Current Students

PhD Students

Arch, Dina
Dina ArchDina is a second-year doctoral student emphasizing in quantitative methods in the social sciences under the guidance of Dr. Karen Nylund-Gibson. She earned her B.S. in Psychology from UC San Diego and minored in Business. She later received her M.A. in Psychological Research, focusing in quantitative methods, from California State University, Fullerton. Her current research interests include latent variable analyses and data visualization methods. Currently, she serves as the Statistics Support Peer for GGSE students for the 2020-2021 academic year. She can be reached at

Arguera, Stephanie M.
Stephanie is a sixth-year Ph.D. 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 over four 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. This year, she is a Teaching Associate with the Dept. of Black Studies, teaching BLST 118 Comparative Rebellion (F20) and BLST 172 Contemporary Black Cinema (S21). Stephanie can be reached at

Arellano, Ryan
Ryan ArellanoRyan Arellano is a fourth-year Ph.D. student with interests in diversity and equity in higher education. She is co-advised by Yukari Okamoto and Tarek Azzam. After receiving her BA in psychology at UCSB, she worked in Santa Barbara for two years creating educational resources and designing professional development courses online for educators. As a graduate student, Ryan is currently working on projects with the Center for Evaluation & Assessment (CEA) under Dr. Azzam's supervision. She is also a Time Management Supervisor for UCSB's Promise Scholars program where she works with low-income, high-achieving undergraduate students. Her research focuses on evaluating student services and persistence/retention efforts, particularly with underserved AAPI college students. Ryan can be reached at

Balos, Noreen
Noreen Balos is a doctoral candidate with interests in STEM education, culture in STEM, and access & equity in STEM. Her faculty advisors include Dean Jeff Milem, Dr. Judith Green, Dr. Sharon Conley, and Dr. Gustavo Fischman. Noreen’s work has included issues or concepts in identity and discourse, industry and university partnerships, qualitative research and reasoning, and diversity and inclusion. Her specific interest is in higher education academic and support services to underrepresented, minority and first-generation students. 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

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 third-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 at NYU Steinhardt. 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 the lead coordinator for the McEnroe Reading Clinic, a SKILLS (School Kids Investigating Language in Life and Society) instructor, and has served as a TA for the Linguistics, Asian American Studies, and Education Departments. Her interests lie in bilingualism, language acquisition, and heritage language speakers. Huay is a Gates Millennium Scholar. She can be contacted at

Choi, Sunghee
Sunghee ChoiSunghee is a doctoral student in the education department working with Dr. Diana Arya and Dr. Andrew Maul. After being away from school for a long time, she received her M.A in education from UCSB. As a mother of a 12-year-old autistic son, her research interests are how to define autism, how to develop more ethical and fair autistic assessments by incorporating autistic people’s voices, and how to promote more inclusive education with UDL, rejecting ABA. Sunghee 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 FahlerValentina is a fourth-year doctoral candidate 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 research focus is undergraduate writing, and her dissertation project investigates the experiences of undergraduate students who published their work in academic venues. Prior to arriving at 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 on undergraduate student writing in the humanities. Feel free to contact her at

Franitza, Mary
Mary FranitzaMary is in her second year as a M.A., Ph.D. student under the advisement of Professors Jin Sook Lee and Amy Kyratzis. Her focus on language and literacy education stems from a passion for equity and inclusion in curriculum design. Mary’s research interests include identity-focused curriculum, incorporation of Feminist theory in educational settings, and learning in informal spaces. Her previous studies include a B.A. in Spanish and B.A. in Women’s Studies from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. Previously, Mary has worked in outdoor education focused on identity-based program design for young women. Currently, Mary works as a co-coordinator for School Kids Investigating Language in Life and Society Program (SKILLS), serves as the Vice President of Social and Community Building for the Graduate Student Association of Education, and helps facilitate GGSE's Intercohort Mentorship Program. Mary welcomes correspondence at

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 second 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 integration of science with literacy and language development, especially in the elementary grades. Contact John at

Garcia, Liliana
Liliana is a doctoral student interested in STEM Education under the guidance of Julie Bianchini. She earned her B.S in Physics and obtained a single subject teaching credential through CalTeach at UC Irvine. Liliana previously worked with Upward Bound Trio Programs at Occidental College, preparing under-represented youth for successful pathways into college and work environments. Her experiences as a first generation low income student and as an educator in the Upward Bound program have shaped her research interests to include a culturally equitable curriculum in science for students in minority communities and science identity for under-represented groups. Liliana welcomes email correspondence 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:

Harris, Samantha
Samantha HarrisSamantha (she/her) is a doctoral student studying language and literacy education. She has a B.A. in English from the University of Maryland College Park and an M.A. in TESOL  from Georgetown University. She taught English as a Second Language at Baltimore/Washington area community colleges for three years before coming to UCSB. Her research focuses on the intersections of language, race, and education with a specific focus on heritage language learners and students classified as English Learners. She currently works as a coordinator and instructor for the School Kids Investigating Language in Life and Society Program (SKILLS) and TA's in the Asian American Studies Department. 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.

Karimi, Honeiah
Honeiah KarimiHoneiah Karimi is a doctoral student in Education pursuing an emphasis in Quantitative Methods in the Social Sciences. She is under the advisement of Dr. Diana Arya and Dr. Andrew Maul. Her research interests are computational linguistics, data visualization, and applied statistics. She received her B.A. in Linguistics from UC Riverside where she was a Chancellor’s Research Fellow. After that, she earned a post-baccalaureate certificate in Communication Disorders from California State University, Los Angeles, and an M.A. in Linguistics with a specialization in Language and Mind from California State University, Fullerton. She has worked as a Clinical Assistant for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder and stroke patients at the Robert L. Douglass Speech and Hearing Clinic. Before attending UCSB, Honeiah worked as a Research Assistant for a National Science Foundation-funded study on six endangered languages of Myanmar. Honeiah can be reached at

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:

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.

Levine, Somer
Somer LevineSomer Levine is a first year doctoral student focusing her research in critical reading instruction and family literacy under the guidance of Dr. Diana Arya and Dr. Karen Lunsford. Somer is a first-gen college student, the only teacher in her family, and the first in her family to pursue a doctoral degree. She earned a B.A. in English from UC Santa Barbara in 2006, her M.A. in Secondary Education from Loyola Marymount University in 2008, and her Ed.M. in Reading Education from Boston University in 2012. Somer holds a California Instructional Specialist credential in Reading with a Bilingual Authorization in Spanish and a Preliminary Administrative Services credential. For 14 years, Somer enjoyed various teaching roles in Title I public schools including reading specialist, Spanish literacy specialist, literacy coach, and English teacher. She is committed to serving marginalized populations. Somer is currently a faculty member in the Teacher Education Division at Pepperdine University where she prepares future teachers. Her research interests encompass critical reading instruction and family literacy in Latinx school communities. Somer is a mom of two kids ages 2 and 5. In her free time she enjoys cooking with her family and gardening. You can reach Somer at

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

Lloydhauser, Michael
Michael LloydhauserMichael is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Education. His research interests include equity practices of teacher education and special education teacher preparation, induction and retention. His advisor is Dr. Sharon Conley and he enjoys serving as a CTERIN doctoral fellow. 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


Macias, Meghan
Meghan MaciasMeghan is a fourth 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 TA's in our TEP program and does research outside of UCSB with WestEd. She is also President of the Graduate Student Association for Education. When Meghan isn't working, you can find her doing yoga and hanging with her shihpoo puppy Sadie.

Magana, Diana
Diana MaganaDiana Magana is a second-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 the role that family related factors play in first-generation Latinx college students academic performance, persistence, and optimism for success. 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




McNish, Donald
Donnie is a first year Ph.D. student in the Department of Education at UC Santa Barbara with an emphasis in STEM education. His advisor is Julie Bianchini. His particular areas of interest are related to how teachers and students work collaboratively in the digital environment and how changes to education technology shape students experiences in science class, particularly students from traditionally underserved communities. He is also interested in teacher education and the changes to professional training and development within science education in the 21st century. Prior to coming to UCSB, Donnie worked as a high school Chemistry and Physics teacher in Los Angeles. He has a BA and MA in Geoscience from Cal. State Northridge as well as a Master's in Science Education from CSUN as well. He can be reached via email at

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

Mendoza, Monica
Monica MendozaMonica Mendoza is an American Latina Ph.D. student in the Gevirtz Graduate School of Education. She grew up in Los Angeles, CA, where she attended Cal State Los Angeles during the summers while in high school. Inspired by her hard-working parents, she attended East Los Angeles City College while raising her son. Despite facing several challenges, in 2007, she completed a BS in mathematics from UC Santa Barbara. Before returning to graduate school, she provided professional development to K-6 teachers, where she shifted the culture of mathematics teaching and learning for many local schools in the Santa Barbara community. In 2019, she completed a MA from the University of California, Santa Barbara. Her thesis examined the role of spatially imputed instruction in a Transition to Proof course. She enjoys researching higher education mathematics teaching and learning and cognitive science, mentoring undergraduate student research, and working towards school-work-life balance along with her husband and children. Inspired by several mentors and advisors, she aims to continue their shared work and legacy in creating opportunities for diversity within the mathematics and education communities. She is the 2017 recipient of the AGEP Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSI) Alliance fellowship. Monica is a co-author of Marcus Tilus and the Knights of the Polygonal Table: Angles, symmetry, and tessellations and The Skateboard Lane: Vision lines, turns, and measuring angles.

Muller, Ali
Ali is a third-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 as well as Research- Practice Partnerships to benefit the local community. She would love to receive emails at  For more information about current projects and interests, please visit

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 4th-year Ph.D. 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. He has also TA'ed and taught courses in the UCSB teacher education program. 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 is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) and a clinician at the Koegel Autism Center where she works with individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and their families.  Her research interests include improving the cultural relevance of interventions for children with ASD, improving accessibility of evidence-based practices to underserved populations, particularly on an international level, and neurodiversity and increasing the use of the autistic perspective in improving interventions. She is currently leading 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.

Sanabria, Sofía
Sofia SanabriaSofi (She/Her|Ella) is a first-year Master’s student in the Department of Education with an emphasis in Culture and Development. She earned her B.A. in History from Cal Poly Pomona. As a proud Chicana and first-generation scholar, Sofi's research interest is in Mexican American cultural identity, historic systemic racism in California public schools, and the first-generation college student experience. Her research focus is analyzing first-generation retention in higher education and identifying how institutions can assist first-generation students to succeed in higher education. Currently, Sofi is the Graduate Peer Mentor for UCSB’s ONDAS Student Center, a center which promotes the success and retention of first-generation college students. She is an advocate for equity in the first-generation college student experience in higher education and facilitates events to assist undergraduate students to navigate through the graduate school application process. Sofi can be reached at:

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:

Schuck, Rachel
Rachel SchuckRachel Schuck (she/her/hers) is a doctoral student in the Education Department with an emphasis in Special Education, Disability, and Risk Studies. Her research interests center around exploring the social validity of intervention and education programs for those on the autism spectrum, particularly from the autistic perspective. She is also interested in parent involvement in educational activities for children with disabilities and works as a clinician at the Koegel Autism Center. Prior to starting at UCSB in 2019, she earned a BA in Psychology from UC Berkeley in 2011 and an MA in Special Education from San Jose State in 2017 and worked for over five years in the Autism & Developmental Disorders Research Program at Stanford. She also really loves cats! Rachel can be reached at

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:

Simon, Odelia
Odelia SimonOdelia (Lia) Simon is a doctoral candidate exploring equity in education through quantitative methods including latent variable analysis, structural equation modeling, mixture modeling and measurement invariance. She is particularly interested in group differences in the experience of K-12 math education and teacher support, focusing on gender, racial and ethnic differences. Lia received her BA from Barnard College and her M.S.Ed in Human Development from the University of Pennsylvania. Lia is studying under the guidance of Karen Nylund-Gibson and Rebeca Mireles-Rios. She can be reached at

Solis, Bertin
Bertin Solis is a doctoral student in the Gevirtz Graduate School at UC Santa Barbara working with his advisor Professor Richard P. Durán. He received a BA in Sociology and an M.A. in Education from UC Santa Barbara. His research examines Latinx students' academic adjustment and career aspiration development as they navigate the community college transfer pathway to a 4-year Hispanic-Serving Institution. He has also examined the civic engagement and literacy practices of Latinx immigrant families as part of California's implementation of the local control school funding policy. Bertin can be reached at: 

Sultana, Sabiha
Sabiha SultanaSabiha is a first-year doctoral student focusing her research in critical reading assessments under the guidance of Dr. Diana J. Arya and Dr. Andrew Maul. She earned her B.Ed. (Honors) from University of Dhaka in Language Education. She later received her M.Ed. in Bilingual/English as a Second Language/Multicultural concentration from University of Massachusetts, Amherst as a Fulbright scholar. Being an education civil servant, she served as a faculty of education at government teachers’ training colleges and at the education team of the prime minister’s office in Bangladesh. As a graduate student, Sabiha is currently working as the assessment coordinator at Community Based Literacies to contribute to the development of a more culturally inclusive and relevant assessment approach that will benefit school communities and the children that they serve. Her research interests encompass educational assessments; Multiliteracies; ESL/EFL; critical media literacy; technology embedded curriculum and instructions; multimodal pedagogies for language teaching-learning; and teachers' professional development. She can be reached at and her publications are available 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:

Tolarte, Royce
Royce TolarteRoyce is a first-year Ph.D. student with an emphasis in Mathematics Education. He is working with Dr. Sarah Roberts and broadly, his research interests are in the intersections of mathematics education, cognitive science, equity, and professional development in higher education. Royce received his BS in Mathematics from La Sierra University in 2017, and his MS in Mathematics for Teachers from Portland State University in 2018. There, he worked on curriculum development for multivariable calculus that integrated technology and active learning. Prior to attending UCSB, Royce was an adjunct mathematics professor, primarily teaching courses in pre-calculus, calculus, and data science. Please don't hesitate to contact him! He can be reached at

Valdez, Valerie
Valerie ValdezValerie 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 educator pedagogy and teacher candidate development, with particular focus on the supervisory conferences between teacher educators and teacher candidates. Valerie is also interested in classroom interaction, the development of rapport between teacher and students, and its role in creating an equitable learning environment. 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. 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

Ye, Yuan
Yuan YeYe is a doctoral student working with Dr. Jin Sook Lee and Dr. Amy Kyratzis. She earned her B.A. in Teaching Chinese to Speakers of Other Languages from Beijing Language and Culture University in China, and her M.A. in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages from the University of Southern California. Ye is also a certified Montessori teacher. Before attending UCSB, she worked as a bilingual preschool teacher for two years. Currently, her research interests lie in bilingualism, heritage language maintenance, second/foreign language acquisition, and the use of technology in language learning. Ye would love to receive emails 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