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 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, Bah 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.
Lupe Gallegos-Diaz Director of the Chicanx Latinx Student Development Office and Co-Director of Latinx and the Environment Initiative at the University of California, Berkeley within the Division of Equity and Inclusion.
Mrs. Gallegos-Diaz teaches undergraduate/graduate courses at the University of California, Berkeley and has taught at various other higher institutions in the bay area in Chicano Latino Studies and School of Social Work. Her teaching areas include Chicanx Latinx identities and student development, leadership, Latinas nonprofits and globalization, environmental justice, leadership empowerment and fundraising. Throughout her academic pursuits, she has been committed to advising and advocating for issues that address educational and economic social justices needs for Chicanx Latinx students and communities of color.
Mrs. Gallegos-Diaz has and continues to serve in various leadership and advisory roles for a number of national and local organizations such as National advisor of the Mexican government in Higher Education; Chair of the National Association for Chicana and Chicano Studies and the national Administrative Coordinator for Mujeres Activas en Letras Y Cambio Social (MALCS) a Chicanx Latinx and Indigenous academic and professional organization; co-chair of the ten UC Chicanx Latinx Alumni Associations.
In the bay area Mrs. Gallegos-Diaz currently serves as Vice President for the Chicana Latina Foundation and President of Bay Area Hispanic Institute for Advancement (BAHIA) a bilingual/bicultural child development center in Berkeley.
Mrs. Gallegos-Diaz has a Bachelor of Science in Sociology from Santa Clara University; Master from the University of California, Berkeley in Social Work; Certificate in Philosophy from the Ethnic Studies PhD Department and a Certificate of Fundraising from the University of San Francisco.
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 Chancellors 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 Chancellors Award for Public Service for Service-Learning Leadership. More recently, in 2015-16, Khalid was selected to be a UC Berkeley Lecturers 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 Womens 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.