Nick Cuccia

Nick Cuccia

Nick Cuccia is a Los Angeles-based editor and graphic designer and provides copy editing support for CTS. Previously a page designer for the Los Angeles Times and four other major newspapers, he now works primarily in the nonprofit sector as a digital and print communications consultant. He is also a software trainer, with a focus on Adobe Creative Suite applications.

Emily Silva

At UCLA CTS, Emily works as a Communications Scholar where she provides support for the Center’s website, digital marketing, PR and media relations, branding, graphic design, data entry, and digital analytics reporting. She has experience in social media management, navigating computer software, and data analysis. She spends her free time volunteering with nonprofit organizations, such as the Care Extender Program, that work with UCLA to provide healthcare for underserved communities. A Los Angeles native, Emily is a second-year Neuroscience major at UCLA. As a first generation college student, Emily has experienced the psychological, academic, and financial challenges that come with leaving family and financial responsibilities at home. Since high school, Emily has learned how to navigate the academic system by using the resources available to her such as counseling, healthcare options, work-study programs, and so much more. Considering the time and effort it takes to find balance in the academic community, Emily seeks to contribute what she has learned to her peers by utilizing social media to increase awareness about the financial and academic support available to students that are experiencing similar challenges in K-12 schools today.

Yesi Camacho Torres

Yesi is a doctoral candidate in Social Welfare at the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs. Broadly, her research explores how practices, programs, and policies impact the wellbeing of children and their families. Yesi has worked on projects that use MEG and fMRI to explore the brain and behavior changes associated with reading skills development in elementary school, as well as the associations between a child’s environmental experiences, including exposure to violence, socioeconomic status, and their cognitive and neural development. Yesi earned an M.Ed. in Human Development and Psychology with a concentration in Child Advocacy from Harvard University, and a M.S.W. with a concentration in Child and Family Wellbeing from UCLA.

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.

Hui Huang

Hui Huang is a doctoral candidate in UCLA’s School of Education and Information Studies, Social Science and Comparative Education division. Hui’s research explores the link between individuals’ formal, non-formal, and informal learning experiences and their impacts on various outcomes such as identity development, well-being, and types of skill formation. Hui is interested in employing both quantitative and qualitative methods in her research to obtain a comprehensive understanding of the complex social dynamics that shape these learning outcomes. Hui holds a M.A. in Comparative Education from Zhejiang University and a B.A. in English from Central South University in China.

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, Ph.D.

Dr. Maria L. Espino recently earned her Ph.D. in the Higher Administration Program at Iowa State University, where her dissertation explored how Latin* first-generation, low-income, early college high school graduates are transitioning to bachelor’s degree-granting institutions. She earned her M.Ed. in Educational Policy and Leadership from Marquette University in her hometown of Milwaukee, WI, and her bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a double major in Community and Nonprofit Leadership and Gender and Women Studies. At CTS, Maria supports the Foster Youth and Community Schools projects. Maria’s research scope explores and centers on the (in)equities in higher education, particularly focusing on the experiences of marginalized students. Maria believes that research must center, humanize, empower, and support the communities in which we serve through both practice and policy reform.

Mayra Cazares-Minero, Ph.D.

Dr. Mayra Cazares-Minero (Ph.D. Social Welfare, MSW, UC Berkeley) is a Research Analyst at the Center for the Transformation of Schools (CTS) at UCLA. Her dissertation focused on resilience among former foster youth participating in higher education, specifically those attending a University of California or California State University campus. Mayra fostered an interest in the resilience of foster youth and other at-risk youth during her undergraduate education in psychology at UC Riverside where she was actively involved in research and directly served vulnerable youth in Riverside and Los Angeles Counties. Mayra’s current research focuses on elucidating individual-level and family-level promotive and protective factors among Latinx children and youth to strengthen the high school-to-college pipeline in the Latinx population. Mayra is excited to continue developing and strengthening her research skills at UCLA with the goal to advance social and economic success of children and families who experience cumulative and convergent risks to healthy outcomes, particularly in the Latinx population.

Andrés E. Fernández-Vergara

Andrés E. Fernández-Vergara is a Ph. D. student on Social Research Methodologies. His work has focused on evaluating educational policies and programs in Chile and Latin America, using quantitative methods. He has researched and published about the relationships between literacy policies, bibliodiversity, and economic concentration in the publishing industry in Latin America. Prior to starting his Ph.D. studies, he taught Causal Inference and Data Analysis at Universidad de Chile. He is a co-founder and consultant at the research-oriented non-profit NGO ‘Fundación Co-Crecer’.

Aleida Arreaga

Aleida Arreaga is the Financial Analyst for the Center for the Transformation of Schools at the School of Education and Information Studies. She has over 5 years of experience with finance. Prior to joining CTS, Aleida worked full time as a Finance Officer for her dad’s Construction company since 2017 doing all the accounting and yearly budgets. Furthermore, during her undergrad, she worked part-time as a Marketing and Fundraiser scholar with the Riordan Program at UCLA Anderson School of Management. Aleida currently holds a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Latin American Studies from UCLA class of 2020.