Amada Armenta

Amada Armenta’s research examines the connections between the immigration enforcement system and the criminal justice system, and the implications of this connection for immigrants, bureaucracies, and cities.

Her award-winning book, “Protect Serve and Deport: The Rise of Policing as Immigration Enforcement” (University of California Press, 2017), analyzes the role of local law enforcement agencies in immigration enforcement in Nashville, Tennessee. Currently, she is working on her second book project, an examination of the legal attitudes of unauthorized Mexican immigrants in Philadelphia.

Dr. Armenta’s research has been published in journals of sociology, law and society, and policy. She has received research funding from the American Sociological Association, the National Science Foundation, the American Society of Criminology, and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Prior to joining Luskin as a faculty member, she was an assistant professor of sociology at the University of Pennsylvania.

Amy Ritterbusch

Dr. Ritterbusch has led social justice-oriented participatory action research initiatives with street-connected communities in Colombia for the last decade and recently in Uganda. Her work involves the documentation of human rights violations and forms of violence exerted against homeless individuals, sex workers, drug users and street-connected children and youth, and subsequent community-driven mobilizations to catalyze social justice outcomes within these communities. Throughout her research and teaching career she has explored different approaches to engaging students and community leaders through critical and responsible interaction between classroom and street spaces in Colombia and Uganda through the lens of social justice-oriented PAR. Her research has been funded by the Open Society Foundations, the National Science Foundation, the Fulbright U.S. Program and other networks promoting global social justice.


Selected Publications:

Ritterbusch, A, Correa, C. & Correa, A. (2018). Stigma-Related Access Barriers and Violence Against Trans Women in the Colombian Healthcare System Global Public Health            doi:10.1080/17441692.2018.1455887

Ritterbusch, A. (2016).  Mobilities at Gunpoint: The Geographies of (Im)mobility of Transgender Sex Workers in Colombia. Annals of the Association of American Geographers 106(2), 422-433. doi: 10.1080/00045608.2015.1113112

Ritterbusch, A. (2016).  Exploring Social Inclusion Strategies for Public Health Research and Practice: The Use of Participatory Visual Methods to Counter Stigmas Surrounding Street-Based Substance Abuse in Colombia. Global Public Health 11(5-6), 600-617.


Ritterbusch, A. (2012).  Bridging Guidelines and Practice: Toward a Grounded Care Ethics in  Youth Participatory Action Research. The Professional Geographer 64(1), 16 – 24.            doi:10.1080/00330124.2011.596783

Garcia, S. & Ritterbusch, A. (2015). Child Poverty in Colombia: Construction of a Multidimensional Measure Using a Mixed-Method Approach. Child Indicators Research 8(4), 801-823. doi: 10.1007/s12187-014-9274-2


Selected Advocacy and Collective Writing Initiatives in Latin America:

I have also supported social justice-oriented publications in both global human rights networks and policy circles in Colombia, including a human rights shadow report on violence against homeless communities and their right to the city in Bogotá and policy briefs written with community-based collaborators presenting recommendations for the protection of homeless communities and sex workers’ fundamental human rights:

Ritterbusch, A, Correa, A, Leon, S, Salamanca, J & Lanz, S. (2016). Ni aquí ni allá: las geografías emocionales de las trabajadoras sexuales transgénero, víctimas del conflicto armado. Nota de Política No. 25, Bogotá: Agosto de 2016. Available online:

Ritterbusch, A, Cubides M.I & Navarro, A. (2014). De la estigmatización de los consumidores de bazuco y pegante hacia la inclusión de sus voces en la política pública. Nota de Política No. 19, Bogotá: Noviembre de 2014. Available online:


Writing on Social Justice-Oriented PAR in Global Media Spaces:


Community Partnerships for Current PAR Initiatives:

*Red Comunitaria Trans (Bogotá, Colombia)

*Casa Diversa, Comuna 8 (Medellín, Colombia)


Global Action Research Networks:



Cecilia S. Choi

Cecilia S. Choi is the U.S. State Department’s Diplomat in Residence for Southern California, Hawaii and Nevada.  A visiting fellow at UCLA, she is responsible for recruiting talent to pursue a career in public service in global affairs. Choi was the director of trade and investment at the National Security Council serving under the Obama and Trump administrations.  She advised on tariffs, trade agreements and U.S. export promotion.  Choi was the deputy director in the State Department’s Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs, where she promoted innovation to address environment challenges. She also served as the food safety adviser at the Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs, promoting U.S. agriculture.

Prior to joining the government, she worked in investor relations, advising Fortune 500 companies on how to promote their publicly traded offerings.  Overseas, she was the economic counselor at the U.S. Embassy in Honduras.  Her other overseas assignments were in South Korea and Turkey.  She also helped coordinate the U.S.-Chile relationship, advancing U.S. interests on free trade and peacekeeping.

Her foreign languages are German, Korean, Persian and Spanish.

Chris Zepeda-Millán


Born and raised in the East Los Angeles barrio of Boyle Heights, Chris Zepeda-Millán was the first Chicano to receive a Ph.D. from the Department of Government at Cornell University. His research has been published in top political science and interdisciplinary academic journals, such as the American Journal of Political Science (AJPS), Political Research Quarterly (PRQ), Politics, Groups and Identities (PGI), Critical Sociology, the Chicana/o Latina/o Law Review, Social Science Quarterly (SSQ), and the Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies (JEMS). His first book, Latino Mass Mobilization: Immigration, Racialization, and Activism (Cambridge University Press) received multiple national honors, including the prestigious Ralph J. Bunche “Best Book on Ethnic and Cultural Pluralism Award” from the American Political Science Association (APSA), the “Best Book on Race and Immigration Award” from the Race, Ethnicity, and Politics (REP) Section of the APSA, and the coveted “Charles Tilly Distinguished Contribution to Scholarship  Book Award” from the American Sociological Association’s Section on Collective Behavior and Social Movements. He is currently working on multiple research projects, including a co-authored book tentatively titled, Walls, Cages, and Family Separation: Immigration Policy in the Time of Trump (2020).

As a publicly engaged scholar, Professor Zepeda-Millán has been interviewed by several local, national, and international media outlets. His public intellectual work includes working with local and national community organizations, publishing op-eds in local newspapers across the country, and being an invited contributor to NBC News, Latino Decisions, the London School of Economics’ USA blog, The Progressive magazine, and The Huffington Post. Professor Zepeda-Millan has also been involved in various social movements related to environmental and global justice, labor, student, immigrant, and indigenous rights.

Prior to joining the Departments of Public Policy and Chicana/o Studies and becoming the Director of Faculty Research for the Latino Policy & Politics Initiative (LPPI) at UCLA, Professor Zepeda-Millán was a Provost Postdoctoral Scholar in the Department of Political Science at the University of Chicago, as well as a faculty member at Loyola Marymount University and UC Berkeley, where he chaired the Center for Research on Social Change. More information about his research and teaching can be found at


Immigration Policy
Latino Politics
Social Movements
Racial Politics
Interdisciplinary Research Methods
Urban Politics


Latino Mass Mobilization: Immigration, Racialization, and Activism (Cambridge University Press 2017).

Selected Articles & Book Chapters:

“Mobilizing for Immigrant Rights Under Trump.”
With Sophia Wallace. Charting the Resistance: The Emergence of the Movement Against President Donald Trump. Eds. Sidney Tarrow and David Mayer (Forthcoming, Oxford University Press).

“The Political Effects of Having Undocumented Parents: How Parental Illegality Impacts the Political Behavior of their U.S.-Born Children.”
With Alex Street and Michael Jones-Correa. Political Research Quarterly. Vol. 70 (4): 818-832, 2017.

“The Impact of Large-Scale Collective Action on Latino Perceptions of Commonality and Competition with African-Americans.”
With Michael Jones-Correa and Sophia Wallace. Social Science Quarterly (SSQ), Vol. 97 (2): 458-475, 2016.

“Weapons of the (Not So) Weak: Immigrant Mass Mobilization in the U.S. South.”
Critical Sociology, Vol. 42 (2): 269-287, 2016.

“Mass Deportation and the Future of Latino Partisanship.”
With Alex Street and Michael Jones-Correa. Social Science Quarterly (SSQ), Vol. 96 (2): 540-552, 2015.

“Perceptions of Threat, Demographic Diversity, and the Framing of Illegality: Explaining (non)Participation in New York’s 2006 Immigrant Protests.”
Political Research Quarterly (PRQ), 67(4): 880-888, 2014.

“Triangulation in Social Movement Research.”
With Phil M. Ayoub and Sophia J. Wallace. Methodological Practices In Social Movement Research. Donatella della Porta (Ed.), Oxford University Press, 2014.

“Spatial and Temporal Proximity:  Examining the Effects of the 2006 Immigrant Rights Marches on Political Attitudes.”
With Sophia Wallace and Michael Jones-Correa. American Journal of Political Science (AJPS), 58(2): 433-448, 2014.

“Racialization in Times of Contention:  How Social Movements Influence Latino Racial Identity.”
With Sophia Wallace. Politics, Groups, and Identities (PGI), 1(4): 510-527, 2013.

“Undocumented Immigrant Activism and Rights.”
Battleground Immigration: The New Immigrants, Vol. 2., Ed. Judith Warner, Westport, CT: Greenwood, 2008.

Emily Weisburst

I am an Assistant Professor of Public Policy at the Luskin School of Public Affairs at the University of California, Los Angeles. My research focuses on topics in labor economics and public finance, including criminal justice and education.

I recently earned my Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Texas at Austin. While in graduate school, I worked as a Staff Economist at the Council of Economic Advisers in the Executive Office of the President and as a research associate for the RAND Corporation on joint projects with the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. I have also received the NAED Spencer Dissertation Fellowship to support my research on the impact of funding for police in public schools on student disciplinary outcomes and educational attainment in Texas.

My research interests include understanding factors that impact police decision-making and public trust in police. I am also interested in how interactions with the criminal justice system affect individuals, families and communities. A recent paper examines how much police discretion matters to law enforcement outcomes, after accounting for offense context. In this project, I find that the likelihood that an incident results in an arrest critically depends on the officer that shows up to respond to an offense reported through a police call for service.

For more information about my work, check out my website:

Natalie Bau

Natalie Bau is an assistant professor of public policy at the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs. She is an economist studying topics in development and education economics and is particularly interested in the industrial organization of educational markets. She has studied private schooling and teacher compensation in Pakistan, the relationship between negotiation skills and girls’ educational outcomes in Zambia, and the interactions between educational investment and cultural traditions in Indonesia, Zambia, and Ghana.

Dr. Bau received her PhD in public policy from Harvard University, and is currently an affiliate of the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research and the Centre for Economic Policy and Research.  Prior to joining UCLA, she was an assistant professor of economics at the University of Toronto.

Personal Academic Website.

Martin Gilens

Martin Gilens is Professor of Public Policy at UCLA. His research examines representation, public opinion, and mass media, especially in relation to inequality and public policy. Professor Gilens is the author of Affluence & Influence: Economic Inequality and Political Power in America, and Why Americans Hate Welfare: Race, Media and the Politics of Antipoverty Policy, and coauthor (with Benjamin I. Page) of Democracy in America?: What Has Gone Wrong and What We Can Do about It. He has published widely on political inequality, mass media, race, gender, and welfare politics. He earned a Ph.D. in sociology at the University of California, Berkeley, and has held fellowships at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford, and the Russell Sage Foundation. Professor Gilens is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and taught at Yale and Princeton universities before joining the Luskin School at UCLA in 2018. 

Click here for more information about Professor Gilens and his work.

Allison J. Ober

Allison J. Ober, MSW, PhD (UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs, Department of Social Welfare) is a Health and Behavioral Science Researcher at the RAND Corporation.  Dr. Ober’s expertise is at the intersection of public health and social work and aims to bridge the gap between research, policy and practice.  She has expertise in behavioral health program implementation and evaluation in community health settings, and in the study of uptake of evidence-based practices related to HIV prevention and substance use disorder treatment. She recently served as co-investigator of a randomized controlled trial examining a collaborative care approach to implementing substance use disorder treatment in a federally qualified health center.  For that study, she worked in close collaboration with clinical partners to design and implement the intervention and co-led the mixed-methods evaluation.  She is currently co-investigator of several studies related to health and behavioral health, including a study examining the feasibility of implementing treatment for alcohol use disorders in community mental health settings; a multi-site, mixed-methods study aimed at improving the continuum of care for people with HIV/HCV coinfection; a project examining uptake of pre-exposure prophylaxis; and an evaluation of telemedicine program implementation.  She also co-led a Department of Defense study of best clinical practices for addressing opioid misuse in the military health system.  Prior to becoming a researcher, Dr. Ober served as a clinician, providing therapy to youth and families in community and residential treatment centers, and as training coordinator and outreach supervisor for HIV prevention and substance use disorder treatment projects.


Ober A.J., Watkins K.E., Hunter S.B., Ewing, B., Lamp K., Lind M., Becker, K., Heinzerling, K., Osilla, K.C., Diamant, A., & Setodji C.M. (2017.) Assessing and improving organizational readiness to implement substance use disorder treatment in primary care: Findings from the SUMMIT study. BMC Family Practice, 18(1), 107. PMCID: PMC5740845

Watkins, K.E., Ober, A.J., Lamp, K., Lind, M., Diamant, A., Osilla, K.C., Heinzerling, K., Hunter, S.B., & Pincus, H.A. (2017). Implementing the chronic care model for opioid and alcohol use disorders in primary care. Progress in Community Health Partnerships: Research, Education, and Action, 11(4), 397-407. PMID: 29332853

Ober A.J., Watkins, K.E., Lamp, K., Lind, M., Heinzerling, K.G., Osilla, K., et al. (2017). SUMMIT Study Protocol: Step-by-Step Procedures for Providing Screening, Brief Intervention and Treatment Services to Primary Care Patients with Alcohol or Opioid Use Disorders. RAND Technical Manual. TL-219-NIDA. Available at:

Watkins, K.E., Ober, A.J., Lamp, K., Lind, M., Setdoji, C.M., Osilla, K.C., Hunter, S.B., McCullough, C.M., Becker, K., Iyiewuare, P., Diamant, A., Heinzerling, K., & Pincus, H.A. (2017). Collaborative care for opioid and alcohol use disorders in primary care: The SUMMIT randomized clinical trial.  JAMA Intern Med, Published online August 28, 2017:; PMCID: PMC5710213

Ober, A.J., Dangerfield II, D.T., Shoptaw, S., Ryan, G., Stucky, B., & Friedman, S.R. (2017). Using a “positive deviance” framework to discover adaptive risk reduction behaviors among high-risk HIV negative black men who have sex with men. AIDS and Behavior, published online May 12, 2017:

Ober, A.J., Sussell, J.A., Kilmer, B., Saunders, J., & Heckathorn, D.D. (2016). Using Respondent Driven Sampling to Evaluate a Drug Market Intervention.Evaluation Review, 40(2), 87-121.

Ober A.J., Watkins K.E., Hunter S.B., Lamp K., Lind M., & Setodji C.M. (2015). An organizational readiness intervention and randomized controlled trial to test strategies for implementing substance use disorder treatment into primary care: SUMMIT study protocol. Implementation Science : IS, 10, 66. PMCID: PMC4432875.

Ober, A.J., Martino, S.C, Ewing, B., & Tucker, J.S. (2012). If you provide the test, they will take it: factors associated with HIV/STI Testing in a representative sample of homeless youth in Los Angeles. AIDS Education and Prevention, 24(4), 350-62. doi: 10.1521/aeap.2012.24.4.350. PMCID: PMC3408628

Ober, A.J., Iguchi, M.Y., Weiss, R., Gorbach, P., Heimer, R., Ouellet, L.J., Shoptaw, S., Anglin, D., & Zule, W.A. (2011). The relative role of perceived partner risks in promoting condom use in a three-city sample of high-risk, low-income women. AIDS and Behavior, 15(7), 1347-1358.

Ober A., Shoptaw S., Wang P.C., Gorbach P., & Weiss R.E. (2009). Factors associated with event-level stimulant use during sex in a sample of older, low-income men who have sex with men in Los Angeles. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 102(1-3):123-9. doi: 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2009.02.002. PMCID: PMC2751657

Dave Leon

Dave Leon, LCSW, graduated from USC School of Social Work in 2003, and began his social work career at Didi Hirsch Community Mental Health Center with a focus on the dirth in social opportunities for people with mental illness, especially young adults. After five years in this position, he worked at UCLA’s Counseling and Psychological Services for four years and close to 10,000 hours in counseling college and graduate students.  An art group he started at Didi Hirsh turned into an art magazine and then a social movement for people living with mental illness, providing a community and a platform from which to speak up about mental health through the arts. Painted Brain is a 501c3 nonprofit that offers a free community arts center in the Pico Robertson area, a thriving tech company and social enterprise, and an art group service operating in dozens of local housing and mental health facilities. Painted Brain is, at its core, an expression of social work principles.