Epps has played a pivotal role in advancing equity and justice through the application of data-driven research and evaluation, and under her leadership, DIR has become a significant player in the industry, contributing to the diversification of perspectives in research and evaluation. The firm’s core values align with Dr. Epps’ commitment to fostering inclusivity and representation in the field. Her approach centers around utilizing equitable, culturally responsive, and data-driven methodologies to address societal issues and promote justice. This commitment aims to break barriers and create opportunities for underrepresented voices in research, bridge gaps, and empower vulnerable populations.

Dr. Epps’ educational journey includes a focus on human development and family sciences at the University of Texas at Austin, supplemented by a postdoctoral fellowship at the esteemed Harvard Graduate School of Education. Dr. Epps has further enhanced her skills through additional training programs, including those with the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and the Interuniversity Consortium for Political and Social Research Summer Program at the University of Michigan. She leverages her expertise and passion to evaluate programs for foundations (e.g., the W.K. Kellogg Foundation; Bloomberg Philanthropies, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, George Kiser Family Foundation) and for federal agencies (e.g., Departments of Education, Labor, and Health and Human Services), as well as other research firms, school districts, universities, and non-profits.

Dr. Epps’ dedication has earned her accolades like the Houston Business Journal’s “40 Under 40” and the Texas TRIO Association’s “2020 TRIO Achiever.” Currently, she lends her expertise as an Affiliate Researcher for the Center for Culturally Responsive Evaluation and Assessment (CREA) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Through unwavering commitment and rigorous research, Dr. Sylvia Epps exemplifies leadership in tackling critical challenges, paving the way for a more equitable and inclusive future, one data point at a time. Her mission is clear: to ensure that every individual, regardless of race, ethnicity, or socioeconomic background, has the opportunity to thrive. Her interest in this area is also personal, as she has been living with Crohn’s Disease for 25 years (e.g., an autoimmune diagnosis that can present similarly to Lupus).