PhD Unlimited: Alumni Mentors
Thomas Adams is the Deputy Superintendent of the Instruction, Learning, and Standards Support Branch at the California Department of Education, having been appointed to the position in December 2015. Previously, he served as Director of the Curriculum Frameworks and Instructional Resources Division, and Executive Director of the Instructional Quality Commission, the advisory body to the State Board of Education on curriculum and instructional materials. Dr. Adams has played a pivotal role in improving education for our students by developing curriculum frameworks and instructional materials, and overseeing the adoption and implementation of the California Standards in key subjects. He provides local leadership in education as a trustee on the Davis Joint Unified School District Board of Education, and holds a Ph.D. in history from the University of California, Davis.
Shaheen Amirebrahimi is an Anthropology Ph.D. candidate at the University of California Davis - partnered with Institute for Social Sciences and STS wing - writing up his thesis this year on the emergence and invention of User Experience in Silicon Valley. Shaheen spent three years working as a UX Researcher with Intel while conducting field research in the valley. Here he worked alongside applied social scientists who used their disciplinary expertise to imagine and design techno-futures, utilizing the power of the corporation to try and shape the world around them. His work examines the ethical and philosophical challenges of design praxis among a highly educated group of reflexive ex-academics, attempting to 'do good' within the confines of corporate structures.
Jenae Cohn, Ph.D. is an Academic Technology Specialist in the Program in Writing and Rhetoric at Stanford University. She works with faculty on developing technology-driven solutions for classroom learning and coordinates training and development on student-centered learning topics. Her interests include hybrid and online learning, collaborative writing technologies, and multimodal communication.
Cecilia Gomez works as an Education Specialist at CEE, the Center for Educational Effectiveness, at UC Davis. She received her Ph.D. in Education (with an emphasis in Language, Literacy, and Culture/Second-Language Acquisition) from the UC Davis School of Education in 2013. Cecilia has work experience in the academic, government, and private sectors, including having worked in Argentina for the Federal Department of Education and for private universities, and, in California, for the eLearning company DynEd International and El Camino Hospital.
Helen Harris currently works for Google as UX Researcher for Chrome. Her academic background (Stanford - B.S., Symbolic Systems; M.A., Media Studies; Ph.D., Communication Research) featured coursework across social science disciplines as well as humanities, and engineering. Her research has applied social science theories to interactions between humans and technology, allowing her to study domains such as in-car interfaces, robots, and virtual environments.
Stuart Henderson is the Associate Director for the Schools of Health Evaluation Program at the University of California, Davis. Stuart earned his doctorate in sociology from UC Davis. He uses his methodological training in the social sciences to conduct evaluations on health training programs and centers, including the Clinical and Translational Science Center and the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing. Prior to joining the SOH evaluation team in 2010, he was a health policy researcher at UC San Francisco, where he conducted research on substance abuse, homelessness, and welfare reform.
William Leung is the Economics Fellow at the California Air Resources Board. In his role, William advises the Office of the Chair on economic issues and conducts economic analyses of ARB programs. William also holds the position of Assistant Professional Researcher at UC Davis. His research has analyzed behavioral responses of households and individuals to gasoline prices and has assessed policy related to fuel use and its effects on firms and welfare. He received his Ph.D. in economics from UC San Diego in 2015.
Sarah Rebolloso McCullough (Ph.D. Cultural Studies, UC Davis), creates meaningful and respectful dialogue across boundaries that typically divide—between universities and communities, activists and researchers, scientists and humanists, workers and policymakers. As the Associate Director of the Feminist Research Institute at UC Davis, she works to bring the insights of feminism to bear on new research fields. She also conducts applied research on transportation justice through the Bicicultures project. McCullough has also worked on strategic planning in Graduate Studies at UC Davis and as the Associate Director of the Center for the Humanities at UC San Diego. She has published in Fashion Theory, thirdspace: a journal of feminist theory and culture, and in Our Bodies, Our Bicycles (Microcosm Press). Her book manuscript (in progress) examines the process through which experiences of fun became a sellable commodity by examining the origins and growth of mountain biking.
Scott Miltenberger is partner at JRP Historical Consulting, LLC in Davis. Since joining the firm after completing his Ph.D. in United States History at UC Davis in 2006, he has provided expert historical services on cultural and environmental/natural resources issues for variety of clients. Scott has qualified and testified as an expert historian in water rights and land use disputes in California and Arizona, and presently serves as the chair of Davis’s Historical Resources Management Commission. He is also member of the American Historical Association, the National Council for Public History, the American Society for Environmental History, and the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
Daphne Potts is currently a Manager of several claims operations analysis teams at Blue Shield of California. After completing her Ph.D. in Comparative Literature (2012) with a focus on how literary and filmic texts in and about Africa are politically spatialized, Daphne worked briefly as a lecturer before transitioning to work on a different kind of spatial analysis at Blue Shield—looking at process improvement. Daphne worked as a process analyst for several years at Blue Shield before moving on to a manager role, where she could utilize not only process skills, but people-development capabilities that teaching were so critical in cultivating. In previous existences, Daphne also worked as a creative writer / copywriter, taught English as a second language, voyaged through the dot com boom (and bust), and dabbled in graphic design.
Jodi Samuels is Deputy Director of Development & Training at the California Primary Care Association. Previously, she worked at Planned Parenthood Mar Monte for more than 7 years, serving in a variety of positions in grants management, stewardship, and teen education program implementation. Jodi also worked for Kaplan Test Prep for 15 years, teaching test prep classes both in-person and online, and has experience with training and learning technology from her position with Learning Support Services at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She served on the City of Sacramento Planning Commission from 2006-2009. Jodi holds a Ph.D. in French Literature from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, an M.A. in French from Middlebury College, a B.A. in French & Theatre from Wesleyan University, and a Certificate in Land Use & Environmental Planning from the University of California-Davis Extension.
Beverly Sandeen works as Executive Director of the Yolo Community Foundation and provides strategic leadership to support the mission of the foundation, which is to inspire and support giving and to provide philanthropic leadership in Yolo County. She received her bachelor's degree in political science and doctorate in social ecology from UC Irvine. She is a member of the Rotary Club of West Sacramento Centennial and a graduate of the FBI Citizen's Academy. She has served on a number of regional boards of directors including the American Leadership Forum's Mountain Valley Chapter, the Metro Chamber of Commerce, the Sacramento Valley Conservancy, and the Woodland Opera House. She is a trustee of the Alpha Chi Omega Foundation. She also chaired the Sacramento Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce's Cap-to-Cap program in 2013. Sandeen was recognized by the chamber as the 2013 Volunteer of the Year and was named one of the Sacramento Business Journal's Women Who Mean Business in 2014. Sandeen served at both the University of California Davis and University of California Irvine and at the Los Rios Community College District in leadership positions for advancement and alumni relations and was involved with the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education (CASE).
Beth Slutsky, Ph.D. (History, UC Davis) is a historian with the California History-Social Science Project (CHSSP) at UC Davis. She is a lead author of California’s newly revised and adopted History-Social Science Framework. She trains K-12 teachers in content and disciplinary skills, as well as develops resources for educators. Beth also teaches courses in U.C. Davis’ history department in U.S. history and in history education.
Monica Westin is the publishing outreach and engagement coordinator at the California Digital Library. She is ABD status in the history of rhetoric at the University of Illinois at Chicago and is a former visiting researcher at Berkeley's Rhetoric Department.