Linda Sax

Dr. Linda J. Sax, Principal Investigator

Linda J. Sax is a professor of higher education in the Graduate School of Education & Information Studies at UCLA. She is also the founding director of the newly-established MOMENTUM: Institute for Accelerating Equity in Computing and Technology at UCLA. Dr. Sax’s research focuses on gender differences in college student development, with an emphasis on women in STEM fields. She is currently the Principal Investigator for the research component of the BRAID initiative aimed at diversifying the computer science major. Her research has been funded by the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Department of Education, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the Computing Research Association,, the Kapor Center, and Pivotal Ventures, among others. Dr. Sax previously served as national director (from 1997 to 2005) of the Cooperative Institutional Research Program (CIRP) at the Higher Education Research Institute (HERI), the nation’s largest and longest-running multi-institutional study of college students. Dr. Sax is the author of more than 100 publications, including The Gender Gap in College: Maximizing the Developmental Potential of Women and Men (Jossey-Bass, 2008). She is the recipient of numerous awards, including the 2005 Scholar-in-Residence Award from the American Association of University Women and the 1999 Early Career Award and 2019 Mentoring Award from the Association for the Study of Higher Education.

Dr. Kathleen J. Lehman, Associate Director for BRAID Research and Postdoctoral Scholar

Dr. Lehman serves as the Associate Director for BRAID Research. She recently completed her Ph.D in Higher Education and Organizational Change at UCLA where her dissertation focused on the experiences of undecided students in introductory computing courses. Her research interests include gender issues in higher education, women and underrepresented minority students in STEM fields (particularly computer science), and co-curricular learning experiences for STEM students. Dr. Lehman holds a master’s in higher education and student affairs from The Ohio State University and a bachelor’s degree in French from Miami University.



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Kari George, Senior Data Manager and Research Analyst

Kari George is a Ph.D. student in the Higher Education and Organizational Change program at UCLA. Prior to attending UCLA, she received her bachelor’s degree from SUNY Geneseo and her master’s degree from Salem State University. Kari worked in residential life for five years and then spent two years working in technology project management, supporting teams of software developers. Kari’s research interests include graduate student outcomes, well-being, and workforce transitions.


Justin Gutzwa, Research Analyst

Justin A. Gutzwa is a Ph.D. student in Higher Education & Organizational Change at UCLA, where he also received his master’s. Before graduate school, he received his bachelor’s degree in anthropology from Pomona College, and worked in undergraduate admissions at Whitman College. Justin’s interests include the academic and social experiences of queer and trans* students in higher education, queer theory, funds of knowledge/identity, and dismantling Eurocentric, settler colonial, racist, and queer/transphobic narratives in educational research.

Jamelia Harris, Research Analyst

Jamelia is a 4th year doctoral candidate in the UCLA Urban Schooling Program. Her research centers the voices and experiences of high school Black girls to more deeply understand the consequences of punitive school culture to their academic and personal well-being.



Julia Karpicz, Research Analyst

Julia Karpicz is a Ph.D. student in the Higher Education and Organizational Change program at UCLA. Julia holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a master’s degree in international education from New York University. Prior to attending UCLA, Julia worked for five years in postsecondary disability services. Her current research interests include access, disability studies, and critical pedagogy in higher education.


Tomoko M. Nakajima, Research Analyst

Tomoko Nakajima is a Ph.D. candidate in UCLA’s Graduate School of Education and Information Studies, Urban Schooling division. Prior to joining BRAID, she was a researcher on the Exploring Computer Science project, studying computer science students and instruction at the high school level. She was also on the evaluation team for STAR, the STEM teacher preparation program at CSU Dominguez Hills. As a former classroom teacher, Nakajima holds a bachelor’s degree in music education, a master’s in education administration, and a bilingual (Spanish) teaching credential. Her dissertation focuses on career decision-making and job persistence among teachers at Title I schools.


Kaitlin Newhouse, Research Analyst

Kaitlin Newhouse is a Ph.D. student in the Higher Education and Organizational Change program. Prior to attending UCLA, she received her bachelor’s degree in gender studies from Tulane University where she subsequently worked for four years at the Newcomb College Institute managing a cohort-based honors program focusing on developing leadership and academic research skills among undergraduate women. Her current research interests center around addressing social class and socioeconomic inequities in higher education, with a particular focus on the role of faculty in the persistence and retention of  low-income students.

Chantra Nhien, Research Analyst

Chantra Nhien is a Ph.D. student in the Higher Education and Organizational Change program at UCLA. Chantra received his master’s degree in  health promotion and behavioral sciences from San Diego State University, and his bachelor’s degree in biology from UCLA. Prior to returning to UCLA for his doctoral studies, Chantra coordinated two National Institutes of Health biomedical research-training programs and taught a first-year STEM success skills course at California State University, Long Beach. His research interests center on first-year experiences of STEM students.


Daisy Ramirez, Research Analyst

Daisy Ramirez is a Ph.D. student in the Higher Education and Organizational Change program at UCLA where she also received her master’s degree. Prior to attending UCLA, Daisy studied at the University of California, Santa Barbara and received her bachelor’s degree in sociology. Her research interests include exploring the educational pipelines to degrees for community college transfer students, issues of race and racism in higher education, and organizational theory.



Michelle Sendowski, Research Analyst

Michelle Sendowski is a Ph.D. student in the Higher Education and Organizational Change program. Michelle holds bachelor’s degrees in political science and American studies from the University of California at Berkeley, a master’s degree in urban education from the University of Pennsylvania, and a master’s degree in higher education and organizational change from UCLA. Prior to joining the BRAID Research team, she spent four years working in undergraduate admission at Stanford University and two years as a high school social science teacher in Philadelphia. Her current research interests center around access and equity in higher education, with an emphasis in the representation of women in computing.

Kaitlyn Stormes, Research Analyst

Kaitlyn Stormes, a Ph.D. student in the Higher Education and Organizational Change program at UCLA, is interested in studying factors affecting retention and graduation for historically underrepresented college students and the role that universities have on students’ persistence and time-to-degree. Kaitlyn received both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in psychology with an emphasis on academic research and social psychology from Humboldt State University. She brings a background in institutional research and data visualization and recently served as a Senior Data Manager for the National Institutes of Health-grant funded, Building Infrastructure Leading to Diversity, studying the impact of undergraduate research programs on minority student success and increase diversity in the biomedical and behavioral fields at California State University, Long Beach.

Sarayu Sundar, Research Analyst

Sarayu Sundar is a Ph.D. student in the Higher Education and Organizational Change program at UCLA. Sarayu holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting and a master’s degree in higher education administration from the University of Houston. Prior to attending UCLA, Sarayu worked for six years in student affairs at the University of Houston’s Bauer College of Business. Her current research interests include campus climate, access, and equity within higher education.


 Annie Wofford, Research Analyst

Annie Wofford is a Ph.D. student in Higher Education and Organizational Change at UCLA. Previously, Annie received her master’s degree in higher education administration from the University of Missouri – Kansas City (UMKC) and her bachelor’s degree in social studies education from the University of Central Missouri. Additionally, Annie has four years of experience in graduate admissions. Her research interests center equity in STEM, focusing on pathways to and through graduate school, mentoring, psychosocial development (e.g., identity), and college student engagement.


Jennifer Blaney's headshot

Dr. Jennifer Blaney is an Assistant Professor of Higher Education at Idaho State University where she studies gender and college student development in STEM. She earned her Ph.D. in Higher Education and Organizational Change at UCLA, and her dissertation used BRAID Research data to explore gender and how students conceptualize leadership in computing and technology. More recently, she has been using BRAID Research and other data to examine gender equity and upward transfer student experiences in computing.


Dr. Joanna Goode is an Associate Professor of Education Studies at the University of Oregon whose scholarship focuses on access and inclusion in computer science education. Formerly a mathematics and computer science high school teacher in an urban high school, she approaches her research with a deep appreciation of how pedagogy, curriculum, and schooling policies converge to influence student learning opportunities. Dr. Goode developed the equity-focused Exploring Computer Science high school curriculum and associated professional development program. Dr. Goode has authored multiple journal articles, chapters, and is co-author of the book, Stuck in the Shallow End: Education, Race, and Computing (MIT Press, 2008/2017).

Dr. Christopher Lynnly Hovey is a research scientist for the National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT), and a research associate in the Information Technology Education Contexts (ITEC) Lab within the Department of Information Science at the University of Colorado Boulder. His research investigates issues and solutions for systemic change to improve gender parity in undergraduate and graduate computing programs, and for identifying and promoting strategies to increase postsecondary educators’ adoption and sustained use of teaching practices that support inclusiveness, engagement, and retention. Representing the first BRAID-NCWIT research collaboration, Chris partnered with Kathleen Lehman and Tiffani Riggers-Piehl to explore the nexus between sociocultural and attitudinal phenomena and what pedagogical practices faculty use in their introductory computing classes, finding that systemic reform requires also addressing faculty beliefs about students, learning, and their peers. Chris earned a B.A. in sociology from the University of Colorado Boulder, and a masters and PhD in sociology from Northeastern University in Boston.

Dr. Tiffani Riggers-Piehl is an Assistant Professor of Higher Education in the Division of Educational Leadership, Policy and Foundations at the University of Missouri Kansas City. Her research centers the role of religion and spirituality in college students’ well-being, sense of belonging, and college outcomes, with an additional focus on student-faculty interactions and faculty behaviors. She pays special attention to the role of gender and race/ethnicity in her work and has used the focus on spirituality, gender, race, and pedagogy to explore outcomes for STEM students specifically, and student outcomes in general. Tiffani’s collaborations with BRAID include investigations into faculty practices in STEM classes and programs, with an eye toward understanding how to improve pedagogy for student success. Tiffani earned her PhD in Higher Education and Organizational Change from UCLA and a Master of Science in Education degree from Baylor University (TX).

Dr. Sarah L. Rodriguez is an Associate Professor in Higher Education & Learning Technologies at Texas A&M University – Commerce. Dr. Rodriguez’s research addresses issues of equity, access, and retention in higher education, with a focus on Latina/o students and students in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields. Currently, she is involved with several large-scale interdisciplinary research projects focused on institutional environments and STEM identity development which have been sponsored by the National Science Foundation (NSF). She received her Ph.D. in Higher Education Leadership from The University of Texas at Austin and holds a master’s degree with a focus in College Student Personnel from The University of Tennessee. She also holds a bachelor’s degree in English and Spanish from Texas A&M University-Commerce and was a transfer student from Trinity Valley Community College. During her academic career, Dr. Rodriguez has presented at conferences at the national, regional, and local levels and authored journal articles, book chapters, policy briefs, and other publications on student success.

Dr. Veronika Rozhenkova earned her PhD in the Social Sciences and Comparative Education program at UCLA. Prior to joining the BRAID Research team, she held a fellowship as a Conrad N. Hilton Scholar with the WORLD Policy Analysis Center at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health where she was conducting research measuring various aspects of public policy in UN member states. Her most recent project was related to gender equality and girls’ education and empowerment programs. Prior to her doctoral studies, Veronika received a master’s degree in international education policy from Harvard University, a Diploma in philology from Yaroslavl State Pedagogical University, and worked as a university faculty member in Russia. Her research interests are in international education policy, higher education policy and reform, and diversity and inclusion in higher education.

Dr. Jane Stout earned her Ph.D. in social psychology from the University of Massachusetts Amherst in 2011. She has been studying diversity-related issues in science and technology for more than a decade, has published widely on the topic, and has received several grants and awards for her work. Dr. Stout has expertise in data science, statistics, and qualitative methods, which she uses in her consulting role for BRAID projects.



Dr. Joy Gaston Gayles is an associate professor of higher education in the Department of Leadership, Policy and Adult & Higher Education at North Carolina State University. Dr. Gayles’ research focuses on college student access and success, particularly for student athletes and women and underrepresented minorities in STEM fields. Equity and diversity are themes that cut across all areas of her research agenda.

Dr. Karen Kim is the senior researcher and evaluator for the USC Shoah Foundation. She was previously a faculty member at CSU Fullerton; education director for a National Science Foundation funded center at UCLA; researcher and evaluator of several large-scale, multi-institutional grant projects; and research administrator for the Directors Guild of America.

Dr. Colleen Lewis is an assistant professor of computer science at Harvey Mudd College who specializes in computer science education. Lewis researches how people learn computer science and how people feel about learning computer science. Her research seeks to identify effective teaching practices for creating equitable learning spaces where all students have the opportunity to learn.

Dr. Jane Margolis is a Senior Researcher at UCLA’s Graduate School of Education and Information Studies. She is a social scientist and the author of two award-winning books on the inequities in computer science education, Unlocking the Clubhouse: Women in Computing (MIT, 2002) and Stuck in the Shallow End: Education, Race, and Computing (MIT, 2008). Dr. Margolis studies the interaction of structural inequalities and belief systems that perpetuate denied access of equal opportunities and segregation.  She was awarded the 2016 White House Champion of Change award for her work on broadening participation in computer science.

Dr. Xueli Wang is an associate professor in the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Wang’s research centers on beginning community college students’ access to, transitioning into, and attainment at 4-year institutions, as well as undergraduate students’ participation in STEM fields of study.