UCLA Luskin students to be profiled on new website.

Donte Boyd

Donte Boyd is currently a third-year Ph.D. a student in the Department of Social Welfare at the University of California, Los Angeles.  Before entering the program Donte Boyd received his Masters in Social Work (MSW) from Washington University in Saint Louis. In entering the Ph.D. program at UCLA, Donte has received the Eugene V. Cota Robles fellowship for four years, which is awarded to exceptional applicants who also advance the Regents’ goals for diversification of the academy. As a continuing graduate student at UCLA in the Department of Social Welfare, he received two Summer Graduate Research Mentorship (6,000$) awards in academic years of 2015-16, and 2016-17.  His research examines the social context of Black adolescents, more specifically, in how the family and school context impacts HIV prevention. His research examines how the role of the family (e.g parent/sibling support, communication e.g.) and other important persons in Black males adolescents lives predict HIV prevention (HIV testing, condoms etc.).  Secondly, he’s interested in how the school context of Black male adolescents impacts sexual health behaviors including HIV testing. More specifically, how does racial discrimination, sense of belonging, and school safety impact HIV testing and knowledge in this context. Overall, my research utilizes an ecological approach to understand how family and school experiences, and contextual factors interact with one another to shape positive Health behaviors and HIV prevention.

Melanie Sonsteng-Person

Melanie Sonsteng-Person is a first year PhD student in the Department of Social Welfare at the University of California, Los Angeles.Broadly, her research interest focuses on unaddressed trauma symptoms in violence-exposed youth, more specifically her aim is to identify key protective factors that lead to an increase in educational attainment and decrease in criminalization. Before coming to UCLA, Melanie worked in Boston, Brooklyn, and Detroit in the fields of violence prevention and education. She holds an MSW from Boston University and a BA in Psychology from Azusa Pacific University.

Jennifer A. Ray

Jennifer Ray is currently a second year student in the social welfare doctoral program at the University of California, Los Angeles. Jennifer also completed her BA in Psychology at the University of California, Los Angeles and received her MSW from the University of Southern California. Prior to joining the social welfare program, Jennifer worked as a clinician at Hathaway-Sycamores Child and Family Services providing community mental health services to high-risk children and families in Los Angeles County. Jennifer is interested in research on non-resident father involvement and interventions aimed at reducing behavior problems among young children in African American families.

Brenda A. Tully

Brenda A. Tully is a 3rd year Social Welfare PhD student at the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs. She earned her Master of Social Work degree from Fordham University in New York City and a BA in Speech Communication from the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota.  Her research examines the experiences of young adults aging out of the foster care system with specific interest in their transition to housing.  She is currently conducting a qualitative study investigating housing security and insecurity among young adults formerly in foster care funded by the Franklin D. Gilliam, Jr. Social Justice Award.  Brenda was awarded a 2018 UCLA Graduate Summer Research Mentorship to study the association between childhood poly-victimization and young adult housing outcomes among a cohort of former foster youth using secondary data analysis.  Prior to matriculation in the PhD program, Brenda worked as a licensed clinical social worker and researcher in New York City for 20 years.  Her research is informed in part by her experiences at Good Shepherd Services, where she helped launch the Chelsea Foyer, a transitional, supportive housing program for young people aging out of foster care and experiencing or at risk of homelessness.  The Chelsea Foyer is designated an Emerging Approach to addressing homelessness among former foster youth by the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness.

Ryan Dougherty

Ryan Dougherty is a second year PhD student in Social Welfare. He received a BS in Biopsychology, Cognition, and Neuroscience from the University of Michigan and Master of Social Welfare from UCLA. Throughout his undergraduate career, Ryan coordinated research examining the lived-experiences of people with disabilities. Concurrently, he assisted in research in both experimental psychopathology and pharmacogenomics to examine the cognitive mechanisms of psychotic disorders and effects of prescribed psychotropic drugs. These experiences have motivated Ryan to examine how political and social systems shape the use and experiences of taking psychiatric medications, particularly among people diagnosed with severe mental illnesses in community contexts. Currently, he is pursuing his research through a field-based ethnography in Los Angeles County through the UCLA Center for Social Medicine and Humanities with Drs. Joel Braslow and Philippe Bourgois, and is under the mentorship of Dr. David Cohen in Social Welfare.


Hannah King

Hannah is a doctoral student of transportation planning at UCLA. Prior to coming to UCLA, she spent several years in sea level rise and economic development planning at the state of Florida. Her current research interests center on active transportation, GIS, and transportation financing. She is being advised by Dr. Brian Taylor.

Linked In: https://www.linkedin.com/in/hannahrking


Silvia R. Gonzalez

Silvia Gonzalez (Jimenez) is a doctoral student in Urban Planning and the Assistant Director at the Center for Neighborhood Knowledge at UCLA’s Luskin School of Public Affairs. Her research interests focus on the implications of place and the urban spatial structure on socioeconomic inequality. Previously, Silvia worked with the Center for the Study of Inequality at UCLA. She has worked extensively, as a researcher and consultant with nonprofit, community based, and government organizations. She holds a BA in Geography/Environmental Studies from UCLA and a Master’s in Urban and Regional Planning with a focus on Economic Development also from UCLA.

Selected Publications:

Loukaitou-Sideris, A., Gonzalez, S., & Ong, P. (2017). Triangulating Neighborhood Knowledge to Understand Neighborhood Change: Methods to Study Gentrification. Journal of Planning Education and Research, 0739456X17730890.

Pierce, G., & Gonzalez, S. R. (2017). Public Drinking Water System Coverage and Its Discontents: The Prevalence and Severity of Water Access Problems in California’s Mobile Home Parks. Environmental Justice.

Pierce, Gregory, and Silvia Gonzalez. “Mistrust at the tap? Factors contributing to public drinking water (mis) perception across US households.” Water Policy 19, no. 1 (2017): 1-12.

Pierce, Gregory, and Silvia Jimenez. “Unreliable water access in US mobile homes: evidence from the American Housing Survey.” Housing Policy Debate 25.4 (2015): 739-753.

Jimenez, Silvia, and Gregory Pierce. “Inequality at the Tap: Explaining Shortcomings in Safe Water Access in Los Angeles’ Mobile Home Communities.” UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs, Social Justice Fellowship Publication. (2013). Online at: http://luskin.ucla.edu/sites/default/files/Jimenez_Pierce.pdf

Kenton Card

Kenton Card is a PhD Student in the Department of Urban Planning at the University of California, Los Angeles. He is currently an Editor of Critical Planning Journal and a Student Advisor to the Institute on Inequality and Democracy at UCLA Luskin. Kenton’s current research questions the implications of various legal and ownership configurations of housing and land within a comparative urban political economic framework. He works primarily with Ananya Roy, Eric Sheppard (Geography), Paul Ong, and Mike Lens. Kenton’s past research unpacked social architecture practices and their unintended consequences through participant observation and documentary film fieldwork. This research was conducted across the United States on the Rural Studio, Architecture for Humanity, the Detroit Collaborative Design Center, the Neighborhood Design/Build Studio and others, which culminated into the film “Architecture for the Underserved” and publications. Kenton has always been driven to engage in social change beyond academic research through forms of spatial practice like community organizing and engaged pedagogy. He spearheaded a multi-year project to design and build an agricultural greenhouse for Marlboro College, which included leading a community design process, fundraising initiative, and a sustainable construction process by salvaging materials and harvesting/milling timber. He also launched a yearlong urban research collective called The City and the Political at The Public School, Berlin, and has taught at Marlboro College. Finally, Kenton has worked with housing and environmental advocacy organizations in Sacramento, CA: Housing California and The Planning and Conservation League. When not studying cities, Kenton spends time ‘traditional’ rock climbing.


Jones, Paul, and Kenton Card. “Constructing “Social Architecture”: The politics of representing practice.” Architectural Theory Review 16.3 (2011): 228-244. http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/13264826.2011.621543#.Vqul5lKkQ-8

Card, Kenton. “Democratic Social Architecture Or Experimentation On The Poor?.” Design Philosophy Papers 3 (2011). http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.2752/144871311X13968752924914#.VqumSFKkQ-8


Berlin’s Urban Fights 
Architecture for the Underserved
Erik Swyngedouw: Politics and the Political
Firebreak Project



Rebecca Crane

Rebecca Crane’s research focuses on urban poverty, housing and informal settlements in the developing world, community organization, and environmental vulnerability. She is currently studying studying informal settlement upgrading and organization around environmental vulnerability in the Philippines.

Rebecca’s background is in international economic development. Prior to completing her Master’s Degree and beginning the Urban Planning Doctoral Program, she worked in the nonprofit sector on issues related to human rights, women’s rights, and economic security in low-income countries. She has lived and worked in a number of countries, and her time exploring cities of the Global South is what drew her to the field of Urban Planning and inspired her current research.

Office: 1349D Public Affairs Building

Nicole Lambrou

Nicole Lambrou is a practicing architect, urban designer, and researcher. Her practice, tinkercraft, attempts to reveal, augment, and question the relationship between people, institutions, and the makings of new natures through design and research.

She is currently pursuing a PhD in Urban Planning from UCLA’s Luskin School of Public Affairs, and her work there focuses on how the politics of climate change shape urban environmental transformations. Her research documents the work of planners, engineers, designers, ecologists, and everyday urban dwellers in making new natures in their cities, and explores the values and spatial imaginaries that drive their efforts.