Research Assistants

Cynthia M. Alcantar

Cynthia M. Alcantar

Cynthia Maribel Alcantar is a Doctoral Candidate in Social Science and Comparative Education and Research Associate for the Institute for Immigration, Globalization, and Education at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). Additionally, she currently serves as a Visiting Professor of Sociology at Pitzer College. Her research broadly focuses on issues of college access and degree attainment for underrepresented student populations. Cynthia’s research interests stem from her experiences as daughter of Mexican immigrants and growing up in the City of Riverside. Prior to joining UCLA, Cynthia earned her master’s degree in Higher Education from Claremont Graduate University (CGU) and her bachelor’s degree in Psychology with a minor in Sociology from the University of California, Riverside (UCR). She also worked as a Coordinator and Interim Director of Upward Bound at Norco Community College and as a Graduate Advisor and Faculty for the McNair Scholars Program at CGU.

Janet Cerda

Janet Cerda

Janet Cerda is a doctoral student in Human Development and Psychological Studies (HDP) at UCLA’s Graduate School of Education & Information Studies. She is interested in exploring the ways in which technological assessment systems and visual data representations of student achievement support the linguistic, academic and social development of immigrant students learning English as a second language.

Jason Chan

Jason Chan

Jason Chan is a Ph.D. Candidate in Higher Education & Organizational Change at UCLA. His research interests are in race and diversity in higher education, with a focus on environmental and contextual influences on college students‘ understanding of race and racial identity. Jason’s professional background is in the higher education and educational nonprofit sectors. He received his M.Ed. in college student affairs from the University of Maryland, College Park and his B.A. in psychology/neuroscience from the University of Pennsylvania.

Gina Cobin

Gina Cobin

Gina is a LA native, of immigrant grandparents, and she has lived in and traveled to over 20 countries. She completed her BA degree in Political Science with a focus on Latin American Studies, and two MA degrees - the first in Human Development & Psychology, with a focus on culture, gender, and relational development, and the second in Education, with a focus on special education. Gina holds a Montessori teaching diploma, and teaching credentials in Spanish, Special Education, and Administration. She has been working as a teacher in the public schools for the last 8 years, and prior to this, as a Research Assistant on various qualitative projects at Project Zero, PERG, and the Harvard Native American Program.

Monique Corral

Monique Corral

Monique Corral is a research assistant for the Institute for Immigration, Globalization, and Education and doctoral student in the Human Development and Psychology program at the University of California, Los Angeles. Her research interests include high school dropout and the academic and development of students, particularly those who pursue adult education. She received her Master of Science from California State University, Northridge and Bachelor of Arts from the University of California, Berkeley.

Edward R. Curammeng

Edward R. Curammeng

Edward R. Curammeng is a PhD Candidate in the Social Sciences and Comparative Education Division (race and ethnic studies specialization), Graduate School of Education and Information Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles. In his research, he uses critical race theory to examine the experiences of Asian American students and teachers, particularly Filipina/o Americans. He earned his MA in Asian American Studies from San Francisco State University. While in San Francisco, he taught Filipina/o American studies and ethnic studies with Pin@y Educational Partnerships (PEP).

Yuliana Garcia

Yuliana Garcia

Yuliana Garcia is a doctoral student in the Human Development and Psychology program at UCLA’s Graduate School of Education & Information Studies. Her research interests include risk and resilience factors that influence educational attainment for minority youth and the experiences and psychological outcomes for undocumented youth.

‘Inoke Hafoka

‘Inoke Hafoka

‘Inoke Hafoka is a doctoral student in Social Science and Comparative Education (SSCE) at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) within the Graduate School of Education & Information Studies (GSE&IS). His research aims to understand the issues and experiences of students of color, specifically Pacific Islanders, in education to better implement policy and educational practices that give them support within the educational system. ’Inoke earned a Master of Education in Education, Culture & Society (ECS) from The University of Utah and a Bachelor of Science in Sociology from Brigham Young University.

Edwin Hernandez

Edwin Hernandez

Edwin Hernandez is a Ph.D. Candidate in the Social Science and Comparative Education program and a Research Associate for the Institute for Immigration, Globalization, and Education (IGE) at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). His research interests include issues around access and equity for immigrant and minority youth in urban schools. Edwin’s research interest is rooted in his experiences growing up in South Los Angeles and being the son of immigrant parents from Mexico. Prior to UCLA, Edwin worked closely with immigrant and minority youth as a school counselor and mentor through community based organizations in New York and California. Edwin received his M.A. in Bilingual School Counseling from New York University and his B.A. in Sociology from California State University, Northridge.

Victoria Kim

Victoria Kim is a doctoral student in Social Sciences and Comparative Education at the University of California, Los Angeles. Her research interests include examining educational practices and programs from early childhood to postsecondary education that support bilingual, immigrant, minority, and English language learning students with a focus on Asian American and Pacific Islanders. Victoria received her Ed.M. in International Educational Development from Teachers College, Columbia University, M.A. in Education and B.A. in Psychology from University of California, Davis.

Minas Michikyan

Minas Michikyan

Minas Michikyan, M.A., has joined the Ph.D. program in Human Development and Psychology at UCLA. He is a researcher at the Institute for Immigration, Globalization, and Education (UCLA), at the Children‘s Digital Media Center @ LA, (UCLA/CSULA), and at the Center for Multicultural Research (CSULA). Minas’ research interests encompass the role of new digital media in youth self-presentation and psychosocial development and well-being in the context of culture, social change, and the immigrant experience.

Mike Hoa Nguyen

Mike Hoa Nguyen

Mike Hoa Nguyen is a doctoral student in the Division of Higher Education and Organizational Change at UCLA’s School of Education. His research interests include Minority Serving Institutions, campus diversity, and federal/state policy. Prior to UCLA, Mike served as the Deputy District Director to U.S. Congressman Mike Honda (CA-17). He received his B.A. from UC Berkeley.

Bach-Mai Dolly Nguyen

Bach-Mai Dolly Nguyen

Bach-Mai Dolly Nguyen is a research associate for the National Commission on Asian American and Pacific Islander Research in Education (CARE) and PhD Candidate in Social Science and Comparative Education (SSCE) at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). Her research aims to improve educational outcomes of underrepresented students of color, with a particular focus on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, through research on educational practice and policy impacting those student populations. Dolly received her Masters in Education from UCLA and her Bachelors of Arts from the University of Washington, Seattle.

Alfredo Novoa

Alfredo Novoa

Alfredo Novoa is a doctoral student in the Human Development and Psychology program at UCLA’s Graduate School of Education & Information Studies. He is interested in understanding the ecological factors that shape the sociocultural experiences and academic development of immigrant-origin youth. His other interests include applying translational science within academic contexts. Alfredo received his Bachelors of Science in Applied Psychology from New York University.

Dr. Olivia Osei-Twumasi

Dr. Olivia Osei-Twumasi

Dr. Olivia Osei-Twumasi is the Lead Data Analyst / Statistician at the Institute for Immigration, Globalization and Education. She completed her doctorate in Economics and Quantitative Methods at the University of Westminster, UK. Her research interests include access to education and the education pipeline from early childhood through higher education.

Audrey Paredes

Audrey Paredes

Audrey Paredes is a doctoral student in the Social Science and Comparative Education Division (race and ethnic studies specialization) in the Graduate School of Education & Information Studies at UCLA. As the daughter of immigrants and a first-generation student in the U.S. educational pipeline, her research aims to examine the experiences of first-generation students of color in higher education. With a specific focus on first and second-generation Central American students, Audrey hopes to impact policy and practice to transform and improve educational experiences and outcomes. Prior to entering the doctoral program, Audrey received her M.A in Education from UCLA and B.A from California State Polytechnic University, Pomona in Gender, Ethnicity, and Multicultural Studies.

Ingrid Villanueva

Ingrid Villanueva

Administrative Specialist

Ingrid Villanueva graduated from UCLA in 2010 with a BA in International Development Studies and another in Study of Religion. She was born and raised in Los Angeles by her single mother and is the youngest of nine kids, four who were born in her native country of El Salvador. The daughter of immigrants and the first in her family to go to college, Ingrid is very excited to work for IGE. She hopes to learn more about the complex issues that arise for immigrants and first generation students entering higher education for the first time.

Bethany Ho

Bethany Ho

Bethany Ho is an undergraduate student at the University of California, Los Angeles. She is majoring in Communication Studies and has a great passion for the educational field. She is excited to engage with the students and faculty of IGE as she explores and learns more about the issues surrounding immigrants and their pursuit of education.

Dr. Mahsa Bakhshaei

Dr. Mahsa Bakhshaei

Dr. Mahsa Bakhshaei is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Institute for Immigration, Globalization, and Education (UCLA). She completed her doctorate at the Canada Research Chair on Education and Ethnic Studies at the University of Montreal. Her research interest includes factors and dynamics influencing social and educational experiences of immigrant-origin children. Currently at IGE, she works on “Bridging the Compassion Gap: Addressing Social Inclusion for Immigrant Children & Youth - Voice of Immigrant Americans.”