People

Karthick Ramakrishnan

Director

Karthick Ramakrishnan is professor of political science and associate dean of UC Riverside’s School of Public Policy. His research focuses on civic participation, public opinion, and immigration policy in the United States. He is the author, most recently of The New Immigration Federalism (Cambridge, 2015), and is founding editor of the Journal of Race, Ethnicity, and Politics (JREP). Ramakrishnan is the recipient of numerous grants and fellowships from places such as the Russell Sage Foundation, Woodrow Wilson Center, and Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC). He has over 1,000 news appearances, including in the New York Times, Economist, Los Angeles Times, PBS Newshour, and MSNBC. Ramakrishnan received his Ph.D. in politics from Princeton University. [More info]

Marlenee Blas Pedral

Associate Director

In her role as associate director, Marlenee manages projects as well as internal and external outreach for the Center. Marlenee brings a wealth of experience from her prior roles as a counselor in the UC Riverside Career Center, where she led the university’s work study engagement with employers both on and off campus and helped found the Butterfly Project, which provides internship experiences and professional development to undocumented students. In 2015, Marlenee completed a Fulbright Fellowship in Brazil, where she studied affirmative action policies, affordability and access to higher education. Raised in Inland Empire, Marlenee is eager to build strong, thriving partnerships in the region. [More Info]

Sono Shah

Researcher and Center Associate

Sono is a Ph.D. candidate in Political Science at the University of California Riverside, with research interests in race & ethnicity, political participation, and civic engagement in the United States. Sono’s dissertation focuses on Asian Americans and Latinos and their campaign contribution behavior where he uses administrative records from the FEC as well as survey data from the National Asian American Survey. Sono brings years of experience in the analysis of big data, and in making policy research and demographic data more accessible to various audiences. [More info]

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.

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

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.

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.

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

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).