People

Lab Director
Dr. Tiffany Brannon : Assistant Professor, CCL Director

Dr. Tiffany Brannon

Assistant Professor, CCL Director


Tiffany N. Brannon received her Ph.D. and M.A. in Social Psychology from Stanford University and her B.A. in Psychology from Florida International University. Her research examines socio-cultural identities in negatively stereotyped groups such as African-Americans and Latino-Americans; and she investigates the potential for these identities to serve as a psychological resource— one that can facilitate a variety of individual and intergroup benefits. Her research integrates basic psychological theories related to the self, multicultural experiences, and consistency theories to understand the conditions that allow culturally shaped identities in negatively stereotyped groups to function as powerful agents of social change. This research has demonstrated that culturally shaped identities when affirmed within mainstream educational settings can increase academic motivation and performance in members of negatively stereotyped groups and can improve the intergroup attitudes of majority group members.

Graduate Students
Gerald Higginbotham : 3rd year doctoral candidate

Gerald Higginbotham

3rd year doctoral candidate


Why do you think it is important to study diversity and inclusion?

I believe that studying diversity in a way that treats identities as tied to particular experiences and histories is vital as the U.S. grows more diverse along various identities. I think that it is critical to understand how identities work in academic spaces to ensure that all students feel like they belong in these spaces while not needing to downplay parts of their identity they may view as important. I feel that being able to be yourself and interact with others who are bringing their own diverse backgrounds and perspectives into a situation can significantly contribute to learning how to coexist and appreciate differences in an increasingly connected world.

Describe a time you felt socially connected to UCLA?
Although I do identify as a nerd, I feel most connected to UCLA when I am doing things outside of school and research. I really like interpersonal interactions with UCLA undergraduates, other graduate students and faculty. One particular time where I felt socially connected to UCLA was when the CCL lab went to see an early screening of the Fox series “Shots Fired,” because in addition to getting to interact interpersonally, I felt that I was a part of a unique experience shared only between those at UCLA.

Kimberly Martin : 2nd year doctoral candidate

Kimberly Martin

2nd year doctoral candidate


Why do you think it is important to study diversity and inclusion? 

I believe it is important to study diversity and inclusion because it offers the opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of the world we live in and the various and beautiful identities that each person has. We can investigate topics such as intergroup interactions, differing perceptions of individuals based on group membership and discriminatory treatment with the goal of advocating and finding mechanisms for change that helps others as we work toward recognizing, better understanding, respecting and celebrating one another.

Describe a time you felt socially connected to UCLA?
I can honestly say even before moving to LA I felt socially connected to UCLA because of the warm, inviting and helpful interactions I had with the faculty and the students. I am so looking forward to strengthening these connections and building more of them as I start my studies at UCLA.

Lianne Barnes : 6th year doctoral candidate

Lianne Barnes

6th year doctoral candidate


Why do you think it is important to study diversity and inclusion?

If we truly want to understand human experience, we need to understand all human experience. There is a vast, rich world that has been largely ignored by science until recently. More than that, however, is our obligation as scientists to improve people’s lives, and we can only do that if we study those who have been left behind.

Describe a time you felt socially connected to UCLA?
There is an organization in our department called UGSP (Underrepresented Graduate Students in Psychology), in which students of color, LGBTQ+ students, and students who have experienced adversity all help each other navigate academia and provide a space to vent and bond. UGSP helped me feel socially connected and supported when I arrived here.

Pete Fisher : 1st year doctoral candidate

Pete Fisher

1st year doctoral candidate

 

Why do you think it is important to study diversity and inclusion? 

I chose to study psychology to advance causes of social justice and equality through rigorous empirical research. I want to encourage members of privileged social groups to engage with their identities and values when considering diversity and inclusion initiatives, because I think it is easy for people in these groups to overlook the reasons these initiatives are important. Everyone benefits from increased diversity, and I want to understand the psychological barriers that keep people in privileged groups from supporting these causes. How can white people have productive conversations about race with other white people? How can men help other men understand sexism? These are questions that I want to help people answer.

Describe a time you felt socially connected to UCLA? 

I met many members of the CCL for the first time at the SPSP conference in 2018, before I'd officially started as a graduate student at UCLA. I was blown away by everyone's  welcoming attitude, natural curiosity, and passion for research. Thanks to them, I felt like a member of the community even before I arrived in LA. I'm excited to build more connections at UCLA through my classes and joining different campus groups and activities.

Lab Managers
Marjorie Llanera : 3rd year Psychology major and minor in Asian American Studies

Marjorie Llanera

3rd year Psychology major and minor in Asian American Studies


Number of quarters in CCL:
3 Quarters

Why do you think it is important to study diversity and inclusion? 

It is important to study diversity and inclusion because separating races and ethnicities facilitate this social misunderstanding that each group should have a consciousness against each other when in reality they should unite to trump down racism and discrimination. Being able to share about one's backgrounds, experiences, and perceptions and learn from others helps ensure a more open-minded, accepting world. 

Describe a time you felt socially connected to UCLA? 

Despite this being an interaction with one person, I think the first time I felt socially connected to UCLA was when I attended my first office hours for an Asian American Studies course. A teaching assistant assured me that students should not be afraid to seek academic support, as well as emotional support, from school faculty. What blossomed out of this realization is a beautiful friendship with this said person—along with another teaching assistant—till this day!

Abigail Greydanus : 4th year, Psychology major

Abigail Greydanus

4th year, Psychology major


Number of quarters in CCL:
3

Why do you think it is important to study diversity and inclusion? 

I think that diversity and inclusion are important topics of study because without studying their impact on society it may become easier for people to push for a globalized identity, resulting in people looking at one another from an ethnocentric standpoint rather than a holistic one. Studying the impacts of these things can help us advance inclusive spaces and social progress. 

Describe a time you felt socially connected to UCLA? 

I have felt most socially connected to UCLA when I talk to UCLA alumni and hear their enthusiasm about the experience they had while attending. I also feel connected when doing things at the UCLA LGBTQ center.

Honors/Independent Studies Students
Rhiannon Davies : 4th year Psychobiology student

Rhiannon Davies

4th year Psychobiology student


Number of quarters in CCL:
 5 quarters

Why do you think it is important to study diversity and inclusion?
Diversity and inclusion are prominent issues in today’s society and the most important part of studying these topics is the application in day-to-day life. The data produced from studying diversity and inclusion can be applied to universities, workplaces, etc. and the impact could be incredible.

Describe a time you felt socially connected to UCLA?
I’m an editor for the Daily Bruin and I feel very socially connected to UCLA while working late into the night during production with my fellow editors. Working with my peers in order to engage other students with UCLA-related content and news is such an amazing experience, especially along with the laughs that come with late nights in the office.

Isabel Leamon : 4th year Psychology and Anthropology student

Isabel Leamon

4th year Psychology and Anthropology student


Number of quarters in CCL: 
4 quarters

Why do you think it is important to study diversity and inclusion?
Most people’s understandings of diversity and inclusion are based on their own lived experiences and identities. By scientifically studying diversity and inclusion, we can eliminate some of this subjectivity and educate people about others’ perspectives, especially those viewpoints underrepresented in mainstream media and positions of power. This is crucial for improving policy decisions and intergroup interactions.

Describe a time you felt socially connected to UCLA?
I felt socially connected to UCLA earlier this year when I attended the UCLA Critical Race Symposium. Hearing UCLA professors present their research and discuss issues I am passionate about, I felt like a part of the UCLA academic community.

Dreama Rhodes : 4th year Psychology Major and Education Studies Minor student

Dreama Rhodes

4th year Psychology Major and Education Studies Minor student


Number of quarters in CCL:
 4 

Why do you think it is important to study diversity and inclusion?
It is important to study diversity because it is something we are constantly exposed to, and will always be exposed to. To me, inclusion is always important to study, but especially in the context of education. There are too many negative effects that can arise when students are excluded from academics.

Describe a time you felt socially connected to UCLA? 
As a Cub Tour guide and a New Student Orientation Advisor, I get the opportunity to brag about how great UCLA is and also help incoming students plan their career here. Participating in these organizations allowed me to meet a variety of people, attend more events on and off campus, and showed me how my job and volunteering opportunity helped me find my place here at UCLA. I like being able to tell prospective and incoming students about the communities I am part of and show them this is an option for them too.

Tracy Saw : 4th year Psychology and Global Studies student

Tracy Saw

4th year Psychology and Global Studies student


Number of quarters in CCL:
 6 quarters

Why do you think it is important to study diversity and inclusion? 
World Peace – the conflicts that have plagued our global community for the past decade has been built on racial intolerance, prejudice and segregation. Understanding how individuals can better embrace diversity and how inclusive environments can be created are the baby steps to making a peaceful world 🙂

Describe a time you felt socially connected to UCLA? 
My very first BeatSC Rally – it was a year that there was no bonfire but the school spirit was certainly burning strong within us and I got to experienced the best 8-clap ever!

Evelyn Vazquez : 4th year Psychology major

Evelyn Vazquez

4th year Psychology major


How long have you been in CCL?
5 quarters

Why do you think it is important to study diversity and inclusion? 
I believe it is important to study diversity and inclusion because it is the starting point to see where as a society we need to grow and how we can improve. It also validates the lived experiences of other individuals who at times don’t have a name or feel they are alone in an experience.

Describe a time you felt socially connected to UCLA? I felt socially connected the first time I stepped on this campus after getting my letter of admission at a yield event. They made me feel like I did belong on this campus and had a community that was unique to UCLA in a way that I hadn’t experienced at any other campus. I saw celebration of ourselves as unique individuals with a shared goal throughout the following days interacting with the various other students accepted

Research Assistants
Nia McClinton : 2nd year Psychology student

Nia McClinton

2nd year Psychology student


How long have you been in CCL?
3 quarters

Why do you think it is important to study diversity and inclusion?
I believe that studying diversity and inclusion is crucial to creating the world that is considerate and accepting of all identities and creeds of people. More importantly being socially aware and active on issues of diversity and inclusion is necessary work, that will only lead to the betterment of the world for everyone.

Describe a time you felt socially connected to UCLA?
One time when I felt the most socially connected to UCLA was when I was first accepted. Being admitted and attending registration and seeing all of the other student’s positive energy really inspired me to make my experience here a great one.
Thaddeus Demeke : 4th year Psychology major and Statistics minor

Thaddeus Demeke

4th year Psychology major and Statistics minor


Number of quarters in CCL:
 2

Why do you think it is important to study diversity and inclusion? 

Diversity and inclusion is everywhere! Diversity can be a very beautiful thing; people with different experiences and lives coming together. However, diversity can also cause confusing situations, disputes and misunderstandings. And so, by studying these things, I believe we can help work towards a world that is diverse and inclusive in such a way that creates a loving and accepting environment between all cultures.

Describe a time you felt socially connected to UCLA? 

Getting involved as a Resident Assistant in Residential Life at UCLA and being involved in a cappella here on campus have made me feel socially connected to UCLA! Every time I walk through my floor halls and I check-in with the other residents, as well as tell them about what's going on with me, I'm reminded of how amazing the people at UCLA really are and I feel a connection to this campus. Getting involved in these activities and conversing with many others have made all the stresses of being a college student very bearable and made me love UCLA! Go Bruins!

Jose Cervantez : 3rd year Psychology Major and Education Studies Minor

Jose Cervantez

3rd year Psychology Major and Education Studies Minor

 

Number of quarters in CCL: 1

Why do you think it is important to study diversity and inclusion? 

There is much to be learned from people that are different from ourselves. Each and every one of us has a unique background, heritage, upbringing, value system, and insight that can add to our story and perspective of the world. It is with the help of each other that we can create a world full of humility, strength, depth and breadth.

Describe a time you felt socially connected to UCLA?

As a transfer student, I felt extremely nervous and intimidated prior to beginning at UCLA, however, shortly after becoming a bruin I had the pleasure of presenting my research at the Multidisciplinary Undergraduate Research Conference. I absolutely loved it--I knew that UCLA was the school for me, and I could feel the confirmation from the very beginning of the day. The richness of the campus was evident in the students, classrooms, and instructors; UCLA has given me the opportunity to pursue my dreams and follow my passions.

Samantha Eisert : 3rd year Psychology major and Environmental Systems and Society Minor

Samantha Eisert

3rd year Psychology major and Environmental Systems and Society Minor

 

Number of Quarter in CCL: 2

Why do you think it is important to study diversity and inclusion?

In studying diversity and inclusion, you come to realize that while everyone is unique and different in their own culture and ways, biologically, we are 99.9% the same. Learning about diverse cultures and their experiences inspires empathy which is fundamental in eliminating racial biases that effect our policies and day-to-day life. It is critical for students to study diversity and learn how to make people of every background feel included in our very diverse society.

Describe a time you felt socially connected to UCLA?

I first felt socially connected at UCLA when I came to student orientation over summer and I was grouped with five other girls in the Academic Advancement Program. At one point during orientation, we sat down in a circle and our New Student Advisor prompted us to talk about the adversity we faced before coming to UCLA. I realized, like me, many of the other girls had come from adverse backgrounds and it made me feel less ashamed of things I have been through and more obliged to share my story.

Priya Dahiya : 3rd year Psychology major and Public Affairs minor

Priya Dahiya

3rd year Psychology major and Public Affairs minor

 

Number of quarters in CCL: 1

Why do you think it is important to study diversity and inclusion? 

Studying and implementing diversity and inclusion with the purpose of justice is vital to create and foster spaces that not only recognize the specific struggles and histories of marginalized communities but also provide those communities with more equitable opportunities to thrive. Celebrating diversity helps people of different backgrounds feel more safe in openly sharing their experiences and developing their multidimensional identities. Moreover, these open dialogues across communities are immensely important for all people to understand different perspectives and to empathize.

Describe a time you felt socially connected to UCLA? 

I have found a home and support system through Indus, a sociopolitical South Asian organization at UCLA. The first time I attended an Indus meeting as an intern my freshmen year, I felt loved and empowered to speak on personal experiences of hardship and resilience. Since then, Indus has continued to validate my truths and has challenged me to grow with my community.

Amber Barnes : 3rd year Psychology major and African American Studies minor

Amber Barnes

3rd year Psychology major and African American Studies minor

 

Number of quarters in CCL: 2

Why do you think it is important to study diversity and inclusion? 

As a very diverse country that often tries to promote diverse workspaces and communities, it is important that everyone in these communities feel valued and supported. Understanding how we can interact and celebrate our own diverse sets of ideas, traditions, and desires can be a great benefit to all of us. Studying diversity and inclusion also serves as a resource to combat issues where individuals are not being valued and supported in their communities.

Describe a time you felt socially connected to UCLA?

I felt socially connected at the Freshman Summer Program, where I was surrounded by people that came from communities like mine. The thought of all of us experiencing such a new chapter in our lives together brought many of us closer and allowed me to form such great bonds. 

Lab Alumni

Angeli Indran : 3rd year Psychology student

Angeli Indran

3rd year Psychology student

 

How long were you in CCL? 4 quarters

Why do you think it is important to study diversity and inclusion?
It is so important to study diversity and inclusion because it is extremely difficult to understand the perspective and experiences of others who are not like ourselves. Studying diversity and inclusion is one of the best ways to accomplish this goal of better social understanding.

Describe a time you felt socially connected to UCLA.
I felt socially connected to UCLA when I first started engaging in extracurricular activities. Before I did this, I felt like just another face in a classroom without somewhere to belong. After this change, I felt more involved in my community and connected to my peers.

Shima Esmaeili : UCSD, Class of 2017

Shima Esmaeili

UCSD, Class of 2017


How long were you in CCL?
1 quarter

Why do you think it is important to study diversity and inclusion?  

It is important to study diversity and inclusion so that we can better understand the effects in everyday settings;  in academia and in the work place. Especially in a city as diverse as Los Angeles. Studying the effects of diversity and inclusion is a precursor for developing better environments so that people of different backgrounds can feel a sense of inclusion and continue to progress in their personal and collective growth. 

Describe a time you felt socially connected to UCLA? 

I did not attend UCLA, I cannot really answer this. But the time I felt most connected to a UC was during a workshop that was run by members of a greek fraternity for a sorority, which required a room full of girls to try and identify themselves in as many ways as possible, and seeing how diverse we all were made it so much easier to feel comfortable and connected. 

Aaron Kinsfather : Departmental Honors researcher, Class of 2017

Aaron Kinsfather

Departmental Honors researcher, Class of 2017


How long were you in CCL? 
6 quarters

Why do you think it is important to study diversity and inclusion?
I think it’s important because it affects us all. We all ARE diversity, we make up the rich, complex people of this world, and those differences between us should be celebrated. We are also responsible for inclusion, we help create the environment around us and can be the difference between a welcoming environment and a hostile one. We have a responsibility to ourselves and each other to make this world more inclusive for everyone.

Describe a time you felt socially connected to UCLA?
I feel connected to UCLA every time I meet and work with members of the CCL lab. The people in this lab have become more than just my friends; they’re like a little family for me here at UCLA. We have such robust conversations about current events on campus and on a national and global level, and these conversations often turn to research and how we would study these situations in the lab. It’s an inspiring environment, and I feel connected to each and every person in there who supports and encourages me.

Eduardo Lara : Independent Research student, Class of 2017

Eduardo Lara

Independent Research student, Class of 2017


How long were you in CCL?
 6 quarters

Why do you think it is important to study diversity and inclusion?
It is important to study diversity and inclusion to take into consideration the wide range of thoughts and experiences that exists in our society. Specifically, people from diverse backgrounds offer new perspectives that can help to make research and education more comprehensive/representative for people of all backgrounds.

Describe a time you felt socially connected to UCLA? 
The Word is an open mic and spoken word event held each week in Kerckhoff Hall. My first time going to this event, I was moved by the ways that UCLA students unapologetically expressed themselves through poetry and art. In this space I felt connected to the experiences of these students and was compelled to get involved in arts and activism at UCLA.

Shani Levi : Independent Research student, Class of 2017

Shani Levi

Independent Research student, Class of 2017


How long were you in CCL?
 5 quarters

Why do you think it is important to study diversity and inclusion?
At the age of 12, I moved to the United States from Israel, this allows me to look at everyday problems from a different perspective. It is extremely important for me to study diversity and inclusion because I think people from different countries share more similarities than differences. I would like to teach others about how to get along and reduce the hate among other countries or cultures.

Describe a time you felt socially connected to UCLA?
One time when I felt socially connected to UCLA was when I attended my first football game. This is the first big sporting event I have been to which made the energy and enthusiasm in the crowd more enjoyable. It made me feel connected to other bruins from all different majors, class grades, and races, we all came together to cheer on the same football team.

Frida Rojas-Cisneros : Class of 2017

Frida Rojas-Cisneros

Class of 2017


How long have you been in CCL?
 2 quarter

Why do you think it is important to study diversity and inclusion?
It’s important to study diversity and inclusion because if a student doesn’t feel like they belong at their university, that might reflect negatively on their grades. Universities need to implement policies based on research that has proven to be effective on inclusion and diversity in order to positively impact the experience of higher education for underrepresented students.

Describe a time you felt socially connected to UCLA? 
A time I felt socially connected to UCLA was during the summer transfer program. That is where I met fellow students that could relate to my experiences.

Thaksaporn (Tatt) Chitrakorn : 3rd year Psychology major

Thaksaporn (Tatt) Chitrakorn

3rd year Psychology major


How long were you in CCL? 2

 

Why do you think it is important to study diversity and inclusion?
For many people, we naturally like to be surrounded by people who are "like us," but what we tend to forget is that we’re not all that different from someone who’s sitting next to us in class or even a random person on the street. Everyone is unique but we can all connect to each other in some way. Especially in the world where the differences often get exaggerated through social media and are used by certain groups to tear us apart, it is absolutely crucial that we learn to appreciate the diversity and remind ourselves that it is the variations in human race that make our world so beautiful and fascinating.

Describe a time you felt socially connected to UCLA?
The first time I felt socially connected to UCLA was when I met this one girl through some mutual friends at Boiling Crab in Westwood the very first week I came to LA. As someone who grew up in a community where mental health topics are highly stigmatized, I felt very accepted and understood for the first time after having a conversation with her about mental health. She has become an important part of my college career and is now one of my closest friends.