Advisory Board

Sean Burns
Sean Burns - Director of Office of Undergraduate Research and Scholarships (OURS)

In his role as Director of the Office of Undergraduate Research and Scholarships, Sean draws from a rich history of building co-curricular and community-engaged research programs. His own scholarship and teaching focuses on U.S. social movement history and the dynamic intersections of community activism, political education, and the remaking of the social imagination. For his course on "Social Movements, Urban History, and the Politics of Memory," Sean was awarded the Chancellor's Faculty Civic Engagement Award (2014) and the American Cultures Teaching Innovation Award (2015). He earned his Ph.D. in the History of Consciousness Department at UC Santa Cruz, and, prior to working at Cal, taught within UCSC's Community Studies Department. Burns' first book, a biography of Archie Green, was awarded the 2012 CLR James Book of the Year Award.

Leah Carroll - Haas Scholars Program Manager and Advisor

Leah manages the Haas Scholars Program and advises the scholars and applicants. She also gives most of the research workshops for the office and organizes outreach events. Leah came to the OURS in 2001 after having worked as a liberal arts college professor for four years. She was program coordinator of the Haas Scholars Program for ten years, then was Director of the Office of Undergraduate Research and Scholarships for almost four years before returning to her beloved Haas Scholars Program. Leah has degrees in sociology from Oberlin College and UC Berkeley. Her research, which holds great personal meaning for her, focuses on social movements, electoral politics, and political violence in Colombian war zones. Having engaged in life-changing research experiences, Leah is delighted to be in a position to expand such opportunities for UC Berkeley undergraduates.

Ilexis Chu-Jacoby - Lab Manager and UROC Board Advisor

Ilexis is a Taiwanese, Salvadorian, German-Jewish, Bahá’í feminist, artist, musician, plant caretaker, first generation college student, and soil chemistry researcher. She is majoring in Molecular Environmental Biology, and minoring in Music. She grew up in Fresno, CA with her loving parents and five siblings. The prominent agricultural scene in the San Joaquin Valley has largely influenced her interest in plants, soil, ecology, and environment. Within her field, she strives to be cognizant of the social ramifications that construct the esoteric study of environmental sciences. She is passionate about integrating a critical race and gender framework into her personal and scientific lens and methods of research.

For the past year and a half, Ilexis has done mainly soil microbiology and biogeochemistry lab work as an undergraduate research assistant under professor Mary Firestone. She also has research experience in plant and algae genetics. Currently, she is working in the Firestone Lab on an independent research project in soil chemistry, in which she will investigate carbon mineral associations in soil. She explains, “Some of the oldest stabilized carbon known is bound to soil minerals. I hope that understanding these carbon mineral bonds may provide a piece of the knowledge we need to explore methods to optimize carbon sequestration in soils, thus reducing atmospheric CO2 levels, and give us a chance in combating climate change.”

Waldo E. Martin Jr.

    Waldo E. Martin Jr., the Alexander F. and May T. Morrison Professor of American History and Citizenship at the University of California, Berkeley, is the author of No Coward Soldiers: Black Cultural Politics in Postwar America (2005), as well as Brown v. Board of Education: A Short History With Documents (1998) and The Mind of Frederick Douglass (1985). He is a coauthor, with Mia Bay and Deborah Gray White, of Freedom on My Mind: A History of African Americans, With Documents (2012), and, with Joshua Bloom, of Black Against Empire: The History and Politics of the Black Panther Party (2013). With Patricia A. Sullivan, he coedited Civil Rights in the United States: An Encyclopedia (2000). Aspects of the modern African American freedom struggle and the history of modern social movements unite his current research and writing interests. He is currently completing "A Change is Gonna Come: The Cultural Politics of the Black Freedom Struggle and the Making of Modern America."

    Cristina Gomez-Vidal - UROC Co-Founder

      Cristina currently serves as advisory chair for the Underrepresented Undergraduate Research Ambassadors Program. Her goal is to ensure wide representation and inclusiveness in undergraduate research at Cal by addressing the systems and support issues on campus that can be enhanced to create improved research experiences. Cristina is a Cal and Haas Scholar Alumna whose thesis research, focused on political sociology including organizational theory and framing, sprang from her work in public service and her academic studies. Cristina has served as Senate Public Member on the Physician Assistant Board of the State of California for the last ten years and has over twelve years experience in nonprofit management.

      Sine Hwang Jensen - UROC Librarian and Board Advisor
      Khalid Kadir - Lecturer and UROC Board Advisor

        Khalid is a Lecturer at UC Berkeley, teaching courses in the Global Poverty & Practice (GPP) program, Political Economy, and the College of Engineering. He received his PhD in 2010 from Berkeley in Civil and Environmental Engineering, where his research focused on pathogen removal in natural water and wastewater treatment systems. While completing this research, Khalid was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship to work on water and wastewater treatment systems in Morocco. During this time, he began studying the complex role that engineering expertise plays in the politics of international development and poverty alleviation. His current research focuses on engineering pedagogy, the political economy of household water treatment, and the ecological-engineering of water and sanitation systems.

        In 2013 Khalid was selected as a Chancellor’s Public Scholar to create and teach an innovative interdisciplinary engineering course that combines community-engaged scholarship with classroom learning to train future engineers to engage with the social and political roots of their technical work. In recognition of his work on this unique course and of his teaching in the GPP program, Khalid was awarded the 2014 Chancellor’s Award for Public Service for Service-Learning Leadership. More recently, in 2015-16, Khalid was selected to be a UC Berkeley Lecturer’s Teaching Fellow.

        In addition to his teaching and research, Khalid has remained engaged with engineering practice, working on a number consulting projects related to water, sanitation, and poverty, both internationally and domestically. He also serves on the Board of Directors for the Environmental Justice Coalition for Water and International Water Partners.

        Victoria Robinson - American Cultures Center Program Director, Lecturer, and UROC Board Advisor

        Victoria Robinson is a graduate of Oxford University (Post-doctoral studies in Comparative Migration Systems), the University of London (Ph.D. Political and Cultural Geography) and the University of Wales at Aberystwyth (B.A. in Geography and International Relations). Her initial graduate studies addressed the migrations of women from Somalia and The Philippines to Southern Europe, while working in Rome at ‘La Mensa d’ Trastevere’, a non-profit organization facilitating the incorporation of undocumented immigrants. Currently, Dr. Robinson is a lecturer at UC. Berkeley in Ethnic Studies and Women’s Studies, teaching courses addressing race and ethnicity in the United States and global female migrations. Her most recent area of research addresses the gendering of post-industrial return migrations to the Caribbean. At UC Berkeley, as director of The American Cultures Center, Victoria has continued to build the nationally-recognized undergraduate diversity curriculum. Within this curriculum, Victoria co-taught the 'Big Ideas' course 'Prison' with faculty from Law, Architecture and Native American Studies. Working with several local and national prison reform and abolition organizations, the 'Prison' course reflects Dr. Robinson's personal and scholarly commitment to the work of social justice in higher education. Dr. Robinson's most recent scholarship and teaching reveals the woven connections between mass incarceration, immigration detention and deportation, and centrally those community-based movements which seek to mobilize the political and social rights of those inside and between walls and cages. 

        Na ilah Suad Nasir

          Na'ilah Suad Nasir's research centers on how issues of culture and race influence the learning, achievement, and educational trajectories of African American and other non-dominant students in urban school and community settings. She is interested in the intertwining of social and cultural contexts (cultural practices, institutions, communities, societies) and the learning and educational trajectories of individuals, especially in connection with inequity in educational outcomes. Specific studies have focused on the nature of mathematical thinking and learning for African American students in practices outside of school, such as basketball and dominoes; relations between racial/ ethnic identity and mathematics learning and achievement in a diverse urban high school; the nature of connection and disconnection for African American high school students (and the role the institutional structures of the school played in these processes); racial/ethnic identities and stereotypes of African American students. She is also interested in marginalized students' experiences of teaching and learning in juvenile hall schools.

          Professor Nasir was the recipient of the Spencer Dissertation Fellowship in 1998, and the Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship in 2002. From 2000 to 2008, she was an Assistant Professor in the School of Education at Stanford University, where she won the St. Claire Drake Teaching Award in 2007. In 2006, she won the Early Career Researcher Award from Division G of the American Educational Research Association. Her work has been published in Anthropology and Education Quarterly, the American Educational Research Journal, and Educational Researcher.