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Speakers

Jump to bios:

Alece Alderson
Cynthia Alvarez
David Artis
Arnette Bates
Pamela Brown
Ruben Canedo
Alejandra Casillas
Miroslava Chávez-García
Frances Contreras
Catherine Cooper
Rebecca Covarrubias

Kameryn Denaro
Thomas Dickson
Doug Easterly
Araceli (Chely) Gonzalez
Jonathan Grady
Kevin Huie
Rashné Jehangir
Charles Lu
Jeff Orgera
Davin Phoenix
Malaphone Phommasa

Brighitte Preciado
La’Tonya Rease Miles
Pablo Reguerín
Lindsay Romasanta
Maria Rosales
Kem Saichaie
David Spight
Carol Takao
Kristin Theis-Alvarez
Karina Viaud
Laura Wagner

Keynote Speakers

Pamela BrownPamela Brown
Vice President, Institutional Research and Academic Planning
UC Office of the President

Pamela Brown is Vice President of Institutional Research and Academic Planning (IRAP) at the UC Office of the President. Her team produces evidence-based analyses and reports for university and academic senate leaders. This work advances strategic and academic planning, addresses legislative requests, supports assessment and promotes transparency efforts.

IRAP is responsible for the production of the UC Annual Accountability Report, the UC Information Center, and UC in California maps that illustrate the impact of the university through data-driven narratives and visualizations. The team administers numerous systemwide surveys, including the UC Undergraduate Experience Survey (UCUES), and surveys focused on undergraduate and graduate cost of attendance and graduate student well-being.

Brown received an M.A. from the Graduate School of Public Policy and a B.A. in applied mathematics, both from UC Berkeley.

Frances ContrerasFrances Contreras
Associate Vice Chancellor, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion and Associate Professor, Education Studies
UC San Diego

Dr. Contreras has over 10 years of administrative leadership both at UCSD and the University of Washington College of Education. Her research focuses on issues of equity and access for underrepresented students in the education pipeline, and on the role of public policy in ensuring student equity across a P–20 continuum. Her work has been published in leading education journals and presses, including the Harvard Educational Review and Education Policy.

She was the recipient of a lifetime achievement award by the Washington State Commission on Hispanic Affairs for her work on addressing Latino student equity. She has served on the Boards of the ACLU of Washington, Harvard Journal for Hispanic Policy and others.

Dr. Contreras earned a B.A. from UC Berkeley, an M.A. from Harvard University and a Ph.D. in administration and education policy from Stanford University.

Rashné JehangirRashné Jehangir
Author and Associate Professor, Department of Organizational Leadership, Policy, and Development
University of Minnesota

As a researcher, Jehangir's interests include the development, access, retention and graduation of low-income, first-generation students. Her recent book, "Higher Education and First Generation Students: Cultivating Community, Voice and Place for the New Majority," includes a study of the ways in which participation in a learning-community affects the college experience of low-income, first-generation students.

Jehangir teaches courses in the social sciences and the humanities, with a focus on race, class and gender in the U.S. and abroad. Her current research projects focus on how narrative pedagogy influences student learning outcomes, exploring the experiences of first-generation, low-income students as they transition from high school to college.

She earned her Ph.D. in higher education, M.A. in counseling and student personnel psychology and B.A. in psychology.

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Plenary and Session Speakers

Alece Alderson

Alece Alderson
Director, Student Success and First Generation Programs
UC San Francisco

Alece Alderson is the director of the Student Success and First Generation programs at UC San Francisco. She is passionate about developing programs to support students who are the first in their families to attend college. Recently, Alece has led an effort to innovate and integrate holistic support systems at UCSF, focusing on mentorship, basic needs and food security, and on re-imagining the ways in which cohorts stay connected. Prior to UC San Francisco, Alece worked at Virginia Tech with the Corps of Cadets. She graduated from Chapman University with a B.A. in public relations and advertising, and holds an M.A. in higher education and student affairs from UC San Francisco.

Cynthia L. AlvarezCynthia L. Alvarez
Coordinator, First Year Experience
UCLA

Cynthia L. Alvarez, Ph.D., was born and raised in Indio, California. Her parents immigrated to the U.S., worked as day laborers and field workers, and supported her and her twin brother as they became the first in their family to attend college in the U.S. Dr. Alvarez received a bachelor's degree in Chicana/o studies and women's studies, a master's degree in higher education, and a Ph.D. in higher education, all from UCLA. Dr. Alvarez's research focuses on the college-going experiences of first-gen Latinx students and families, specifically on the influence of family dynamics in the development of college-going perceptions and aspirations. Previously a research analyst for the Higher Education Research Institute and lecturer for the Department of Chicana/o Studies, Dr. Alvarez is now a coordinator with UCLA's First Year Experience, where she implements programs that help students transition into the college environment and continue their journey toward graduation.

David ArtisDavid Artis
Dean, Undergraduate Research Initiatives
UC San Diego

David Artis, Ph.D., dean of undergraduate research initiatives, came to the Office of Academic Enrichment Programs (AEP) in November 2000 from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. There he had served as a faculty member, graduate school administrator and director of academic services in the School of Public Health. He also managed graduate student retention programs at the university’s Rackham School of Graduate Studies, and served as assistant professor of English. At UC San Diego, he has overseen steady growth in the number of AEP programs and services, including the coordination of more scholarship opportunities for students in all fields, increased participation in AEP-sponsored undergraduate research conferences, and more collaborative program efforts with other campus units.

Artis earned a B.S. from Yale University, and a Ph.D. from Stanford University.

Arnette Bates
Executive Director, Educational Opportunity and Enrichment Services
UC Davis

As a student affairs professional at UC Davis for over 20 years, Arnette has actively engaged in efforts to enroll and support students from diverse communities. She has extensive experience in policy development, program administration and committee participation, including those addressing the support needs of first-generation and low-income students and former foster youth. Arnette's formal education includes a bachelor's degree in mathematics and a master's degree in student affairs leadership from CSU Sacramento. While serving as associate director of undergraduate admissions, Arnette played an important role in developing and implementing initiatives to recruit underrepresented students after the passage of Proposition 209. In 2006, she became director of the Educational Opportunity Program and Enrichment Services at UC Davis, where she is responsible for an array of transitional services, equity programs and student success centers.

Ruben E. CanedoRuben E. Canedo
Co-Chair, UC Systemwide Basic Needs Committee and Campus Chair, UC Berkeley Basic Needs Committee
UC Berkeley

Ruben E. Canedo (He/They) was born and raised in the border valleys of Mexicali, Imperial and Coachella. Being part of a family with mixed immigration, college-going and socioeconomic statuses shaped his commitment to justice. Ruben is a recipient of the UC Regents' and Chancellor's Scholarship, an alumnus of the Summer Bridge and McNair Scholars Programs, and a first-generation alumnus of UC Berkeley. His undergraduate and graduate studies focused on systems theory, intersectionality, public higher education, minoritized populations and the politics of leadership decision-making. Ruben served as chair for the inaugural UC Systemwide EOP Summit, and co-created the UC Berkeley Undocumented Student Program.

Today, Ruben serves as the director of equity initiatives within UC Berkeley's Division of Equity & Inclusion. Part of his responsibilities include the dual roles of chair of the UC Berkeley Basic Needs Committee and co-chair of the UC Systemwide Basic Needs Committee. These committees' efforts have resulted in the publication of two of the largest studies on college student food and housing security in higher education, mobilized $4.68M in resources to institute campus and systemwide prevention models, and helped inform both state and federal policies.

Alejandra CasillasAlejandra Casillas
Assistant Professor in Residence, David Geffen School of Medicine
UCLA

Alejandra Casillas, MD, MSHS, is an assistant professor-in-residence in the Division of General Internal Medicine and Health Services Research, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. Dr. Casillas, a bilingual physician and researcher, earned an MD degree from the Harvard School of Medicine and a Master of Science in health services research from UCLA. Dr. Casillas's research interests focus on improving the quality of health care and health-services access for minority and immigrant populations residing in the U.S., specifically related to reproductive health, depression and cognitive decline in minority populations.

Dr. Casillas recently led research projects focusing on immigrant women's health and the provision of culturally sensitive care in university hospitals in Geneva and Lausanne, helping the Swiss Office of Public Health respond to the immigrant refugee crisis in Europe. She has conducted projects in partnership with the LA County Department of Health Services to improve bilingual, patient-centered digital health tools in the safety net for older and limited English proficiency (LEP) adults with chronic disease. Her past work has addressed the social determinants of health in the primary-care, county-clinic setting in older, vulnerable populations.

Miroslava Chávez-GarcíaMiroslava Chávez-García
Professor, History
UC Santa Barbara

Miroslava Chávez-García is a professor of history at UC Santa Barbara. She holds affiliate status in the departments of Chicana and Chicano studies and feminist studies. She is also the faculty director of Graduate Diversity Initiatives. Miroslava is an author who most recently wrote "Migrant Longing: Letter Writing across the U.S.-Mexico Borderlands." She has published numerous articles on topics of migration, juvenile justice and Chicana history, as well as on mentoring young scholars of color in academia.

Miroslava has received awards and fellowships from the Center for Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity at Stanford University, the Ford Foundation for Diversity, the Organization of American Historians (OAH), and the Committee for the Germany Residency Program, which awarded her a residency at the University of Tübingen in 2016. Most recently, the Western Association of Women Historians awarded her the Judith Lee Ridge Prize for the best article by any member of the organization for "Migrant Longing, Courtship, and Gendered Identity in the U.S.-Mexico Borderlands," published by the Western History Quarterly in summer 2016. She received her bachelor's, master's and doctorate in history from UCLA.

Catherine CooperCatherine Cooper
Research Professor, Psychology; Director, Bridging Multiple Worlds Alliance; and Faculty Director, Educational Partnership Center
UC Santa Cruz

Catherine Cooper is a research professor of psychology and founding director of the doctoral program in developmental psychology at UC Santa Cruz. She received a B.S. in sociology from Pomona College and a Ph.D. in developmental psychology from the University of Minnesota. Catherine is the faculty director of the UC Santa Cruz Educational Partnership Center and serves on the Hispanic-Serving Institutions Task Force there. She developed the Bridging Multiple Worlds Theory to trace how first-generation, low-income, immigrant and racial-ethnic minority youth forge identity pathways to and through college to careers and adult roles without losing ties to their families or cultural communities.

She is director of the Bridging Multiple Worlds Alliance, an international network of researchers, educators and policymakers working to open educational opportunities for K–20 students. Her most recent books are "Navigating Pathways in Multicultural Nations: Identities, Future Orientation, Schooling, and Careers" (2018, R. Seginer, Co-editor, New Directions in Child and Adolescent Development) and "Bridging Multiple Worlds: Cultures, Identities, and Pathways to College" (2011, Oxford University Press). In 2017, she was honored with the UC Office of the President's Dr. Winston Doby Impact Award.

Rebecca CovarrubiasRebecca Covarrubias
Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology
UC Santa Cruz

Dr. Rebecca Covarrubias is an assistant professor of psychology at UC Santa Cruz. She investigates how educators can support "marginalized" students, by drawing attention to their strong cultural and family ties, as a way of ameliorating the stress caused by feeling delegitimized as students from underserved groups. As a first-generation faculty member, Rebecca co-launched UC Santa Cruz's First Generation Initiative to foster a sense of community among first-generation students, staff and faculty. She has been recognized for her mentoring, teaching and diversity work, receiving both the Inspiring Lecturer Award and the Going Above and Beyond Award for the Department of Psychology, as well as the UCSC 2018 Chancellor's Achievement Award for Diversity. With her research team in the Culture and Achievement Collaborative, Rebecca engages in continuous learning and assessment of strategies that work to improve the daily experiences of diverse students.

Kameryn DenaroKameryn Denaro
Project Scientist, Teaching and Learning Research Center
UC Irvine

Kameryn Denaro is a project scientist at the Teaching and Learning Research Center at UC Irvine. She studied statistics and biostatistics at San Diego State University and received a Ph.D. in computational science, with an emphasis in computational statistics, from Claremont Graduate University. Prior to joining UC Irvine, Dr. Denaro taught mathematics and statistics at San Diego State University and the California Community Colleges. Her research specialty is in assessing severity using linear quantile mixed effects models, while focusing on assessing student success in STEM, identifying institutional barriers and optimizing the use of institutional data.

Current and recent projects include First Generation First Quarter Challenge success, achievement gaps in first-year GATEWAY courses, supplemental instruction, differences between teaching and research faculty, and the impact on students of Student Success Initiatives (SSI) on campus. She explores new approaches to data mining, machine learning, quantile regression and learning analytics to analyze massive amounts of learning and educational data. Dr. Denaro believes that harnessing the power of data can help faculty and staff make better decisions in a variety of contexts.

Thomas DicksonThomas Dickson
Assistant Vice Provost, Undergraduate Education
UC Riverside

Thomas Dickson is a first-generation student born and raised in the "dry heat" of Phoenix, Arizona. He holds a B.A. in psychology from Arizona State University, an M.Ed. in counseling from Northern Arizona University, and a Ph.D. in higher education administration from Arizona State University. His academic interests are the topics of burnout and compassion fatigue, academic advising theory, and student sense of belonging. His background has been primarily in career counseling, academic advising and administration roles, finding new and creative ways to support students. Thomas serves as UC Riverside's assistant vice provost for undergraduate education, where his student engagement team helps with academic advising and adviser support, as well as with connecting students to high-impact programming such as undergraduate research, student-taught courses, academic internships and community-engaged learning.

Doug EasterlyDoug Easterly
Dean, Academic Advising
UC San Diego

Doug Easterly completed a B.A. in literature as well as his M.A. and Ed.D. in Teaching and Learning at UC San Diego. He is currently dean of academic advising at John Muir College, one of the six undergraduate colleges at UC San Diego, but has served as a senior academic adviser at Muir College, an academic adviser at the UC San Diego Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, and a residential preceptor and assistant director of the ACE Program at UC Santa Cruz. Doug's interests are in student retention and success; how students use their experiences to navigate university culture, institutions and processes; equitable access and retention in higher education; strengths-based advising; cultural humility; and reflective practice in academic advising.

Araceli GonzalezAraceli (Chely) Gonzalez
Program Coordinator, Center for Community College Partnerships
UCLA

Chely Gonzalez is a program coordinator at UCLA's Center for Community College Partnerships (CCCP). She leads UCLA's partnership with East Los Angeles College, overseeing a peer-mentoring, transfer-preparation program for 150 students. Chely has 10 years of experience working with first-generation, low-income and underrepresented community college students. Throughout her time at UCLA, she has assisted countless students in their transfer process and is a committed advocate for access and opportunities for all. As a daughter of immigrants, a UCLA alumna and a first-generation college student herself, Chely strongly believes that education can open doors and transform students' lives.

Jonathan GradyJonathan R. Grady
Associate Vice Chancellor and Dean of Students, Student Affairs
UC Merced

Dr. Jonathan R. Grady is a social justice educator, researcher, mentor and author. Dr. Grady completed his M.P.S. at Cornell University in Africana Studies and Ph.D. in Urban Education at UCLA. He has worked with various agencies overseeing policy analyses, program curriculum, change management and program evaluations, with an added focus on underrepresented, low-income and first-generation college students. Through the transformative power of education, Dr. Grady promotes conviction, pliancy and resiliency so that students may view themselves as powerful consumers/producers of knowledge who can create new discursive possibilities for themselves and others. Dr. Grady works collaboratively to create a diverse, inclusive and equitable institutional culture rooted in critical pedagogical practices that question current norms and practices to empower and uplift students and their communities.

Kevin HuieKevin Huie
Director, Student Success Initiatives
UC Irvine

Kevin M. Huie is a seasoned teacher, trainer, speaker, facilitator, advocate, activist, consultant, counselor and administrator. A graduate of the University of Notre Dame, Kevin has mentored and advised students throughout his 20-year career in higher education, focusing on their academic achievement, personal development, leadership potential and overall sense of cultural well-being. Kevin has a master's degree in educational leadership and policy studies and multicultural counseling from Loyola University Chicago. He received an executive leadership management certificate from Rockhurst University, is a certified diversity trainer and mediator, and has a certificate in strengths-based leadership from the Gallup Organization. More recently, Kevin served as the executive director of the Cross-Cultural Center at UC Irvine, where he specialized in the development and execution of leadership and diversity programs, and provided strategic direction for the dean of students and the vice chancellor of student affairs on campus- and diversity-related matters.

Charles LuCharles Lu
Director, Office of Academic Support and Instructional Services
UC San Diego

Dr. Charles Lu currently serves as director of the Office of Academic Support and Instructional Services (OASIS) at UC San Diego. Previously, he was an executive director in the Academic Diversity Initiatives portfolio at The University of Texas at Austin. Dr. Lu has also been a clinical assistant professor, teaching research methods, organizational leadership and social entrepreneurship in education. A published author, Dr. Lu’s research on STEM and diversity in higher education has been highlighted in popular media and peer-reviewed academic journals. Over the years, Dr. Lu has served as an educational consultant, school director, academic coach

and science teacher. He received the Toyota International Teacher of the Year award when he built a virtual curriculum on environmental sustainability in the Galápagos Islands. Dr. Lu received a Ph.D. in higher education administration and a B.S. in psychology from The University of Texas at Austin, and an M.A. in secondary science education from Loyola Marymount University.

Jeff OrgeraJeff Orgera
Assistant Vice Chancellor, Student Retention and Success
UC San Diego

Jeff Orgera was appointed assistant vice chancellor of student retention and success at UC San Diego in August 2015. In this role, he leads both the Division of Student Affairs and campuswide efforts in the development, implementation and coordination of services and programs that increase student retention and graduation rates. Dr. Orgera's portfolio includes several units that deliver high-impact educational practices to undergraduates who may be first in their families to attend college or otherwise underrepresented in higher education. Dr. Orgera is responsible for the strategic direction and leadership of student success and retention initiatives and works in close partnership with colleagues in academic affairs. Previously, Dr. Orgera served as senior assistant vice president for student affairs and enrollment management at the University of Arizona. He received his M.A. in educational psychology and Ph.D. in higher education administration from the University of Arizona.

Davin PhoenixDavin Phoenix
Assistant Professor, Political Science
UC Irvine

Davin Phoenix is an assistant professor of political science at UC Irvine, where he specializes and teaches courses in African American politics, mass media and politics, and public opinion. Davin earned his Ph.D. in political science and public policy from the University of Michigan in 2015. His research focuses on how race interacts with various spheres of U.S. politics to shape the attitudes, emotions and behavior of both everyday people and elites. Current projects include an examination of how race influences individuals’ emotional responses to politics, and a comparison of how news media frame policing issues pre- and post-Ferguson. Since 2016, Davin has served as co-director of the First Generation First Quarter Challenge. Housed in the school of social sciences, this is a peer mentorship program for first-year social-science students seeking to become the first in their families to graduate from a four-year university.

Malaphone PhommasaMalaphone Phommasa
Director, Academic Success Initiatives
UC Santa Barbara

Malaphone Phommasa is the director of academic success initiatives in the College of Letters and Science, Division of Undergraduate Education, at UC Santa Barbara. She oversees and provides the strategic planning for the Transfer Student Center and the ONDAS (Opening New Doors to Accelerating Success) Student Center, a Title V-funded Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI) program. These academic success centers place a strong emphasis on supporting first-generation college students, providing space for students to find academic supportk, connect to campus resources and build community. Prior to this role, Malaphone served as the founding director of the Transfer Student Center and as an assistant professor/minority faculty fellow at Marshall University. She is a proud graduate of the UC system, earning her bachelor's degree at UC Irvine, and her master’s and doctoral degrees at UC Santa Barbara in education.

Brighitte PreciadoBrighitte Preciado
Director, SSS TRIO Scholars Program
UC Riverside

Brighitte Preciado grew up in South Gate, California. As a first-generation, low-income college student at UC Berkeley, she faced many challenges but found a community of support through her involvement in Cal Band, Cal Student Orientation and the California Alumni Association, as well as through her employment in Visitor Services. She developed a passion for helping college students achieve personal and academic success and pursued her graduate studies at Colorado State University, where she was involved in residence life, student conduct, academic advising and El Centro, a resource center for Latinx students. After earning an M.A. in student affairs in higher education, Brighitte was employed as a residence director at Loyola Marymount University and gained experience in the nonprofit sector at City Year Los Angeles. In her current role at UC Riverside, Brighitte serves as the director of the TRIO Scholars Program (SSS), where she provides mentoring, programming and resources to 140 participants.

La’Tonya Rease MilesLa’Tonya Rease Miles
Director, First Year Experience
UCLA

La'Tonya (LT) Rease Miles is the director of First Year Experience at UCLA, where she works collaboratively with the residential life and student affairs departments as well as academic departments campus-wide to develop initiatives and increase awareness of the first-year experience. Dr. Miles has established two successful programs specifically for first-generation college students — one at UCLA and the other at Loyola Marymount University — both of which are recognized nationally for best practices. She consults with institutions across the U.S. about first-gen students and has advised local high schools about developing on-site programs. Finally, she established and manages a national Facebook group called Empowering First-Generation Students.

LT earned a Ph.D. in American literature from UCLA. Her research interests include the hidden curriculum in higher education, narratives about the first-generation college experience, and the relationship between physical space and student engagement in college. She is passionate about NBA basketball, college football, The Flash and Friday Night Lights.

Pablo G. ReguerínPablo G. Reguerín
Associate Vice Chancellor, Student Achievement and Equity Innovation
UC Santa Cruz

Pablo Reguerín currently serves as the associate vice chancellor of student achievement and equity innovation and the director of UC Santa Cruz's Educational Opportunity Programs (EOP). He provides leadership to a cluster of student services charged with supporting, retaining and graduating low-income, first-generation college students, with a focus on educational equity. Dr. Reguerín has worked at UC Santa Cruz for over 15 years. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree from UC Santa Cruz in Latin American and Latino studies, and his Master of Arts degree from Teachers College, Columbia University, in educational leadership and administration. In 2017, he received his doctorate in educational leadership from UC Davis, where he completed his dissertation entitled, "Graduating Students of Color: An Analysis of Public 4-year Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs) in California."

Dr. Reguerín serves as the co-chair on UC Santa Cruz's HSI team, where he builds campus partnerships to transform the cultural identity of UC Santa Cruz as an institution that enhances and supports its growing population of diverse students. One of the most critical efforts toward this goal is Dr. Reguerín's continued support and involvement in the Undocumented Student Services (USS), a program within EOP that provides a robust set of services to ensure the graduation and retention of undocumented first-generation college students at UC Santa Cruz.

Lindsay RomasantaLindsay Romasanta
Director, Student Success Programs
UC San Diego

Dr. Lindsay Romasanta joined the UC San Diego Student Retention and Success team as director of student success programs in the fall of 2016. She supports a variety of student success efforts on campus, such as the Triton Firsts Initiative and the Student Success Coaching Program, the latter of which provides holistic and strengths-based coaching for 800 first-generation college students. Dr. Romasanta has worked in a variety of public service settings ranging from grassroots community nonprofits to large state universities. She has dedicated her teaching and research to helping students achieve their dreams of higher education. Her research interests are first-generation college students, resilience, the retention of underserved students, and anti-deficit approaches in higher education. She is currently working on publishing her research in book chapters and an academic journal. Dr. Romasanta is a proud Philipina and a low-income, first-generation college graduate. She received a B.S. in social work and a certificate in Asian American studies from Arizona State University, an M.A. in public administration from Georgia State University, and an Ed.D. in leadership and innovation from Arizona State University.

Maria RosalesMaria Rosales
Program Coordinator and Counselor, Fiat Lux Scholars Program
UC Merced

Maria Rosales is from California's Central Valley. She has worked in different aspects of education for over 13 years. She earned a B.A. in social science from Chapman University, and an M.A. in education counseling from CSU Stanislaus. She now oversees UC Merced's Educational Opportunity Program and the Fiat Lux Scholars Program, a living learning community that serves first-generation college students. In addition, Maria serves as a board member for Golden Valley Health Centers (Federally Qualified Community Health Centers) and is an adviser to Invest In Me, a young women’s empowerment program.

Kem SaichaieKem Saichaie
Associate Director, Center for Educational Effectiveness
UC Davis

Kem Saichaie, Ph.D., is associate director in the Center for Educational Effectiveness (CEE). He leads the Learning and Teaching Support unit there. Kem works with faculty and graduate students across disciplines to integrate evidence-based pedagogical practices into traditional, hybrid and online learning spaces. Kem has taught courses at UC Davis, the University of Massachusetts–Amherst, the University of Minnesota and the University of Iowa. Kem’s experience in higher education includes roles in academic technology, admissions, instructional development, and as a faculty member. Kem is co-author of the recent book: "A Guide to Teaching in Active Learning Classrooms: History, Research, and Practice." He has published in a number of venues, including The Journal of Higher Education; International Journal for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning; Medical Teacher; New Directions in Teaching and Learning (Learning Spaces volume); New Directions in Institutional Research, and the Journal for the Study of Postsecondary and Tertiary Education.

David SpightDavid Spight
Director, Undergraduate Affairs, School of Engineering
UC Davis

David Spight started his career as a residence hall director. He is dedicated to advancing undergraduate education. He now serves as UC Davis College of Engineering director of undergraduate affairs. Previously, Spight was assistant dean for academic advising in the School of Undergraduate Studies at the University of Texas at Austin. He is also the president of NACADA (National Academic Advising Association), a professional organization with 13,000 members internationally.

As a leader of UC Davis's College of Engineering advising team, Spight is developing a base for best practices in advising. Spight earned an M.A. in educational policy and administration from the University of Minnesota–Twin Cities and a B.A. in history from Truman State University. He is currently pursuing an Ed.D. in higher education administration through the University of Alabama.

Carol TakaoCarol Takao
Assistant Vice Chancellor, Student Life
UC San Francisco

Carol Takao, Ph.D., serves as assistant vice chancellor for student life at UC San Francisco, where she is responsible for a diverse portfolio of student services that includes learning resource services, student disability services, student activities and government, veteran support services, student conduct, student media and first-generation support services. Carol is committed to creating equal access to education for students from all backgrounds, and to supporting their success. Throughout her career, she has drawn from her experiences as a first-generation student to help others maximize their educational opportunities.

Carol holds a B.A. in sociology from UCLA, an M.A. in sociology from CSU East Bay and a Ph.D. in sociology from Arizona State University, where her areas of specialization included higher education and race and ethnicity. Carol also serves as an instructor for the UC Berkeley Extension graduate certificate program in student affairs and higher education administration.

Kristin Theis-Alvarez
Assistant Dean, Admissions, School of Law
UC Berkeley

Kristin Theis-Alvarez is director of outreach and recruitment at the UC Berkeley School of Law. She is a member of the Berkeley Law financial aid committee, the Loan Repayment Assistance Program appeals committee, and the admissions committee for the UC PPIA Law Fellows program. Previously, she was an appointed member of the UC Berkeley Native American and Pacific Islander Advisory Council. Since 2008, she has also served as a faculty member for Graduate Horizons.

Kristin graduated with high honors from UC Berkeley, earning a B.A. in rhetoric and Native American studies. She went on to earn her J.D. from Stanford University Law School, where she focused on alternative dispute resolution, interning with the Alameda County Juvenile Court Dependency Mediation Program. Recent national conference presentations include: "Advising DREAMers, Advising and Recruiting First Generation Professionals" and "Pipeline to Law: Designing a Recruitment Program for American Indian Students."

Karina ViaudKarina Viaud
Senior Officer, Parent and Family Programs
UC San Diego

Karina Viaud attended Bridgewater State University in Massachusetts and graduated with a B.S. in psychology. She moved to San Diego to pursue an M.A. degree in college counseling and student services from the University of San Diego. Over the last 14 years, she worked within student life services for transfer, commuter, resident and first-generation students. Her efforts were carried out through large campus-wide programs like new student orientation, homecoming and family weekend, and commencement. Her career has led her to understand the services needed by parents and families of college students, and to find ways of providing them. Karina served as assistant director for parent relations at the University of San Diego where, among other things, she created the Parent Ambassador Program with 150 members, including international parents. In 2017 she received her Ph.D. in educational leadership jointly from UC San Diego and Cal State University San Marcos. Her doctoral work focused on the experiences of first-generation doctoral students of color.

Laura WagnerLaura Wagner
Associate Professor, Community Health Systems
UC San Francisco

Laura Wagner, Ph.D., RN, FAAN, is an associate professor at the UCSF School of Nursing and directs the Adult Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner Program. She holds degrees in nursing from Case Western Reserve University, the University of Pennsylvania and Emory University. Dr. Wagner hails from rural Ohio. She is the first in her family to attend college. With support from the UCSF Innovations in Medical Education funding, she founded the FirstGenRN program in 2017 to provide career development to first-gen nursing students. Her research focuses on enhancing the nursing workforce, especially staff who work in nursing home/geriatric care settings. She is passionate about training the next generation of students to care for medically complex adults and seniors in under-resourced primary care settings.

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