subcategory for PhD students of the various Luskin programs

Qianyun Wang

Qianyun Wang is a PhD student in Social Welfare in her first year. She holds a bachelor’s degree in social work from Beijing Normal University and a master’s degree in social work from the University of Calgary. She did community development fieldwork and received social work education in a variety of contexts, including India, Korea, the Philippines, Canada, and China. These events sparked her interest in taking action and doing research to address social exclusion, ageism, racism, and migratory injustice, among other issues.

Qianyun has been an active community practitioner and advocate, working in solidarity alongside marginalized people, including those living with poverty, TFWs, immigrants, the elderly, and others.

Qianyun’s research experience involves both quantitative and qualitative approaches, with the latter being her particular focus. Her master thesis explored the lived experiences of spousal bereavement among older Chinese immigrants in Canada. Before coming to UCLA, she worked with multidisciplinary research teams from the University of Calgary, Tsinghua University, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Project-China, where she led and/or coordinated various research projects, including antiracism and anticolonization teaching and learning, social and psychological well-being among older immigrants during the pandemic in Canada, sexual health and services among older adults in the UK and China, HIV self-testing experience among gay men via Photovoice in China, and so on.

ResearchGate: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Qianyun-Wang-3

Victoria Copeland

Victoria Copeland is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Social Welfare and organizer/partner with the Cops Off Campus Coalition, UC Survivors + Allies, Let’s Get Free LA Coalition, Stop LAPD Spying Coalition, and Defund MPD Coalition. Her research within and outside of the academy is rooted in Black feminist abolitionist epistemology and focuses on the use of multi-system data infrastructures, predictive analytics, and surveillance in decision-making processes.

Her dissertation work, Dismantling the Carceral Ecosystem: Investigating the Role of “Child Protection” and Family Policing in Los Angeles was conducted in partnership with the Stop LAPD Spying Coalition and Downtown Women’s Action Coalition to better understand the role and impact of the “child welfare” system, its use of predictive analytics and artificial intelligence, and to chart different pathways towards an abolitionist future.

In addition to her scholarly work, Victoria is a Senior Tech Policy Analyst in Washington DC where she works on local and federal policy regarding the use of data and surveillance technologies within law enforcement, child welfare, and housing.

Prior to starting her doctoral studies Victoria received a B.A. in Psychology from UNLV, and MSW from UCLA.

Selected Publications

Copeland, V. A. (2021). “It’s the Only System We’ve Got”: Exploring Emergency Response

Decision-Making in Child Welfare. Columbia Journal of Race and Law, 11(3), 43–74. https://doi.org/10.52214/cjrl.v11i3.8740

Copeland, V. (2021). Centering Unacknowledged Histories: Revisiting NABSW Demands to

Repeal ASFA.  Journal of Public Child Welfare. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/15548732.2021.1976349

Copeland, V. & Pendleton, M. (2021, Dec) The Surveillance of Black Families in the Family

Policing System. UpEND. https://upendmovement.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/12/upENDSurveillance2021.pdf

 

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 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: