Graduate Student Researchers

Kari George, Senior Data Manager and Research Analyst

Kari George is a Ph.D. student in the Higher Education and Organizational Change program at UCLA. Prior to attending UCLA, she received her bachelor’s degree from SUNY Geneseo and her master’s degree from Salem State University. Kari worked in residential life for five years and then spent two years working in technology project management, supporting teams of software developers. Kari’s research interests include graduate student outcomes, well-being, and workforce transitions.

Justin Gutzwa, Research Analyst

Justin A. Gutzwa is a Ph.D. student in Higher Education & Organizational Change at UCLA, where he also received his master’s. Before graduate school, he received his bachelor’s degree in anthropology from Pomona College, and worked in undergraduate admissions at Whitman College. Justin’s interests include the academic and social experiences of queer and trans* students in higher education, queer theory, funds of knowledge/identity, and dismantling Eurocentric, settler colonial, racist, and queer/transphobic narratives in educational research.

Jamelia Harris, Research Analyst

Jamelia is a 4th year doctoral candidate in the UCLA Urban Schooling Program. Her research centers the voices and experiences of high school Black girls to more deeply understand the consequences of punitive school culture to their academic and personal well-being.

Julia Karpicz, Research Analyst

Julia Karpicz is a Ph.D. student in the Higher Education and Organizational Change program at UCLA. Julia holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a master’s degree in international education from New York University. Prior to attending UCLA, Julia worked for five years in postsecondary disability services. Her current research interests include access, disability studies, and critical pedagogy in higher education.

Tomoko M. Nakajima, Research Analyst

Tomoko Nakajima is a Ph.D. candidate in UCLA’s Graduate School of Education and Information Studies, Urban Schooling division. Prior to joining BRAID, she was a researcher on the Exploring Computer Science project, studying computer science students and instruction at the high school level. She was also on the evaluation team for STAR, the STEM teacher preparation program at CSU Dominguez Hills. As a former classroom teacher, Nakajima holds a bachelor’s degree in music education, a master’s in education administration, and a bilingual (Spanish) teaching credential. Her dissertation focuses on career decision-making and job persistence among teachers at Title I schools.

Kaitlin Newhouse, Research Analyst

Kaitlin Newhouse is a Ph.D. student in the Higher Education and Organizational Change program. Prior to attending UCLA, she received her bachelor’s degree in gender studies from Tulane University where she subsequently worked for four years at the Newcomb College Institute managing a cohort-based honors program focusing on developing leadership and academic research skills among undergraduate women. Her current research interests center around addressing social class and socioeconomic inequities in higher education, with a particular focus on the role of faculty in the persistence and retention of  low-income students.

Chantra Nhien, Research Analyst

Chantra Nhien is a Ph.D. student in the Higher Education and Organizational Change program at UCLA. Chantra received his master’s degree in  health promotion and behavioral sciences from San Diego State University, and his bachelor’s degree in biology from UCLA. Prior to returning to UCLA for his doctoral studies, Chantra coordinated two National Institutes of Health biomedical research-training programs and taught a first-year STEM success skills course at California State University, Long Beach. His research interests center on first-year experiences of STEM students.

Daisy Ramirez, Research Analyst

Daisy Ramirez is a Ph.D. student in the Higher Education and Organizational Change program at UCLA where she also received her master’s degree. Prior to attending UCLA, Daisy studied at the University of California, Santa Barbara and received her bachelor’s degree in sociology. Her research interests include exploring the educational pipelines to degrees for community college transfer students, issues of race and racism in higher education, and organizational theory.

Michelle Sendowski, Research Analyst

Michelle Sendowski is a Ph.D. student in the Higher Education and Organizational Change program. Michelle holds bachelor’s degrees in political science and American studies from the University of California at Berkeley, a master’s degree in urban education from the University of Pennsylvania, and a master’s degree in higher education and organizational change from UCLA. Prior to joining the BRAID Research team, she spent four years working in undergraduate admission at Stanford University and two years as a high school social science teacher in Philadelphia. Her current research interests center around access and equity in higher education, with an emphasis in the representation of women in computing.

Kaitlyn Stormes, Research Analyst

Kaitlyn Stormes, a Ph.D. student in the Higher Education and Organizational Change program at UCLA, is interested in studying factors affecting retention and graduation for historically underrepresented college students and the role that universities have on students’ persistence and time-to-degree. Kaitlyn received both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in psychology with an emphasis on academic research and social psychology from Humboldt State University. She brings a background in institutional research and data visualization and recently served as a Senior Data Manager for the National Institutes of Health-grant funded, Building Infrastructure Leading to Diversity, studying the impact of undergraduate research programs on minority student success and increase diversity in the biomedical and behavioral fields at California State University, Long Beach.

Sarayu Sundar, Research Analyst

Sarayu Sundar is a Ph.D. student in the Higher Education and Organizational Change program at UCLA. Sarayu holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting and a master’s degree in higher education administration from the University of Houston. Prior to attending UCLA, Sarayu worked for six years in student affairs at the University of Houston’s Bauer College of Business. Her current research interests include campus climate, access, and equity within higher education.

 Annie Wofford, Research Analyst

Annie Wofford is a Ph.D. student in Higher Education and Organizational Change at UCLA. Previously, Annie received her master’s degree in higher education administration from the University of Missouri – Kansas City (UMKC) and her bachelor’s degree in social studies education from the University of Central Missouri. Additionally, Annie has four years of experience in graduate admissions. Her research interests center equity in STEM, focusing on pathways to and through graduate school, mentoring, psychosocial development (e.g., identity), and college student engagement.