UW McNair

Meet Our Staff

Professional Staff 

Gabriel Gallardo, Ph.D.

Associate Vice President of Office of Minority Affairs and Diversity and Director / Principal Investigator of the McNair Scholars Program

Dr. Gallardo earned his Ph.D. in Geography. His research interests include the geography of race and ethnicity, Latino settlement in the U.S., and the socio-spatial dimensions of ethnic economies. His dissertation research focused on the social, economic, and geographic dimensions of African American, Chinese, Korean, and Mexican entrepreneurship. He is also interested in minority student access to graduate education and graduate retention issues.


Todd Sperry, Ph.D.

Assistant Director of the McNair Scholars Program, OMA&D

In addition to working to support students who are interested in obtaining graduate or professional degrees, Todd is interested in working with students to learn how to learn and achieve academic success. From 2010-2014, Todd was a Biology Instructor with the TRIO-Student Support Services program within OMA&D. He came to UW as a postdoctoral researcher in 1999 to work in the Biology Department. His research interests included studying how the brain controls aggressive behavior and stress in song birds. Todd earned his Ph.D. in Marine Science from the University of Texas at Austin where he studied the reproductive biology of marine fish. He earned his B.A. with honors in biology from the University of Oregon. Outside of work, Todd loves to be outdoors hiking and gardening and spending time with his two children, Kallyana and Evan, and his wife, Chanira Reang Sperry.


Quynh Tran, M.Ed. candidate

Program Coordinator of the McNair Scholars Program, OMA&D

Quynh Tran was born and raised in Washington State. She earned her B.A. in English from Duke University and is completing her M.Ed. in Student Development Administration from Seattle University. Professionally, she is interested in higher education access and establishing pipelines and supports for underrepresented students. For leisure, Quynh enjoys to read, cook, bake, boulder, hike, and spend quality time with her friends and family.


Graduate Student Advisors

Cyndi Lopez, M.S., Ph.D. candidate in Geotechnical Engineering

Cyndi is from San Diego, California and of Mexican and Salvadoran descent. She earned a B.S. in Civil Engineering from the University of California, Berkeley and a M.S in Civil Engineering from UC Berkeley a year later. She worked as a consultant for a geotechnical engineering company in San Diego before deciding to pursue a Ph.D. at the UW in Geotechnical Engineering. She is currently researching the interaction between structures and soil during earthquake shaking. She enjoys teaching and advising and has served as a TA in the Civil Engineering Department, a McNair Graduate Student Advisor, and teacher in the Math Science Upward Bound (MSUB) program. In her free time, Cyndi enjoys exercising, dancing, and cooking.

Cynthia Simekha, M.S.W., Ph.D. candidate in Anthropology

Cynthia was raised in Kenya, where she attended her primary and secondary education before migrating to the U.S. She earned an Associate’s Degree from Bellevue College and transferred to University of Washington where she received her B.S. in Public Health with minors in Global Health, African Studies and Geography. She then went on to complete her M.S.W. at the University of Michigan-Ann arbor with a practice method in community organizing and practice area in health. Presently, Cynthia is working towards her Ph.D. in Anthropology with a focus in Medical Anthropology. Cynthia also enjoys hiking, cooking, dancing and working with the youth in the community.