Faculty Fellows for the Public Good

Faculty Fellows for the Public Good Program


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].




Melanie Sabado-Liwag​​

Dr. Melanie Sabado-Liwag

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 


Shika 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.


Victor Hugo Viesca, Ph.D.
Liberal Studies

ImageDr. Victor Hugo Viesca is a member of the faculty in the Department of Liberal Studies. 








Project:  Oral History with Self Help Graphics


Samuel Landsberger, Ph.D.
Mechical Engineering and Kinesiology

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Dr. Samuel Landsberger is a member of the faculty in the Department of Mechanical Engineering.






Project:  Physical Rehabilitation Equipment and Service Learning Student Mastery of Concepts in Dynamics


David Blekhman, Ph.D.
Department of Technology

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Dr. David Blekhman is a member of the faculty in the Deparment of Technology.





Project: Eco Car 2 K-12 School Outreach and High School Learning Coummunity 


Dolores Delgado Bernal, Ph.D.
Chicano and Latino Studies

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Dr. Dolores Delgado Bernal is a member of the faculty in the Deparment of Chicano and Latino Studies.






Project: Critical Race Feminista Praxis with Service Learning Students and Community Organizations   



Alejandro Covarrubias, Ph.D
Chicano and Latino Studies

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Dr. Alejandro Covarrubias is a member of the faculty in the Deparment of Chicano and Latino Studies.







Project: Critical Race Feminista Praxis with Service Learning Students and Community Organizations 




Leigh Ann Tipton, Ph.D.
Charter College of Education

Temporary imageDr. Leigh Ann Tipton is a full-time lecturer for School Psychology in the Charter College of Education. She received her PhD from UC Riverside and this is her second year at Cal State LA. The majority of her research has focused on the factors for school success for both preschool children and young adults on the autism spectrum. Improving service delivery, rather than trying to change the individual, is a focus of the systems level research that is of interest. Current projects continue on this line of research, such as the collaboration in projects with Dr. Saeki exploring ways to better develop school-based interventions to support our at-risk students. Additional interests lie within the special education legal system and the factors that lead to family and schools facing mediation and due process.

Sea of Change:  Promoting Student Success

Schools are faced with a myriad of challenges, including students performing below grade-level standards, disproportionate representation of minority students in special education, and poor coordination of mental health services and community supports. Building on protective factors such as positive school climate, school connectedness, and increasing educational supports can dramatically promote youth outcomes. However, schools often lack adequate resources to support students that face significant barriers to academic and emotional success. For example, the National Association of School Psychologists (2012) advocates for a ratio of one school psychologist for every 500 students. The average ratio in LA area schools is 1:1,100. This project seeks to enhance student outcomes, particularly those exhibiting multiple risk factors, through expansion of school psychology service delivery with the development of a school-wide consultation based curriculum.

Elina Saeki, Ph.D.
Charter College of Education

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Dr. Elina Saeki is an assistant professor in the Charter College of Education. She received her doctorate in Counseling/Clinical/School Psychology from the University of California, Santa Barbara. Dr. Saeki's research examines school-wide efforts to enhance youth academic, social, and emotional outcomes. In particular, her scholarly work focuses on the impact of test-based accountability policies on teachers and students, social-emotional literacy interventions, mechanisms to enhance student engagement and motivation, and training and supervision in school psychology.

Sea of Change:  Promoting Student Success

Schools are faced with a myriad of challenges, including students performing below grade-level standards, disproportionate representation of minority students in special education, and poor coordination of mental health services and community supports. Building on protective factors such as positive school climate, school connectedness, and increasing educational supports can dramatically promote youth outcomes. However, schools often lack adequate resources to support students that face significant barriers to academic and emotional success. For example, the National Association of School Psychologists (2012) advocates for a ratio of one school psychologist for every 500 students. The average ratio in LA area schools is 1:1,100. This project seeks to enhance student outcomes, particularly those exhibiting multiple risk factors, through expansion of school psychology service delivery with the development of a school-wide consultation based curriculum.

Priscilla Leiva, Ph.D.
Chicana(o) and Latina(o) Studies and History

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Dr. Priscilla Leiva is Assistant Professor of Chicana(o) and Latina(o) Studies and History. She received her Ph.D. in American Studies & Ethnicity from the University of Southern California. Her research interests include racial formation, urban change and U.S. popular culture. She is currently working on a book manuscript entitled New Stadiums, New Battlegrounds: Race and Civic Identity in Postwar America in which she examines how stadiums have historically functioned as critical sites of racial formation that shape ideas about the city and who belongs.



Chavez Ravine:  An Unfinished Story 

In January of 1950, the 1,100 families of Chavez Ravine learned they would be displaced for a new public housing project. The project was eventually scrapped and the land was gifted to the Dodgers for the construction of a baseball stadium. Chavez Ravine: An Unfinished Story will document the history of the three destroyed neighborhoods long before and after displacement. This project incorporates students through a cross-listed course oral history course and collaborations with local and national institutions and community members. Ultimately this oral history and preservation project will provide a more nuanced history of one of the most egregious examples of racialized urban displacement and establish a collection for research available to the public and future scholars.

Carole Frances Lung
Department of Art

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Carole Frances Lung is a soft guerilla activist, artist, and academic living in Long Beach, CA. Through her alter ego Frau Fiber, Carole utilizes a hybrid of playful activism, cultural criticism, research and spirited crafting of one of a kind garment production performances investigating the human cost of mass production and consumption, addressing issues of value and time, through the thoroughly hand-made construction and salvaging of garments.

Her performances have been exhibited at Los Angeles Municipal Gallery, Craft in America Study Center, Maloof Foundation, Jane Addams Hull House Museum, Craft and Folk Art Museum, Center for Craft Creativity and Design, Museum of Contemporary Craft, Ben Maltz Gallery, OTIS College of Art and Design, Catherine Smith Gallery, Appalachian State University and the Ghetto Biennale Port Au Prince Haiti.

Publications include:

KCET Artbound, Surface Design Journal, Chicago Arts News, American Craft Council: Shaping the Future of Craft, Art in America, and Art Papers. She has lectured at Bauhaus University in Weimar Germany, The School of Art and Design Oslo, Norway, Museum of Contemporary Art Denver, Arrowmont and Haystack Mountain School of Craft. She has been awarded: Kohler Arts and Industry Residency, Craft Creativity and Design Center Grant, CSULA creative leave 2014, creative mini grant 2014, 2013, nominated for the Louis Comfort Tiffany award, At the Edge Gallery 400 award and Fred A. Hillbruner Artist Book Fellowship. Carole is an Associate Professor in Fashion, Fiber and Materials in the Department of Art at California State University Los Angeles, and maintains the Institute for Labor Generosity Workers and Uniforms, Frau Fiber’s headquarters and experimental factory in downtown Long Beach.

Project Title: Sewing Rebellion: Personal Production Manual   

The SEWING REBELLION is a national campaign to “STOP SHOPPING AND START SEWING!” The Sewing Rebellion uses skill-sharing in the service of empowerment, community building, and advocating for social change. The Sewing Rebellion connects participants to the history of thrift and reuse circles, and quilting bees, where participants came together to pool and share resources, learn basic sewing skills, talk politics, and promote change of the Fast Fashion industry.  The Sewing Rebellion has multiple pop up sites nationwide. Active circles are hosted at the LGBTQ Centers and Homeless Shelters in Long Beach, CA; artist run spaces in Los Angeles, Maker spaces in Asheville NC and a Public Library in Boulder, CO. My time as a Faculty Fellow for the Public good will be used to continue my art based community engagement, by write the SEWING REBELLION: PERSONAL PRODUCTION MANUAL, a “how to” e-publication for the general public and Faux Frau volunteers to use as a resource for creating Sewing Rebellion communities in Los Angeles, and around the country.

Allison Mattheis, Ph.D
Applied and Advanced Studies in Education

Temporary imageDr. Allison Mattheis is an educator and researcher of the sociopolitical contexts of community-based practices. After teaching middle school science for eight years, she completed her Ph.D. in Educational Policy and Leadership at the University of Minnesota. She is an assistant professor in the Division of Applied and Advanced Studies in Education in the Charter College of Education, where she works with pre-service teachers, leaders, and scholars. Her ongoing research projects include a national study of LGBTQ individuals working in STEM fields, examining how political power and social privilege impact stakeholder interactions with the LAUSD School Board, and developing youth cyclists as critical community ethnographers.

She was recently named a Concha Delgado Gaitan Early Career Presidential Fellow by the Council on Anthropology and Education and has published in journals including Critical Policy Studies, Educational Policy Analysis Archives, Journal of Homosexuality, and Cell Biology Education. She is honored to serve as the faculty advisor to The Queer Connection student organization and to support the work of the Cross-Cultural Centers, the Women’s, Genders and Sexuality Studies program, and the Center for the Study of Genders and Sexualities at Cal State L.A.. This project is an extension of collaborative work with Dr. Adonia Lugo, community activist and part-time lecturer in [email protected] Studies, with whom she recently published a book chapter entitled “Bicycle Anthropology of Los Angeles.”

Transportation Advocacy and Transdisciplinary Research: Developing a Cal State L.A. Partnership with Multicultural Communities for Mobility

This project will establish a community-university partnership with local transportation advocacy organization Multicultural Communities for Mobility (MCM). MCM focuses on highlighting the needs and voices of people of color living in low-income neighborhoods and advancing walkability, bicycling, and increased alternative transit use. Cal State L.A. Educational Foundations graduate students will be involved in the collection and analysis of data to inform the development of MCM's "Community Mobility Profiles" for use in ongoing advocacy efforts in local transportation planning. Specific course assignments will incorporate analysis of existing data sets and collect first-person community narratives. This transdisciplinary project will work across scholarly and neighborhood boundaries to explore the influence of social contexts on lived experiences of people in underserved neighborhoods in Los Angeles. Students will develop community-based participatory research skills while MCM expands its research capacity in partnership with Cal State L.A.


Angela Chale, Ph.D., R.D.
Kinesiology and Nutritional Science

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I have a diverse background with training in nutritional science, exercise physiology, psychophysics, neuroscience, and government.  While I have worked with adults across the life course, currently, I conduct investigations in the older adult population where my overarching goal is to delineate associations between nutrition, physical activity, cognitive and physical functioning.  






Vitamin D Status and Conitive Functioning in Older-Aged Southern California Veterans -- An Opportunity for Civic Engagement and Health Promotion

The goal of my work with the Center for Engagement, Service, and the Public Good is to stimulate policy-driven discussion on and mobilize support for routine assessment of vitamin D nutriture among older-aged Veterans.  Vitamin D status is a biological determinant of health disparities.  Since it is associated with several chronic diseases, its widespread deficiency poses a major public health concern.  There are indications that low vitamin D levels are associated with poor cognitive and physical functioning; all three exist in older-aged Veterans.  The Veteran population of Los Angeles County is the largest in the country.  This population is growing, aging, and many are homeless. Specifically, the proposed work will evaluate existing treatment paradigms for cognitive dysfunction among a multiethnic population of older-aged Southern Californian Veterans.  Another aim will be to assess clinical practice knowledge and opinion concerning the association between vitamin D nutriture, as well as other nutritional biomarkers, with cognitive and physical functioning.

Carly Dierkhising, Ph.D.
Criminal Justice and Criminalistics

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Carly B. Dierkhising is an Assistant Professor at California State University, Los Angeles in the School of Criminal Justice and Criminalistics. She received her Doctorate in Developmental Psychology from University of California, Riverside and her Masters in Clinical Psychology from Pepperdine University. Dr. Dierkhising’s primary area of research is in trauma, mental health, and juvenile justice with a focus on how to improve access to trauma-related services for youth involved in the juvenile justice system from both a practice and policy perspective. Her publications are on topics related to the links between trauma and delinquency, child maltreatment, creating trauma-informed juvenile justice systems, and improving the conditions of confinement for incarcerated youth. 



Crossing Over but Not Left Behind:  Supporting Healthy Outcomes for Dual-Status Youth

As a Faculty Fellow for the Public Good I will join the Cross Over Data Subcommittee, led by Dr. Herz at Cal State LA in partnership with the Los Angeles Juvenile Court and affiliated stakeholders, to support data collection and analysis of a longitudinal dataset on dual-status youth Los Angeles County. Dual-status youth are youth who have formal contact with both sides of the juvenile justice system (i.e., dependency and delinquency). These youth have been found to be at increased risk for continued involvement in crime, poor mental health outcomes, low educational attainment, and substance abuse problems (Herz, 2009). The current study will evaluate dual-status youth’s involvement in services following adjudication, whether services are matched to youth’s needs, and whether involvement in services leads to better psychosocial outcomes for youth. Results from the study are intended to illuminate ways in which the Los Angeles Juvenile Court, Probation Department, and Department of Children and Family Services can best support the unique needs of dual-status youth in order to redirect potentially detrimental trajectories towards prosocial and healthy outcomes. .

Susan Mohini Kane, Soprano/Professor/Author
Music, Theatre, Dance

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American soprano and author, Susan Mohini Kane's "crystal-clear voice and impeccable technique" (LA Culture Spot Magazine) has captured audiences in performances of opera, oratorio, art song, and classical cabaret. Kane’s book: The 21st Century Singer, Making the Leap from the University into the World, published by Oxford University Press, 2015 has been called “A must-read for any emerging singer” by iCadenza Artists.  Kane's solo CD recording: A MOMENT OF JOY, inspired these reviews: “This series of art songs and arias brings phrase after phrase of artful music." (McKinney) Music Web International hails Kane's CD as "a truly inspirational disc."  Her second CD, for voice and piano with pianist Sunha Yoon, is a beautiful selection of vocal pieces with no words called FROM THE HEART: MUSIC FOR CALM, INSPIRATION, AND WELLNESS, released in 2015.  You can hear Susan Mohini Kane perform every month around the full moon when her duo, Kristof & Kane, perform “classical cabaret” on Concert Window.com. Their LA debut was at The Gardenia in Hollywood “where it stunned those in attendance through the sheer musical command of these two performers.” (Cabaret West Newsletter) Kane has just been awarded a Distinguished Woman recipient for 2015 and was also named a Fellow for the Public Good at California State University, Los Angeles for research on Music and Civic Engagement for the summer of 2015. 

Kane maintains a blog on singing, a workshop on 21st century success for singers, a performing schedule, and a private studio as well as being a full professor at CSULA where she teaches voice, directs the opera program, and does research on engaged performances.  For more information please see her websites:  www.the21stcenturysinger.comwww.kristofandkane.com, and www.smkane.com.

The Performing Arts and Civic Engagement

The 21st century landscape for music performers and artists has changed drastically in the past decade.  Although audiences want performances on demand streaming directly into their devices and although research is emerging providing evidence of the impact and value of music in all facets of society: our universities are still training for the live stage exclusively.  Consequently approximately 6% of our performing artists are finding employment, leaving us with a 94% failure rate and many talented performing artists leaving the field five years after graduation. This project will delve deeply into two cities: Los Angeles and Pasadena, to discover what each values about the arts and why. My idea is to review city documents, operations, decision-making, and funding practices in the Department of Cultural Affairs of the City of Los Angeles and the Arts and Cultural Affairs Division of the City of Pasadena to uncover a value system that could be imported into university thought and training.





Carole Frances Lung is featured on KCET article!​