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 July 2019


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 2020


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 2019


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. Greg is currently a Research Scientist with CERSE and a Teaching Associate with College of Education at the University of Washington.


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.


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).


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.


Emily Haluschak

Emily Haluschak is a graduate student in the Masters of Education Policy and Leadership Studies program at the University of Washington. As a CERSE intern, she is curr

ently working 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.



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.


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 inclu

de 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.


Emma Scher

Undergraduate Research Assistant

Emma Scher is a senior undergraduate studying Sociology and Communications: Journalism. She is in the Sociology honors program, and is particularly interested in women’s equity issues and is planning to study gender norms within organizations. She will be working on multiple different projects while at CERSE.







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 focuses 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 numerous 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 is a Medical Anthropology and Public Health Major who hopes to further her education in pursuit of a Master in Public Policy and Governance. Her current undergraduate actives include 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.