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 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 $8 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

Dr. Kathleen J. LehmanKathleen J. Lehman 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’s research interests include gender issues in higher education, women and minoritized students in STEM fields (particularly computer science), and co-curricular learning experiences for STEM students. 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. Prior to her time at UCLA, Dr. Lehman worked in student affairs facilitating learning communities for STEM students at The Ohio State University and The University of North Carolina, Charlotte.

Justin Gutzwa, Research Analyst

A closeup photo of Justin, a white man with short brown hair. He is standing outside and smiling, wearing a lavender button-down shirt and a black necktie.Justin Gutzwa (they/he) is a Ph.D. student in Higher Education & Organizational Change at UCLA, where he also received his master’s degree. They received their bachelor’s degree in anthropology from Pomona College, and worked in undergraduate admissions at Whitman College for two years. Their 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.

Current Projects: BRAID, Literature Database on BPC Research

Harmeet Kaur Kalsi, Research Analyst

Harmeet Kalsi 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

Julia Rose Karpicz, Research Analyst

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 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.

Current Projects: BRAID, Literature Database on BPC Research

Nadeeka Karunaratne, Research Analyst

A close-up of Nadeeka, a South Asian woman with wavy hair slightly past her shoulder, smiling at the camera. She is wearing a burgundy shirt and there are trees with yellow leaves in the background.Nadeeka Karunaratne is a Ph.D. student in the Higher Education & Organizational Change program at UCLA, where her research focuses on campus sexual violence. She previously worked in the Cross-Cultural Center at UC Irvine and as the Violence Prevention Coordinator in UC Irvine’s Campus Assault Resources & Education office. She has a master’s degree in Student Affairs Administration from Michigan State University and a bachelor’s in Chemistry from UC Berkeley. She is also a trauma-informed yoga instructor.

Current Projects: BRAID

Tomoko M. Nakajima, Research Analyst

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.

Current Projects: BRAID, AP Computer Science Principles

Kaitlin Newhouse, Research Analyst

See photo attached. Alt text here: 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.Kaitlin Newhouse is a Ph.D. student in the Higher Education and Organizational Change program. She received her bachelor’s degree in gender studies from Tulane University and subsequently worked for four years at the Newcomb Institute, managing a cohort-based honors program focusing on developing leadership and research skills among undergraduate women. Her research interests center socioeconomic inequities in higher education

Current Projects: BRAID, AP Computer Science Principles. Literature Database on BPC Research, Center for Inclusive Computing

Chantra Nhien, Research Analyst

Chantra is a Southeast Asian man with medium tan skin, short black hair, and brown eyes. This photo of Chantra is a close-up portrait in front of a green leafy bush. Chantra is wearing a white polo with blue zig zag patterns with UCLA embroidered on the left side of the polo's chest.Chantra Nhien is a Ph.D. student in the Higher Education and Organizational Change program at UCLA. Prior to starting doctoral studies, Chantra addressed inequities through school capacity building with a social work research team, inclusion and accessibility with a university’s student life and recreation center, and student success for a Hispanic-serving institution’s STEM department. Across these experiences, he worked with military-connected schools, people with varying abilities, and diverse STEM students. His research interests center on the early experiences of underrepresented STEM college students, with a special focus on Southeast Asian students.

Current projects: BRAID

Tomi Rajninger, Undergraduate Research Intern

Tomi Rajninger is currently a third year undergraduate student at UCLA pursuing a B.S. in Statistics and a minor in Public Affairs. Her academic and career interests bridge the intersection between math and data and her deep-seated desire to make a positive social impact. In addition to her work with Momentum, Tomi also serves as an Undergraduate Research Intern for UCLA’s Los Angeles Education Research Institute (LAERI), where she’s helping design a new undergraduate course that will focus on improving the elementary school student experience in the Los Angeles Unified School District.

Current projects: BRAID

Michelle Sendowski, Research Analyst

A close-up of Michelle, a woman with shoulder-length brown straight hair, smiling towards the camera. She is outdoors and standing in front of arches. She is wearing a black cardigan..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 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.

Current Projects: BRAID, AP Computer Science Principles

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 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

Sarayu Sundar, Research Analyst

Sarayu Sundar, Research AnalystSarayu 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 examines the role of cultural and gender identities in South Asian women’s college choice process.

Current Projects: BRAID

Diondraya Taylor, Research Analyst

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 the experiences of women in higher education, STEM 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!

Current Projects: BRAID

 Annie Wofford, Research Analyst

A close-up image of Annie Wofford. She is a white woman with shoulder-length brown hair, which is curled in this picture. She is smiling toward the camera in front of dark green trees, which are blurred in the background. She is wearing a tan sweater, white scarf, red lipstick, and emerald green earrings.Annie Wofford is a Ph.D. candidate in Higher Education and Organizational Change at UCLA and leads the BRAID longitudinal surveys. Broadly, her research explores equity in STEM students’ graduate school and career-related trajectories. Her dissertation uses BRAID data to quantitatively and qualitatively explore the role of mentorship and psychosocial attributes in students’ computing graduate school trajectories. Before attending UCLA, Annie earned a bachelor’s degree in social studies education, a master’s degree in educational administration, and worked in graduate school admissions.

Current Projects: BRAID

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.

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.

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-elect 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.

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).

Jamelia Harris, Research AnalystJamelia Harris is a former Momentum Research Analyst. 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.

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.

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.

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.

Dr. Tiffani Riggers-Piehl is an Assistant Professor of Higher Education in the Division of Educational Leadership, Policy and Foundations at the University of Missouri Kansas CityDr. Tiffani Riggers-Piehl is an Assistant Professor of Higher Education in the Division of Educational Leadership, Policy and Foundations at the University of Missouri Kansas City. Her research centers the role of religion and spirituality in college students’ well-being, sense of belonging, and college outcomes, with an additional focus on student-faculty interactions and faculty behaviors. She pays special attention to the role of gender and race/ethnicity in her work and has used the focus on spirituality, gender, race, and pedagogy to explore outcomes for STEM students specifically, and student outcomes in general. Tiffani’s collaborations with BRAID include investigations into faculty practices in STEM classes and programs, with an eye toward understanding how to improve pedagogy for student success. Tiffani earned her PhD in Higher Education and Organizational Change from UCLA and a Master of Science in Education degree from Baylor University (TX).

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 Higher Education & Learning Technologies at Texas A&M University – Commerce. 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.

Max Skorodinsky is a third year PhD student in Critical and Sociocultural Studies of Education, at the University of Oregon.Max Skorodinsky is a third year PhD student in Critical and Sociocultural Studies of Education, at the University of Oregon. His research is focused on democratizing the field of Computer Science (CS) and broadening student participation in CS education, looking specifically at the impact of gendered education interventions on gender diverse and expansive youth. Max has taught CS in a variety of in/after school venues focused on empowering minoritized and underserved youth. He currently teaches CS at an alternative public high school as an openly transgender person. He is involved in multiple grassroots efforts to support non-binary and transgender people. Max previously earned an MS in Computer Science from the University of Oregon and worked for over a decade as a Senior Software Developer in both the private and public sectors.

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.

Xueli Wang is a 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.