Current Students

PhD Candidates

Almoudi, Sarah
Sarah Almoudi is a doctoral student whose interest and research include: Applied linguistics, Language Learning, Community Learning, and Technology Integration.  Sarah may be reached at:

Aminger, Walter
Walter Aminger is a first year doctoral student with an emphasis in Science Education working with Dr. Julie Bianchini. He received his B.S. in Molecular Biology from the University of West Florida with a minor in Spanish in 2005 and his M.S.T. in Biology from the University of West Florida in 2009. After his graduate work, he spent almost five years teaching high school sciences (Biology and Chemistry) in Arizona. During this time, he successfully developed and implemented the new science curriculum and helped students master the state standard test (AIMS). Though his research interests are relatively broad, he is interested in science education, ELL students, technology, hands-on activities, professional development, curriculum development, and persistence/retention. He welcomes your emails at:

Aragón, María José
María José Aragón is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Education with an emphasis in Cultural Perspectives and Comparative Education. Her advisor is Dr. Richard Durán. She received an M.A. in International Educational Development from Teachers College, Columbia University and a B.S. in Human Development from Cornell University. Her research focuses on students’ language and literacy practices in linguistically, culturally, and racially diverse learning contexts. Her areas of interest include language and schooling, educational equity, sociocultural linguistics, critical pedagogy, bilingual/dual language programs, and education policy. She can be reached at

Ashlock, Miles
Educational leadership and organizations, Higher Education, Student Affairs, Leadership Development, Multicultural Education, Quantitative Methods.  Miles Ashlock's doctoral research focuses on international student leadership development (in higher education settings). Specifically, he is interested in how international students--especially those from China--conceptualize 'leaders' and 'leadership' prior to arriving in the United States and how they reconcile cultural differences in approaches to leadership. The primary foundation of his research is the work of James Kouzes and Barry Posner who have contributed to the area of transformational leadership with more than 25 years of scholarly research.  You may contact Miles at:

Balos, Noreen
Noreen Balos is a second-year doctoral student in the Learning, Culture & Technology program with an Interdisciplinary Emphasis in Global Studies. With her background in science and professional experience in higher education, her research interests include: STEM Education, Culture in STEM, and Access & Equity in STEM. Under the advisement of Dr. Diana Arya, collaboration with Dr. Maria Napoli, and consultation with Dr. Judith Green, Noreen is currently researching the “Problem-based Initiatives for Powerful Engagement and Learning In Naval Engineering and Science” (PIPELINES) program which creates engineering and science design experiences for undergraduates, community college veterans and underrepresented minority students, who major in STEM-related subjects and wish to explore a civil career in the Navy.  The goal of the ethnographic study is to provide insights into veterans’ and minority students’ perceptions of science and engineering as a way of thinking and being, while gauging transformations in student thinking, understanding, and perceiving Naval work. The team also hopes the work gives insight into the factors affecting veterans’ and minority students’ preparation, participation and academic success in STEM.  Noreen can be reached at

Bigham, Jaycee
Jaycee Bigham is a doctoral student with emphases in cultural perspectives and comparative education and global and international studies. She received her B.A. in anthropology and Spanish with a certificate in Latin American and Caribbean studies from Indiana University in 2011. Her research interests include ethnic and socioeconomic inequities throughout the Americas, the influence of social status on educational experiences, and ethnic and linguistic minority immigrant communities. Her doctoral work focuses on the experiences of Andean immigrant families with the public education system of Buenos Aires, Argentina. She can be reached at

Bernstein, Emily
Emily Bernstein is a doctoral student with an emphasis in Special Education. Her advisor is Dr. George H. S. Singer. Her research interests span several approaches to improving outcomes for students with disabilities, including work with families, positive behavior interventions and supports, and qualities of change-making teachers, particularly special educators. Prior to her doctoral studies, Emily worked as an elementary school special education teacher in low-income communities in East San Jose and Santa Barbara, California, and she continues to work with youth in the Santa Barbara area as she pursues her studies. Emily may be reached at:

Bradford, Keri
Keri Bradford (Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma) is a second-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


Bucio, Mario
Mario Bucio is a doctoral student with an emphasis in Special Education, Disabilities, and Risk Studies. His advisor is Dr. Mian Wang. Mario received his B.A. in Sociology with an emphasis in Applied Psychology and his M.A. in Education from University of California, Santa Barbara. Currently, Mario’s interests include translational behavioral research for children with autism who come from bi-lingual and bi-cultural families, teaching behavioral techniques to Latino families with children with special needs, and coordinating home-school programs. For his Master’s thesis, Mario taught Latino children with ASD how to have social-conversations in their native language of Spanish. For his dissertation, Mario would like to pursue a similar line of research where he teaches Latino parents how to support their children’s conversation development. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Mario 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:

Covarrubias, Henry
Henry Covarrubias is a doctoral student with an emphasis in Cultural Perspectives and Comparative Education.  His faculty advisor is Dr. Richard Durán.  He received his B.A. in History and Chicana/o Studies from the University of California, Los Angeles and his M.Ed. in Higher Education Administration/Student Affairs from the University of Southern California.  He has worked as a higher education administrator for the last sixteen years at several institutions such as UCSB, UC Davis, UCLA, CSU-Bakersfield, Alamo Colleges, and the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board.  His research focuses on the academic socialization experiences of Latina/o STEM graduate students.  Specifically, he seeks to identify the ways Latina/o STEM graduate students’ interactions and relationships with faculty and peers facilitate their socialization into the academic and social systems of their disciplines and their professions.  He may be reached at:

Crocco, Kyle
Kyle Crocco is a doctoral student in the Department of Education with an emphasis in Teaching and Learning, a research specialization in Language, Literacy, and Composition, and an interdisciplinary emphasis in Writing Studies. Research interests include second language writing development, visual rhetoric, business and technical communication, digital writing, and content strategy. He is currently completing his dissertation examining how publishing on multiple technical platforms is changing the composition process for organizations. He can be contacted at

Dai, Yun (Daisy)
Yun Dai (Daisy) is a doctoral student with an emphasis in learning, culture and technology, working under Dr. Judith Green. She received her B.S in film production with a minor in economics and M.A in media and communication from Peking University, China. Her research interests include: social constructionism, sociolinguistics, learning across disciplines, cultures and nations, learning technology, and interdisciplinary research. Currently she is working on a research project about a technology-enabled global education initiative, exploring the dynamic processes of learning situated across time and space, physical and virtual, online and offline. Her work also extends to methodological discussion, about how to conceptualize learning as stretching across multiple contexts and how the conceptualization informs the logic of inquiry and guides the decision-making processes in research. She welcomes your email at:

De Piero, Zack
Prior to moving to California to pursue his Ph.D in Education with an emphasis in Language, Literacy, and Composition Studies, Zack De Piero got his "teaching chops" as a full-time English teacher in the Philadelphia School District.  He also taught as an adjunct instructor at Temple University, where he also earned his Master’s in Education, a credential in Secondary English, and a TESOL endorsement.  At UCSB, he has worked as a TA in the Communication Department (COMM 88, 89, and 123) and, beginning in 2015, he will join the Writing Program to teach Writing 2.  His research interests include postsecondary academic writing (first-year composition, specifically), WAC/WID, and assessment.  The three UCSB professors that most closely guide his thinking are Drs. Linda Adler-Kassner, Chuck Bazerman, and Karen Lunsford.  Zack can be reached at

Downey, Jonathan
Jonathan is a doctoral student in the Learning, Culture and Technology program. Prior to arriving at UCSB, he studied literature and language education at Tufts University in Boston (B.A.) and the University of the Basque Country in Northern Spain (M.A.) Subsequently, he began his career as a language instructor, teaching ESL and writing in Europe and the Middle East, as well as high school Spanish in Colorado. Jonathan’s research is oriented towards developing tools and resources for autonoumous foreign language learners who do not have ready access to language teachers, with a particular focus on ESL leaners whose native language is Spanish or Arabic. His specific research interests include pronunciation training with digital tools, automated L2 fluency perception, language teaching and learning through social media, literacy strategies for autonomous L2 learners, and music as a language learning resource. Feel free to contact him at:

Edwards, Jeremy
Jeremy Edwards is a third-year doctoral student with an emphasis in Cultural and Developmental Studies. In 2014, he received his B.A. in Psychology from UCLA with a minor in Education Studies. Under the advisory of Dr. Richard Duran, his current research focuses on university partnerships with local high schools in efforts to engage in dialogue about access to higher education for low-income, first generation college-bound students. Ultimately, he is interested in how access to outreach programs can help create academic pathways for urban youth in efforts to promote academic growth and self-concept. As VP of Communications, he looks forward to helping bridge the gap between incoming and continuing students through events and online forums, and create more communal spaces that encourage students to explore their research identities.

Eliopoulos, Nick
Nick Eliopoulos is a son, brother, uncle, confidant, and doctoral student whose research interests include how people learn things and do stuff. He can be reached at



Fematt, Veronica

Veronica Fematt is a doctoral candidate with an emphasis in Educational Leadership and Organizations (ELO) under Dr. Michael Gerber. Her focus is on the community college transfer pathway as well as the institutional policies, practices and program interventions that may hinder or promote successful student outcomes. Two of her ongoing research projects include the Transfer Student Transition Survey (TSTS) study and the Latino Male Academic Narrative study. Veronica utilizes both qualitative and quantitative methods. She is the Co-Founder and a member of the Education Department’s Higher Education Research Group (HERG) and is the Founder and Steering Committee Chair of the Higher Education Action and Research Consortium (HEARC) at UCSB. She received her B.A. in Sociology from the University of California, Los Angeles and her M.A. with an ELO emphasis from the Gevirtz Graduate School of Education at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Veronica can be reached at

Ford, Katerina
Katerina Ford is a second 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:

Galicia, Mario
Mario is a doctoral candidate in the department of Education. After transferring from Riverside Community College in the fall of 2006, Mario received a dual B.A. in Chicana/o Studies and Sociology from UC- Santa Barbara in 2008. Mario received his MA in Education from UC- Santa Barbara in the winter of 2013. His dissertation research is a longitudinal research study that focuses on youth perspectives while participants in the gang and violence intervention program. His research not only highlights issues associated with the school-to–prison pipeline, but he also offers alternative methods for school discipline and classroom pedagogy for marginalized youth. Mario has presented his research at various academic conferences over the last 3 years and also published an article in 2013 (Smoking Guns or Smoke & Mirrors: Schools and the Policing of Latino Boys) based on his research work. While a graduate student at UCSB Mario has also been employed as a teaching assistant in the Sociology, Black Studies and Chicana/o Studies departments. Additionally, Mario has also worked for various student affairs departments while at UCSB; financial aid, EOP, admissions, and most recently Graduate Division as their outreach and diversity peer from 02/ 2010- 09/ 2013. Mario served as a GSAE representative (2011- 12) and then President for UC- Santa Barbara’s Graduate Student Association (2012- 13). For more information on Mario Galicia please visit his website at:  To contact Mario email:

Gordon, Melissa
Melissa Gordon is a doctoral student focusing on quantitative research methods under the guidance of Dr. Andy Maul and Dr. Karen Nylund-Gibson. She is interested in latent variables analyses, measurement, causality, and research design. Substantively, she focuses on social justice research and medical research. She can be reached 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:

Hai, Jessica
Jessica Hai is a second-year graduate 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 how that affects the process of assessment and intervention services. Her long term goal is to provide more awareness to families of cultural backgrounds who currently are stigmatized to seek assistance or do not have access to those resources. She is also 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:

Hallowell, David
David Hallowell David Hallowell currently fills his days with doctoral studies in education, with an emphasis in child and adolescent development. He keeps his perspective fresh with an interdisciplinary emphasis in cognitive science. David has pursued his interest in cognitional theory as an undergraduate in psychology and social behavior at the University of California, Irvine; as a U.S. Fulbright Fellow (2005/6) in Vienna, Austria; for his M.A. in philosophy at Boston College; and now for the PhD in the Gevirtz Graduate School of Education. He is currently doing innovative research on how young children reason about plane and solid shapes across 2D and 3D representations. His areas of interest are spatial reasoning, early geometry learning, and neo-Piagetian theory (Case & Okamoto). He also dabbles in LEGO robotics. He responds to email at You can follow his work at and at

Hao, Jing
Jing Hao Jing Hao is a M.A./Ph.D. student in the Gevirtz Graduate School of Education at the University of California, Santa Barbara, in the area of Cultural Perspectives and Comparative Education. Her faculty advisors are Dr. Cook-Gumperz and Dr. Conley. She received her B.A. in Journalism from Northwest University (Shannxi, China) in 2009. She received her M.Ed. in Education from University of Central Oklahoma in 2012. She is currently working on a dissertation examining Chinese international students' pre-arrival preparation and post-arrival adaptation issues in U.S. University.  Her research interests also include: internationalization of higher education, intercultural adaptation and institution services of international students.  Jing Hao can be contacted at:

Hanson, Alexandria
Alexandria is a fourth year doctoral student with an emphasis in STEM Education. Her advisor is Dr. Danielle Harlow. Alexandria received her B.S. from UC Irvine, majoring in Biological Sciences. After graduating, she joined Teach for America, where she taught middle school science and math at a charter school in East Los Angeles. During this time, she received her secondary science teaching credential from Loyola Marymount University, with a focus in urban education. She has worked on the DEPICT computer science project, which uses a design-based research methodology to develop curriculum and teach computer programming to elementary school students. Other research interests include: equity and access of diverse students within STEM education, teacher education, the Maker Movement and digital fabrication in the classroom. She welcomes emails at: For more information, visit her website at

I-Tremblay, Erika
Erika I-Tremblay is a Ph. D. candidate with an emphasis in Teaching and Learning, a research specialization in Language, Literacy and Composition, and an interdisciplinary emphasis in Writing Studies.  Her faculty advisor is Dr. Charles Bazerman.  She received her B.A. from the Universality of New Hampshire and M.A. in English with a specialization in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) from San Francisco State University.  Prior to attending UCSB, she taught academic English to international students who wished to study at American universities and colleges.  She has also worked as a writing tutor at a local community college.  Her research interests include: Teaching of writing; English education; Second language writing; Multilingual writers; Writing centers.  She is currently working on her dissertation examining how a university writing center evolves in a foreign, changing context in order to understand the growing exigency of writing in higher education in and outside of the US.  She can be contacted at

Jiang, Yan
Yan Jiang is a doctoral student of Dept. of Education with an emphasis in Applied Linguistics. She received her B.A. in English from Tsinghua University (China) in 2008 and received an M.A. in Education from San Diego State University in 2011. Her research interest include: second language acquisition, tone and intonation, computer-assisted language learning. You can reach her via email:

Katz, Daniel
Danny Katz is a second 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

Kim, Aram
Aram Kim is a doctoral student with an emphasis in cultural perspective and comparative education. Her advisors are Dr. Dorothy Chun and Dr. Diana Arya. Prior to attending UCSB, she worked as an English instructor at a language institute in Korea teaching adult learners. She received her M.A in Education at UCSB focusing on L2 language learners’ reading strategies. She is currently working on her a dissertation examining the relationship between community-based literacy activities and literate identity construction. Her research interests includes literacy practice and identity construction, literacy practice in non-school setting, second language acquisition, reading comprehension, interaction and dialogue in language learning, discourse analysis, social context of language learning. She is a UCSB Campus liaison of AERA Division G. You may reach Aram at:

Kim, Hui Yon
Hui Yon Kim is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Education with a focus on Policy and Research Methods.  Her advisor is Dr. Michael Gottfried.  Kim received her B.A. and Master of Public Policy (MPP), with a concentration on Social Policy, from UCLA.  Prior to joining the program at UCSB, she worked in policy consulting companies, including Acumen, LLC, Berkeley Policy Associates (now Impaq Int.), and RAND Corporation.  Areas of study during this time included education, workforce/labor, Medicare, green industry, drug trade, and international development.  Her primary interest is broadly in educational equity and bridging the academic achievement gap.  You may contact Hui Yon at:

Kirksey, Jacob
Jacob Kirksey is a PhD student with research interests in the economics of education and education policy. His advisor is Dr. Michael Gottfried in the Policy, Leadership and Research Methods focus in the education department. Jacob received his B.A. in economics and education from Colorado College, where he also competed nationally in speech/debate competitions. Professionally, Jacob has worked for two nonprofit organizations, taught K-12 theater in schools, and designed his own after school programs. Through these positions, he has designed several workshops for teachers, parents and students, focusing on issues related to school engagement. Currently, Jacob is working on research projects related to peer effects, suspension rates, and special education via a policy perspective. His interests also include teacher education and preparation in STEM subjects and shaping STEM pathways for students and adults with disabilities. For more information on Jacob or his research, please visit or email

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. Mian Wang. In 2015, 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 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: curriculum development 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 intellectual/developmental disabilities and their families. 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. 

Lee, Wona
Wona Lee is a doctoral student with an emphasis in cultural perspectives and comparative education working with Dr. Jin Sook Lee. She was born and raised in Korea and moved to the States 17 years ago. While trying to get accustomed to her new life in this diverse society as a mother of two American born Korean children, Wona became passionate about bilingualism and heritage language maintenance. After getting a master's degree in applied linguistics at San Diego State University, she taught various Korean language classes and introductory linguistics classes at various places.  At present, Wona’s specific interest is how children learn in a bilingual context. In order to explore this topic, she is working on the data from a Korean/English dual language immersion program.  Wona may be reached at:

Lew, Lilly Chung
Lilly is a third-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:

Li, Simeng (Karen)  
Simeng (Karen) is a doctoral candidate with an emphasis in special education and learning technology, advised by Dr. Mian Wang. She received her B.A. in Journalism and M.S. in Instructional Technology from Jilin University, China. Prior to joining University of California Santa Barbara, she taught elementary school students in China. She also worked for a non-governmental organization in New Delhi, India to develop teaching programs for underprivileged school children. Currently, she is working on a research project in learning science as applied to STEM higher education pedagogy with Dr. Mian Wang and Dr. Michael Gerber. Meanwhile, she is also collaborating with three special education schools to develop an evidence-based learning application for students with Autism Spectrum Disorders. Her research interests include: instructional technologies, students with developmental disabilities, and inclusion education in China. She can be reached 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

Macias, Heather
Heather Macias Heather Macias is a doctoral student with research interests in multilingual literacy, literacy education, and sociocultural learning theory under Dr. Richard Duran; she also has interdisciplinary research interests in applied linguistics and feminist studies. Heather received her B.A. in Fine Arts from the University of Southern California in 2006 and received a single subject teaching credential in both English and Fine Arts, as well as an M.A.T. in Secondary Education from the University of Southern California in 2007. After graduation, Heather taught for seven years at the largest charter school in the nation, Granada Hills Charter High School, where she taught English/Language Arts and served as a community service-based club advisor, in addition to working as an assistant cheer coach/advisor for nationally ranked teams.  Previously, Heather served as the President of the Graduate Student Association for the Education Department. Currently, she is the Vice President of Academic Affairs for the Graduate Student Association at UCSB, the UCSB Campus Liaison Representative for the American Educational Research Association (AERA), the Graduate Student Representative for the University of California Student Mental Health Oversight Committee, and the Graduate Student Representative for the UCSB Student Resources Building Governance Board.  Heather may be reached at:

McBeath, Jasmine
Jasmine McBeath is a doctoral student with an emphasis in Learning, Culture, and Technology, working with Dr. Richard Durán. She received a B.A. in Spanish and a B.S. in Ecology & Evolutionary Biology from the University of Arizona. She made the most of her undergraduate experience by interning in a psychology laboratory, working as a Resident Assistant, and learning silly songs to entertain elementary students in Camp Wildcat. After college, Jasmine spent a year teaching English to indigenous leaders in Manaus, Brazil on a Fulbright Scholarship. Then she enjoyed working for a few years in nonprofit organizations in California and New Mexico as a teacher, community organizer, and case manager. Through teaching, performing research, volunteering and working both in the U.S. and abroad, she has embraced a broader conceptualization of science. Her research interests are in integrating cultural ways of knowing and enabling underrepresented groups to participate in and contribute their knowledge to STEM fields, both to help them learn better and to enrich scientific understanding and perspectives. Her current project at the St. George Youth Center establishes a Makerspace program to address scientific identity for Latino adolescents, with a particular focus on girls. She has also enjoyed participating in activities with the Thinkering Lab, and is extremely grateful for the support and opportunities she has received from the GGSE Maker group and UC Links community.  Jasmine may be reached at:

McLean, Mandy
Mandy McLean is a doctoral student with an emphasis in Science and Mathematics Education, working with Dr. Julie Bianchini and Dr. Danielle Harlow. She received a B.Eng. in Mechanical Engineering from McGill University, a M.S. in Engineering Mathematics from Dalhousie University, and a M.S. in Environmental and Earth System Science from Stanford University. Prior to joining the Education Department at UCSB, she taught physics at a high school in Palo Alto. Mandy's research interests lie at the intersection of STEM education, gender, and play. You can contact Mandy 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

Meyr, Justine
Justine Meyr is a 5th year doctoral student focusing on technology and second language acquisition in the Department of Education. Her advisor is Dr. Dorothy Chun. She received her B.A from Brandeis University in History and Italian and her M.A. from UCSB in Latin American and Iberian Studies. Her current work has taken her to Germany to set up a telecollaboration between U.S. learners of German and German learners of English. For more information on her research, her experience at UCSB or her adventures abroad she can be reached at

Morgan, Micaela
Micaela Morgan is an Education doctoral candidate with the Policy, Leadership, and Research Methods focus. She will be finishing her dissertation in the fall quarter, which is titled: “The STEM Pipeline for Community College Students with Learning Disabilities.”  Micaela’s doctoral advisor is Dr. Michael Gerber, who she has received excellent mentorship from along with her committee members, Drs. Karen Nylund-Gibson and Michael Gottfried.  She received her Bachelor’s in Chemistry from the University of California, Santa Cruz and a Master’s in Chemistry and Education from the University of California, Santa Barbara.  Her research focuses on STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) engagement and learning for all. However, specific populations of interest are community college students and students with disabilities. Micaela is involved in additional research projects involving mentorship, adults with disabilities in STEM, first-year experiences, and engagement of engineering community college students. You can email Micaela at and visit her website 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

Pacheco, Fabian
Fabian Pacheco is a second 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 assistance in the Department of Black Studies and can be widely reached at

Plasman, Jay
Jay Plasman is a doctoral student with an emphasis in quantitative methods.  He is working with Dr. Michael Gottfried as his advisor.  Jay received his B.A. in American Studies with a Social Studies teaching credential from Carleton College and received his M.A. in International Service from Roehampton University.  After completing his undergraduate degree, Jay, worked at an aquarium, taught third-eighth grades in the Marshall Islands, and completed a year of AmeriCorps service before returning to school for his M.A.  After receiving his M.A., Jay worked as an Epidemiologist for two years, and then returned to teaching at a vocational training program.  His current research interests include the impact of CTE and STEM on student graduation and dropout, as well other dropout prevention and reengagement strategies.  Feel free to contact him at

Poyser, Samantha
Samantha Poyser is a first year doctoral student with an emphasis in Special Education, Disabilities, and Risk Studies. Her faculty advisor is Dr. Robert Koegel. She received her B.A. in Psychology and Anthropology from the University of California, Santa Barbara in 2015, and is excited to be back on campus. For the past nine years Samantha has worked with individuals with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities(IDD), with organizations dedicated to creating integrated social settings and employment for those with IDD. Her current research interests are increasing social skills for individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Samantha can be reached at

Pulgar, Javier
I’m Javier Pulgar ( a second year grad student in Science Education, with emphasis on physics education. My advisor is Dr. Danielle Harlow. Currently I’m working in my second year research project, which consists in studying collective creativity and problem solving. The purpose is to develop a model that allows us to understand how effective and original groups might be in creating/designing solutions to particular problems in physics. Additionally, I’m interesting in developing instruments to measure individual divergent thinking in the context of physics problem solving, and the dimensions that this may involve. Due to my experience teaching physics in a Chilean university (Universidad del Bio Bio, in Concepcion, where I come from), my research interests are oriented towards college students. 

Sperling, Jenny
Jenny Sperling is a second-year doctoral student with an emphasis in literacies, languages, and cultures working with Dr. Diana Arya. She received her B.A. in Spanish and Comparative literature from our beautiful community campus here at UCSB in 2011. After graduation, she spent her time coaching women's high school basketball and working in a restaurant, ultimately working toward saving money for her future graduate studies. In 2013 she attended Berkeley, where she received her M.A. in Education, focusing on the cultural studies of sport in education. Currently, her research explores both students' and teachers' language and literacy practices, both inside and outside of classroom settings. Her areas of interest include discourse analysis, interactional ethnography, sociocultural linguistics, and  critical/reality pedagogy and literacies. She welcomes your emails always at:

Spina Clifford, Alexis
Alexis Spina Clifford is a first-year doctoral student with an emphasis in math education and is working with Dr. Sarah Roberts. She received her B.A. in Physics Education from the University of Delaware in 2007 and her M.A. in Curriculum and Instruction in Secondary Science Education from the University of Delaware in 2009. She has taught math and science at a small boarding school in Ojai, CA for the past 8 years and decided to return to school to start her PhD. Currently, her research interests are professional development in math education and retention in math classes for females in high school. Alexis is thrilled to be a part of the UCSB GGSE program and loves our beautiful campus. You can reach her at:

Tallman, Tiesha
Tiesha is a doctoral student in Education with an emphasis in Language and Literacy. Tiesha is working with Dr. Charles Bazerman on her dissertation involving Junior ROTC and high school students. She graduated with her BA in English and a minor in French from UC Santa Barbara in 2003. After earning her MA in Education from UC Santa Cruz in 2006 she taught high school English before returning to Santa Barbara to work on her PhD. You may contact Tiesha at:

Tanous, Chelsea
Chelsea Tanous is a third-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:

Wang, Tiange
Tiange Wang

Tiange Wang is a 2nd year PhD student in Education at the University of California, Santa Barbara. She earned her MA degree in Linguistics at Beijing Normal University, China. By employing the methods of corpus linguistics and text analysis, her MA thesis compared the use of text-organizing metadiscourse in MA theses written by Chinese EFL learners and native English speakers. Her current research focuses on heritage language maintenance and dual language programs. Recently she is undertaking a research project aiming to explore and describe the early development of Chinese‑American children's heritage language, Mandarin Chinese.  Tiange may be reached at:

Wu, Ti
Ti (aka Wu Ti 吴媞) is a doctoral student in the Department of Education. Her research emphasis is Cultural Perspectives and Comparative Education. She also has an interdisciplinary emphasis in Writing Studies. Ti started to develop her research interests in education and composition studies after coming to UCSB. Before that, she received her secondary and undergraduate education in China. She has a B.A. in English Language and Literature at China University of Geosciences (Beijing). Her perspectives on texts, genre systems, and social organizations have been gradually formed through academic seminars, campus work, and community service. Her advisor is Professor Charles Bazerman. Ti’s current project investigates the transition of undergraduate international students' writing in American university contexts. In spare time, Ti likes running, baking, and writing lyric poems (in Chinese or English). Through running, she knows the importance of following a schedule; through baking, she understands more about the process; and through poetry, she enjoys the living literacies around her. These are also the three components that she has learned crucial about writing so far. Want to exchange ideas? Write her at <>. 

Yang, Rong
Rong Yang is a doctoral student with an emphasis in Teaching and Learning. Her advisor is Dr. Dorothy M. Chun. She received her B. A. and M.A. in English Language and Literature from Sun Yat-sen University in P.R.C. Her research interests include: Second/foreign language teaching and learning, technology and language education, and cross-cultural communications. She is currently working on an online intercultural exchange project between language learners.

Yu, Jing
Jing Yu is a second-year doctoral student in the Education program with an emphasis in Applied Linguistics advised by Dr. Diana Arya. She received M.A. in TESOL from the Ohio State University in 2015. Her research interests include: second language socialization and intercultural education. Currently, she is in the process of writing her thesis based on her independent study, which is to take an ethnographic approach to exploring the learning experiences of first-year international Chinese undergraduates during their overseas study in a U.S. research university. Specifically, she focuses primarily on how social identities and cultural practices are brought into being through students’ linguistic interaction in the classroom.  Jing Yu can be reached at