UCLA Luskin students to be profiled on new website.

Sarah Soakai

Malo e lelei (Hello, in Tongan). Aloha (Hello, in Hawaiian). I originally hail from the Ko’olauloa Mountains and North Shores of Oahu, Hawai’i with ancestral ties to the South Pacific Islands of Tonga. I look at Community Development and Social Policy as it relates to communities on and in the margins. Current research efforts examine third sector community-based faith-based organizations and institutions and their role in social service delivery during and post COVID times. In particular, churches are central anchor institutions among Pacific Islander communities in diaspora. Research and planning with these indigenous communities means looking at their association and relationship with their faith-based organization and institution. Previous research efforts had looked at the effects of city ordinance policies concerning people experiencing homelessness that prohibit lying (sleeping) and sitting on public sidewalks, parks, beaches, and other public spaces. Third sector nonprofit community-based organizations are at the forefront of homelessness issues. And the work continues with improving trauma-informed care and alignment with state services to minimize bureaucracy and duplicity.

In addition to research, I currently TA for the Urban Planning department and the Public Affairs Undergraduate program. Before my tenure as a doctoral student, I oversaw the Speech and Debate program, taught tenth grade English, eleventh and twelfth grade AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) college prep, and also did some college and career counseling at a Title 1 public high school for several years.

Given the current moment, I look forward to meeting you via email and/or Zoom, and hope to meet up soon in person.

Daniel Iwama

I am a PhD candidate, broadly interested in the politics of local government and land-use planning in contested cities characterized by colonial occupation and conflict. My doctoral research investigates conjunctures of planning and indigenous repossession in urban Okinawa, through a case study of military base return. Prior to returning to the academy, I worked in funding and community development in Vancouver. In the past, I received degrees in philosophy and planning from the University of British Columbia. I am an SSRC fieldwork fellow (with funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation), and carry a Doctoral Fellowship from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.

I was raised in Vancouver, on the unceded Coast Salish territories of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations. I am of mixed parentage, with roots in Western Europe, Japan, Okinawa, and Manitoba’s Red River. In my free-time, I like to take photos, fish, and ride bicycles.

Julene Paul

Julene Paul is a PhD student in Urban Planning and a Graduate Student Researcher at the Institute of Transportation Studies. Her current research explores connections between transportation access, job locations, and economic outcomes. She has also studied the relationship between transit ridership and demographic change in California, the role of emerging mobility options on regional access, and the influence of cohort effects on patterns of vehicle ownership. Prior to joining the doctoral program, she was a Program Manager and Presidential Management Fellow with the Federal Transit Administration’s San Francisco regional office.

Bo Liu

Bo Liu is a PhD Candidate in Urban Planning, focusing on climate change mitigation and urban analytics. His research interests include regional understanding of environmental change and mitigation strategies, and integrated analysis of technology, infrastructure and public policy. He is also a Senior Researcher at the Luskin Center for Innovation and a Lecturer in the Public Affairs Undergraduate Program. Previously, he worked at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and the New York State Assembly.

 

Selected publications:

Deepak Rajagopal, Bo Liu (2020). Waste to energy: The United States can generate up to 3.2 EJ of energy annually from waste. Nature Energy 5: 18-19.

Bo Liu, Deepak Rajagopal (2019). Life cycle energy and climate benefits of energy recovery from wastes and biomass residues in the United States. Nature Energy 4: 700–708.

Sha Yu, Jill Horing, Qiang Liu, Robert Dahowski, Casie Davidson, James Edmonds, Bo Liu, Haewon Mcjeon, Jeff McLeod, Pralit Patel, Leon Clarke (2019). CCUS in China’s mitigation strategy: insights from integrated assessment modeling. International Journal of Greenhouse Gas Control 84: 204-218.

Shweta Srinivasan, Nazar Kholod, Vaibhav Chaturvedi, Probal Pratap Ghosh, Ritu Mathur, Leon Clarke, Meredydd Evans, Mohamad Hejazi, Amit Kanudia, Poonam Nagar Koti, Bo Liu, Kirit S. Parikh, Mohd. Sahil Ali, Kabir Sharma (2017). Water and electricity in India: a multi-model study of future challenges and linkages to climate mitigation. Applied Energy 210: 673-684.

Bo Liu, Meredydd Evans, Sha Yu, Volha Roshchanka, Srihari Dukkipati, Ashok Sreenivas (2017). Effective energy data management for low-carbon growth planning: an analytical framework for assessment. Energy Policy 107: 32-42.

Lining Wang, Pralit L. Patel, Sha Yu, Bo Liu, Jeff McLeod, Leon E. Clarke, Wenying Chen (2016). Win-Win strategies to promote air pollutant control policies and non-fossil energy target regulation in China. Applied Energy 163: 244-253.

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.  

Samuel Speroni

Sam Speroni is a doctoral student in the UCLA Department of Urban Planning and a researcher with the UCLA Institute of Transportation Studies and UCLA Lewis Center for Regional Policy Studies.  He completed his master’s degree in Urban and Regional Planning, also at UCLA, in June 2020.  Sam is advised by Dr. Evelyn Blumenberg and Dr. Brian D. Taylor.

Sam’s primary research interest lies at the intersection of transportation, education, and new mobility, where he looks for ways to improve equitable access to educational opportunities for vulnerable and disadvantaged student populations.  His research extends to many other aspects of travel behavior and transportation systems, all with an emphasis on equity.  Sam’s recent applied planning research project analyzing high school students’ ridehail trips to school for HopSkipDrive (full report | policy brief) received the national Neville A. Parker Award for outstanding master’s capstone in transportation policy and planning from the Council of University Transportation Centers (CUTC).

Sam is a Future Leaders Development fellow of the Eno Center for Transportation in Washington, D.C., and in 2020 he was named the Pacific Southwest Region University Transportation Center (PSR UTC) outstanding student of the year.  He is also the recipient of the Dwight D. Eisenhower Transportation Graduate Fellowship (2019 and 2020) and the Intelligent Transportation Systems California / California Transportation Foundation joint graduate scholarship (2020).

Prior to UCLA, Sam was a high school English teacher and school administrator in Charlotte, North Carolina, through Teach for America.  Originally from New England, Sam grew up in Massachusetts and earned his bachelor’s degree in Urban Studies with honors from Brown University in 2011, where he was also captain of the varsity swimming & diving team.

Madeline Wander

Madeline Wander is a UCLA Urban Planning doctoral student and a graduate student researcher at the UCLA Lewis Center for Regional Policy Studies. She conducts qualitative and quantitative research with a focus on transportation justice. Prior to the doctoral program, Madeline was a Senior Data Analyst at the USC Program from Environmental and Regional Equity (now USC Equity Research Institute) where she worked with community-based organizations, foundations, and government agencies on research around social-movement building, environmental justice, and equitable urban planning. Prior to that, she pursued social justice through a variety of organizing efforts, including the affordable housing coalition Housing LA and Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign in Colorado. Currently, Madeline sits on the Board of Directors of the Center on Race, Poverty, and the Environment.

Madeline is co-author of several publications, including: Carbon trading, co-pollutants, and environmental equity: Evidence from California’s cap-and-trade program (2011–2015) (PLoS Medicine article, 2018); Measures Matter: Ensuring Equitable Implementation of Los Angeles County Measures M & A (USC PERE report, 2018); and Changing States: A Framework for Progressive Governance (USC PERE report, 2016).

Gus Wendel

Gus Wendel began the Ph.D program in Urban Planning in the fall of 2020. His research is broadly concerned with the intersection of race, gender and sexuality, urban design and governance, and neighborhood change. In his concurrent role as the Assistant Director of cityLAB-UCLA, Gus oversees several design-research projects examining the links between housing insecurity, long-distance commuting, and public space access and use. Gus also manages the multi-year Mellon Foundation award to the Urban Humanities Initiative, where he also co-produces the Digital Salon and is involved in teaching and research. Prior to UCLA, Gus worked for the Oregon Secretary of State and advocated for LGBTQ rights in the state of Oregon. Gus has a Master in Urban and Regional Planning from the Luskin School of Public Affairs and a BA in International Relations and Italian Studies from Brown University.

Pamela Stephens

Pamela Stephens is a doctoral student in Urban Planning and a Graduate Student Researcher with the UCLA Luskin Institute on Inequality and Democracy. Her doctoral studies and research examine how urban planning practices produce Black space and the ways that Black communities build power within and across these spaces. She is particularly interested in how this plays out in Los Angeles, where the Black population is both declining and becoming more dispersed throughout the region and beyond.

Pamela continues to contribute research to forward the organizing and advocacy efforts, building off her work prior to pursuing her doctoral studies. While her research has spanned a myriad of topics, it generally focuses on the intersections of space and racial and economic inequality. Pamela holds a Master’s degree in Urban and Regional Planning from UCLA and a Bachelor’s degree in Urban Studies from the University of California, Berkeley.

AnMarie Mendoza

AnMarie Mendoza was born and raised in the San Gabriel Valley and identifies with both the original people (Gabrieleno-Tongva) and the distinctive working-class communities of the area. AnMarie is a proud first-generation transfer student from Citrus Community college who has a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and a Masters in American Indian Studies from UCLA. Generations of her family have witnessed, endured, and contributed to the molding of Los Angeles (Occupied Tongva territory) and it is for this reason she continues her academic study in Urban Planning at UCLA. Her scholarship focuses on the barriers and opportunities that local Native Nations and indigenous people face in participating in proposed water projects in Los Angeles.

She has a passion for political organizing and is Indigenous Waters Program Director for Sacred Places Institute for Indigenous Peoples, an indigenous led grass roots organization based in Los Angeles. As program director, she works with Native Nations, universities, environmental organizations, institutions and agencies to protect fresh and saltwater and coastal areas significant to Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples to build the capacity of current and future tribal leaders to advocate effectively on behalf of their people for the protection of water.

AnMarie is cocreator and director of the “Aqueduct Between Us,”  a five-part social justice multimedia radical oral history documentary that aims to educate the people of Los Angeles about the Indigenous communities (Tongva –Gabrieleno and the Owens Valley Paiute/ Shoshone) who have been greatly impacted by their land and water use.  Topics covered in the documentary include: an introduction of each tribal community, their lifestyle precontract and post-contact, shared colonial struggles, contemporary environmental injustice issues, and conservation/wealth disparities in Los Angeles. Documentary can be accessed below.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LldnSjDoMag  https://www.instagram.com/theaqueductbetweenus/

AnMarie is presently the Sawyer Seminar Fellow on Sanctuary Spaces for the UCLA Luskin Institute on Inequality and Democracy