Vladimir Blas-Aquino

Vladimir Blas-Aquino

I am an undergraduate senior at UCLA majoring in Electrical Engineering. I am a transfer student and a DACA recipient. When I was in high school I wished I had my own mentor I could rely on and ask questions to. In high school, I was a peer college mentor during my senior year. I was also a math tutor at Los Angeles Trade Technical College. I am inspired to give back to the communities I was raised in which are South Central and South East Los Angeles. I love learning about electromagnetics and I hope to begin a career in RF engineering.

Abraham Chung

I am an undergraduate student at the University of California, Los Angeles majoring in Computer Science. My passion for mentoring and teaching stems from my previous experience helping students with ACT/SAT and college admission essays in high school. Upon graduation, I will be working at a startup as a consultant. I plan on furthering my education and obtaining a master’s and Ph.D. to become a professor near the end of my professional career.

Kelvin Chung

Kelvin Chung is an undergraduate student with a major in Mathematics/Economics. He is interested in exploring the ties between mathematics and computer science and hopes to pursue a career in software engineering in the future. Additionally, Kelvin also has a passion for teaching, which he found through tutoring of elementary and middle school students during high school. Following his career in software development, Kelvin intends to return to high school as a Math and Computer Science teacher.

Megan Young

Megan Young is a fourth-year undergraduate student at UCLA studying Mathematics for Teaching and specializing in Computing. She is also in the Joint Math Education Program, an accelerated credential/master’s pathway under UCLA TEP. Through her program, Megan has already begun to student teach at Augustus Hawkins High School. Megan really values conversations, relationships, and working with children, so she is excited to pursue a career in teaching and be involved with computational thinking research.

Caitlyn McAloon

Caitlyn has experience in development, fundraising, writing, editing, and social media. She has most recently worked in development and communications at nonprofit organizations that provide health care in vulnerable and underserved communities. Here at UCLA CTS, Caitlyn helps manage the Center’s branding, communications strategy, public relations, and digital channels. She studied and researched aspects of gender, race, education, crime, and media while obtaining her degrees. Caitlyn holds an M.A. in Sociology and a B.S. in Journalism from St. John’s University in Queens, NY.

Taylor Silveira

Taylor Silveira is an undergraduate student at UCLA and a Communications Scholar at the Center for the Transformation of Schools (CTS) at UCLA. She is currently pursuing a bachelor of arts degree in English Language and Literature. Taylor is passionate about education technology and how it can improve outcomes through delivering high-quality pedagogy. She also has a strong interest in the research topics of upward mobility/upskilling, workforce development, and its correlation to improving accessibility, affordability, and accreditation options in education.

Lauren Fischbacher

Lauren Fischbacher is a former special educator and Ph.D. student in Special Education, Human Development and Psychology at UCLA. She is passionate about research that informs the creation of inclusive settings for children with disabilities through social-emotional and culturally responsive lenses that use the arts, media, and active learning/play. She researches interventions, systems, and supports for children with autism and intellectual disabilities and related teacher/adult practices and training.

Hui Huang

Hui Huang is a Ph.D. Candidate in the Social Science and Comparative Education division at the School of Education & Information Studies at UCLA. Hui has a deep interest in exploring the link between individuals’ formal, nonformal, and informal learning experiences and their impacts on outcomes such as identity development, well-being, and types of skill formation. Her dissertation explores the transformative potential of informal workplace learning on the identity-making and agency development of early-career tech workers in China. Her current research project examines the STEM identity dissonance of underrepresented minority adolescents in out-of-school contexts.

Tatev Sarkissyan

Tatev Sarkissyan is a graduate student research assistant at the Center for the Transformation of Schools. Tatev is a second-year graduate student in the joint doctoral program in Special Education between CSULA and UCLA. She received her Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts from Cal State LA in Psychology. Currently, her research project is focused on examining the educational experiences of formerly incarcerated individuals who are involved in Project Rebound at Cal State LA. Tatev has conducted research examining the retention rates of special education teachers in California, effective pedagogical skills amongst faculty and students, and perspectives of victims of child abuse. She is also a part-time lecturer at Cal State LA in the department of Psychology.

Maria Luz Espino

Maria L. Espino is a Research Analyst for the Center for the Transformation of Schools (CTS). She is currently a doctoral candidate in the Higher Administration Program in the School of Education at Iowa State University. Her dissertation is exploring how Latin* first-generation, low-income early college high school graduates are transitioning to a Bachelors granting institutions. She obtained her Masters’s degree in Educational Policy and Leadership at Marquette University in her hometown of Milwaukee, WI. She completed her Bachelors degrees at the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a double major in Community and Nonprofit Leadership and Gender and Women studies. At the center, Maria is working on a project that centers on the experiences of Youth who have experienced/are experiencing the foster system and/or homelessness. As a researcher, Maria’s larger research scope explores and centers on the (in)equities in higher education, particularly focusing on the experiences of marginalized students. As a scholar and a student advocate, Maria believes that centering, humanizing, empowering, and supporting the communities in which we serve through practical and policy reform.