Ph.D. Students

Cohort 2 Fall 2017

James Crawford earned an M.A.Ed. degree in the Social and Cultural Analysis of Education graduate program at California State University, Long Beach, and a B.A. degree in Philosophy with a minor in Psychology from California State University, Dominguez Hills. James has a background working in multiple education and social justice advocacy non-profit organizations. Prior to entering the UC San Diego Education Studies Ph.D. program, he was a Restorative Justice Coordinator with the California Conference for Equality and Justice. As an RJ Coordinator, James co-created initiatives to help empower administrators, teachers, and staff with restorative practices that address the school-to-prison pipeline by critically interrogating and shifting traditional discipline policies and procedures towards a more equitable and inclusive school culture. James’ previous graduate qualitative research utilized Critical Race Theory to explore the connections between media/digital literacy practices, identity, and education for African American youth. His research interests include the use of critical media analysis and media-based projects as pedagogical tools designed to increase academic engagement, support literacy development, improve student-teacher relationships, and foster students’ proficiency in conducting research to deconstruct the systems of oppression embedded in American schools and society. In addition to supporting educational equity and outcomes for marginalized student populations, James also has a passion for dancing, working out, and collaborating on music and video projects. CV

Zaynab Amelia Gates is a current Ph.D. student in Education Studies, UC San Diego. Born in Argentina to a Californian father and an Argentine mother of the Wichi people, she has been long drawn to issues of diversity, equality and social justice. She is passionate about the effect of quality education for historically excluded populations, in particular how it can empower their efforts to develop their communities. Her research interests include intercultural bilingual education, teaching literacy, in-service teacher training, and access to and the quality of higher education. Her research comparing two schools of the same transnational ethnic community located on both sides of the Argentinean-Bolivian border has recently been published by the Bilingual Research Journal. She received a BA in Education, with a focus on Learning Disabilities from Educares University, Chile and was the research lead for a USAID funded teacher training program centered on literacy in Bolivia, where she lived for 6 years. She obtained her MA in Social Sciences with a focus in Sociology from FLACSO, Ecuador. Her love for reading and writing has led to authoring school texts and teachers’ materials in Language Arts, used in private and public educational institutions of Ecuador.  She currently is an advisor for the Galapagos Education for Sustainability Program with a focus on improving teachers’ skills on topics such as reading comprehension and active learning, and a co-researcher studying an intercultural bilingual school started there by indigenous migrants. She is a US citizen residing in the US for the first time. She enjoys running, writing and spending time with her family. CV

leslie-gautsch.jpgLeslie Gautsch is a Nashville, TN native. She holds a Bachelor of Social Work and a Master of Education in Instructional Practice. Before coming to UC San Diego, Leslie was a SIFE (Student with Interrupted Formal Education) teacher in Metro Nashville Public Schools where all of her students were refugees from around the world. Her research interests include exploring education in emergency settings, the intersection of trauma and informal or interrupted education, and how we can serve students with such backgrounds most effectively. In her free time, Leslie enjoys spending time with her husband, reading, spending time at the beach, and searching for the best tacos in San Diego. CV



maxie-gluckman.jpgMaxie Gluckman is a San Diego native whose goal is to create diverse opportunities for teaching and learning development that improve the equity in access and quality of educational opportunities for underrepresented communities both locally and abroad. Previously, she held positions as an education policy researcher, bilingual educator, curriculum designer, faculty developer, and founded an education consulting company that focuses on improving quality educational opportunities for Hispanics. She currently leads “Train for Change,” a non-profit teacher development organization that aims to improve educational quality in 1000 schools in impoverished areas in Honduras. She has earned her undergraduate degree from UCLA, a Master’s in Education, and holds a bilingual Spanish-English teaching credential. Maxie’s research interests focus on system design for establishing sustainable and scalable programs in educator development. CV

Patricia Hemans is a current Ph.D. student in Education Studies at UC San Diego.  She earned both her Master’s in Education and Bachelor of the Arts degree in English at UCLA. Prior to joining the Education Studies department at UCSD, Patricia spent 10 years teaching mainly high school in Los Angeles, Buenos Aires, Beijing, and her hometown, San Diego. She was most impacted by teaching in alternative settings, which largely served foster, adjudicated, homeless, and refugee populations. This, along with being specially trained to teach yoga and mindfulness to traumatized populations, cultivated her passion for health and well-being in schools. Patricia was awarded the Fulbright Distinguished Award in Teaching 2015-2016, and had spent time researching trauma-sensitivity, school-community resources, and cultural responsiveness in New Zealand; she has presented her findings at educational conferences and has trained staff from various schools and organizations on trauma-informed practices in educational settings. Her current research interests are diverse types of trauma (complex, system-induced, inter-generational) and the impact on educational outcomes, the intersection of education and health, comparative education, and school climate. Outside of school, Patricia enjoys yoga, travel, and hiking/camping with her husband, Spike, and pitbull/lab mix, Corey. CV

matschiner-headshot.jpgAndrew Matschiner was born in Portland, Oregon and attended Whitman College where he majored in Religious Studies. He went on to teach high school math in Baltimore while earning an M.S. in Education and a Certificate in Administration and Supervision from Johns Hopkins University. This led him to coach pre-service and early career teachers in schools across two districts in and around Baltimore. His research interests include new teacher identity and support in urban schools with a focus on the role of race and conceptions of equity. Outside of school, he enjoys anything outdoors and spending time with friends and family. CV

Mayra Puente was born and raised in Porterville, California. She received her B.A. in Political Science with minors in Education Studies and Chicanx Studies from UCLA. As an undergraduate student, Mayra was heavily involved in The Central Valley Project (CVP) at UCLA, a student-run organization that seeks to improve college access and choice for underrepresented youth from the California Central Valley. Her role as a college access mentor in this organization, as well as her own lived experiences as a low-income, first-generation college student, motivated Mayra to pursue graduate study in the Department of Education Studies at UCSD. Mayra is broadly interested in studying student college access and choice for low-income and minority student groups. Specifically, she hopes to expand the field of college choice research by applying an underutilized lens, geography, to understand how students’ local environments and available opportunity structures influence their decisions about whether and where to attend college. Mayra argues that using a spatial lens to analyze a commonly researched phenomenon can better explain the college choice process for students living in geographically isolated areas, such as students from the Central Valley. Mayra’s overall hope is to close the educational opportunity gap in college access and choice for Latinx students through her pursuit of graduate study and continued involvement with her rural, farm working community. CV

brramirezheadshot.jpgBrianna R. Ramirez is a Ph.D. student in Educational Studies at the UC San Diego. She was born and raised in Long Beach, California with family roots in Guanajuato and Jalisco, México. Brianna completed her master’s degree in the Social and Cultural Analysis of Education program at California State University, Long Beach (CSULB) and obtained her bachelor’s degree in Social Ecology with an Education minor at the University of California, Irvine. Her research interests include the Latinx/Chicanx educational pipeline, access and transition to college, education and immigration policy, and racist nativism. Her research aims to understand how racist nativism is institutionalized through policy, schooling practices, and processes and its impact on the educational experiences of students of color. Her master’s thesis explored the experiences of undocumented Latinx students as they transitioned to college in the current explicit racist nativist socio-political climate. Supporting first-generation college students has been central to her research, professional, and volunteer work. She previously worked with the Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program (UROP) at CSULB and with Educational Talent Search, a federal TRIO program. Brianna enjoys spending her free time with family and friends and watching telenovelas. CV

kirk-rogers.jpgKirk D. Rogers, Jr. was born in the small town of Brunswick, Georgia, but was raised for most of his life in the Metropolitan Atlanta area. He is a two-time graduate of the University of Georgia, where he received his Bachelor’s of Arts Degree in Sociology as well as his Educational Specialist Degree in Gifted and Creative Education. He also attended Georgia State University, where he received his Master’s of Arts in Teaching in Middle Level Math and Science Education. Throughout his six years of teaching, Kirk has been exposed to the gambit of educational experiences. He taught for three years as the only gifted math teacher teaching 6th 7th and 8th graders in an inner city Atlanta middle school. He next transitioned to teaching 8th grade science in a suburban middle school in one of the highest achieving counties in Atlanta. Throughout both teaching experiences, his focus remained the same, struggling minority males. His research interest is the role of the father and how that role impacts the lives of students. His hobbies include cooking and pursuing opportunities for growth as an educator. CV

Jessica Trejos Canela is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Education Studies at UCSD. She received her Master of Science in Social Work from Columbia University, with a concentration in Advanced Generalist Practice and Programming, a specialization in Family, Youth & Children’s Services, and a minor in International Social Welfare and Services to Immigrants and Refugees. Jessica has over eight years of experience providing advocacy and counseling services to adolescents from under-resourced backgrounds at a variety of settings, including hospitals, child protective services, community-based organizations, and post-secondary institutions. Before that, Jessica received her Master of Science in Teaching from Pace University, with a concentration in Adolescent Education, a specialization in Foreign Language Arts, and a minor in Spanish. She has over seven years of experience as an inner-city educator; five of which she spent teaching seventh and eighth grade at the middle school in New York City that she graduated from. Jessica's research interests draw greatly from her personal and professional experiences, and she is interested in studying various influences on ethnic minority adolescent development, as well as achievement disparities amongst ethnic minority adolescents. Her passion for and commitment to empowering and motivating underserved youth to succeed academically drives her long-term goal to influence and affect educational policy and practice on a national scale. When she's not busy learning how to save the world, Jessica enjoys expanding her collection of magnets from the different countries she's visited around the globe. CV