Meet our team

Headshot of Rachel Kennison

Greetings, UCLA Instructional Community! 

Our team at UCLA’s Center for Education Innovation and Learning in the Sciences is eager to connect with and support you in all things teaching and learning. Each member of our team brings different areas of expertise including skills such as designing equitable assessments, support on embracing new educational technology, moving from traditional lecture to active learning in the classroom, cultivating an anti-racist approach to teaching, supporting TA’s effective facilitation of discussions and labs, and much more. Please connect with our team members to ask questions or schedule a time to meet. Department Chairs and team leaders can reach out to me directly to discuss your departmental needs. General inquiries can also be sent to our team email at and we can direct your message to the team member that can best support you. I hope to see you at a CEILS event soon!


Rachel Kennison, MSW, PhD

My pronouns: she, her, hers
UCLA CEILS Executive Director
Associate Teaching Professor, Dept. Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
Administrative Co-Leader, Center for the Integration of Research, Teaching & Learning (CIRTL)

Meet our team! Learn more about each of the CEILS team members below, listed in alphabetical order by last name, and contact any of us to consult on your teaching support needs. General inquiries can be directed to

Nubia Cardoso-Arizmendi (SHE/HER)
Administrative Assistant

Contact me for:

General Inquiries

Nubia's Bio
Jess Gregg headshot

Jess Gregg, MA, EdM, LMFT (she/her)
Senior Associate Director

Contact me for:

Course Design & Teaching Consultation

Jess's Bio



Benjamin's bio
Headshot of Rachel Kennison

Rachel Kennison, MSW, Ph.D. (she/her)
Executive Director

Rachel's bio






Harrison's bio
JoAnn Roberts Head Shot

JoAnn S. Roberts, Ph.D. (she/her)
Associate Director

JoAnn's Bio
Shanna Shaked Head Shot

Shanna Shaked, M.A.T., Ph.D. (she/her)
Senior Associate Director

Contact me for: 

Learning Assistants Program, Course Design and Teaching Consultation, Assessment Design

Shanna's Bio
K. Supriya Head Shot

K. Supriya, Ph.D. (she/they)
Associate Director for Student Success

Contact me for:

Education Research and Assessment

Book a Meeting

Supriya's Bio
Former GRaduate STudent Researchers


Sonya Brooks headshot

Sonya Brooks (she/her)
Graduate Student Researcher

Sonya Brooks is a Ph.D. student in the Urban Schooling division at UCLA’s Graduate School of Education and Information Studies. Her research interests lie at the intersections of education policy, law, and urban schools in an effort to design frameworks to build better educational trajectories for students, specifically Black girls. Brooks is a passionate advocate for the health and well-being of girls in PK-12, the advisor for Beautiful Brown Girls – a community-based program in the Bay Area— and is the recipient of the 2021 Center for the Study of Women Black Feminism Initiative Award for her research on Black women and empowerment.  After graduating from UCLA in 2019 with a Bachelor’s in History and Brown University in 2021 with a Master’s in Urban Education Policy, Sonya has been invited to speak about her work with Black girls and ways of dismantling the challenges they experience in academic and healthcare spaces. Currently, Sonya’s areas of research include the historical importance of intergenerational narratives and storytelling and its impact on the health, well-being, and educational opportunities for girls. In her spare time, Sonya loves roller skating, reading, writing, and spending time with her children doing everything or nothing at all.

Benjamin Hà
Former Graduate Student Researcher

Benjamin Hà, a CIRTL@UCLA STAR fellow, is going to be a 4th year PhD Candidate in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and has experience working with students from disadvantaged backgrounds, including first-generation, low-income, and underrepresented minorities. He is excited to join and support CEILS as a GSR to help learn more equitable and anti-racist teaching strategies.

Photo of Gadise Regassa

Gadise Regassa
Former Graduate Student Researcher

Gadise Regassa is a fifth-year doctoral student in the Higher Education and Organizational Change program and is working on her dissertation research around academic burnout, anti-black racism, and the pandemic. During her first four years at UCLA, Gadise worked as a Graduate Ambassador for the Graduate Division Diversity, Inclusion, and Admissions Office, co-founded an academic support group for Black women graduate students, and was a graduate researcher for an EDI and Spencer-funded youth participatory action research project called UCLA BEST. In addition to being a student, Gadise works on the side as an Educational Consultant and just finished a project with Youtube. Before starting her doctoral program, Gadise worked as a Program Administrator for the NYU Center for Multicultural Education and Programs, received her Masters from The Ohio State University in Higher Education and Student Affairs, and graduated with honors from UCSB with a degree in Black Studies and Sociology.

Peter Fisher

Graduate Student Researcher

Peter Fisher is a 5th year PhD candidate in the psychology department where he works with Dr. Tiffany Brannon and Dr. Efrén Pérez. His research focuses on privileged social group dynamics and developing interventions to increase social equity from within privileged social groups. In his current role with CEILS, Peter leads workshops on antiracist education and conducts program evaluation analyses.

Peter has taught courses on research methods, social psychology, and social influence at UCLA. He has taught personality psychology as a visiting lecturer at California State University, Long Beach. He is also a fellow with the Center for Scholars and Storytellers where he leads workshops on healthy gender expression. Before beginning graduate studies at UCLA, Peter worked on social belonging interventions with the College Transition Collaborative at Stanford University.

Nadeeka Karunaratne Head Shot

Nadeeka Karunaratne
Former Graduate Student Researcher

Nadeeka Karunaratne is a Ph.D. candidate in the Higher Education & Organizational Change program at UCLA. She conducts research on issues of campus sexual and relationship violence, exploring the experiences of minoritized survivors with a focus on healing. She also serves as an Adjunct Instructor in California Lutheran University’s Department of Counselor Education. She previously worked in the Race and Equity Center at the University of Southern California, in the Cross-Cultural Center at UC Irvine, and in UC Irvine’s Campus Assault Resources & Education office. She has a master’s degree in Student Affairs Administration from Michigan State University and a bachelor’s in Chemistry from UC Berkeley. She is also a trauma-informed yoga instructor.

Taylor Rogers

Taylor Rogers, MPH
Graduate Student Researcher

Taylor B. Rogers is a Ph.D. candidate studying Health Policy and Management at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health. She also holds an M.P.H. in Health Equity and B.S. in Community Health from the University of Maryland, College Park. Taylor’s journey in public health began in community engagement and health education. Frustrated with focusing on individual behavior change, She pursued a M.P.H. and Ph.D to understand and address racism as a structural determinant of health and healthcare. Her research interests include addressing structural racism and discrimination in healthcare delivery, the health workforce, health services research, and medical school training. Taylor is a Student Affiliate of the UCLA Center for the Study of Racism, Social Justice & Health.

Kiana Fox
Former Graduate Student Researcher

Kiana Foxx is a second-year doctoral student in the Higher Education and Organizational Change (HEOC) program. She researches underrepresented student experience with a focus on access and equity and is looking forward to helping develop equity-focused curriculum.

Valerie Nguyen

Valerie Nguyen (she/her)
Graduate Student Researcher

Valerie Nguyen is a second-year graduate student pursuing a Masters of Public Health, Health Policy and Management (HPM) on the Policy track at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health (FSPH). Prior to this, she worked in the non-profit field for affordable housing and global health. Valerie is interested in health policy research to improve health outcomes for marginalized groups both nationally and abroad. At FSPH, Valerie serves as a student representative on the Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) Committee in the HPM department to continue driving the conversation of equity in public health institutions. Valerie earned a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology with minors in Asian Humanities and Global Health at UCLA. In her spare time, Valerie enjoys reading, hiking, and visiting the ocean.

Photo of Emma Tran

Emma tran
Former Graduate Student Researcher

Emma Tran is a PhD student in the Community Health Sciences department at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health. As a CEILS GSR, she is supporting team efforts to develop and facilitate anti-racism teaching workshops among UCLA faculty. Emma’s research draws on critical race and feminist theories to understand how interlocking forms of structural racism manifest in health disparities. She is especially interested in a theory of relational formations of race to clarify how communities not only passively experience health but also oscillate between exercising agency to resist white supremacy and weaponizing ourselves in the pursuit of anti-Blackness and racial capitalism.

As an MPH student at Yale, Emma helped to develop curricula for social justice and health courses both at the School of Public Health and undergraduate College. She is excited to bring lessons from her experiences as a facilitator in the classroom to continue learning how to re-center minoritized voices with her work at CEILS!

In Memoriam

The CEILS and CIRTL@UCLA teams wish to honor the memory of an incredible woman, scientist, and equity champion, Samantha (Sammy) Theresa Mensah, who recently passed away. Samantha was a graduate student in the department of Chemistry & Biochemistry and was a Graduate Student Researcher with CEILS during part of her time at UCLA. Sammy contributed to our team in many ways, especially regarding development and assessment of our Becoming an Antiracist Educator workshops. We will always remember her for the way she lit up the room with both her personality and passion for equity and inclusion. In her free time, she enjoyed playing video games, playing banjo, and trapeze. Sammy was a unique and vibrant individual who accomplished many things during her life and we encourage all to read about her and the mark she left on the world here. She will be forever missed and we are holding her loved ones close in our hearts.