Dr. Linda J. Sax, Founding Director

Close-up of a red-haired white woman, smiling, arms crossed, wearing a blue blazer, and standing in front of an academic building with grass in the background.Linda J. Sax (she/her/hers) is a professor of higher education in the School of Education & Information Studies at UCLA. She is also the founding director of Momentum: Accelerating Equity in Computing and Technology at UCLA. For over three decades, Dr. Sax’s research has focused on gender differences in college student development, with an emphasis on women in STEM fields. She has secured over $10 million in extramural support from organizations including the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Department of Education, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the Computing Research Association, AnitaB.org, the Kapor Center, and Pivotal Ventures. Dr. Sax previously served as national director (from 1997 to 2005) of the Cooperative Institutional Research Program (CIRP) at the Higher Education Research Institute (HERI), the nation’s largest and longest-running multi-institutional study of college students. Dr. Sax is the author of more than 100 publications, including The Gender Gap in College: Maximizing the Developmental Potential of Women and Men (Jossey-Bass, 2008). She is the recipient of numerous awards, including the 1999 Early Career Award from the Association for the Study of Higher Education (ASHE), the 2005 AAUW Scholar-in-Residence Award, the 2015 UCLA Department of Education Distinguished Teaching Award, and the 2019 ASHE Mentoring Award.

Dr. Kathleen J. Lehman, Associate Director

Kathleen J. Lehman (she/her/hers) is an Assistant Academic Researcher in UCLA’s School of Education & Information Studies and serves as Associate Director of Momentum: Accelerating Equity in Computing and Technology at UCLA. Dr. Lehman holds a B.A. in French from Miami University. Then, she started her career in higher education, earning a Master’s in Higher Education and Student Affairs from The Ohio State University and taking on several roles in student affairs working with living-learning programs for STEM students first at The Ohio State University and later at the University of North Carolina, Charlotte. After watching women and minoritized students struggle to find support in these programs, ultimately leading many to switch to non-STEM majors, Dr. Lehman moved into research, where she would be better positioned to impact best practices and institutional change in support of groups historically excluded from STEM fields. While working with Dr. Sax to launch BRAID Research, Dr. Lehman earned her PhD from UCLA in 2017, after which she began working for Momentum full-time. Her research interests center on the experiences of women and minoritized students in STEM fields (particularly computer science), with an emphasis on creating additional pathways into STEM/computing majors and fields. Dr. Lehman serves as co-Principal Investigator for several Momentum projects, including the NSF-funded broadening participation literature database, as well as the team’s work with the Center for Inclusive Computing.

Dr. HyeJin Tina Yeo, CIC Project Postdoctoral Scholar

HyeJin Tina Yeo is a Post-Doctoral scholar of Momentum: Accelerating Equity in Computing and Technology at UCLA. Her primary research activities involve working on the National Science Foundation (NSF) funded research entitled the Center for Inclusive Computing (CIC) longitudinal survey project. She holds a Ph.D. in Sociology of Higher Education in the Department of Education Policy, Organization, and Leadership from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Her research interests are motivated by exploring how diversity, equity, and inclusion shape minoritized and marginalized students’ access and success in different higher education institutions. Specifically, she has investigated campus climates and racial microaggressions, educational and career pathways of domestic and international students of color at predominantly white institutions (PWIs) and community colleges. As a scholar-activist, she continues to pursue efforts in researching, teaching, and mentoring to erode prejudice, create a local culture of inclusion and diversity, and foster a global change of higher education towards a more equitable, inclusive, and just system of learning and societal change. She tries to meditate every day. She loves watching documentaries about history, space, and cold cases.

Harmeet Kaur Kalsi, Research Analyst

Harmeet Kalsi (she/her/hers) is a Ph.D. student at UCLA’s Higher Education and Organizational Change program. She graduated from the University of California, Merced with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology. She earned multiple Associate degrees from Mission College, Santa Clara. She is interested in college access, retention, and graduation rates within first generation community college and transfer students. Harmeet’s research interests lie in analyzing and changing policies that impact this population. She is also curious about understanding the impacts of international education and study abroad programs, specifically on first generation college students and their career aspirations and outcomes.

Current Projects: Center for Inclusive Computing

Brian Le, Research Analyst

Brian Le (he/him/his) is currently a Ph.D. student in the Higher Education and Organizational Change (HEOC) program at UCLA. Brian holds a bachelor’s degree in kinesiology & health from Iowa State University and a master’s degree in student affairs in higher education from Marquette University. Prior to attending UCLA, Brian worked at Iowa State University for 4 years as a student’s program coordinator for the Science Bound program, a pre-college through college program focused on working with scholars from underrepresented backgrounds to pursue a degree in STEM. He has been a research affiliate on multiple NSF-funded projects surrounding equity in STEM. Brian’s research interests are college access, retention, marginalized students, community colleges, first-generation, STEM education, STEM identity development and engineering education.

Current Projects: Center for Inclusive Computing

Max Pereyra, Research Analyst

photo of MaxMax Pereyra (he/him/his) is a Ph.D. student in the UCLA Higher Education and Organizational Change program. Additionally, he is earning a graduate certificate in advanced quantitative methodology in educational research. He earned his Master of Education at UCLA with a specialization in student affairs, as well as a bachelor’s degree in bioengineering at the University of California, Riverside. Prior to his work at Momentum, Max worked for three years as a graduate researcher at the UCLA CARE Program, providing gender-based violence prevention education to the UCLA community. Max’s research concerns college student development, examining how identities such as gender, sexuality, and race/ethnicity shape college student experiences.

Current Projects: Center for Inclusive Computing

Katie Stormes, Research Analyst

Katie is a white female with shoulder-length blonde hair and blue eyes. She is wearing glasses with black frames, a light blue top, and a black sweater. This photo of Katie was taken indoors with a white wall-background.Katie Stormes (she/her/hers) is currently a Ph.D. student in the UCLA Higher Education and Organizational Change program. Katie also holds a bachelor’s and master’s degree in psychology from Humboldt State University. Prior to returning to school, she worked at California State University, Long Beach on the Building Infrastructure Leading to Diversity (BUILD) Initiative which serves to increase diversity and representation among women and underrepresented minority students in the biomedical and behavioral health-related fields. Katie is passionate about studying factors that facilitate or impede major persistence, retention, and graduation for women and minority students in STEM.

Current Projects: BRAID, Center for Inclusive Computing, Literature Database

Dr. Jennifer Blaney is an Assistant Professor of Higher Education at Idaho State UniversityDr. Jennifer Blaney is an Assistant Professor of Community College and Higher Education at Northern Arizona University where she studies community college pathways as a mechanism for advancing equity in computing and other STEM fields. She earned her Ph.D. in Higher Education and Organizational Change at UCLA and worked on the BRAID Research team for four years. More recently, she received a grant from the Spencer Foundation to study upward transfer students in the BRAID sample. She is also the lead Principal Investigator on a new study of community college to PhD pathways in computer science funded by the National Science Foundation.

A close up of Kari, a white woman with shoulder length strawberry blonde hair, smiling toward the camera with an outdoor staircase and bushes in the background. She is wearing a v-neck ivory dress with puffy sleeves and a simple necklace.Dr. Kari George recently completed her Ph.D. in Higher Education and Organizational Change at UCLA. Her mixed-methods dissertation examined consideration of departure in computing doctoral programs by comparing student and faculty perspectives. Her research interests include pathways to computing careers, as well as graduate education experiences and outcomes. Prior to earning her Ph.D., she worked in technology project management, supporting teams of software developers and consulting with educational technology companies. Dr. George holds a master’s degree in Higher Education and Student Affairs from Salem State University and a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from SUNY Geneseo.

Dr. Joanna Goode is an Associate Professor of Education Studies at the University of OregonDr. Joanna Goode is the Sommerville Knight Professor of Education at the University of Oregon. Formerly a mathematics and computer science high school teacher in an urban high school, she studies how structural racism and educator belief systems shape computing learning opportunities for students in schools. Dr. Goode developed the equity-focused Exploring Computer Science high school curriculum and associated professional development program and has authored multiple journal articles, chapters, reports, and the co-authored book, Stuck in the Shallow End: Education, Race, and Computing (MIT Press, 2008/2017).

Dr. Christopher Lynnly Hovey is a research scientist for the National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT)Dr. Christopher Lynnly Hovey is a research scientist for the National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT), and a research associate in the Information Technology Education Contexts (ITEC) Lab within the Department of Information Science at the University of Colorado Boulder. His research investigates issues and solutions for systemic change to improve gender parity in undergraduate and graduate computing programs, and for identifying and promoting strategies to increase postsecondary educators’ adoption and sustained use of teaching practices that support inclusiveness, engagement, and retention. Representing the first BRAID-NCWIT research collaboration, Chris partnered with Kathleen Lehman and Tiffani Riggers-Piehl to explore the nexus between sociocultural and attitudinal phenomena and what pedagogical practices faculty use in their introductory computing classes, finding that systemic reform requires also addressing faculty beliefs about students, learning, and their peers. Chris earned a B.A. in sociology from the University of Colorado Boulder, and a masters and PhD in sociology from Northeastern University in Boston.

A close-up of Julia, a Black woman with shoulder length curly hair, smiling towards the camera with trees in the background. She is wearing a dark-colored dress and scarf. Julia Rose Karpicz (she/her/hers) is a Ph.D. candidate 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 in postsecondary disability services and builds from this experience to examine how (in)accessible cultures are developed and sustained in higher education.

Tomoko M. Nakajima, Research AnalystTomoko Nakajima is a Ph.D. candidate in Urban Schooling. Previously, she researched computing instruction in high schools with the Exploring Computer Science project and served 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 examines the working conditions and teacher retention at urban Title I public schools.

A close-up of Kaitlin, a fair-skinned white woman with red, wavy shoulder-length hair. She is standing on a tree-lined street smiling towards the camera in bright red lipstick and is wearing a light blue denim button-up shirt and gold hoop earrings.Dr. Kaitlin Newhouse is a Senior Research Associate at the Belk Center for Community College Leadership and Research at NC State University. In this role she oversees the PACE Climate Survey, a nationwide survey that aims to assess the perceptions of campus climate among community college faculty and staff. In general, her research interests focus on addressing long standing educational inequalities in a variety of higher education environments, with a particular focus on the experiences of poor and working-class students. Dr. Newhouse completed her Ph.D. in Higher Education at UCLA in 2021. Prior to this, she received her bachelor’s degree in gender studies from Tulane University and subsequently worked for four years in higher education administration.

Dr. Chantra Nhien completed his Ph.D. in Higher Education and Organizational Change at UCLA in June 2022. Utilizing a quantitative research design, his dissertation examined the development of science self-efficacy and science identity of first-year Southeast Asian STEM college students. His research interests center on unpacking the experiences of underrepresented students in STEM, with a specialized focus on Southeast Asian students and computing education. Chantra is currently a Postdoctoral Fellow with The Center for Postsecondary Success at Florida State University.

Tomi Rajninger graduated from UCLA in June 2022 with a B.S in Statistics and a minor in Public Affairs. After working as one of Momentum’s Undergraduate Research Interns for three years while at UCLA, Tomi recently moved to Washington, D.C. to begin her career working in the intersection of statistics, data science, public policy, and social change. She will also continue working on Momentum’s early career paper team.

Daisy Ramirez, Research AnalystDaisy Ramirez is a Ph.D. student in the Higher Education and Organizational Change program at UCLA where she also received a master’s degree. Prior to attending UCLA, Daisy studied at the University of California, Santa Barbara and received a bachelor’s degree in sociology. Her research interests center around community college students’ educational and occupational trajectories, pathways into graduate education, and Latinx student experiences.

Michelle Sendowski, Research AnalystMichelle 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 UC Berkeley, a master’s degree in urban education from UPenn, and a master’s degree in Higher Education and Organizational Change from UCLA. Previously, she worked in undergraduate admission at Stanford University and taught high school history in Philadelphia. Her research interests center around access and equity within computing, with an emphasis on the under-representation of women in tech.

Dr. Sarah L. Rodriguez is an Associate Professor in Higher Education & Learning Technologies at Texas A&M University – CommerceDr. Sarah L. Rodriguez is an Associate Professor in Engineering Education Department within the College of Engineering at Virginia Tech. Dr. Rodriguez’s research addresses issues of equity, access, and retention in higher education, with a focus on Latina/o students and students in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields. Currently, she is involved with several large-scale interdisciplinary research projects focused on institutional environments and STEM identity development which have been sponsored by the National Science Foundation (NSF). She received her Ph.D. in Higher Education Leadership from The University of Texas at Austin and holds a master’s degree with a focus in College Student Personnel from The University of Tennessee. She also holds a bachelor’s degree in English and Spanish from Texas A&M University-Commerce and was a transfer student from Trinity Valley Community College. During her academic career, Dr. Rodriguez has presented at conferences at the national, regional, and local levels and authored journal articles, book chapters, policy briefs, and other publications on student success.

Dr. Veronika Rozhenkova earned her PhD in the Social Sciences and Comparative Education program at UCLADr. Veronika Rozhenkova earned her PhD in the Social Sciences and Comparative Education program at UCLA. Prior to joining the BRAID Research team, she held a fellowship as a Conrad N. Hilton Scholar with the WORLD Policy Analysis Center at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health where she was conducting research measuring various aspects of public policy in UN member states. Her most recent project was related to gender equality and girls’ education and empowerment programs. Prior to her doctoral studies, Veronika received a master’s degree in international education policy from Harvard University, a Diploma in philology from Yaroslavl State Pedagogical University, and worked as a university faculty member in Russia. Her research interests are in international education policy, higher education policy and reform, and diversity and inclusion in higher education.

Dr. Jane Stout earned her Ph.D. in social psychology from the University of Massachusetts Amherst in 2011Dr. Jane Stout earned her Ph.D. in social psychology from the University of Massachusetts Amherst in 2011. She has been studying diversity-related issues in science and technology for more than a decade, has published widely on the topic, and has received several grants and awards for her work. Dr. Stout has expertise in data science, statistics, and qualitative methods, which she uses in her consulting role for BRAID projects.

Sarayu Sundar, Research AnalystSarayu Sundar is a Ph.D. student in the Higher Education and Organizational Change (HEOC) 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 examines the role of cultural and gender identities in South Asian women’s college choice process.

A close-up of Diondraya, a Black woman with curly hair in a bun, smiling towards the camera with bushes in the background. She is wearing a dark-colored blouse.Diondraya Taylor is a Ph.D. student in the Higher Education and Organizational Change (HEOC) program at UCLA where her current research interests revolve around understanding risk-taking in the classroom and how that impacts the experiences of women pursuing higher education in male-dominated fields. Previously, she earned her bachelor’s degree in psychobiology and a minor in entrepreneurship at UCLA. She also has a passion for using entrepreneurship as a vehicle to empower young women and draws great research motivation from that work.

Annie Wofford, Research AnalystAnnie M. Wofford, Ph.D. (she/her), is an Assistant Professor of Higher Education in the Department of Educational Leadership & Policy Studies at Florida State University. Her research interests center on structural inequities within graduate education, and she focuses on the development of equity-minded structures of support in STEM students’ trajectories to and through graduate school. Wofford’s research about doctoral students’ mentoring practices has most recently been funded through a partnership with the Inclusive Graduate Education Network. She has been a research affiliate and postdoctoral scholar for several NSF-funded projects about equity in STEM and graduate school trajectories outside of Momentum, including projects focused on Ph.D. pathways for upward transfer computing students and doctoral students’ experiences in biological sciences. Wofford earned a Ph.D. in Higher Education and Organizational Change from UCLA, a master’s degree in educational administration, a bachelor’s degree in secondary social studies education, and has worked in medical school graduate admissions.

Lecia Barker is a Senior Research Scientist for the National Center for Women & Information Technology and Associate Professor in the Department of Information Science at the University of Colorado Boulder. Lecia conducts research in attracting, retaining, and advancing groups underrepresented in professional computing careers. Her studies focus on the structures that shape individuals’ choices to pursue or avoid technical education and careers by understanding issues such as social climate, identity/belonging, faculty adoption of teaching and curricular practices, and sustainable organizational change. She also designs programmatic interventions to advance women’s meaningful participation in computing from secondary through graduate education.

Joy Gaston Gayles, Ph.D. is professor of higher education and senior advisor for the advancement of diversity, equity, and inclusion for the college of education at North Carolina State University. She is also president for the Association for the Student of Higher Education (ASHE). Her research focuses on access and success in post-secondary education for women and people of color in STEM fields as well as intercollegiate athletics. Recently, she co-edited a book volume entitled Advancing Higher Education Research on Undergraduate Women in STEM. She recently completed a National Science Foundation (NSF) funded project on early-career faculty of color in engineering.

Colleen Lewis is an Assistant Professor of computer science (CS) at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Lewis was previously the McGregor-Girand Associate Professor of CS at  Harvey Mudd College. At the University of California, Berkeley, Lewis completed a PhD in science and mathematics education, an MS in computer science, and a BS in electrical engineering and computer science. Her research seeks to identify and remove barriers to CS learning and understand and optimize CS learning. Lewis curates CSTeachingTips.org, a NSF-sponsored project for disseminating effective CS teaching practices. Lewis has received the NCWIT.org Undergraduate Mentoring Award and the AnitaB.org Emerging Leader Award for her efforts to broaden participation in computing.

Dr. Allison Scott is the CEO of the Kapor Foundation, part of the Kapor Center family of organizations, aiming to increase racial diversity in tech and entrepreneurship. We believe that when the tech workforce and leadership reflects the diversity of the country, innovation will be strengthened and tech can be used to close longstanding gaps across sectors. At the Foundation, Dr. Scott leads efforts to: (a) conduct research on barriers and solutions to racial inequality in tech, and (b) operate programs and invest in pathways into the tech/entrepreneurship workforce, and (c) work in partnership with stakeholders to advocate for transformational change in policies and practices to expand racial equity in technology. Dr. Scott is currently a Principal Investigator on multiple national grants to expand equity in computer science education and increase participation of women of color across the computing pipeline and in her previous role as the Chief Research Officer, authored foundational research on disparities in tech and entrepreneurship, inequity in CS education, and interventions to improve STEM outcomes for students of color. Previous positions include: Chief Research Officer at the Kapor Center; Program Leader for the National Institutes of Health’s Enhancing the Diversity of the Biomedical Workforce Initiative; Director of Research and Evaluation for the Level Playing Field Institute, and Data Analyst for the Education Trust-West. Dr. Scott holds a Ph.D. in Education from the University of California, Berkeley and a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Hampton University.

Xueli Wang is the Barbara and Glenn Thompson Professor in the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. Her research agenda centers on identifying factors and contexts that shape underserved students’ learning, experiences, and trajectories to success. Her scholarship has primarily advanced this area of focus through two interconnected strands: (1) students’ participation and success in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields; and (2) the access, progress, and development of students who begin postsecondary education at community colleges. A notable example of Dr. Wang’s work is “On My Own” (Harvard Education Press, April 2020). Grounded in longitudinal, mixed methods research, the book unravels enduring inequities in transfer access, particularly in STEM, and issues a plan of action toward cultivating equitable STEM transfer pathways.