Livier Gutiérrez

Prior to entering the doctoral program at the University of California, Los Angeles, Livier worked on applied research and direct-service work to make community violence prevention services more responsive to girls. She served as the director of programs at Alliance for Girls, the nation’s largest alliance of girl-serving organizations, as the director of violence prevention at Enlace Chicago, a community-based organization serving La Villita (a.k.a., Chicago’s Little Village community); and a researcher at the National Council on Crime and Delinquency, a national applied research non-profit and policy organization.  

Livier earned her master’s degree in social work with a concentration in violence prevention from the University of Chicago’s School of Social Service Administration and bachelor’s degree in sociology and social welfare at the University of California, Berkeley. Livier’s undergraduate research explored the ideology, structure, and recruitment strategies of The Minutemen, a militant xenophobic organization (a.k.a., a gang). As a master’s student, Livier’s thesis was an applied research project that explored girls’ involvement and association with youth-led street organizations (a.k.a., gangs) and resulted in a violence-prevention program for girls. Through community work, Livier has seen how school, family, and other systems take key aspects of a girls’ identity—like race, immigration status, sexual orientation, and gender identity—to impose social and economic constraints on them. Despite the constraints placed on them, Livier has also seen how girls use their power to make systems safer for themselves and others. Livier is interested in leveraging mixed methods, with a focus on action research, and theory to highlight the experiences and stories of girls, especially their ability to change their ecology and improve safety for themselves and others. In doing so, Livier hopes to advance social work’s violence prevention theory, methods, and practice.  

Lei Chen

As a trans-disciplinary and cross-cultural researcher, Lei’s research interest focuses on social policy, long-term services and supports, immigrants’ access to health care, aging and technology, and cross-cultural studies. Her dissertation uses a population-level survey to examine the relationships among disability status, financial strain, and health and well-being among people with needs for Long-Term Services and Supports (LTSS) in California, which also explores disparities among these relationships under the COVID-19 pandemic.

Lei’s research applies both quantitative and qualitative methodologies. She has worked on several grant-funded research projects at the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research and projects sponsored by the state of California. She is collaborating with researchers at UCLA Human-Centered Computing and Intelligent Sensing Lab (HiLab) with the aim to make technology more inclusive for older adults. Her papers have been published in peer-reviewed journals such as the International Journal of Qualitative Methods and Research on Social Work Practice. She has also presented her research at multiple national conferences, including the Society for Social Work and Research (SSWR), the Gerontological Society of America (GSA), American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR), Population Association of America (PAA), and American Public Health Association (APHA). She has served as a manuscript reviewer for several peer-reviewed journals.

Apart from being an academic, Lei actively engages in policy-related work at state and national levels. She served as the inaugural Kathy Hyer Summer Policy Intern at the Gerontological Society of America. She assisted the policy-making process of the Master Planning on Aging (MPA) in California and is leading the workstream of selecting LTSS indicators for the MPA Data Dashboard.

Before joining the Ph.D. program at UCLA, she worked as a research assistant for several companies, international organizations, and universities, including McKinsey & Company, Fudan University, Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Washington University, and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).