Karin Elliot Brown

Dean of Graduate Studies

Dr. Karin Elliott Brown currently serves as the Dean of Graduate Studies. Prior to this appointment she served as the Associate Dean of Graduate Studies and Research for three years, Director of the School of Social Work at Cal State LA for five years, Director of the BA in Social Work program for six years, and as a faculty member in the School of Social Work for 15 years. She has over 25 years of experience within the field of social work as an educator and practitioner. Her practice experience has been in public child welfare and medical social work.

Dr. Elliott Brown earned a Bachelor of Arts in Social Work at Cornell University, College of Human Ecology, in 1984. She earned a Master of Social Work degree with a major in interpersonal practice with families and groups and a minor in community organizing from the University of Michigan in 1986. She also earned a Master's degree in Psychology (1988) and dual Doctorate in Psychology and Social Work (1990) from the University of Michigan. 

Dr. Elliott Brown has 18 publications, including journal articles, book chapters, research reports, and book reviews. She has presented at numerous professional conferences and scholarly meetings. Her research has been in the areas of minority heath, trauma, and social support. She has been the principal investigator of four training grants totaling $4,473,352 (two in child welfare, one in mental health and an NIH-funded Bridges to the PhD grant that prepares Master's level Social Work and Nursing students for doctoral education and a career in social research focusing on health disparities).  

Over the years, Dr. Elliott Brown has served on numerous University, College, and School committees, such as Faculty Policy Committee, Fiscal Policy Committee, IRB, WASC Committee, Associate Deans Council, and Health and Human Services Chairs Council, to name a few. She received the Cal State LA Distinguished Women’s Award in 2004 for her professional achievements and service to the University community.

Office Staff

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Andrew Chavez, M.A.
WSCUC (WASC) Staff Support

Andrew is a recent M.A. graduate from Cal State LA’s Department of Psychology, where he is currently an adjunct professor. He examines issues in multicultural psychology from social and counseling psychology perspectives and his research focuses on the relationships between social identities, discrimination, and academic-related variables. He has served multiple roles in the Office of Graduate Studies since March 2015. Currently, he provides administrative support to the different committees and teams who are working on WSCUC accreditation, program review, and assessment.

Jessica Dennis, PhD
Director of Assessment

Dr. Dennis has been a professor at Cal State LA since 2005, where she was also a post-doctoral researcher and adjunct faculty from 2003 to 2005. Her research focuses on development in emerging adulthood with an emphasis on cross-cultural issues in family and peer relationships and the ways in which these relationships impact academic and psychosocial outcomes.

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Andrea Gutierrez, MFA
Andrea Gutierrez, MFA

Andrea is a seasoned higher education professional and college instructor. She has worked with undergraduates and graduates at colleges and universities throughout California, including the Claremont Colleges, UC Berkeley, UCLA, UC Riverside, and now Cal State LA. She earned a B.A. in German Studies at Scripps College in Claremont and an MFA in Creative Writing at UC Riverside. In her spare time, she bikes, takes photos, and writes essays, poems, and plays.

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Veronica Ramirez, B.S.
Office Manager

Veronica has worked at all levels of education since 2000, having worked at USC, USC Head Start, Long Beach Day Nursery, and California State Preschool Program before coming to Cal State LA. She has a bachelor's degree in Human Services and Management from the University of Phoenix, and is currently researching potential master's degree programs. She is a parent advocate and enjoys spending time with her daughters.

Student Staff

Enrique Galaz
Graduate Assistant | M.A. candidate, Sociology
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Sadé Meeks
Graduate Assistant | M.S. candidate, Nutritional Science

Sadé Meeks is a self-proclaimed chef and graduate student of the Nutritional Science program, with a concentration in Coordinated Dietetics. She received her B.S. in Culinary Arts from Mississippi University for Women. While in the culinary program, her passion for food not only grew, but her interests in nutrition grew as well. Teaching nutrition and cooking classes for a nonprofit organization in Tchula, Mississippi, and extensive undergraduate research in organic foods vs. processed foods contributed to her decision to move 1,600 miles away from home to pursue a career as a dietitian, with a focus in community nutrition. Culinary arts led her to nutrition, but she hasn’t abandoned cooking. Sadé finds pleasure in exploring these passions through blogging, cooking, and developing a cookbook that she hopes to publish before she graduates.

Andrew Navarrete
Coordinator, International Graduate Student Peer Support | M.A. Psychology

Andrew is a graduate student studying Psychology at California State University, Los Angeles. During his undergraduate career at Cal State LA, he immediately discovered an interest in research and research methods. After receiving his B.A. in Psychology, Andrew decided to pursue an M.A. to better prepare himself for the rigorous courses offered in a PhD program. His main interest is the statistical methods that lie behind psychological research, and he hopes to one day create statistical models that will improve psychological research. He is currently working alongside with his mentor on publishing work on the “Positivity Effect,” and plans to focus on implicit artificial grammar learning for his thesis. Some of his hobbies include spending time with his loved ones, bike riding, and drag racing.

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Hazina Cain-Houston
Writing Consultant | M.S. candidate, Economics

Hazina is a graduate student studying Financial Economics in the College of Business and Economics. While working towards her B.S. in Commerce and Business Administration with a major in International Economics from the University of Alabama, she discovered an interest in econometrics and big data, particularly in the analysis of data to study human behavior. Her studies center on the facilitation and improvement of international relations between companies via cultural sensitivity and language training of employees. She also volunteers as an interpreter for new immigrants in downtown Los Angeles, and aims to use her enjoyment of languages to further her translation business. Her hobbies include finding new recipes to try, drawing what she sees in everyday life, and traveling and experiencing different lifestyles.

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Angela Gee
Writing Consultant | M.A. candidate, Sociology

Angela ("Angie") is a non-traditional graduate student in the field of Sociology. She returned to school after a 30-year hiatus and received her B.A. in Sociology with an emphasis in Inequality and Diversity and a minor in Philosophy from Cal State LA in the spring of 2014. Her research interests center around equality and equity for all and human rights issues. Her thesis will be based loosely on the “HeForShe” campaign that focuses on men’s perspective of equality and equity for women. Angela is uncertain if a PhD is in her future. Her other interests and hobbies include animal rights, reading, and writing.

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Marcel Young
Writing Consultant | M.A. candidate, Anthropology

Marcel Young is a graduate student in Anthropology specializing in Archaeology. He attended California State University, Long Beach, earning a B.A. in Anthropology with a minor in Native American Cultures. A few of his scholarly pursuits include aboriginal shell and lithic technologic industries, complex social organization in ancient societies, and participating in the California Coastal and Island Research Program. Closely working with local Indigenous groups in legal repatriation cases, Marcel has advocated on their behalf at professional conferences where he has presented about ethics and other related issues surrounding the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act. As a wilderness enthusiast and backpacker who enjoys adventures into National Forrests and Parks, Marcel is planning his next excursion.

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Emily Adams
Thesis Reviewer | M.A. candidate, Communication Studies

While pursuing her baccalaureate degree from Cal State LA in one field of interest, Communication, Emily decided college was fun, and wanted to stay longer and learn more. After graduating in Fall 2014, she pursued classes toward a degree in another field of interest, Veterinary Technology, during the warm months in advance of beginning graduate school. Since starting the graduate program for Communication Studies, Emily has noticed her research interests tend toward feminism and media bias, so that is likely on what she will focus her thesis. She spends copious hours volunteering on behalf of homeless, abandoned shelter animals, and has been known to open her heart and home to a few of them every now and again. (Well, okay, maybe more often than that.) Her third primary interest is pizza — she really likes pizza.

Claudia Camacho-Trejo
Claudia Camacho-Trejo
Thesis Reviewer | M.A. candidate, Anthropology

Claudia was born in Mexico City and moved to California in 2001. She is a third-year graduate student in Anthropology, with a focus on Mesoamerican Archaeology. She received her Associate of Arts degree in Social and Behavioral Sciences from East Los Angeles Community College and her B.A. in Anthropology with a minor in Mesoamerican studies from Cal State LA. As a graduate student, Claudia has had the opportunity to volunteer and work in an interdisciplinary setting allowing her to work in conservation and on archaeological projects in Mexico and California. She is currently working on her master's thesis proposal research specializing in the ancient stone tool and its ritual use and context in the Mexica precinct of Tenochtitlan, Templo Mayor. In the next upcoming year, Claudia wishes to complete her theses and apply to a PhD program with a focus in Archaeology. In her spare time, she enjoys visiting museums, reading, knapping stones, and traveling.

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Cassandra Salcedo
Thesis Reviewer | M.A. candidate, Latin American Studies

Cassandra is a graduate student in the Latin American Studies department. She received her B.A. in Chicano Studies from Cal State LA. Her research interests center on feminism, media, and gender — specifically Latinas. Her thesis will focus on the eroticization of Latinas in media and popular culture and how these unrealistic images affect Latinas from the general population who are often unable to live up to such high standards of beauty. Following the completion of her master's degree, Cassandra plans to obtain a PhD in Media Studies in order to prepare her for publication and a lifelong career as a research professor. In her spare time she enjoys creating nail art, reading fashion magazines, listening to Latin Freestyle music, and traveling. 

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Wil Schimmeyer
Thesis Reviewer | M.M. candidate, Music
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Sonia Setayesh
Thesis Reviewer | M.S. candidate, Biology
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Amaia Sofia Skerritt-Perta
Thesis Reviewer | M.A. candidate, Psychology

Amaia is a second-year graduate student working toward a master's degree in Forensic Psychology. Her main areas of research are eye witness testimony and memory. She grew up in rural Vermont and earned her B.A. from Bard College in New York, where she studied theater and performance before moving to New York City and founding a theater company. In addition to her work at Cal State LA, she is currently an intern at a mental health clinic in Hollywood and the producer/host of a psychology podcast called Psychologia.  

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Aeden Sutherlin
Thesis Reviewer | M.A. candidate, History

Aeden is finishing her last class for a master's degree in History. Her specialty is Class/Social History with focuses on American history between the 19th and 20th centuries; on Latin American history, especially Mexico and the Porfiriato period; and on South/East Asian history especially China and the Cultural Revolution. Social justice is of utmost importance to her as she researches the historical trajectory of single payer universal health care and hopes to work as an advocate for health care reform. Aeden received her B.A. from CSUN in English Literature with an emphasis on historical time periods and texts. She hopes to work as an adjunct professor or as an advocate for social justice in most any capacity. Her hobbies are trekking, camping, food, music, biking, reading, and most outdoor activities.

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Natalie Vindivich
Thesis Reviewer | M.A. candidate, Anthropology

Natalie is a second-year graduate student in the Anthropology department. She looks at cultures from a historical and sociocultural point of view and helps to interpret their stories in a way that might be beneficial to the world today. Her current research involves examining her time spent collecting data in Alaska and she aims to eventually pursue a PhD. Natalie received her B.A. from Mercyhurst University in Erie, Pennsylvania, in English Literature in 2008, where she worked as a writing center consultant. In addition to her work at Cal State LA, she freelances as a member of the Screen Actors Guild, is an AirBnB host, and enjoys playing guitar and banjo.  

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Naomi Weisz
Thesis Reviewer | M.S. candidate, Criminalistics

Naomi is a first-year graduate student in the Criminalistics program at Cal State LA. She was born and raised in Los Angeles, completing her undergraduate education at the University of Southern California and earning a B.S. in Biochemistry with a minor in Forensics and Criminality. Aside from being a thesis reviewer, she is also currently a graduate assistant for the School of Criminal Justice and Criminalistics and is always pursuing volunteer opportunities at local crime labs. Becoming a criminalist is her lifelong dream. Her other interests include football (NFL and college), everything Harry Potter, and corgis.