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Who We Are

Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI)

One mission, one team. The EDI team is comprised of several units. Collectively, these units are responsible for realizing EDI’s mission to uphold dignity for all.

UCLA Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion

Office of The Vice Chancellor

The Office of the Vice Chancellor for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) team works directly with the Vice Chancellor to implement her strategic plan and advance the Office’s mission through engagement with our campus partners, who each contribute to this goal through education, research, investigations, and advocacy. Together, we aim to lead the University and larger community by providing tools and resources to build a community which promotes our shared value of upholding dignity for all.

Email: welisten@equity.ucla.edu

Phone: (310) 825-3935

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  • ryan adserias
    Ryan Adserias
    Chief of Staff

    Mr. Adserias joined UCLA in February 2021 as Chief of Staff and Executive Assistant to Vice Chancellor Spain Bradley. Prior to joining the EDI team, Ryan served as the Diversity and Inclusion Outreach Specialist in the Office of University Diversity and Inclusion at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. Ryan is currently completing a Ph.D. in educational leadership and policy analysis at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he received his Master’s degree in higher education leadership, and a Bachelor’s in history and gender and women’s studies.

  • joseph berra
    Joseph Berra
    EDI Special Liaison

    Joseph Berra is Human Rights in the Americas Project Director with the Promise Institute for Human Rights at UCLA School of Law. His teaching and research interests include immigrant rights, international human rights, and the rights of Indigenous and Afrodescendent peoples in Central America. Berra coordinates projects with organizational partners in the U.S. and Latin America to engage students in human rights advocacy and the Inter-American system for human rights.  Current projects include collaboration with Indigenous organizations resisting extractivist industries in their territories, litigation at the Inter-American Commission for Human Rights, and research on the human rights challenges faced by Indigenous migrants in the U.S. detention and immigration systems.

    Before coming to UCLA, Berra was a successful civil and human rights litigator with both the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) and the Texas Civil Rights Project.  He is the past Executive Director of the Caribbean Central American Research Council, an inter-disciplinary activist research organization, and currently serves on the CCARC Board.  He co-authored two studies with CCARC in 2002 and 2007 to support the territorial claims of Indigenous and Afrodescendent communities in Honduras. A former Jesuit, Berra spent many years living and working in the Northern Triangle countries of Central America before earning his law degree.

    In addition to his role with the Promise Institute, Berra serves the Vice-Chancellor for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion as Special Projects Director for Programming in coordination with the Special Advisors to the Chancellor for Immigration and Native American and Indigenous Affairs.

    Berra holds a J.D. from St. Mary’s University School of Law; an M.A. in Social Anthropology from the University of Texas at Austin; an M.Div. from the Universidad Centroamericana in San Salvador, El Salvador; and a B.A. in Philosophy from St. Louis University.

    Read “Tremors Along the Fault Line: A Critical Perspective on Covid-19 and the Right to Health in the United States,” a chapter written by Mara González Souto, Grace Carson and Joseph Berra in El derecho a la salud en Estados Unidos, México, Centroamérica y Panamá en el contexto del COVID-19 (Joaquín A. Mejía Rivera, editor).

  • mitchell chang
    Mitchell Chang
    Associate Vice Chancellor for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

    Mitchell J. Chang is Professor of Education and Asian American Studies (by courtesy) at the University of California, Los Angeles. He has been on the faculty at UCLA since 1999 and in 2022, was appointed Associate Vice Chancellor for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion.

    Chang’s research focuses on the educational efficacy of diversity-related initiatives on college campuses and how to apply those best practices toward advancing student learning and democratizing institutions. He has written over one hundred publications, some of which were cited in U.S. Supreme Court rulings involving the use of race sensitive admissions practices. In 2001, Chang received a National Academy of Education/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship and in 2006, he was profiled as one of the nation’s top ten scholars by Diverse: Issues in Higher Education. He has served in elected positions for both the American Educational Research Association (At-Large Member of AERA Executive Council & Division J), which inducted him as a Fellow in 2016, and the Association for the Study of Higher Education (Board of Directors), which awarded him the Founder’s Service Award in 2014 and the Research Achievement Award in 2020. He has been listed in Education Week as one of the top 200 scholars whose work not only influences academic research and scholarship, but that engages and impacts the nation’s public conversation about education. Chang has also served on many national advisory panels, including for the U.S. Department of Education, White House Domestic Policy Council, National Science Foundation, Spencer Foundation, National Institute of Health, and College Board. From 2018-2022, he served as the Editor in Chief for The Journal of Higher Education.

    Chang has a record of extensive service on UCLA’s Academic Senate, including having served full terms on the Legislative Assembly (2000-02; 2008-10), Graduate Council (2009-13), Committee on Degree Programs (chair, 2011-12), Undergraduate Learning Assessment Committee (2012-13), Enhancing Student Success Working Group (2016-18), Chancellor’s Education Innovation Task Force (2017-18), Moreno Report Implementation Committee (2013-2020), Intercollegiate Athletics Committee (2013-15), Council on Academic Personnel (2017-2020), the Racial and Social Justice Grants Program Committee (chair, 2021-2022) and the Center for the Advancement of Teaching Faculty Advisory Committee (2020-2021).

  • lillie hsu
    Lillie Hsu
    Director of Educational Initiatives

    Lillie Hsu leads educational initiatives, including training and other interventions, to advance equity, diversity and inclusion throughout the UCLA community. Before stepping into this role, she was one of two Discrimination Prevention Officers appointed to open the UCLA Discrimination Prevention Office following the Moreno Report.

  • rusty klibaner
    Rusty Klibaner
    Events & External Affairs Manager

    Mr. Klibaner graduated from UCLA with a degree in Communication Studies, along with minors in English and Russian Language. He also received an M.A. from UCLA’s Cinema and Media Studies program in the School of Theater, Film and Television. He is thrilled to stay in the UCLA family and join Vice Chancellor Spain Bradley’s team, assisting with programming, external affairs, and special projects for all branches of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion.

  • dustin newhouse
    Dustin Newhouse
    Digital Content and Social Media Designer

    Mr. Newhouse studied Philosophy at the University of New Hampshire. While pursing his degree, he also spent time studying Hungarian history and aesthetics at Corvinus University, Budapest. Subsequently, Mr. Newhouse attained a Master’s degree in Documentary Photography from the European Center for Documentary Research at the University of South Wales. He is thrilled to bring his passion for human rights and aesthetics to EDI at UCLA.

  • kristine o'daly
    Kristine O'Daly
    Executive Assistant to the Vice Chancellor for Equity, Diversity & Inclusion

    Ms. O’Daly joined UCLA in February 2022 as Executive Assistant to Vice Chancellor Spain Bradley. Prior to joining the EDI team she served as Special Assistant to California State Controller Betty T. Yee and Communications Manager for the Controller’s administration division. She received a Bachelor’s degree in Speech Communication from San Diego State University and a teaching credential in English, Speech and Theatre from California State University, Long Beach.

Civil Rights Office Unit

Research & Bruin Engagement Office

The Research & Bruin Engagement Office’s mission is to help UCLA become a more equitable, diverse and inclusive (EDI) community through the use of empirically validated methods to inform and affect change within UCLA. We are the central hub where those working on EDI issues in our UCLA community can gather to access tools, guidance and resources.

Email: bruinx@equity.ucla.edu

Phone: (310) 206-7411

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  • linda clowers
    Linda Clowers
    Director, Research & Bruin Engagement Office

    Prior to joining UCLA in April 2022, Dr. Linda Clowers provided leadership in the areas of EDI as a faculty member and administrator within multiple sectors of higher education. Her work in EDI builds upon nearly a decade as a full-time faculty member publishing and teaching courses at the intersection of clinical psychology, counseling, education, and cultural diversity. Having also served as an academic administrator for over 15 years, she has extensive experience related to strategic initiatives designed to promote student equity, faculty diversity, and institutional inclusivity. Her recent work in EDI has included equity-based curriculum development, instructional design, and policy revision.

  • brandie kirkpatrick
    Brandie Kirkpatrick
    Deputy Director, Research & Bruin Engagement Office

    Ms. Kirkpatrick joined UCLA in 2004. During her tenure, she has worked in the Academic Senate and the Diversity and Faculty Development Office. Prior to her role as Deputy Director in the EDI Research and Bruin Engagement Office (R&BE), she served as the Director of The Faculty Search Process & Diversity Programs in R&BE. Ms. Kirkpatrick’s experience includes shared governance, campus climate, faculty welfare, childcare, social belonging, academic personnel, faculty recruitment and retention, grievances and academic affirmative action. She also served as the 2011-2012 President of the UCLA Staff Assembly. Ms. Kirkpatrick earned her Bachelors of Arts in Sociology from UC Santa Barbara, and Masters of Arts in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies with an emphasis in Higher Education from California State University, Northridge.

  • anyssa llerena
    Anyssa Llerena-Tobin
    EDI Student Initiatives Lead
    Program Coordinator, EDI Student Advisory Board

    As the EDI Student Initiatives Lead, Ms. Llerena-Tobin assists in the development, implementation, and analysis of campus programs and projects related to Equity, Diversity and Inclusion. She also currently serves as the Program Coordinator for the Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Student Advisory Board. Anyssa’s research interests include the effects of diversity-related initiatives on student success metrics and the intersections of race, gender, and campus sexual assault. Ms. Llerena-Tobin received her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Loyola Marymount University in 2015, and Master of Arts in Psychology from California Baptist University in 2017.

  • johnathan perkins
    Johnathan Perkins
    Director, Race and Equity

    Mr. Perkins joined UCLA in the Fall of 2019 as Special Assistant to Vice Chancellor Kang and member of the BruinX Team. Before joining UCLA, Johnathan served within the Office of the General Counsel at Harvard University. During the first several years of his legal practice, he worked as an associate in the higher education division of a premier, Philadelphia-based law firm. In addition to these positions, Johnathan has also regularly served as a consultant, writer, and speaker on issues of equity, diversity, and inclusion. Johnathan received his J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law, and his B.A magna cum laude from Temple University.

  • carli straight
    Carli Straight
    Director of Institutional Research

    Dr. Straight is the Director of Institutional Research in the BruinX office. Carli began her career at UCLA as a Principal Statistician in the Academic Personnel Office. In this capacity, Carli played a significant role in the UCOP-mandated faculty salary equity study and evaluation of the Negotiated Salary Trial Program. In 2016, she joined BruinX as a data scientist. Having joined the team shortly after the office was established, Carli has been a key player in the conception and implementation of major office initiatives and projects, including the BruinX Dashboards, Faculty Hiring Process Assessment, BruinXperience app, Academic Affirmative Action Plan, Diversity Scorecard, and Faculty Hiring Portfolios. Carli has worked in the field of institutional research for over 10 years. She holds a B.A. in psychology from University of California, Santa Cruz and an M.A. and Ph.D. in psychology from Claremont Graduate University.

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    Jessenia Zelaya
    Program Coordinator
Civil Rights Office Unit

Civil Rights Office

In 2020, UCLA’s Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion unified existing civil rights investigatory units under the new Civil Rights Office (“CRO”), which serves UCLA’s campus and the UCLA Health System, and is led by the Assistant Vice Chancellor for Civil Rights. CRO ensures that UCLA remains in compliance with federal and state law and applicable UC policy concerning protections under Title VI and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972, the Americans with Disabilities Act, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and equal employment opportunity and affirmative action obligations. CRO is comprised of the following units:

Phone: (310) 825-3935

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Civil Rights Office Unit

Office of the Assistant Vice Chancellor for Civil Rights

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    J. Nicolas (“Nico”) Anwandter
    Civil Rights Office Health Investigator

    J. Nicolas (“Nico”) Anwandter joined UCLA’s Civil Rights Office as a Health Investigator in 2022 with an extensive employee relations and civil rights background.  As a California-licensed attorney with over six years of litigation experience, Mr. Anwandter represented both employees and employers in a wide variety of discrimination, harassment, retaliation, accommodation, and assault claims.  More recently, he served as an HR consultant to dozens of employers, developing policies and providing essential guidance to ensure compliance with federal, state, and local employment and labor laws.  In these roles, he also conducted, coordinated, assisted, and carefully reviewed the quality of workplace investigations.  Mr. Anwandter graduated from the University of California, Irvine School of Law, where he interned with the Department of Fair Employment and Housing and defended prisoner rights before the Ninth Circuit.  While earning his bachelor’s degree in public policy analysis at Pomona College, he volunteered with the Neighborhood Legal Services of Los Angeles, developing more efficient methods to bring legal services to the greater community.

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    Sarah Attar
    Civil Rights Office Health Investigator

    Ms. Attar joined UCLA’s Civil Rights Office in 2022. Ms. Attar is a California-licensed attorney with experience in healthcare law. She earned her Juris Doctor from the UCLA School of Law.

  • Yonit Kovnator
    Yonit Kovnator
    ADA/Section 504 Compliance Officer

    Yonit Kovnator joined UCLA in 2022, bringing over a decade of knowledge as an attorney with intersectional expertise on education and disability.  Prior to her role as ADA/Section 504 Compliance Officer, Ms. Kovnator dedicated her legal skills to helping serve California’s public schools and county offices of education, counseling clients at both the school site and administrative levels.  She regularly advised her clients on numerous topics including issues related to the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, as well as related state and federal law.  Ms. Kovnator earned her JD, with distinction, from the University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law and her BA from the University of California, San Diego.

  • olga lavinthal
    Olga Lavinthal
    AA Statistical/Compliance Analyst

    Ms. Lavinthal is an expert in statistical analysis, labor/employment issues, affirmative action, compliance, equity, and diversity. Ms. Lavinthal studied econometrics, political science, social movements, political organizations, government, and quantitative research methods. She has a Master of Philosophy (M.Phil.) degree from Columbia University. Ms. Lavinthal joined UCLA in 2000 and has worked on issues related to affirmative action, equity, organizational climate, and disparate impact. Between 2010 and 2013, she served on the Board of the Greater Los Angeles Industry Liaison Group (LAILG).

  • darryl lockett
    Darryl Lockett
    Civil Rights Office Health Investigator

    Mr. Lockett joined the Civil Rights Office in 2022. Prior to joining the CRO, Lockett served as a Deputy Title IX Coordinator for the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and Murray State University. In addition, Lockett also served as a Title IX Investigator for Northern Illinois University. Prior to Lockett’s Title IX appointments, he served as Assistant General Counsel for National Louis University. Lockett earned a Juris Doctorate from the University of Iowa College of Law and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Iowa School of Journalism & Mass Communication. Lockett also earned a Master of Business Administration from Roosevelt University, specializing in Integrated Marketing Communications.

  • carmen toscano
    Carmen Toscano
    Administrative Assistant for Assistant Vice Chancellor Chandra Bhatnagar

    Ms. Toscano graduated from UCLA with a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and History. Prior to joining the team, she was a National Finance Assistant for the Biden-Harris Campaign. During her time at UCLA, she interned at the California Department of Education and was an Elementary Education Director for Amigos de UCLA, a student-run service organization. She is delighted to return to UCLA and support EDI’s mission!

Civil Rights Office Unit

Discrimination Prevention Office (DPO)

The Discrimination Prevention Office (DPO) is responsible for assessing and investigating reports of discrimination or harassment based on race, ancestry, national origin, disability, religion, age, and other categories protected by law and University policy brought against academic personnel.

Email: dpo@equity.ucla.edu

Phone: (310) 794-1232

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  • dion raymond
    Dion-Cherie Raymond
    DPO Director

    Dion Raymond is a lawyer who earned her Bachelor of Arts Degree in English from UCLA and her Juris Doctorate from UC Hastings College of the Law in San Francisco. Ms. Raymond began her professional career with the Law Offices of Johnnie L. Cochran, Jr. as a litigator and trial attorney in civil rights law, employment, sexual harassment and insurance defense. In 1990, Ms. Raymond represented the estate of former Councilman Gilbert W. Lindsay, and in her first trial, obtained a favorable jury verdict for $235,000 for undue influence in April 1992. Ms. Raymond’s legal experience also includes employment defense, defense of the indigent for the Los Angeles County Public Defender’s Office, mental health, and anti-discrimination training.

    Ms. Raymond’s choice to enter the legal profession was seeded and inspired by her activism as an undergraduate at UCLA where she simultaneously held the positions of Black Student Alliance (BSA, now ASU) chair and Communications Board chairperson. That same year, Ms. Raymond was a part of student and community leadership that organized a boycott of classes and a mass student protest calling on the University of California to divest from companies doing business in apartheid South Africa. Drawing as many as 3,000 – 4,000 individuals, the Los Angeles Times reported that UCLA administrators said it was the largest student protest on campus since the Vietnam War. Ms. Raymond later went on to participate in the Los Angeles chapter of the Free South Africa Movement. In law school, Ms. Raymond was an active member of the Black Law Student’s Association (BLSA), taught in the Street Law Program, and was invited to teach in the Street Law Court Program, which was offered to first-time youthful offenders in lieu of a juvenile record.

    Recognizing the University’s commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion, Ms. Raymond also supports other campus stakeholders in this mission through activities such as Bruin Day, the Afrikan Graduation, and the Black Staff and Faculty Association. As an LGBTQ Resource Center Ally, Ms. Raymond has arranged for DPO and EDI-wide ally trainings. Most recently, Ms. Raymond was an invited speaker for the 2016 and 2017 Black Convocations, the 2018 keynote speaker for UCLA’s annual MLK Remembrance Day, a 2018 speaker and panelist for the UCLA Career Center’s “Careers Beyond the Courtroom” program, a panelist for ASU’s “Black by Popular Demand” for parents of newly admitted Black freshman, and a speaker and panelist along with professors Brenda Stevenson and Funmilola Fagbamila for the 2018 African American Studies-History Departments’ joint Black History Month Program, “Why Black Women’s Lives and Histories Matter.”

    Ms. Raymond is an active member of the California State Bar, a member of the Association of Workplace Investigators, the UCLA Black Alumni Association (UBAA), Black Women Lawyers (BWL), and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. A UCLA legacy, Ms. Raymond comes from a Bruin family which includes her son.

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    Brynn Cai
    Intake Specialist
  • rainbow gradient-colored bruin bear across a gradient yellow and blue background
    Scott Clark
  • john fuentes
    John Fuentes
  • rainbow gradient-colored bruin bear across a gradient yellow and blue background
    Nicole Lewis
    Case Manager
  • genevieve mayer
    Genevieve Mayer
    Administrative Specialist

    Ms. Mayer earned her Bachelor of Arts in History, summa cum laude, from UCLA, and JD/MBA from NYU.  While attending law school, Ms. Mayer was an active member of the Black Allied Law Students Association (BALSA) and the Review of Law and Social Change. Genevieve represented undocumented workers in wage claims to obtain back wages at Bet Tzedek Legal Services.  At Brooklyn Legal Services Corporation A, Ms. Mayer collaborated with the Fair Housing team where she provided legal and factual analyses of proposed strategies and approaches used in addressing endemic patterns of racial/religious discrimination in public housing in local neighborhoods. Genevieve began her career at UCLA in the Technology Development Group where she was a Patent Prosecution and Compliance Analyst. At TDG, Ms. Mayer provided analytical and administrative support to the Chief IP Officer, attorneys, and inventors. She coordinated actions relating to the patent process internally and externally with UCLA inventors, campus departments, outside patent counsel, sponsors, business partners, and the UC Office of the President. Ms. Mayer joined the EDI team in 2021. Ms. Mayer is the Administrative Specialist in the DPO office. In her current role, Genevieve provides support to the Director for the Discrimination Prevention Office (DPO) and to DPO staff.  Ms. Mayer manages the day-to-day operations for DPO and the DPO Director’s calendar, while maintaining highly sensitive, confidential information. Ms. Mayer is fluent in Spanish. She is delighted to continue at UCLA and support EDI’s mission!

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    Heidi Savabi
    Investigator, Discrimination Prevention Office

    Ms. Savabi is an attorney and joined the DPO in 2021 as an Investigator.  Prior to joining the DPO, Ms. Savabi worked at Sidley Austin LLP in New York City in commercial litigation, white collar litigation and investigations, and pro bono representation in matters ranging from immigration law to criminal defense.  Ms. Savabi has also worked as a teacher at an underserved public high school in Barranquilla, Colombia.  Ms. Savabi earned her Juris Doctor from Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law and her Bachelor of Arts in International Relations and Latin American Studies from the University of Miami.

Civil Rights Office Unit

Staff, Diversity & Equal Employment Opportunity Compliance Office (SD&C)

The Staff Diversity & Equal Employment Opportunity Compliance Office (SD&C) is responsible for assessing and investigating reports of all forms of discrimination or harassment protected by law and University policy brought against staff.

Email: staffdiversity@equity.ucla.edu

Phone: (310) 794-0691

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  • adriana ovalle-stevenson
    Adriana Ovalle Stevenson
    SD&C Director

    Ms. Ovalle Stevenson joined SD&C in 2018. Prior to joining SD&C, Adriana had worked for two large public universities conducting investigations into civil rights complaints. Adriana earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Southern California and her law degree from Arizona State University.

Civil Rights Office Unit

Title IX Office (T9)

The Title IX Office (T9) is responsible for assessing and investigating reports of gender discrimination, sexual harassment, and sexual violence brought against any member of the campus community.

Email: titleix@equity.ucla.edu

Phone: (310) 206-3476

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  • mohammed cato
    Mohammed Cato
    Title IX Director

    Raised in southern California, Mr. Cato received his bachelor’s degree from U.C. Irvine before obtaining a J.D. and Master’s in Urban Planning here at UCLA. From 2014-2017, Mr. Cato served as the Assistant Director of the Equal Opportunity Office and Deputy Title IX Coordinator at Western Washington University. Prior to this post, Mr. Cato spent multiple years working directly with students in Western Washington University’s Department of Residence Life.

  • candi smiley
    Candi Smiley
    Deputy Title IX Director

    Ms. Smiley joined UCLA’s EDI Office in 2019 with extensive Title IX experience. Prior to joining the team, Ms. Smiley served as the Title IX Coordinator for Howard University. During her tenure there, Ms. Smiley conducted and oversaw countless investigations, created the curriculum for and facilitated hundreds of trainings, and worked with numerous campus partners to develop strategic plans and create programming with the ultimate goal of achieving an educational environment free of harassment and discrimination. Ms. Smiley earned her Juris Doctorate from the Indiana University Maurer School of Law.

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    Jessica Corona
    Special Assistant

    Ms. Corona is the Title IX Office’s Special Assistant. Ms. Corona graduated from the University of California, Irvine (UCI) where she majored in Sociology and double minored in English and Business Management. Upon graduation, Ms. Corona interned with the Legal Aid Society of Orange County’s Fund Development department, and shortly thereafter, attended and graduated from Notre Dame Law School, receiving her JD. Upon graduation, Ms. Corona had a fellowship with the California Charter School Association, researching education law matters and the growing demographic of charter schools and their role in education. Ms. Corona has worked with different nonprofits throughout Southern California, always aspiring to find a way to make a difference and contribute to those in need. In her last role as the Program Assistant with Kids in Need of Defense (KIND), Ms. Corona managed data, conducted client intakes, ran the intern program, assisted with office management, and served as the first contact for families looking for immigration assistance.

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    Agustin Corral
  • rainbow gradient-colored bruin bear across a gradient yellow and blue background
    Maria De Howitt
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    Dennis DePalma

    Mr. DePalma joined the Title IX Office in 2017 as a Special Assistant. Prior to joining the Title IX Office, Mr. DePalma spent seventeen years as an employment law specialist at a variety of firms, including the firms of Seyfarth Shaw LLP and Ogletree Deakins LLP. As an employment litigator, he conducted investigations into discrimination and harassment matters, trained supervisors and other personnel about anti-discrimination and anti-harassment laws and policies, developed anti-discrimination and anti-harassment policies and practices, and mediated and resolved discrimination and harassment disputes, in addition to other matters. Mr. DePalma earned bachelor’s degrees in English and Political Science from Bradley University and his Juris Doctorate from the University of Southern California.

  • rainbow gradient-colored bruin bear across a gradient yellow and blue background
    Vanessa Himeles

    Ms. Himeles joined the Title IX Office in 2020. Prior to joining the Title IX Office, she worked as a neutral Investigator at Public Interest Investigations, Inc. conducting third-party Title IX and workplace investigations. She is also an Association of Workplace Investigators Certificate Holder (SWI-CH). An attorney licensed to practice in California, Himeles has represented employees in workplace claims of sexual harassment and discrimination, including cases based on race, gender, sexual orientation, and retaliation. Her legal practice also involved the area of consumer protection. Previously, she served as a fellow for the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center’s Legal Clinic, working with clients of the Anti-Violence Project. While attending Loyola Law School in Los Angeles, Himeles spent two years working to exonerate those wrongfully convicted as part of Loyola’s Project for the Innocent. She earned her bachelor’s degree from University of California, San Diego, and her law degree from Loyola.

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    Taylor Marvulli
    Intake Specialist
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    Crystal Thomas Lipa
    Response Team Coordinator

    Ms. Lipa is the Title IX Response Team Coordinator. Prior to joining the team, Ms. Lipa earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from UCLA in Gender Studies with a minor in Philosophy. Her previous career roles in the legal industry include over 15 years of civil and employment litigation experience, and as a teaching assistant as a TRAC fellow. While at UCLA, Ms. Lipa led operations to establish and collaborate with campus faculty, staff, and underrepresented and vulnerable students to expand resources and accessibility. In response to qualitative and quantitative data, Ms. Lipa spearheaded an annual symposium to promote inclusivity concentrated on students with dependents. She has bridged her experience with key stakeholders to communicate the nontraditional student experience initiating numerous policy proposals.

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    Sara Tropea

    Ms. Tropea joined the Title IX Office in 2019. Prior to joining the team, she worked as an Investigator at Public Interest Investigations conducting workplace and Title IX investigations. Ms. Tropea is an attorney, who spent ten years litigating personal injury, wrongful death, product liability, employment, and commercial matters, before turning her focus to investigations. Throughout her career, Ms. Tropea has been active in providing pro bono legal services; she has represented clients seeking asylum and in unlawful detainer matters, volunteered as a legal observer for Election Protection, and provided limited scope representation at clinics for domestic violence survivors, veterans, and DACA recipients. Before becoming an attorney, Ms. Tropea worked in national politics; she worked at EMILY’s List helping to elect women to office, and served as a staff assistant on Capitol Hill and an intern at the White House. Ms. Tropea earned her B.A. from UCLA and her J.D. from the University of San Francisco School of Law.