Faculty Fellows for the Public Good

The Faculty Fellows for the Public Good Program is intended to encourage and promote engaged scholarship and interdisciplinary interaction around the central theme of the University and the public good.  Engaged scholarship redefines the focus of faculty research from the application of academic expertise to community-engaged scholarship. Such scholarship involves faculty in a reciprocal partnership with the community in a manner that not only works across disciplines; but also integrates the faculty roles of teaching, research, and service.

Starting with Academic Year 2018-2019, the Faculty Fellow for the Public Good program will take a new direction in acknowledgement of Cal State LA’s recent recognition as an anchor institution by the Coalition of Urban and Metropolitan Universities (CUMU).  CUMU recognizes that higher education institutions are mission-driven organizations and critical local economic engines linked to the long-term well-being of the communities they serve.  As a result, they are uniquely positioned and motivated to play a more active role in supporting our local economies.  The Higher Education Anchor Mission Initiative is designed to develop and share new strategies for deploying higher education’s intellectual and place-based resources to enhance the economic and social well-being of the communities they serve.  In this effort, Cal State LA and other CUMU members serve as anchor institutions for their regions, activate their mission through community engagement, utilize mutually beneficial partnerships to accomplish strategic goals, and generate new knowledge and creative activity that benefit their communities.

Each year, a select group of Faculty Fellows for the Public Good submit proposals for and are selected by a review team of former Faculty Fellows.  Faculty Fellows then work directly with community partners and the Center for Engagement, Service, and the Public Good to conduct  community-engaged scholarship with an emphasis on long-term, mutually-beneficial relationships.  Starting with Academic Year 2018-2019, Faculty Fellows will receive overlapping two-year appointments.  Please click on the separate tabs to learn about our current and past Faculty Fellows.


Questions regarding this program and other community engagement grants and programs may be referred to

Dr. Rika Houston, Faculty Director of Community Engagement at [email protected].


Dr. Melanie Sabado-Liwag

Dr. Melanie Sabado-Liwag r

Dr. Melanie Sabado-Liwag received her Ph.D. in Health Promotion Sciences at the School of Community and Global Health at Claremont Graduate University and a Master’s in Public Health at California State University, Fullerton. Prior to joining Cal State LA, Dr. Sabado-Liwag finished a postdoctoral fellowship at the National Institute of Minority Health and Health Disparities at NIH in Bethesda, Maryland. Her research in minority health and health disparities aims to understand psychosocial, environmental, and biological determinants related to adverse health and social outcomes across the life course. Dr. Sabado-Liwag is a mixed-methods scholar who uses advanced epidemiologic analyses to identify how these associations are related to risky behaviors in late adolescence and young adulthood. Her other research efforts include working with underrepresented communities and developing evidence-based, culturally-tailored projects and interventions through community-based participatory research methods and mobile health (mhealth) strategies.


Project Research

Despite being one of the third-largest and rapidly expanding ethnic groups, the health needs of Filipinos are poorly understood and underestimated.  Often aggregated with other Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) groups, the social and economic diversity of AAPI ethnic groups such as Filipinos are often masked, overlooked, and deemed as unproblematic.  Academics, researchers, and community advocates have rallied around this problem to provide information that may be culturally reflective for individual AAPI and immigrant communities.  The role of culturally-specific organizations in particular has a pivotal place in addressing these social inequities and temporarily resolving social service gaps created by health disparities.  In this effort, the Filipino American Services Group, Inc. (FASGI) is one of the few non-governmental organizations (NGOs) serving low income, marginalized, and underserved Filipinos in Los Angeles County.

To complement and extend existing research on Filipino communities throughout Los Angeles, Dr. Sabado-Liwag will be working with FASGI and other community organizations to: (1) understand the role of these organizations in the community, (2) address gaps in providing the best quality services to marginalized groups, and (3) create strategic plans to guide the enhancement and development of projects to (re)engage the community.  This community engaged scholarship will not only help to build capacity for FASGI and the network of Filipino service groups in the area, but also engage with all stakeholders (board members, volunteers, and other organizational leaders) to inform and build services and resources to the community and existing research on health promotion 


Dr. Shikha Upadhyaya

Dr. Shikha Upadhyaya Dr. Shikha Upadhyaya received her Ph.D. in Marketing with a Minor in Gender and Women’s Studies from the University of Wyoming and is an Assistant Professor of Marketing at Cal State LA. Her research focuses on the identity projects and multidimensional experiences of economically disadvantaged consumers in different consumption and marketplace settings. Such scholarship provides important insights on consumption-related discrimination and disadvantage with implications in the areas of public policy and transformative consumer research. She has published articles in a number of journals including the Journal of Macromarketing, Journal of Public Policy & Marketing, and Consumption Markets & Culture. She has also published technical reports for the United Nations Women (Asia and the Pacific) reflecting her work with the women market traders in Fiji. At Cal State LA, she teaches community-based social marketing (a civic learning course), qualitative marketing research, and principles of marketing.


Project Research

California has the second highest poverty rate (19%) in the U.S. and Los Angeles has one of the highest in California (24.3%).  Impoverished families who live in concentrated poverty neighborhoods in Los Angeles are disproportionately Latino and Black families with limited education and significant linguistic barriers. And, about 28.3% of the children in Los Angeles live in extreme poverty where household income is less than $15,000 per year for a family of four. Research has shown that childhood experiences of extreme poverty sustains throughout the life course and affects transfers of poverty to the next generation.  Several overlapping factors, such as lack of education, wealth inequality, racial injustice, domestic violence, and lack of financial literacy, underpin the conditions of poverty and limit a family’s access to solutions that can help them break free from the vicious cycle of poverty. Government assistance programs may provide temporary assistance to those living in poverty but do not offer a culturally-competent framework on which participants and their families can work together on long-term sustainable solutions. Therefore, programs that address the needs of children and parents separately either leave the child or parent behind and minimize each family’s chance at success. Instead, programs that focus on the needs of children and their parents together can harness the family’s full potential and put the entire family on a path to permanent economic security.

Working directly with the local affiliates of Ascend at the Aspen Institute, Dr. Upadhyaya’s engaged scholarship will examine two-generation projects at different stages of implementation by: (1) working closely with Ascend to analyze the national-level data that captures institutional experiences related to the implementation of two-generation programs, (2) establishing long-term relationships with local partners and their clients to capture local-level experiences of the two-generation programs, and (3) providing feedback to help community partners develop holistic two-generation programs to empower, educate, and engage local low-income families.  This community-engaged scholarship will not only help local community partners understand and integrate two-generation poverty-assistance programs, but also help to expand existing research on public policy, social marketing, and transformative consumer research.