UCLA Luskin students to be profiled on new website.

Madonna Cadiz

Madonna Cadiz, LCSW is a Doctoral Student in Social Welfare at UCLA’s Luskin School of Public Affairs. Previously, she held research positions at the Program for Torture Victims and the Suicide Prevention Center at Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services. In these roles, she contributed to quantitative and qualitative research projects aimed at evaluating client functioning and program efficacy. Her research seeks to expand knowledge on the etiology of mental illness and emotional distress among underserved populations by identifying connections among individual, meso-level, and macro-level factors that may contribute to or exacerbate such conditions. Furthermore, her work aims to center community members’ voices to better understand their own definitions and conceptualizations of mental health diagnoses and symptoms, as well as to identify potentially meaningful interventions that may promote positive mental health among individuals and communities served by social workers.

Natalie Fensterstock

Natalie Fensterstock is a Ph.D. student in Social Welfare in the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs. She holds a M.A. in Social Sciences and Comparative Education from the UCLA School of Education & Information Studies and a B.A. in English with minors in Secondary Education and Sociology from Wake Forest. Her research focuses on reducing the barriers to learning for our most vulnerable youth populations and on interventions for promoting holistic youth well-being. She is currently working on projects related to ongoing school readiness, teacher leadership and whole child education within the community schooling context, secondary trauma within schools, and developing policy solutions for addressing harm experienced by school staff and faculty during the COVID era. Prior to her time at UCLA, Natalie spent five years teaching middle and high school English and coaching new teachers in the Bay Area in California.

Morgan Rogers

Morgan is a PhD student in Urban Planning, a Graduate Student Researcher with the Luskin Center of Innovation (LCI), and a NRT-INFEWS trainee. Her research falls within socio-environmental systems scholarship and uses a combination of geospatial, ecological modelling, and urban data science methods within an “Ecology for the City” framework. She uses these methods and framework to investigate the relationship between urban form, biodiversity and ecosystem service outcomes. This framework brings together urban ecology and design with an inclusive, iterative process involving a multitude of stakeholders to translate ‘knowledge-to-action’ for urban sustainability. She aims to work with policymakers and communities to enhance urban ecosystem health and climate change resilience through urban design.

At LCI she works on the Strategic Growth Council Climate Change Research Program funded project, “Micro-climate Zones: Designing Effective Outdoor Cooling Interventions”. The project uses community-engaged microclimate modeling approaches to evaluate heat mitigation strategies in Transformative Climate Communities and other communities in regions disproportionately burdened by rising temperatures. As a NRT-INFEWS trainee, she is researching urban design solutions that enhance ecosystem health and support biodiversity while providing co-benefits such as cooling neighborhoods and reducing energy costs.

Morgan has a Masters in Urban and Regional Planning with a focus on environmental analysis and policy from UCLA. Prior to coming to UCLA, she earned her B.A. from UCSB and worked in the field of environmental sustainability and policy for over six years. Her approach to environmental policy was grounded in two principles that she now carries over to her research: the importance of understanding biophysical processes to create effective interventions, and community engagement to ensure equitable access to environmental benefits.

Thomas Bassett

Thomas Bassett is a UCLA Urban Planning doctoral student.  His research is rootein history and colonialism while exploring urban theory that can represent and understand all citieselevating the experience of the Global South.  He is also interested in how historical planning decisions have created socio-spatial segregation in contemporary cities. Prior to starting at UCLA, he worked for a decade as a practicing planner at small and large non-profits, in the private sector, and with the federal government.  The majority of his work has been in Latin America, specifically Brazil and continues to study the country today.  His past projects have included housing and community development in Bolivia, Brazil, Mexico, and Peru, economic development in Iowa, and slum upgrading in South Africa, among othersHe has given presentations at various conferences as well as participating in numerous domestic and international workshops. Since the Spring of 2020, he has been a lecturer at California State University, Northridge in the Urban Studies and Planning Department.  He holds an AB from Brown University in Portuguese and Brazilian Studies, and an MS in Urban Planning from Columbia University.  

Claire Nelischer

I am a doctoral student in Urban Planning at UCLA, broadly interested in public space governance, civic participation, and urban design. My current research centers on questions of spatial justice in the production and management of urban parks, and the role of planners, designers, and communities in shaping shared public environments and outcomes. This work is supported by a Doctoral Fellowship from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC).
I am interested in interdisciplinary approaches to public space research, and am a graduate of UCLA’s Urban Humanities certificate program and currently serve as a Graduate Student Researcher with cityLAB, an architecture and urban research think tank in UCLA’s Department of Architecture and Urban Design. Before pursuing doctoral studies, I worked in policy research, advocacy, and community engagement in Toronto and New York City, with a focus on the public realm. I hold a Master of Science in City and Regional Planning from Pratt Institute and a Bachelor of Arts in Human Geography from Queen’s University.

tamika l. butler

tamika l. butler (she/her or they/them) is a doctoral student in Urban Planning at UCLA’s Luskin School of Public Affairs. Her research employs a critical race, historical, legal, and policy-based approach to examine how transportation policy and infrastructure have been used to segregate, isolate, and prevent the mobility of Black and other historically oppressed groups of people.

Prior to pursuing her PhD, tamika consulted, wrote, and spoke as a national expert on issues related to public policy, the built environment, equity, anti-racism, diversity and inclusion, organizational behavior, and change management. She transitioned to policy work after litigating for three years as an employment lawyer at Legal Aid Society-Employment Law Center. tamika has a diverse background in law, community organizing and nonprofit leadership.

tamika received her J.D. from Stanford Law School, and received her B.A. in Psychology and B.S. in Sociology in her hometown of Omaha, Nebraska. She lives in Los Angeles with her wife and kids.

tamika has also authored and co-authored several publications, including:

Hao Ding

Hao Ding is a doctoral student in Urban Planning, focusing on urban design and transportation planning. His research interests include the equity and justice impacts of urban design regulations, the interaction between urban form and transportation, and transportation equity. His most recent works examine the effects of urban design and land use regulations on place identities in the Asian American ethnoburbs in Los Angeles, and the effects of conventional local transportation planning practices on housing production and affordability. He is also a Graduate Student Researcher at the Institute of Transportation studies, and has been involved in several research projects that study the past, present, and future of California’s land use and transportation systems, sexual harassment on public transit, homelessness in transit environments, and public transit during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Domonique Henderson

Domonique Henderson (she/her/hers) is a Compton, California native who graduated from Howard University with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology, Baylor University Garland School of Social Work with a Master of Social Work. Currently, she is a first-year doctoral student in UCLA’s Social Welfare program.

Domonique previously taught English in Spain and has traveled to various countries such as France, the United Kingdom, Greece, Germany, Mexico, in addition to some Caribbean islands. Throughout her work in the psychology and social work fields, she has gained significant experience in mental health, substance use, the prison population, children and adolescent population, LGBTQ+ populations, at-risk populations, international populations, and populations from diverse socioeconomic backgrounds. During her studies at Baylor University, she interned at The Menninger Clinic which is an inpatient psychiatric hospital, worked as a Research Assistant in the SERVE research program which provided full funding for its students. As a Research Assistant, she assisted in investigating the female incarceration population, their physiological health, mental health, the impact on their families, and submitted a publication. She previously assisted in researching African caregivers and assisted with an NIH and NIAA funded study with the Choices4Health program with UT-Austin.

Domonique’s research interests are gendered racism and its implications on the mental health of Black women and girls. She is a firm believer in being a lifetime learner and enjoys opportunities to expand her knowledge. Currently, she is a part of research projects focused on Black youth civic engagement, a validation study with Casey Family Programs, experiences of ageism by youth of color, and she was awarded funding by the Franklin D. Gilliam, Jr. Social Justice Award for her study focused on the invisibility of Black girls in schools.

Along with clinical and research experience, Domonique values community. Watching mentees take tools and wisdom passed down to them as they navigate their journey as a woman is an amazing process. She genuinely enjoys guiding youth in their journey of growth. She has experience with mentoring marginalized youth and she recently founded a nonprofit organization, CRWND Incorporated, which centers mentorship and mental health for Black girls. Outside of professional and community interests, she relishes reading about/watching historical period dramas, especially about monarchs in Europe. Toni Morrison and Ta-Nehisi Coates books are some of her favorites. She also enjoys listening to R&B artists such as Stevie Wonder, Anita Baker, Toni Braxton, especially Lauryn Hill.

Taylor Reed

Taylor is currently a doctoral candidate at UCLA. Her research focuses on the collateral consequences of the carceral system on system-impacted Black young adults, particularly how policies influence the re-entry experience of Black young adults from a life-course perspective. This includes studying the socioeconomic environment in which system-impacted Black young adults were raised. She hopes that her work will allow for policy makers and stakeholders to comprehensively understand how the carceral system extends deeply into the lives of Black individuals as well as identify vulnerable areas that can serve as intervention points to help mitigate recidivism rates and the likelihood of incarceration among urban community members. Additionally, she would like to determine how to design and scale up effective policies that address the challenges of reentry by equipping Black young adults with the necessary tools to meet their needs.

Taylor Reed was born in New York but raised in Dallas, Texas which gave her mixed perspective as to both the social and political aspect of how one’s race impacted their life experiences. She earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Global Public Health and Sociology with a minor in Chemistry from New York University. As a Black first-generation American woman, Taylor learned the many ways in which systems operate against the success of not only women, but specifically Black women. Prior to attending UCLA, she worked on projects that examined violence throughout major cities in the United States and the impact of incarceration and community violence on Black individuals.

Presently, Taylor engages in research with UCLA’s BRITE Center conducting research and preparing manuscripts for publication centered around incarceration and life hardships of Black men, as well as NYU’s Silver School of Social Work where she is analyzing the conceptualization of trauma among racial minority youth exposed to community violence. She concurrently holds the role of co-principal investigator for a research project supported by UCLA’s Initiative to Study Hate. This project involves a comprehensive analysis of the experiences of Black and Latinx  youth organizers within gun violence prevention organizations.