People

CSI Staff

Headshot of Karthick Ramakrishnan

Karthick Ramakrishnan

Director

Karthick Ramakrishnan is professor of public policy and political science at the University of California, Riverside, and founding director of its Center for Social Innovation. He has published many articles and 7 books, including most recently, Citizenship Reimagined (Cambridge, 2020) and Framing Immigrants (Russell Sage, 2016). He has written dozens of opeds and has appeared in over 1,000 news stories. Ramakrishnan was  named to the Frederick Douglass 200 and is currently working on projects related to racial equity in philanthropy and regional development. He holds a BA in international relations from Brown University and a PhD in politics from Princeton. 

Ramakrishnan serves on the Board of The California Endowment and the Association of Princeton Graduate Alumni, chairs the California Commission on APIA Affairs, and serves as director of the Inland Empire Census Complete Count Committee. Ramakrishnan directs the National Asian American Survey and is founder of AAPIData.com, which publishes demographic data and policy research on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.   

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Karla López del Río

Karla López del Río

Associate Director

Karla brings a wealth of community development experience and housing expertise to augment our Center’s capacity and impact. She has helped forge hundreds of partnerships among public, private, and grassroots organizations, leading to increased civic engagement, innovative community-led projects, and affordable housing solutions, including homeownership. Prior to joining CSI, Karla served as the U.S. Census Bureau’s Lead Partnership Specialist for Riverside County.  Her team created hundreds of multi-level and multi-stakeholder collaborations across the region to increase the Census questionnaire response rates for historically hard-to-count populations. 

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Eric Calderon

Assistant Director

Hello, my name is Eric Eduardo Calderon and I am the Assistant Director as CSI. Prior to transferring to UCR in Fall 2018 to begin my Public Policy degree with an emphasis in International/Foreign Policy and Policy Institutions/Processes, I received my Associate of Arts degree in Sociology from East Los Angeles College. Some of my interests are community and economic development, housing, transportation, environment, and foreign affairs. My goal is to learn more about how these factors can shape and affect communities, particularly those in Southern California. 

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Gary Rettberg

Research Manager

My name is Gary Rettberg. I majored in Communications/Sociology as an undergrad, and got my Masters in Public Policy in 2018. My academic interests include health policy, economic development, community development, and public policy at every level specifically in California and New Jersey. I also am an amateur historian with a focus on Southern New Jersey, specifically Gloucester County. 

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Paola

Paola Avendano

External Affairs Associate

My name is Paola Avendano and I am a 25 years old latina from San Bernardino, CA. Although I am not currently enrolled as a student, I graduated in 2016 with a major in Political Science from UCR and am currently working on studying for the GRE in order to go back to school soon. I plan to apply for programs that focus on public policy, public administration, and even business administration. 

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Sunny Shao

Graduate Student Researcher

My name is "Sunny" Yiming Shao. I am a researcher at the Center for Social Innovation and AAPI Data. I received my Master's Degree in Public Policy from Pepperdine and my Bachelor's Degree in International Communications from Nottingham. Currently, I am a Ph. D. Candidate in Political Science at UCR. 

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Arielle Manganiello

Arielle Manganiello

Researcher and Center Associate

My name is Arielle Manganiello, I am a fourth-year Ph.D. Candidate co-advised in social psychology and political science. My research interests include examining how generalized beliefs about groups, individual identities, and the political and social context of society affects an individual's political attitudes and behaviors. Particularly voting and candidate evaluations. 

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Lin Cong

Lin Cong

Researcher and Center Associate

My name is Lin Cong, I am currently a rising 3rd year Ph.D. student in the Department of Statistics at UCR. I received my master's degree in Statistics from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and my bachelor's degree in Statistics at Renmin University of China.

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Mai Do

Mai Do

Researcher and Center Associate

My name is Mai Nguyen Do. I work as a researcher for AAPI Data and am a PhD student in the political science department. I'm particularly interested in migration, Southeast Asian refugees in the United States, and Asian American politics more generally. On campus at UC Riverside, I serve as a departmental representative to the Graduate Student Council and as a head steward for UAW 2865’s Riverside unit.

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Quanfeng Zhou

Quanfeng Zhou

Researcher and Center Associate

My name is Quanfeng Zhou. I am a 4th year Ph.D. student in economics with a focus on topics related to education, labor market as well as the empirical methods used in studying those questions.I was born in Shanghai, an economically developed city in a developing country. Both of my parents are among the well-educated people of their generation and I have benefited a lot from that.

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Stephanie DeMora

Researcher and Center Associate

I'm a PhD student and my subfields are Mass Political Behavior and American Political Institutions. Most of my research is on gender and politics. I have an Associate's degree in Liberal Arts, Bachelor's degree in International Relations and Middle Eastern Studies, and a Master's degree in Comparative Politics. I have a couple of publications in public policy (Policy & Politics; Journal of Elections, Public Opinion, and Parties) and another in gender and politics (British Journal of Political Science).

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Aaron

Aaron Walter

Student Assistant

Hello, my name is Aaron Walter, and I am a fourth-year UCR Psychology: Law & Society and Public Policy major, with my Public Policy tracks being International/Foreign Relations and Institutions/Processes. On-campus I am affiliated with several departments. In ASUCR, UCR's student government body, I serve as Judicial General Advocate. As General Advocate, I serve as a liaison between the Judicial Branch and the rest of ASUCR as well as the public representative of Judicial. Within the Psychology Department, I work as a research assistant in the Life Events Lab, studying coping strategies and emotions within uncertain waiting periods. 

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Adrian Fonseca

Student Assistant

My name is Adrian Fonseca and I am a fourth-year Business Administration student concentrating in Information Systems at the University of California, Riverside's School of Business. I am passionate about technology and understanding how it can help improve business practices at an organizational level. Over the course of the 2019-20 academic school year, I developed an interest in analytics utilizing business intelligence tools like Tableau to better interpret and present visualized data. When on campus, I devote my time to the UCR TRIO Scholars Student Support Services program and serve as the President of External Affairs with the Association of Latino Professionals for America (UCR ALPFA). 

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Karen Chen

Karen Chen

Videography Student Assistant

My name is Karen Chen and I’m a third-year double major in Theater, Film, and Digital Productions and Media Cultural Studies. After finding my passion for filmmaking through programs provided by my high school in Bentonville, Arkansas, I started to dedicate time learning and experimenting within the various aspects of digital film. Academically, I am interested in the techniques used to share the most powerful stories and studying other famously impactful works. 

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Safi

Safi Bajwa

Graduate Student Research Assistant

My name is Safi Bajwa and I am a 4th-year undergraduate student pursuing a Biology degree. My long-term goal is to attain a medical degree to provide healthcare to underprivileged communities and work diligently on combatting socioeconomic structures that hinder proper healthcare treatment and access. I am passionate about deeply understanding health demographics and health policy that directly affect the underserved community, and then utilizing this vital knowledge to provide optimal healthcare and opportunities for the community in the future. 

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Samantha Stanfill

Samantha Stanfill

Website Design Student Assistant

My name is Samantha Stanfill and I am a Business major with a concentration in management at UCR’s School of Business. After graduating from undergraduate I plan on attending Law School to pursue my passion for advocating for others and to utilize my ability to understand others and problem solve

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Wendy

Wendy Ramos

Student Assistant

My name is Wendy Ramos. I am a 3rd-year undergraduate student where I am in the process of double majoring in Anthropology and Sociology. My interest in Anthropology was sparked through my fascination with the interworking relationship between language and culture; however, my true passion will always lie with Sociology. I have always been curious about people and have often caught myself burning holes right through them. I'm fascinated with the way a person walks, the subtle emotions caught on a person's face, the types of interactions people have, and even more so when a person shifts from society’s norms. 

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Arshneel Kaur

Arshneel Kaur

IE Rise Research team

My name is Arshneel Kaur and I am a third year undergraduate student. I am currently pursuing a Bachelor's degree in Political Science: Law and Society and a minor in Philosophy with an emphasis in Social Policy Analysis. After finishing my degree, I will attend law school to have a chance to further the public good and impact the way the world runs, and essentially reform the system designed to prevent people from growing out of their condition. Having grown up in an Indian household, I was raised to pursue a career in science, but I was drawn to the news. I loved watching interviews and the chaos of politics on screen. The more nights I spent watching the news next to my father, the more it galvanized my motivation to step into the legal profession. Since then, I have accumulated a great amount of knowledge by living in India, and traveling to various other countries. I have a deep passion for establishing truth and siding with the right side of justice and I have accumulated a foundational knowledge in this domain through analysis of legal policy and research. With a career in Law I will utilize this knowledge to provide a collective voice for the public and give individuals a chance to advocate through direct action and policy. My immediate interest lies in the inequality and lack of resources for minorities in the United States and their lack of representation in the Political arena. I am particularly drawn learning more about the discipline of Political philosophy using which I wish to learn, upskill, and acquire the expertise that will shape me into a valuable professional for the legal field and public sector.

Brianna PhamTuong

Brianna PhamTuong

IE Rise Research team

Hi there! My name is Brianna, but I usually go by Bri. I am currently a second-year Master of Public Policy student at UCR concentrating in Health Policy. I received my undergraduate from UCR in public policy with an emphasis in social and health policy. I work on the IE Rise Research team and am involved with research through the public policy department. I am interested in helping the Inland Empire because it has been my home for the past 6 years, and I would like to give back to my community and others that are underrepresented.

Estefania Caldera-Alvarado

Estefania Caldera-Alvarado

IE Rise Research team

I am Estefania Caldera-Alvarado, and I graduated from the University of California, Riverside with a B.A. in Public Policy and an emphasis in public health and international and foreign policy. I aim to pursue the next degree milestone and earn a Master’s degree in Public Health. With this degree, I plan to achieve two long term goals to help my community. One of my goals is to increase immigrant’s access to affordable healthcare. The second goal is to create opportunities for immigrant mobility and encourage civic engagement by educating immigrants about resources currently available to them. My passion for immigrant advocacy developed because of my family’s experiences with health and employment. My parents are immigrants, and I saw their struggle to obtain financial stability. Moving from town to town to follow employment I learned that the low wages, fear of deportation, the irony of living with food insecurity while working in agriculture, and developing several preventable health illnesses were issues that my family shared in common with other immigrants. More importantly, I learned that the personal troubles immigrants faced were due to larger socioeconomic and political issues. As a researcher for IE RISE, I am highlighting the work of various immigrant advocates and coalitions, while addressing current policy and investigating immigrant issues through a multidisciplinary lens. I am thrilled to work with IE RISE as we work to better understand the needs of residents in the Inland Empire.

Evelyn Pruneda

Evelyn Pruneda

IE Rise Research team

My name is Evelyn Pruneda and I am a Ph.D. candidate in the department of Sociology at UCR. I earned by B.A. in Politics from Occidental College and a Masters of Public Administration from California State University, Fresno. My research interests include critical race and gender studies, labor, social movements, and environmental sociology. My dissertation work centers the experiences of women farmworkers in California’s rural San Joaquin Valley and focuses on the political and social borders that shape and exacerbate multiple marginalized identities that influence their work, family, and community lives. I incorporate insights from feminist geography to provide context to the historical exclusion and displacement of Mexican immigrants in the Valley resulting in segregated low-income unincorporated areas which lack access to basic services, including clean water, public transportation, and political representation. As a native of the Valley, as the granddaughter of immigrant farmworkers, and as a first-generation college student, I believe that I have a responsibility to use my training to work towards solutions to the myriad challenges that many families experience due to systemic injustices. My passion for this work stems from my personal biography as well as the urgency of this sociopolitical moment in which many farmworkers in the Valley contend with the intersection of increased anti-immigrant rhetoric and policies as well as the COVID-19 crisis which disproportionately impacts low-wage workers who lack healthcare or protective equipment. These challenges are contextualized by farmworkers’ vulnerability to climate crisis-related threats, including challenges to their health and livelihoods due to more extreme droughts, heat, and fires. Prior to my graduate career at UCR, I worked on Capitol Hill as a Staff Assistant for Speaker Nancy Pelosi during my time as a fellow with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute and I have extensive experience working with community-based organizations focusing on college access programs for high school students both in Southern California as well as the Central Valley. In my free time I enjoy spending time with my family, cycling, reading, and photography. I am excited to bring my experiences and passion for scholarship and community-based work to the Center for Social Innovation.

Kate Niyakarn Neamsapaya

Kate Niyakarn Neamsapaya

IE Rise Research team

My name is Kate Neamsapaya. I am currently an undergraduate at the School of Public Policy who is interested in researching health inequities. My long term goal is to attain a Ph.D. in Public Health. With this degree, I hope to bring more awareness of mental illnesses and diseases to minority communities and Southeast Asian Countries. Growing up, I came from a Southeast Asian community where mental health and other public health issues were not well known. As I grew older, I noticed how a lot of people in the community faced PTSD from the Khmer Rouge or other mental illnesses from immigrating, yet going to a psychologist was not even an option for us. In my community, going to see a psychologist was only for the "mentally insane". Because of this negative stigma around mental health, the people that I grew up with still suffer from it. Even children who have mental disabilities in my community did not get the best options because parents were too proud to accept that their child needed help. Having sisters with autism in this community only encouraged me more to bring awareness towards these hardships that many minority and immigrant communities face. Due to these past experiences, I hope to contribute to CSI’s mission in promoting an overall better opportunity for the disadvantaged communities living in the Inland Empire.

Mariela Loera

Mariela Loera

IE Rise Research team

Mariela Loera is a second-year student in the MPP program at UCR. She graduated from UCR with a degree in Sustainability Studies. She is interested in environmental justice especially when it comes to helping vulnerable communities. She is specifically passionate about working with the community in order to give them a voice at the table and develop creative solutions to deal with environmental justice issues.

Natalie Ikhrata

Natalie Ikhrata

IE Rise Research team

Hello my name is Natalie Ikhrata and I am a fourth year Public Policy major focusing on housing and transportation policy. I’ve lived in California my whole life and I know we can do better for our regions and the amazing people living within them. I am an advocate for meaningful social justice reform, as well as housing and transportation policy reform that will allow California to become an affordable, sustainable, and equitable place to live for every single person.

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Sarah Hayes

IE Rise Research Team

My name is Sarah Hayes and I am a second year graduate student in the political science department. Broadly, my research interests are Black politics, political behavior, electoral politics, and health policy. My primary line of study is exploring how people engage with political institutions and how these interactions  shape individual and institutional political participation.

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Stephanie Tapia Jimenez

Stephanie Tapia Jimenez

IE Rise Research team

My name is Stephanie T. Jimenez. I am originally from Sacramento, CA and I have recently graduated from UCR in June 2020 with a degree in Public Policy and a concentration in Health/Population and International/Foreign Policy. I have a keen interest in the issue area of global public health and I deeply value learning about improving the health and well-being of communities. As a lifelong learner, I aspire to return to school in the hopes of completing a masters degree. In the future, I plan to utilize my skills and knowledge to advocate and advance social change.

CSI Faculty

 

Cecilia Ayon-Profiles

Cecilia Ayón

Director, Immigration Working Group

Cecilia Ayón is an Associate Professor at the School of Public Policy. Her research broadly examines factors that promote and hinder Latino immigrant families’ wellbeing, health disparities, and intervention development and evaluation. Her research has been founded by the Silberman Foundation and the Foundation for Child Development. She is currently carrying out a large mixed methods study on the ethnic-racial socialization process among Latino immigrant families. The study examines the impact of restrictive state level immigration policies and discrimination on parenting practices.

 

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Michael Bates

Co-Director, Economic Mobility Group

Michael Bates is an assistant professor of economics and co-director of the economic mobility group at the University of California, Riverside. He earned his Ph.D. from Michigan State University in 2015, where he studied labor economics, econometrics, and the economics of education. His work brings economic analysis to labor and education policy, employing and developing rigorous statistical methods to uncover causal and generalizable effects. This work has been published in leading economic and education journals such as the Journal of Labor Economics and the Journal of Education and Behavioral Statistics and has been discussed in the Washington Post, New York Times, LA Times, and on NPR. [More info]

 

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Loren Collingwood

Co-Director, Civic Engagement Group

Loren is an assistant professor in the Department of Political Science at University of California, Riverside. His research and teaching interests include American politics, political behavior, race and ethnic politics, and political methodology. He received his Ph.D. in political science from University of Washington in 2012, and his B.A. from California State University, Chico, with a stint in between at Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research in Washington, DC. His dissertation and upcoming book examines cross-racial political campaigning where candidates and voters are of different racial/ethnic backgrounds. [More info]

 

Kevin M. Esterling

Kevin M. Esterling

Senior Researcher, Civic Engagement Group

Kevin Esterling is professor of public policy and political science at the University of California, Riverside. His research identifies the conditions that lead citizens to engage constructively in public discourse. His latest book is Politics with the People: Building a Directly Representative Democracy (with Michael Neblo and David Lazer, forthcoming on Cambridge University Press). His work has appeared in many academic journals such as Science, The Proceedings of the National Academies of Science, The American Political Science Review, and Political Analysis. His work has been funded by the National Science Foundation, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and the MacArthur Foundation. He received his Ph.D. in political science from the University of Chicago in 1999.

 

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Catherine Gudis

Co-Director, Place Making Group

Catherine Gudis is Director of the Public History Program at UCR and teaches classes in public history and 20th century U.S. history, building on her twin interests in modern consumer culture and cultural and urban constructions of race, space, and place. For more than 20 years, Gudis has worked as a curator and consultant to art and history museums and in the field of historic preservation and has received public and private grants to conduct community-engaged scholarship. Gudis was a Scholar at the Getty Research Institute in 2012-13, and has held fellowships at the Huntington Library and at Harvard University’s Charles Warren Center for Studies in American History. She received her Ph.D. in American Studies (with distinction) from Yale University, where she also won the Yale Teaching Prize.

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Francisco Pedraza

Co-Director, Civic Engagement Group

Francisco I. Pedraza (Ph.D. University of Washington, 2010) is a political scientist at University of California, Riverside with appointments in the School of Public Policy and the Department of Political Science. He is the coordinator of the Politics of Race, Immigration, and Ethnicity Consortium. Francisco’s research centers on political attitude formation and political behavior, with a special emphasis on the attitudes and behaviors of racial and ethnic minorities in the United States. His research draws on sociological, psychological, and policy processes theoretical frameworks to better understand individual-level policy preferences, electoral candidate preferences, political knowledge, and other political orientations like trust in government. His substantive research interests also include the relationship between immigration policy and health policy. [More info]

 

Ellen Reese-Profiles

Ellen Reese

Director, Economic Mobility Group

Ellen Reese is Professor of Sociology and Chair of Labor Studies at the University of California, Riverside. Her research focuses on gender, race, and class, welfare state development, social movements, and poverty and work. She is author of They Say Cutback; We Say Fightback! Welfare Activism in an Era of Retrenchment (2011, American Sociological Association’s Rose Series) and Backlash Against Welfare Mothers: Past and Present(2005, University of California Press). She is also co-author of The World Social Forums and the Challenges of Global Democracy (2007, Paradigm Publishers) and co-editor of The Wages of Empire: Neoliberal Policies, Repression, and Women’s Poverty (2007, Paradigm Publishers) and A Handbook of World Social Forum Activism (2012, Paradigm Publishers).

CSI Alumni

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Adriana Ninci

I am a PhD student in the department of Political Science at UCR. My major subfields are Mass Political Behavior and American Politics. My research interests center around race, ethnicity, gender and identity politics, political psychology, and inequality. I especially focus on the perception of women as political candidates. I am also a member of the Gender Lab in the Political Science department at UCR. My recent publication in the Journal of Policy and Politics is on Stand Your Ground Laws and the influence of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). I have experience teaching American Politics, Constitutional Law, and World Politics. I have a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology, and served as President of the International Honor’s Society in Psychology (Psi Chi) and as Philanthropy Chair at Sonoma State University. 

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Alexander

Alexander Ross

My name is Alex and I serve as a graduate researcher at CSI while pursuing a PhD in political science. My primary research interests are the politics of inequality, with a particular focus on the political effects of personal debt, such as student loans and credit card debt. My experience as a researcher at the center has informed my research interest by showing me how real and immediate the impacts of policy change are upon the lives and lived experiences of the people impacted. Upon receiving my PhD I plan to pursue a career in either academia or public policy. 

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Esau Casimiro Vieyra 

I received a Bachelor’s in Political Science from CSU Bakersfield and Master of Public Policy at UC Riverside in Spring 2020. I chose Race and Immigration as my concentration as these two areas have had a great impact in my life and those around me. My other interests include public opinion, race and ethnic politics, and I have been pulled towards spatial analysis during my time in the MPP. 

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Marlenee Blas Pedral

Hello my name is Marlenee Blas, and I served as the Associate Director at the Center for Social Innovation. I am passionate about access to education and advocating for innovative ways to support a more equitable and sustainable environment in the Inland Empire. Today, my work at the Center for Social Innovation prepares me for the next step in my journey, UC Berkeley Law School in August 2020. After completing a master’s degree in higher education, a Fulbright Fellowship in Brazil, and current meaningful work at the Center for Social Innovation, I continue to be reminded of my own upbringing and why I am pursuing law school.

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Sono Shah

Sono Shah

Sono served as a center associate and researcher at AAPI Data while completing his Ph.D. in Political Science at UCR. He studies race & ethnicity, political behavior, civic engagement in the U.S, and the application of computational social science methods. He is currently a computational social scientist with the Data Labs team at Pew Research Center.

Tamara Marquez

Tamara Marquez

Tamara Marquez graduated with a B.S. in Media and Culture Studies major and Spanish from UCR. She is passionate about volunteering and being part of organizations that give back to the community, specifically to the undocumented community as she can relate to their struggle. Tamara’s internship experiences have encouraged her to pursue a career in the marketing industry or communications. With the opportunity of helping the social media/marketing team at the Center for Social Innovation, she hopes to find a passion that will guide her towards Graduate School. Tamara enjoys taking photos of friends and editing them.