Current Students

PhD Students

Arch, Dina
Dina ArchDina is a first-year doctoral student emphasizing in quantitative methods under the guidance of Dr. Karen Nylund-Gibson. She earned her B.S. from UC San Diego in Psychology and minored in Business. She later received her M.A. in Psychology with a focus in quantitative methods from California State University, Fullerton. Her broad research interests include longitudinal methods and latent variable analyses, such as structural equation modeling and mixture modeling. Currently, she serves as the SONA Systems and Qualtrics administrator for GGSE students. She can be reached at

Arguera, Stephanie M.
Stephanie is a fifth-year PhD student focusing her research in service-learning, university social responsibility and underrepresented undergraduate research opportunities, under the broad area of Culture and Development; her advisor is Dr. Betsy Brenner. A Texas native, her M.A. research at UT San Antonio considered Black-Brown conflict and solidarity in urban borderscapes of East Houston. Prior to coming to UCSB, she worked in educational consulting in leadership development with youth and educational administration, as well as with parental engagement.  She has volunteered for nearly three years at the St. George Youth Center, creating four murals with IV teens in Estero Park, and most recently, smaller murals on classroom doors for the Department of Black Studies at UCSB. She has been a Teaching Assistant with the Dept. of Black Studies for over two years and is the current President of the Graduate Students Association in Education. Stephanie can be reached at

Arellano, Ryan
Ryan ArellanoRyan Arellano is a third-year PhD student with interests in diversity and equity in higher education. Her advisor is Yukari Okamoto. After receiving her BA in psychology at UCSB, she worked in Santa Barbara for the next two years creating educational resources and designing professional development courses online for educators. As a graduate student, Ryan is currently working on a HSI project that is a collaboration between the Chicano Studies Institute and the Division of Student Affairs’ initiative that focuses on assessing student services and ensuring that these services are meeting the needs of all UCSB students. She is also the lead coordinator of the McEnroe Reading and Language Arts Clinic, where students from the community receive research-based instruction in skills and practices related to fluency, reading comprehension, and writing. Her research focuses on evaluating student services, high-impact practices, and persistence/retention efforts, especially with underrepresented minority college students. Ryan can be reached at

Balos, Noreen
Noreen Balos is a doctoral student with interests in STEM Education, Culture in STEM, and Access & Equity in STEM. Noreen is currently researching engineering and science design experiences for undergraduate, community college minority students and veterans who major in STEM related subjects and wish to explore a civil career in the Navy. The goal of the study is to provide insights into veterans' and students' perceptions of science and engineering as a way of thinking and being into a STEM major and professional, while gauging transformations in student thinking, understanding, and perceiving Naval work. The team hope the work also gives insight into factors affecting veterans' and minority students' preparation, participation and academic success in STEM. Noreen can be reached at

Bennett, Matthew
Matthew Bennett is a first-year PhD student in Science and Math Education, but his specific interests are in science education in high school settings and teacher education. His advisor is Dr. Danielle Harlow. Prior to starting at GGSE, Matthew taught high school science (mostly physics) for five years, which is why his research interests are geared towards high school settings. Currently, he's interested in exploring student tendencies to compartmentalize information taught in different classes and how to enable teachers to better facilitate student connection-making between different topics/concepts, such as applications of math concepts in science contexts. Feel free to email Matthew at

Bernstein, Emily
Emily is a doctoral candidate studying Special Education under the guidance of her advisors, Dr. Rachel Lambert and Dr. Amber Moran. She serves as an instructor and supervisor in the Teacher Education Program at UCSB supporting candidates pursuing a Mild/Moderate Education Specialist Credential and also instructs courses at Antioch University, Santa Barbara, where she works with both multiple subject and dual credential candidates. Prior to her doctoral studies, Emily taught special education at the elementary level in east San Jose and Santa Barbara, California. She holds a Mild/Moderate Education Specialist Credential. Emily's research focuses on how general education and special education teachers can be taught to collaborate more fully. She can be reached at

Bradford, Keri
Keri Bradford (Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma) is a third-year M.A./Ph.D. student in the Department of Education, working in the areas of Culture and Development, and Policy, Leadership, and Research Methods. Her advisors are Dr. Sharon Conley and Dr. Hsiu-Zu Ho. Her research focuses on issues of access and retention affecting Native American college students. In 2011, she completed a certificate in Tribal Law ("Working in Contemporary Native Nations") from UCLA. Keri can be reached by email at


Cano Barrios, John
John is a Ph.D. candidate. He is currently in his third year at UCSB working along with his advisors: Dr. Arya and Dr. Chun. He is from Colombia, where he used to teach and research in the areas of educational technology, online education, and intercultural education. He received a bachelors degree in Computer Science and a master's degree in Education with an emphasis in Educational Technology at Universidad del Norte (Colombia), where he taught undergraduate and graduate students in face-to-face, blended and online environments. He is currently working as the instructional technology coordinator at the McEnroe Reading Clinic, where he supports and promotes technology integration in different community-based afterschool projects (K-8). He also is the coordinator of the afterschool program "Club Proteo" (Digital Literacy and Digital Storytelling project). His interests are technology integration in different contexts (especially higher education) and how such integration and uses can enhance the teaching and learning process by creating meaningful experiences for students.   John can be reached at or on his personal blog:

Carter, Delwin
Delwin Carter is a doctoral student emphasizing in quantitative methods. His advisor is Karen Nylund-Gibson. He received his B.A. in Psychology and M.A. in Experimental Psychology at California State University, Northridge. His broad interests include latent variable analysis, measurement, and structural equation modeling. More specifically, he has done research in several substantive areas including peer victimization, perceived discrimination, and depression. Methodologically speaking, his current research involves mediation/moderation, factor analysis, measurement invariance, and item-order effects. 

Chagolla, Diana
Diana Chagolla is a doctoral student in the Gevirtz Graduate School of Education, specializing in the area of Culture and Development; her advisor is Dr. Laura Romo. Diana obtained her bachelors degree in Sociology from San Diego State University (SDSU). While in San Diego, she worked with community-led organizations to address educational and human rights concerns in her community. At UCSB, she has served as a graduate mentor for first generation undergraduate students participating in the New Heights Mentoring Program offered through the Chicano Studies Institute (CSI). Diana continues to mentor undergraduate students via her role as a graduate student research assistant at the CSI Center for Research in Latino Health and Adolescent Development. Her research interests are health education and health psychology as it pertains to Latinx/a/o adolescents, families, and communities. Her current research focuses on how Latina mothers communicate with adolescent daughters about healthy lifestyles, while providing messages that encourage healthier eating and exercising habits, and messages cautioning daughters about chronic health diseases. Diana can be reached at:

Chen, Huay
Huay is a second-year doctoral student working with Dr. Jin Sook Lee. She completed her B.A. at UCLA in Linguistics & Asian Languages and Cultures, and her M.A. in Elementary Education. After teaching elementary school in the NYCDOE for three years, Huay went back to NYU to complete a post-MA advanced certification program in Bilingual Education. Now, at UCSB, she is a SKILLS (School Kids Investigating Language in Life and Society) instructor and has served as a TA for the Linguistics Department and the Asian American Studies Department. Her interests lie in bilingualism, language acquisition, and heritage language speakers. Huay is a Gates Millennium Scholar. She can be contacted at

Clairmont, Anthony
Anthony Clairmont is a doctoral student with an emphasis in Applied Linguistics working with Dr. Jin Sook Lee. He received his BA in philosophy from Sewanee: The University of the South in 2011. A year later, he earned an MA in French from Middlebury College. While living abroad during much of this period, he conducted anthropological research with the School for International Training in Rabat, Morocco and studied philosophy at La Sorbonne in Paris, France. He returned to the US to teach French at an all-boys prep school in Cleveland, Ohio. His research interests include culturally sustaining pedagogy, teacher professionalism, systemic educational inequalities, and philosophical issues in the social sciences. You may contact Anthony at:

Dannhauser, Michael
Michael DannhauserMichael is a third-year doctoral student in the Culture and Development program with an emphasis in Cognitive Science. His research interests include pre-service teacher education and beginning teacher experiences. Michael enjoys serving as a CTERIN doctoral fellow. His advisor is Sharon Conley. Michael earned his B.S. in elementary education and his M.S. in special education, both from Manhattan College, and spent 5 years as a classroom teacher in the Boston area. He can be reached at


Dexter Torti, Cameron
Cameron Dexter TortiCameron Dexter Torti is a doctoral student in the Department of Education, working with Dr. Sarah Roberts and emphasizing in Teacher Education and Professional Development. He graduated with a B.A. in History from CSU Channel Islands before enrolling in the single subject teaching credential program at the school. After graduating in December 2013 with his teaching credential, Cameron spent the next five and a half years working at the elementary, secondary, and tertiary levels of education as a teacher. He taught in California, Texas, and Louisiana. While in Texas, Cameron earned his M.A. in Curriculum & Instruction from Baylor University, working with Dr. Brooke Blevins. His thesis research focused on the characteristics and contexts surrounding second language learners in their schools and communities. Cameron's research interests include second language learners, teacher education, equity and education, and empowerment through social studies instruction and curricula. He can be reached by email at:

Downey, Jonathan
Jonathan is a doctoral student in the Learning, Culture and Technology program. Prior to arriving at UCSB, he studied Spanish literature at Tufts University in Boston (B.A.) and language acquisition at the University of the Basque Country in Northern Spain (M.A.) He has worked as an ESL instructor in Europe and the Middle East, and as a high school Spanish teacher in Colorado. Currently, he is building course materials for an online UC Basque Language and Culture course, and is employed as a teaching assistant in the UCSB English Department. Jonathan’s research is oriented towards developing tools and resources for autonomous ESL learners. His specific research interests include pronunciation training with smart phone apps, online language learning platforms, L2 fluency perception, and augmented reality for multimodal input. Feel free to contact him at:

Fahler, Valentina
Valentina is a third-year doctoral student in the Education department with an emphasis in language and literacy working with Dr. Karen Lunsford and Dr. Charles Bazerman. She received her B.A. in Letters (with a focus in Linguistics) from the Universidad de Buenos Aires (Argentina) in 2015, a specialization degree in Education Policy from the Universidad Torcuato di Tella (Argentina) in 2017, and a M.A. in Education from UCSB in 2019. Her general research interests include writing in higher education, specifically undergraduate academic writing development. Prior to arriving to UCSB, Valentina was an initial literacy teacher at the Fundación Franciscana, a non governmental organization. She was also part of a research group from the Universidad de Buenos Aires that focused in undergraduate student writing in humanities degrees. Feel free to contact her at

Ford, Katerina
Katerina Ford is a third year doctoral student in the Education program with an emphasis in Special Education, Disability, and Risk Studies, advised by Dr. Mian Wang. She received her B.A. in Psychology with a minor in Applied Psychology from UC Santa Barbara in 2010. After her undergraduate work, she completed the Global Urban Trek internship with InterVarsity in Lima, Peru. Upon returning to Santa Barbara, she worked as literacy tutor with AmeriCorps for one year and continued to work as a clinician and parent educator with Koegel Autism Consultants. Her research interests include: remote interventions and trainings through programs like Skype, social conversation skills, supervision of behavioral interventions for ASD, and introducing Pivotal Response Treatment in countries that lack services for individuals with autism. Please feel free to contact her at:

Franitza, Mary
Mary FranitzaMary Franitza (pronouns: she/her) is a doctoral student in Language and Literacy Education program. Originally from Wisconsin, Mary received her B.A. in Women’s Studies and Spanish from the University of Wisconsin La Crosse. Mary has worked in early childhood education, outdoor education, immigration legal services, and with bilingual curriculum. Mary has worked with the Girl Scouts and youth programming for six summers. Prior to attending UCSB, Mary was involved in research of successful Heritage Language programs and virtual reality use in language acquisition. Mary is under the advisement of Dr. Jin Sook Lee and Dr. Amy Kyratzis. Her research interests include heritage language development and engagement, community-based mentorship opportunities, and identity affirmation in experiential education opportunities.

Fried, Bradford
Bradford Fried is a doctoral student in education working with Dr. Dorothy Chun and Dr. Jin Sook Lee. His emphases are in applied linguistics and cognitive science where he is researching the relationship between language, memory, and education, specifically the phonological working memory of Mandarin tones. Bradford grew up playing in the creeks and forests of Northern Virginia outside DC and has been vegan since 1999. He graduated from Lewis and Clark College in Portland, Oregon with a BA in philosophy during which he did a semester with NOLS and spent two terms in Guilin, China. After graduation, he moved back to Guilin where he taught EFL for the next 13 years, served as the director of international staff at Guangxi Normal University for five years, earned a master’s degree in teaching Chinese, and in 2009 founded the Chinese Language Institute (CLI) with his youngest brother to share their love of Chinese language and culture. Bradford can be reached at:

Galisky, John
John GaliskyJohn is a first year doctoral student working with Drs. Julie Bianchini and Danielle Harlow. He earned a B.A. in Physics and Astrophysics from U.C. Berkeley and an M.Ed. from UCSB. For 25 years John taught Physics, Earth Science, Electronics & Robotics and Space Science at Lompoc High School, next to Vandenberg AFB. In 2000, he established the Space, Technology and Robotic Systems (STaRS) Academy, an engineering program that integrates core academics in Math, Science, and Language Arts with elective courses in Drafting, Engineering Design, Electronics, Robotics, and Manufacturing. John was a member of the State Superintendent’s STEM Task Force which culminated in the publication of “Innovate: A Blueprint for STEM Education” and he helped rewrite the California Science Framework to include Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). In 2017, John was awarded an Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellowship in Washington, DC. During his fellowship year, John worked in a congressional office as a legislative assistant on issues related to education, science and technology, energy and environment, immigration, labor, and gun control. John’s research focuses on the impact of science education on literacy and language development, especially in the elementary grades. Contact John at

Gribble, Jim
Jim is a doctoral student with an emphasis in technology at the elementary school level. His advisor is Dr. Danielle Harlow. He is interested in researching the impact computer coding has on the communication skills of children with autism. Prior to arriving at UCSB he was a Kindergarten teacher with TeachForAmerica in Charlotte, a founding 2nd grade teacher at an environmental start-up school in Chicago, technology coordinator and teacher at an IB PYP school in London and a 2nd grade Science and Coding teacher in San Francisco. He wrote the programming curriculum (based on Scratch language) for a school founded by the Chief Scientist of Twitter and founded a company dedicated to teaching children how to code in after-school and one-on-one contexts. Jim taught teachers how to code in the Design Lab at the Sonoma County Office of Education. He earned a B.A. in Psychology at Marquette University, an elementary teaching credential at the University of North Carolina-Charlotte and an M.Ed. at San Francisco State University. Feel free to email Jim at:

Guerrero, Ana Y.
Ana Y. Guerrero is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Education with an emphasis in Culture and Development. Her research examines Latinx students' college and career aspirations development using a longitudinal multiple-case study design under the guidance of her advisor, Dr. Richard Duran. She received her B.A. in Sociology from UC Berkeley and her M.A. in Education with an emphasis in Culture and Development from UC Santa Barbara. Currently, Ana is the Graduate Student Mentor for the ONDAS Student Center as part of the Title V grant to UCSB as a Hispanic Serving Institution, and a TA for the ED 118 course, The Research University and the Transfer Student Experience. She is an active member of the Bridging Multiple Worlds Alliance, bringing together grad students and faculty from several universities to plan and conduct research on P-20 strategies improving access to college among communities underrepresented in higher education. Her research interests include Latinx academic and career identity development, Hispanic Serving Institutions, multicultural education and general Latinx and first-generation college student concerns in higher education. You can reach Ana at the following email address:

Hai, Jessica
Jessica Hai is a doctoral student in the Special Education, Disability and Risk Studies program. With the guidance of her advisor, Dr. Mian Wang she has been able to explore the special education community with a cultural lens. Her research interests include the cultural implications of Autism Spectrum Disorder and improving cultural competence in service providers and intervention services, particularly in the area of parent education and treatment acceptability. Her long term goal is to provide more awareness to families of cultural backgrounds who are stigmatized to seek assistance or do not have access to those resources. She is a clinician providing behavioral interventions and Pivotal Response Treatment (PRT) to individuals on the spectrum at the Koegel Autism Center. Any questions or contact queries can be directed to her email:

Harris, Samantha
Samantha HarrisSamantha (she/her) is a doctoral student studying language and literacy education. She has a B.A. in English Literature from the University of Maryland College Park and an M.A.T. in Linguistics with a focus on TESOL from Georgetown University. She was an ESL instructor at Baltimore/Washington area community colleges for three years before coming to UCSB. Her research interests include language education and equity and the influence of racial ideologies on language learning/use. She currently works as a coordinator and instructor for the School Kids Investigating Language in Life and Society Program (SKILLS) primarily in local highschool ELD classrooms. Samantha can be reached at

Hoerberg, Destiny
Destiny is a doctoral student in the Special Education, Developmental, and Risk Studies program. With a strong background in working with children with autism and related disorders, both as a para-educator and behavioral therapist, and with an undergraduate degree in Psychology from California State University, Channel Islands, Destiny is interested in improving parent/caregive education and interaction with children with disabilities by further developing and improving current evidence-based therapeutic intervention practices. Additionally, Destiny is interested in exploring the neurodiversity that may exist between typical and atypical children to better support and foster their ability to acquire and maintain more desirable social and academic skills. Destiny is currently working under the advisory of Dr. George Singer, and may be reached at

Hyun, Faith
Faith HyunFaith is a doctoral student with research interests in science education, working with Dr. Diana Arya and Dr. Julie Bianchini. She received an undergraduate degree in biology from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. Her major research interest is how different learning environments/cultures influence students' science learning and their motivation to learn science. She would like to study further how collaborative engagement and interactions in a science classroom enhance student learning. Faith can be reached at


Jessop, Raheem
Raheem is a second year PhD student in the department of education with a concentration on Culture and Development. His research will look at college decision-making among African American high school students and analyze the factors that make them choose between a Predominantly White Institution (PWI) and a Historically Black College or University. Raheem graduated from Morehouse College in 2017 and he uses his experience of Black education to pursue his passion and ensure Black students receive the best education and experience a school has to offer.

Katz, Daniel
Danny Katz is a third year graduate student with interests in quantitative methods, education policy, and educational measurement. His advisers are Dr. Andrew Maul and Dr. Karen Nylund-Gibson. Danny received his BA in political science from UCSB where he was introduced to quantitative methods of analysis in the social sciences. After graduating, he spent roughly three years working at an academic publisher, sparking his interests in educational research and measurement. Between working at a publisher and going to graduate school, Danny spent a year travelling across the country to race his bike while also working at a bike shop. Danny is currently involved in projects related to educational assessment at UCSB, measurement  and, more recently, the California Dropout Research Project. Other lingering areas of interest include vocational and technical education and The Lexile. Danny can be reached at

Kemp, Jacqueline
Jacqueline Kemp is a doctoral student in the Department of Education with a focus in culture and development. She also participates in the interdisciplinary emphasis in Language, Interaction, and Social Organization. Her advisor is Dr. Amy Kyratzis. She received a B.S. in Human Development and Family Studies and a M.S. in Human Development and Social Policy from the University of Utah. She has taught university courses at The University of Utah in the Department of Family and Consumer Studies and at Santa Clara University in the Liberal Studies department, including: Development in Infancy and Childhood and Early Childhood Education Curriculum. In addition to teaching and research, Jacqueline has been the Director of three university-affiliated early childhood centers and an active member of NAEYC. Her research interests include: storytelling and story-acting in early childhood classrooms, preschool children’s narrative development, preschool peer group culture, and language and socialization in preschool peer groups.Please feel free to email Jacqueline at or review her professional materials at:

Kennedy, Kelsee
Kelsee Kennedy is a fourth year doctoral candidate in the Department of Education with an emphasis in Special Education, Disabilities, and Risk Studies (SPEDR). She received a bachelors degree from UCSB in Psychology in 2011 as well as an Education Specialist Instruction Credential for individuals with exceptionalities who have moderate to severe support needs and a Master of Arts in Education with an emphasis in SPEDR in 2013. In 2015, she completed an Education Specialist Instruction Credential for individuals with exceptionalities who have mild to moderate support needs at Antioch University, Santa Barbara. Currently, she works as an Education Specialist for a full inclusion program for exceptional students, a teaching assistant for the Language Arts course in the Teacher Education Program at UCSB, and a Cooperating Teacher at Antioch University. Her past applied experiences include working as a Behaviorist in school settings for Hope School District, a Program Supervisor and Researcher at the Koegel Autism Clinic, and a Reading Instructor for English Language Learners at the McEnroe Reading Clinic at UC Santa Barbara. Her research interests include: Autism, Emotional Disturbance, Multi-Tiered Systems of Support for Behavior/Character Development, Social Emotional Learning, Restorative Justice Discipline, Teacher Education, and the Pipeline to Prison phenomenon for students with exceptionalities. Please feel free to contact her at

Kwong, Wai-Yee Ann
Ann Wai-Yee Kwong is a Ph.D. student in the education program with the emphasis of Special Education, Disabilities, and Risk Studies advised by Dr. Wang. She received her B.A. in Psychology and a minor in Education from UC Berkeley as a Gates Millennium scholar. Prior to her attendance at UC Santa Barbara, she worked as an education technician intern in Washington DC disaggregating student suicidality data and analyzing its negative impact on both student and school excellence. Ann testified at the U.S. Senate hearing in 2014 to advocate for herself and others, informing policy makers of the attitudinal and tangible societal barriers which limit the potentials of people with disabilities. Her research interests include: creation of innovative workforce development curriculum for transition age youth with disabilities, self-determination, and cultural implications of professional and family partnerships. She is currently collaborating with UCP Work Inc. on designing and implementing curricula to increase competitive integrated employment for individuals with disabilities and their families; she recently concluded a project with the Institute for Educational Leadership (IEL) on implications of cultural reciprocity with the implementation of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act and pre-employment transition services. In addition, Ann co-founded Survive or Thrive where she designs and facilitates workshops as well as mentors youth with disabilities and their families. In a professional capacity, she also serves on various boards including the California Department of Rehabilitation's Advisory Committee and the Association on Higher Education and Disability. Through her research and advocacy, Ann hopes to continue empowering others to envision, define, and achieve their future aspirations. She can be reached at:

La Joy, Jonna
Jonna La Joy is a doctoral student with an emphasis in Science and Mathematics Education. Her advisor is Dr. Yukari Okamoto. Jonna received her M.A. in Child and Adolescent Development from San José State University in 2013 and received her B.A. in Psychology from Sonoma State University in 2009. Her research interests include mathematics and science education, quantitative research methodology, educational psychology, child and adolescent development, and cognitive science. Her current research is on fractions and the influence of procedural and conceptual knowledge on mathematical self-efficacy and attitudes about mathematics.   or review her professional work at:

Langlo, Tatzia
Tatzia Langlo is a PhD Candidate in the Department of Education in the research focus area of Cultural Perspectives and Comparative Education, working with Professor Jenny Cook-Gumperz and Dr. Tine Sloan as her advisors. Langlo’s research interests reach into the development of global learning-teaching communities and the need for increased communication, cultural awareness, and contextual competencies involved with interacting as citizens on the stage of the global world. As a scholar and researcher she works with a non-profit organization based on principles and practices of civil participation, service-learning, and education assistance through development of local and global relationships. She maintains interdisciplinary Ph.D. emphases in Global Studies and Language, Interaction, and Social Organization.

Lew, Lilly Chung
Lilly is a fourth-year doctoral student in the Education department with a Language and Literacy emphasis.  She earned her B.A. in European History at University of California, Riverside (UCR) and her M.A. in Education: Curriculum and Instruction at California State University, Los Angeles (CSULA) with an emphasis in literacy specialist. Prior to pursuing doctoral studies, Lilly taught writing composition for secondary education (grades 7-12), assisted with implementation of large scale writing assessments in the Los Angeles metropolitan area and is a fellow of the Los Angeles Writing Project (LAWP). Under the advisement of Dr. Richard Durán, she is exploring storytelling in community-based literacies, equity and access to technology, and the learning opportunities made available through university-community partnerships.  Lilly is also interested in the role of literacy in identity development and the ways that engaging in literacy activities could foster human agency. Her research has been made possible through her affiliation with researchers at both University-Community (UC) Links and the Center for Education Research on Literacies, Learning & Inquiry in Networking Communities (LINC).   She is also serving as the campus liaison for Division G: Social Context of Education at the American Educational Research Association (AERA).  You may contact Lilly at:

Lin, Yixin
Yixin Lin is a doctoral student with an emphasis in Special Education working with Dr. Mian Wang. She received her B.A. in Business Administration from Southwestern University of Finance and Economics in China. In the meantime, she worked as a volunteer teacher in a special education school for three years. Then she received an M.S. from Columbia University in Social Work. During her graduate study, she also worked as an intern in Hamilton-Madison House Childcare Center and the Association to Benefit Children in New York.  Her research interests include: autism ,developmental delay, inclusive education in both United States and China, and cross-cultural special education. Though her research interests are relatively broad, she is currently involved in research about an autism app design with her advisor. Her longer term research purpose is to further study on inclusive education of children with autism and developmental delay. Yixin can be reached at

Lucas, Krista
Krista LucasKrista Lucas is a PhD student working with Dr. Danielle Harlow in STEM education. Krista has a B.A. in biology from Occidental College, a master’s in teaching secondary science from UNC-Chapel Hill, and an M.A. in education from UCSB. She is interested in postsecondary science education, specifically for non-science majors, and the development of scientific literacy and science identity work in this group. Krista also works at Pepperdine University where she has been teaching a nonmajors biology course for 5 years, and enjoys spending time with her husband and two sons at Disneyland.

Macias, Meghan
Meghan is a second year doctoral student working with Dr. Julie Bianchini. She received B.A.'s in Education Sciences and Psychology & Social Behavior with a minor in Gender & Sexuality Studies in 2016 from the University of California, Irvine. Her research interests include educational equity and critical pedagogy in preschool settings, persistence and retention in the sciences, and teacher professional development. Currently, she is a part of the MOXI Apprenticeship Program at the Wolf Museum of Exploration and Innovation. Meghan can be reached at

Magana, Diana
Diana MaganaDiana Magana is a first-year Ph.D. student in the Department of Education at UC Santa Barbara with an emphasis in Culture and Development; her advisor is Dr. Laura Romo. Diana received a B.A. in English and a B.A. in Education Sciences from UC Irvine and an M.A. in Sociology and Education from Teachers College, Columbia University. She was an Administrative Assistant for a TRIO Upward Bound program for a year prior to coming to UCSB. Her research interests largely revolve around the postsecondary experiences of first-generation Latinx college students, with a specific focus on the intersectionality of race/ethnicity, class, and gender. Her current research focuses on how first-generation Latinx college students’ families impact their psychological well-being and, in turn, persistence rates. Diana can be reached at:

McMillen, Konnor
Konnor McMillenEducation email:
Interests: SEL for high school students, equity and access to education, professional development, experiential learning, project based learning




Meier, Valerie
Valerie Meier is an Education doctoral student working with Dr. Jin Sook Lee. She holds a BA and BFA from Tufts University, an MA in Composition from San Francisco State University, and an MA in Second Language Studies from the University of Hawaiʻi at Manoa. In addition to having taught a wide range of reading and writing classes at US universities, she has also taught English in Japan and Laos. Her research interests broadly include academic literacies, second language acquisition, and language-in-education policies; her current focus is on better understanding how teachers can capitalize on their students’ bilingual resources in order to promote the acquisition of academic literacies in one or more languages. You can contact Valerie at

Muller, Ali
Ali is a second-year doctoral student working with Dr. Danielle Harlow. She received her B.S. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from the University of Arizona in 2017. She has worked with informal science institutions for the past 9 years, including The Chandler Museum, Tucson Children's Museum and Biosphere 2. Currently, her research interests are facilitator, curriculum and exhibit development within informal science environments, specifically focusing on aquariums. She would love to receive emails at

Nazaryan, Sos
Sos Nazaryan is a graduate student working with Dr. Betsy Brenner. His research interests include community engagement, university-community partnerships (UCPs), program sustainability, strategic partnerships, and capacity building. His latest research project focused on understanding some of the practices that promote sustainability in UCPs. From 2014 until 2019, he coordinated an afterschool computer program at a local community organization that aims to develop literacy, digital literacy, and critical thinking skills for more than 100 local elementary-aged students from economically-disadvantaged backgrounds. Since 2016, he has also regularly served as a teaching assistant in the Education department. Sos received his B.A. in Sociology from UC Santa Barbara in 2014 and explored parent involvement in two-way dual language immersion programs as part of his undergraduate honors thesis. Sos is always open to collaborating and can be reached at

Nguyen, Dana
Dana Nguyen is a doctoral student in the Special Education, Disabilities and Risk Studies program working under Dr. Mian Wang. She received her B.A. from University of California, San Diego in 2007 where she studied Psychology and was involved in research at the Autism Clinic.  She continued work in the field of autism as an applied behavior analyst before starting her doctoral program here at University of California, Santa Barbara in 2012. Currently, she is interested in studying disability through a family systems approach and looking into parent training and resources available for families, especially those from culturally diverse backgrounds.  Emails are welcome at

Ozuna, Christopher
Chris is a 3rd-year PhD student studying education policy with his advisor, Dr. Michael Gottfried. He earned his B.S. in Human Development from UC Davis and his M.S. in Educational Psychology from UW Madison. Chris' research focuses on better understanding the impacts of community resources and policies on students and schools using mainly quantitative methods. He is currently working on projects involving transportation and school attendance, the availability of school-based health centers as well as teacher education through the CTERIN group. Before coming to UCSB, Chris taught 4th and 5th grade for the Madison Metropolitan School District in Wisconsin, where he became interested in social justice and restorative practices in an elementary context and how policy shapes equity in schools. Get in touch with him at or online at

Pacheco, Fabian
Fabian Pacheco is a fourth year doctoral student. As an alumnus of the University of California Los Angeles, he graduated with departmental honors in Chicana/o Studies and Sociology, and is currently working under the guidance of Professor Mireles-Rios. Fabian is a strong advocate for ethnic studies both in the K-12 and college-level setting. He enjoys being actively involved in his community of Boyle Heights as a mentor and coach. For his MA thesis, he is looking at the racial socialization practices Latino parents engage with their children during a time of anti-immigrant sentiment. Additional research interest include, but are not limited to, access to higher education, creating a college going culture, and examining various aspects of student experiences that impact their educational attainment and pursuit. Currently, he is a teaching assistant in the Department of Black Studies and can be reached at

Penner, Kaitlynn
Kaitlynn is a doctoral student with an emphasis in Special Education, Disability, and Risk studies, under the guidance of Dr. George Singer. She earned a B.S. in Special Education from South Carolina State University in 2014 and a M.S. in Special Education with an emphasis in Autism Spectrum Disorders from Florida International University in 2016. She is a clinician at the Koegel Autism Center, where she works with individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder and their families in teaching them the strategies of Pivotal Response Treatment (PRT) and other evidence based practices.  Her research interests include improving the cultural relevance of interventions for children with Autism Spectrum Disorders, specifically in the area of parent education and treatment acceptability for underserved populations. She is currently working on a project that combines the positive strategies of multiple intervention models to better support young children with autism and related neurodevelopmental disorders in the preschool setting. Kaitlynn can be reached at

Poyser, Samantha
Samantha Poyser is a fourth-year student with an emphasis in Special Education, Disabilities, and Risk Studies. Her faculty advisors are Dr. Robert Koegel and Dr. Ty Vernon. After receiving her B.A. in Psychology and Anthropology from the University of California, Santa Barbara in 2015, she worked as a Program Coordinator for the Boys & Girls Club before returning to UCSB for her doctorate. She is a clinician at the Koegel Autism Center, where she provides evidence-based treatments to children and adults on the Autism Spectrum. Her research interests include academic motivation for children with disabilities, as well as collaborating with stakeholders in education to create more inclusive educational and community settings for students with disabilities. Samantha can be reached at

Rios Arroyo, Daniel Ulises
Daneil Rios ArroyoEducational email:
Advisor: Richard Duran
About me: I am a first year PhD student. I was born in Mexico, and immigrated to the U.S at the age of 9. I received my B.A in Sociology with a minor in education studies in 2019 from the University of California, Los Angeles. My research interest centers around the educational experiences of English learners (EL students) in public k-12 schools. I am particularly interested to see how high school EL students perceived teacher attitudes and biases towards them, how teachers can then use EL students lived educational experiences to build strong teacher-student relationships, and how schools can better provide EL students with opportunities to learn that lead to adequately preparing EL students for a college education.

Sanosa, David
David Sañosa is a doctoral student emphasizing in Learning, Culture, and Technology under the advisory of Dr. Richard Durán and is broadly interested in the research and development of technology-based learning environments and strategies. He received his B.S. in Biopsychology from the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences at UCSB where he assisted investigations in the use of virtual models for chemistry education. He has also worked as a research assistant on validity studies for NAEP digitally based science assessments and as a developer at a virtual reality software company located in downtown Santa Barbara. He currently assists makerspace activities at a local teen center where he has worked with youth in constructing creative projects using digital and electronic platforms such as Scratch and Arduino. His current research interests focus on the use of technology to engage youth in processes such as computer programming and digital music production (and by sheer coincidence, he enjoys these activities in his personal time). In addition, he is currently developing an application for Scratch-like visual programming within an immersive virtual reality environment. Email:

Serrano-Gutierrez, Gabby
Gabby is a fourth year doctoral student with an emphasis in Culture and Development. Her advisor is Dr. Laura Romo. Gabby received her B.A. from UC Santa Barbara in Chicana/o Studies with a minor in Education. Her current research focuses on how Latina and Latino college students compare in their perception of being first-generation in the context of their academic and social experiences. She is also interested in fostering Latina high school students’ motivation and interest to pursue STEM in college. Gabby can be reached at:


Shackley, Matthew
Matthew ShackleyMatthew Shackley is a first year doctoral student in Education working with Dr. Julie Bianchini and pursuing emphases in Science Education and Cognitive Science. He received a B.S. in Biological Sciences from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas in 2014 and a M.S. in Teaching and Learning from Colorado State University in 2017. Prior to entering the graduate program at GGSE, Matthew taught middle school science in Las Vegas, Nevada. His research interests are borne out of a belief that improved scientific literacy across the population is vital to addressing social, economic, and environmental issues in the 21st century. He is particularly interested in culturally relevant models of science education as and for participation in community activity. He welcomes email correspondence at:

Solis, Bertin
Bertin Solis is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Education at UC Santa Barbara with an emphasis in Culture and Development. He earned a BA in Sociology and an M.A. in Education from UC Santa Barbara. His doctoral research investigates how community college Latinx students develop aspirations for college and careers and how they experience the transition to a 4-year public research university. He employs a sociocultural perspective to understand how cultural resources, values, relationships, and challenges operating in students' lives support or hinder their educational progress. Bertin is also interested in the following research areas: academic achievement and motivation, higher education access and completion of historically underrepresented students, mentoring practices, critical pedagogy, and the civic engagement and literacy practices of immigrant populations. Bertin can be reached at:

Sperling, Jenny
Jenny Sperling (she/her) is a doctoral candidate in the Gevirtz Graduate School of Education at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Her interests include educational policy studies, feminist ethnography, and high school youth. She examines the intersections of gender, race, and sexuality and its impact on neoliberal educational policies and exclusionary school discipline and instruction. She explores the experiences of youth and educators, centering perspectives of minoritized students, specifically girls and LGBTQ high school youth.


Spina, Alexis
Alexis SpinaAlexis Deidre Spina  is a fourth year doctoral student with an emphasis in Math Education and is working with Dr. Julie Bianchini. She received her B.A. in Physics Education from the University of Delaware in 2007, and her M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction in Secondary Science Education from the University of Delaware in 2009. Prior to starting her PhD, Alexis taught high school math and science for ten years. Currently, her research interests are in teacher education, specifically around preparing future mathematics and science teachers. Alexis is a lecturer in our TEP program, a CTERIN fellow, and does research outside of UCSB with WestEd. When Alexis isn't working, you can find her at the beach with her husband or forcing her dog to cuddle with her. You can reach her at

Tanous, Chelsea
Chelsea Tanous is a fifth-year doctoral student with an interdisciplinary emphasis in Language, Interaction, and Social Organization (LISO) working with Dr. Amy Kyratzis. Chelsea received her B.A. in French and Spanish at the University of Southern Mississippi in 2011, after which she spent one year working as an interpreter and translator while teaching a high school French independent study course. She received her M.A. in French and Applied Linguistics from the University of Alabama in 2014, where her thesis research project explored the communicative strategies of undergraduate and graduate students of French in classroom and informal contexts. Her current research focuses on issues in second language learning, including language socialization, intercultural communication, issues of culture and community, and the negotiation of identity in interaction. Chelsea currently teaches French language courses through the Department of French and Italian at UCSB and works as an instructor in the McEnroe Reading and Language Arts Clinic. She can be reached at To review Chelsea’s current research and teaching projects, please visit her website at:

Valdez, Valerie
Valerie is a doctoral student in the Department of Education, with an emphasis in Teacher Education and Professional Development. Her advisor is Dr. Julie Bianchini. Valerie received her B.A. in Sociology from the University of California Berkeley, and her M.A. in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of the Pacific. Her research interests include teacher preparation program evaluation and the effects of practice-based professional development for pre-service teachers. Valerie is also interested in the development of rapport between teacher and students and its role in creating an inclusive learning environment, as well as its effects on student achievement. Prior to attending UC Santa Barbara, Valerie worked as a second and third grade teacher in Sacramento and as clinical faculty with Alder Graduate School of Education. Valerie is currently teaching a literacy course in the teacher preparation program at Antioch University Santa Barbara. She can be reached at

Wolf, Melissa Gordon
Melissa Gordon WolfMelissa Gordon Wolf is a doctoral student focusing on quantitative research methods under the guidance of Dr. Andrew Maul. Her primary focus is on the measurement of ontologically subjective attributes and the validity of the scales designed to assess them. Methodologically, she is interested in latent variable and psychometric analyses (SEM, mixtures, IRT), atypical approaches to measurement (such as network analysis), and research design. She is currently working on projects related to invalid and deceptive responses on surveys, the nature of constructs (kinds vs continua), cut scores, and evidence for validity based on the response process. When Melissa isn't doing research, she can typically be found at Dog Beach (a beautiful, off-leash Santa Barbara beach full of puppies - it is as wonderful as it sounds). She can be reached at

Yu, Jing
Jing Yu is a fifth-year PhD candidate in the Department of Education with interdisciplinary emphases in Applied Linguistics, Language, Interaction and Social Organization, and Writing Studies. She is co-advised by Prof. Mary Buchotlz and Prof. Diana Arya. Jing Yu received M.A. in TESOL from the Ohio State University in 2015. Her research interests include: international education and intercultural communication. She majorly explores issues on inequality in international student mobility on a global scale. Specifically, she focuses primarily on Chinese international students’ racialized experiences in the context of American higher education. Ethnographic methodology has been adopted to investigate dissonances of institutional missions and international students’ realities. Her research responds to the growing need for insights into how to increase equity in study abroad and student mobility. She can be reached at

Zhang, Hui
Hui ZhangHui is a doctoral student studying Special Education under the guidance of her advisor, Dr. George Singer. Her study interest is parental support and advocacy in both school settings and at society level as well as disability right studies. Currently, she plans to investigate on the current parental advocacy in China and factors which have jointly contributed to shape the current disability right paradigm in advocacy. Prior to her doctoral studies, Hui was a lecturer in Law at Xiamen University (China) for five years. She holds a bachelor’s degree of accounting and two master level law degrees respectively from China and the US. She can be reached at