Center for Evaluation & Research for STEM Equity

Staff & Students

Photo of Liz

Elizabeth Litzler
Director  |

Elizabeth Litzler is the Director of the UW Center for Evaluation & Research for STEM Equity (CERSE) and an Affiliate Assistant Professor in UW Sociology. Her research interests include the educational climate for undergraduate and graduate students, intersectionality of identities, and gender stratification in education and the workforce. Liz was the Research Manager for the Sloan Foundation-funded Project to Assess Climate in Engineering (PACE). She is a member of the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) and Women in Engineering ProActive Network (WEPAN), and served on the WEPAN Board of Directors for 4 years. She acts as reviewer and presenter for WEPAN and ASEE conferences and relevant journals and has published in the Journal of Engineering Education, Research in Higher Education, Journal of Women and Minorities in Science and Engineering and The Journal about Women in Higher Education. Litzler earned a PhD and MA in Sociology and a BA in Communication with minors in Spanish and Women’s Studies.  Litzler CV Feb 2021


Cara Margherio
Assistant Director

Cara Margherio is the Assistant Director of the UW Center for Evaluation & Research for STEM Equity (CERSE). Her research interests span the study of intersectionality, higher education, organizational change, and social movements. Cara uses mixed methods to understand the social mechanisms which may change, or facilitate, the production of inequities within higher education. Her work has been published in peer-reviewed journals such as CBE-Life Sciences Education; Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion; Neuron; Race Ethnicity and Education; and Research in Higher Education. She recently served as a Virtual Visiting Scholar with the ADVANCE Resource and Coordination Network. Cara earned a PhD and MA in Sociology at the University of Washington, and a BPhil in Sociology and BS in Psychology from the University of Pittsburgh. Margherio CV Jan 2021


Emily Knaphus-Soran
Senior Research Scientist |

Emily Knaphus-Soran is a Senior Research Scientist at CERSE. She works on research associated with the Pacific Northwest Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (PNW LSAMP), and evaluations of the Redshirt in Engineering Consortium, the ASEE EDGE Initiative, and the Geo-Gold ASPIRE project. Her research focuses on the social-psychological and institutional forces that contribute to the persistence of race and class inequalities in the United States. Emily earned a PhD and MA in Sociology from the University of Washington, and a BA in Sociology from Smith College.  Knaphus-Soran CV 2020


Erin Carll
Research Scientist | ecarll@uw.edu 

Erin Carll is a Research Scientist at CERSE. Her research interests broadly consider how social statuses (race, ethnicity, gender, etc.) shape access to resources and opportunities, understandings and attitudes about the worldbehavior, and what this ultimately means for wellbeing. She is currently working on related projects within the education and housing systems. Erin has published articles on attitudes about criminal punishment and incarceration and neighborhood attainment, both in Social Science Research, and a research report on rental housing in the City of Seattle. At the University of Washington (UW), Erin has instructed undergraduate research practicums as well as courses on stratification in the U.S. public school system, housing, and statistics. Erin earned a PhD and MA in Sociology as well as a certificate in demographic methods and a concentration in social statistics from UW. She also earned an MA in Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies from Columbia University, a BA in Political Science and Russian Studies from Central Connecticut State University, and an AA in Liberal Arts and Sciences from Three Rivers Community College.  CarllErin_CERSE_CV_20210329


Geri van Engers
Administrator  |

As the administrator for CERSE, Geri works closely with the Center’s team to support operations including management of its pre- and post-award activity, financial portfolio, payroll and personnel matters and facilities and space assignment. Geri’s extensive career as a research administrator has included appointments in renowned academic and scientific institutions working with leading research scientists and educators pushing the boundaries of knowledge in their field. She is delighted to be working with CERSE as it continues its important work in evaluation and research of equity and representation in STEM fields. She holds a BA in Linguistics from the University of Washington and an MA in Linguistics/TESOL from San Francisco State University.


Selen Güler
Graduate Research Assistant

Selen Güler is a PhD student in Sociology at the University of Washington. She is interested in the cultural foundations of policy making, the relationship between the state and the economy, and how people use taxes to morally and politically construct the state. Selen earned an MA in Sociology from the University of Washington. She also holds a BA in Sociology with a minor in Political Science and International Relations from Bogazici University in Turkey.

Photo of DaikiDaiki Hiramori
Graduate Research Assistant

Daiki Hiramori is a PhD student in the Department of Sociology at the University of Washington. His research interests include quantitative methodology, queer and feminist studies, sexuality and gender stratification, and Japanese society. In addition to an M.A. in Sociology from the University of Washington, Hiramori holds a B.A. in Sociology with a minor in Mathematics from the International Christian University in Tokyo, Japan. As a research assistant at CERSE, he is working on the evaluation of the Pacific Northwest Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (PNW LSAMP).

Hanna Moss
Undergraduate Research Assistant

Hanna is a second year undergraduate student studying Biology at the University of Washington. She is FIG leader who is passionate about health, equity, science, and gender issues. At CERSE, she is focused on the evaluation of the Pacific Northwest Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (PNW LSAMP) and helps on other projects.


Aasli Abdi Nur
Graduate Research Assistant

Aasli Abdi Nur is a PhD student in the Department of Sociology at the University of Washington. Prior to her graduate studies, she worked in the non-profit sector as the lead internal evaluator for an organization providing skills-based health education to students in under-resourced high schools. In her doctoral studies, she is pursuing research on the gendered dimensions of migration and health. Aasli holds an MPH from Emory University and a BA from Washington University in St. Louis.

Naomi Yuen-Schat
Undergraduate Research Assistant

Naomi Yuen-Schat is a third year undergraduate student majoring in Political Science with an emphasis in Political Economy and minoring in Gender, Women and Sexualities Studies. She is interested in global Indigenous sovereignty, as well as immigrants’ and women’s rights issues. She hopes to uplift BIPOC communities, women and marginalized groups through her work with CERSE.



Riddhi Divanji
Undergraduate Research Assistant

Riddhi is pursuing her M.Ed. in Measurement and Statistics in the College of Ed. Department of Educational Psychology. She also works as a research coordinator at foundry10, co-designing research and program evaluation projects with youth program developers and community partners. Her interests include measuring academic and social-emotional outcomes and investigating the application of emerging learning technologies in K-12 classrooms. As a graduate research assistant at CERSE, Riddhi will be working on an evaluation project examining the impact of a university’s STEM bridge program on participants’ educational trajectory and professional outcomes.


Burren Peil
Graduate Research Assistant

Burren Peil is a PhD student in Human Centered Design and Engineering (HCDE) at the University of Washington. Their research interests include identity, power, art, mental health, and human growth and development. They hold a double Bachelor’s degree in HCDE and the Comparative History of Ideas from the University of Washington with foci in gender and environmental studies.


Mary Padden
Graduate Research Assistant

Mary Padden is a 2 nd year doctoral student in educational policy, organizations, and leadership in
the College of Education at the University of Washington. A former special education teacher
and policymaker, her research interests include how authentic, equitable collaborations between
schools and families can lead to racial justice and thriving communities. She has worked with multiple public school districts and with elected officials, including in research, policy advising, teaching, and professional development. She recently received the College of Ed’s Community Partner Fellow Award and has an MA in education policy and undergraduate degrees in public policy analysis-sociology and French. Through her work, she aims to partner with communities to advocate for justice in education and beyond. As a graduate research assistant at CERSE, Mary will be working on the Energy & Equity and Computer Science & Math projects.

Aryaa Rajouria
Graduate Research Assistant

Aryaa Rajouria is a PhD student in the Department of Sociology at the University of Washington.
She is interested in migration as a mechanism for social change, how social structures influence
access to resources, and questions related to environmental governance (focusing on climate
risk and adaptation). She has prior experiences at organizations such as the United Nations
Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF), the Huairou Commission, Transparency International, and
Child Trends. She has a BA from Mount Holyoke College, Massachusetts, where she studied International Relations and Economics. At CERSE, Aryaa is working on a number of projects, including an evaluation for the UW Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering.






Anne Sivley
Graduate Research Assistant

As an MPA candidate at the Evans School of Public Policy and Governance, Anne’s studies are focused on policy analysis and evaluation. She is particularly interested in gender equity and women’s economic empowerment. Prior to joining CERSE, Anne has worked at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, PATH, and in the private sector. At CERSE, she primarily works on the evaluation of the COPLAC ADVANCE ad Arola S-STEM projects.


Theresa Henry
Graduate Research Assistant

As a graduate student in Economics at the University of Washington, Theresa works in the area of applied econometrics and development economics. She earned an MA in Economics from the University of Washington and a BA in Economics from University of Georgia. She enjoys playing soccer in her free time. At CERSE, she primarily works on the NCWIT evaluation projects.

Lucas Olson
Graduate Research Assistant

Lucas Olson is a PhD candidate at the Jackson School of International Studies. Their dissertation focuses on lessons learned from Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) in a US context. Lucas has worked in international education for over a decade as a teacher, administrator, and researcher. Previously, they also earned master’s degrees in Public Theology from Wesley Theological Seminary and International Development from American University.


Anna Lee Swan
Graduate Research Assistant

Anna Lee Swan completed her PhD in Department of Communication at the University of Washington. As a critical and qualitative researcher, her dissertation work explored women’s experiences on social media, with a specific focus on the intercultural and transnational aspects of digital labor. She earned an MA in Communication and a graduate certificate in Feminist Studies from the University of Washington, and a BA in International Studies from the University of Iowa. As part of the CERSE team, she worked on both BRAINS and REDPAR.


Emma Scher
Undergraduate Research Assistant

Emma Scher graduated from UW with a bachelor’s degrees in Sociology and Communications: Journalism. She was in the sociology honors program and is particularly interested in women’s equity issues and studied gender norms within our organizations. She worked on multiple different projects while at CERSE including the WWU BEES S-STEM project, RIT evaluation and NCWIT.


Lamar Foster
Graduate Research Assistant

Lamar Foster is a Ph.D. Candidate and GO-MAP Bank of America fellow at The University of Washington (UW). He uses qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods approaches to answer questions at the intersection of policy and practice. In particular, his research seeks to understand how local, state, and federal policies influence the actions of school leaders seeking to make their schools more equitable when attending to the wellbeing of minoritized students. Lamar has an M.S.Ed. in Child Psychology and Program Evaluation from Duquesne University. In his free time, Lamar enjoys listening to music, reading, and watching UEFA.

Kerice Doten-Snitker
Graduate Research Assistant

As a PhD Candidate in Sociology at the University of Washington, Kerice Doten-Snitker studies belonging and inclusion. She has contributed to evaluations of a range of higher education programs funded by NIH, NSF, USAID, and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Her dissertation asks why state policies change with respect to minority groups, specifically examining expulsions of Jews in medieval and early modern Europe. She earned an MA in Sociology from the University of Washington and a BA in Sociocultural Studies and in International Relations from Bethel University (MN).


Emily Haluschak

Emily Haluschak worked as a CERSE intern while earning her  her Masters of Education Policy and Leadership Studies at the University of Washington. At CERSE, she worked on data analysis for the BRAINS and LATTICE projects. Emily has a background in qualitative research in Engineering Education at Purdue University where she obtained her undergraduate degree in Chemical Engineering.


Greg Diggs-Yang
Research Scientist

Gregory (Chan-wook) Diggs-Yang, has a Bachelor’s (BA) in Education from Illinois State University, a Master’s (M.Ed.) in Education Administration from UCLA, and a PhD in Curriculum and Instruction with a focus on Multicultural Education from the University of Washington. Greg has lived in over eight different states in the U.S. as well as Germany, Italy and South Korea. Greg spent a decade in South Korea where he worked at Seoul National Universities as the Curriculum Coordinator for the IETTP (Teacher Training) and served as the President of the M.A.C.K. Foundation (Movement of the Advancement of Cultural-diversity of Koreans), a grassroots organization that supports multicultural schools and increases recognition and awareness of the diversity of Koreans. Greg returned to the United States in 2013. As veteran, former language instructor, middle school science teacher and coach, Greg’s passion for social justice, equity, diversity and inclusion has always been the driving motivation of his work and research on race, ethnicity and mixed-race identity development. In addition, Greg has spent over eight years working with science education and STEM programming and support.


Alex Schaefer
Graduate Research Assistant

Alex earned a Master’s degree from the Evans School of Public Policy and Governance, where her studies are focused on policy analysis and evaluation. Her background was in program evaluation for maternal and child health projects in Central America. She holds a BA in Psychology from the Ohio State University. As a Research Assistant at CERSE, she analyzed quantitative and qualitative data to measure the inclusion of systemically minoritized groups in STEM education.

Kaiqi Zhang
Research Assistant

Kaiqi graduated from the University of Washington with a degree in Sociology. Her work with CERSE included survey analysis, qualitative coding, and reporting on different programs. She was also a research assistant for the Health Promotion Research Center at UW where she worked on a project that studies social isolation of older adults with depression.


Cordelia Ilton
Undergraduate Research Assistant

Cordelia graduated with a Bachelor of Arts with Honors in Sociology and Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies minor. She is from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and moved to Seattle to start at UW. She enjoys running, biking, and dancing.





Karah Lothian
Graduate Research Assistant

As a graduate student in both the Learning Sciences and Public Policy, Karah focused on equitable outcomes across educational spaces. Her primary research interests include the analysis and evaluation of child and family programming. Karah holds a BA and teaching license in Early Childhood Education from the University of Vermont. She’s taught in a variety of settings, supporting young students and future educators. At CERSE, Karah contributed to evaluations centered on instruction, support, and equitable outcomes within communities of practice.

Tiffany Pan
Graduate Research Assistant

Tiffany Pan graduated with a PhD in Biocultural Anthropology. Her research looks at the links between biology, behavior, and environment and their collective effects on human health. Her dissertation research focused on microchimerism (cells from a genetically distinct individual), its transfer between mother and offspring, and its immunological effects across the life course. She also holds an MPH in Epidemiology from the University of Washington, an MA in Anthropology from the University of Washington, and a BS from Duke University for double-majoring in Biological Anthropology & Anatomy and Environmental Sciences. At CERSE, she primarily worked on the evaluation of the WA STARS program and The Redshirt Consortium.

Lucy Herr
Graduate Research Assistant

Em Affolter
Senior Research Scientist and Equity Consultant

Em was a Senior Research Scientist and Equity Consultant  at CERSE who worked on CERSE’s projects in program evaluation and resource development. Em earned her Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction with a focus on Multicultural Education from the University of Washington, her M.A. in Multicultural Education from Prescott College, and her B.A. in Humanities and Spanish from Scripps College. Her dissertation explored the impact of a culturally responsive professional development intervention on teacher pedagogy.

Yin Zhang

Yin Zhang completed a Master of Education Policy, focusing on Higher Education evaluation and funding. She is an experienced teacher and school counselor, dedicated to establishing equitable access to high quality, effective teaching for students at risk. At CERSE, she primarily worked on the evaluations of LATTICE and BRAINS.


Kenno Hayashi
Undergraduate Research Assistant

Kenno Hayashi graduated with degrees in Economics and Sociology. His other undergraduate activities included running the UW Car Club, the premier club for University of Washington car enthusiasts. At CERSE, he worked on organizing NCWIT data, program evaluation, and analyzing and reporting on different workshops and surveys.

Johnathan Hsu
Undergraduate Research Assistant

Johnathan graduated with Bachelor of Arts with Honors in Sociology. His research interests lie in criminal justice reforms and mediums of social stratification. At CERSE, his work included organizing NCWIT data, analyzing different workshops data and surveys, and improving tutorials and guides for future student research assistants.

montana-james_093016_01-minMontana James
Graduate Research Assistant

Montana James graduated with a masters degree from the Evans School of Public Policy and Governance. Montana’s studies focused on leadership, organizational management, and social policy analysis. She is passionate about economic empowerment and better understanding its intersections with race, gender, and access to education and healthcare. Montana is interested in strategic policy design and implementation to improve economic outcomes by affecting change at the institutional level.


Picture of Brian SerafiniBrian Serafini
Graduate Research Assistant

Brian Serafini is a PhD Candidate in the Sociology Department. His research interests cover the areas of work and occupations, labor market inequality, and family. He has regularly taught courses on social stratification; work, organizations, and labor market inequalities; and the family. Brian holds an MA and BA in Sociology from the University of Washington.


Rob Tennyson
Graduate Research Assistant

Rob is a PhD student in Biocultural Anthropology interested in how psychosocial experiences interact with biology. His dissertation research focuses on how stress impacts the wellbeing and physiology of collegiate student-athletes. He holds an A.B. in Human Evolutionary Biology, with a focus on Mind, Brain, and Behavior, from Harvard College where he also participated in football and rugby.

Lexie Maister PhotoAlexis / Lexie Maister
Graduate Research Assistant

Alexis “Lexie” Maister graduated with a Master of Public Health in Community-Oriented Public Health Practice (COPHP). Her Capstone project focused on building capacity for peer youth workers in Toronto, Canada to conduct participatory/arts-based evaluation and promote community engagement.  She is committed to working with community towards anti-racism, social justice, and equity, and looks forward to practicing accountable ways to continue to work with youth.


Jenni Branstad photoJenni Branstad
Graduate Research Assistant

Jenni Branstad graduated with a PhD in Sociology. Jenni is interested in career trajectories of young adults as the labor market continues to shift toward new, flexible forms of employment relationships. Jenni’s work with CERSE was primarily dedicated to the evaluation of the Washington STARS Program.




Marijo Manaois
Undergraduate Student Assistant

Marijo majored in Medical Anthropology and Public Health, hoping to further her education in pursuit of a Master in Public Policy and Governance. Her undergraduate actives included serving as the President of the Filipino American Student Association on Campus, a 100 year old organization dedicated to providing educational, social, political and cultural programming to the greater Fil am Community. She has also worked with multiple grassroots organizations, advocating for Black Lives Matter, Immigration Rights and Equity in Education. Marijo’s work with CERSE included clerical work, NCWIT data organization and other miscellaneous offices tasks.