Staff & Researchers

Fernando J. Guerra

Fernando J. Guerra
Director

1 LMU Drive, Suite 4119
Los Angeles, CA 90045
P: 310.338.4565
E: fguerra@lmu.edu

Fernando J. Guerra, professor of political science and Chicana/o studies, is the founding director of the Center for the Study of Los Angeles at LMU. Guerra has served on standing commissions, blue ribbon committees, and ad hoc task forces for the City of Los Angeles, the State of California, and regional bodies in Southern California. He is a source for the media at the local, national, and international level and has published in the area of state and local government and urban and ethnic politics. He earned his doctorate in Political Science from the University of Michigan and his BA from the University of Southern California.

 

Brianne Gilbert

Brianne Gilbert
Associate Director

1 LMU Drive, Suite 4114
Los Angeles, CA 90045
P: 310.338.1779
E: brianne.gilbert@lmu.edu

Brianne Gilbert is the associate director for the Center for the Study of Los Angeles and an adjunct faculty member in political science and urban studies at LMU. She has worked on dozens of studies involving voter polls, public opinion research, and leaders/elite surveys and has served as a consultant in the fields of sociology, anthropology, GIS (geographic information systems), methodology, and public opinion research. She also is the author of Statistics in the Social Sciences: Inferential Statistics as Rhetoric in Sociology. Gilbert received her BA from Wittenberg University and her MA from Florida International University.

 

Berto Solis

Berto Solis
Research Associate

1 LMU Drive, Suite 4116
Los Angeles, CA 90045
P: 310.338.1819
E: berto.solis@lmu.edu

Berto Solis is a research associate at the Center for the Study of Los Angeles. Solis manages visual and editorial unity across the Center’s print, web, and audio visual materials. He also serves as the Center’s special events coordinator, promoting, planning, and executing Center activities including lectures, forums, and conferences. He mentors undergraduate students on research design and presentation skills during large scale academic projects run by the Center. Solis received his BA in Spanish and Latin American and Iberian Studies from UC Santa Barbara.

 

Alejandra Alarcon

Alejandra Alarcon
Research Coordinator

1 LMU Drive, Suite 4119
Los Angeles, CA 90045
P: 310.338.4565
E: alejandra.alarcon@lmu.edu

Alejandra Alarcon is the research coordinator for the Center for the Study of Los Angeles. She serves as the Center’s office manager and scheduler and is the first point of contact for Center communications. She leads the Center’s undergraduate student research assistants and mentors them through research projects as they continue to develop their methodological and technical skills. Her research interests include race-sex-gender studies, contemporary urban issues and community studies. Alarcon earned her BA in Chicana/o Studies from LMU.

 

Alex Kempler

Alex Kempler

Alex Kempler
Research Assistant

1 LMU Drive, Suite 4116
Los Angeles, CA 90045
P: 310.338.5254
E: alex.kempler@lmu.edu

Alex Kempler is the research assistant for the Center for the Study of Los Angeles. She helps to develop, implement, and manage all phases of StudyLA’s research projects, including Forecast LA, exit polls, and new projects. She aids in qualitative and quantitative research, the preparation of research reports, and the dissemination of results. Her research interests include cultural sociology, community based studies, and social movements. Kempler earned her B.A in Sociology from Whitman College.

 

Melissa Alvarenga

Melissa Alvarenga

Melissa Alvarenga
Director of Development

1 LMU Drive, Suite 2822
Los Angeles, CA 90045
P: 310.338.5975
E: melissa.alvarenga@lmu.edu


Melissa R. Alvarenga ’06 is the director of development for the Thomas and Dorothy Leavey Center for the Study of Los Angeles, where she develops fundraising opportunities with local partners and corporate and foundation sponsors. She ran the service learning program at Fordham University in New York and worked at Columbia Law School, USC and Cedars-Sinai to increase leadership fundraising efforts. Alvarenga earned her B.A. in English and Communication Studies from LMU. She earned her M.A. in Sociology from Fordham University.

 

David R Ayón

David R. Ayón
Senior Fellow

1 LMU Drive, Suite 3317
Los Angeles, CA 90045
P: 310.338.6060
E: david.ayon@lmu.edu

David R. Ayón is a senior fellow at the Center for the Study of Los Angeles as well as a senior strategist and advisor at Latino Decisions. Previously he was senior advisor to the Mexico Institute of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. Ayón is also a political analyst, writer and lecturer specializing in Latino Politics, U.S.-Mexico relations, and politics in the United States and Mexico. Educated at Princeton, Stanford and El Colegio de Mexico, Ayón has taught courses on politics, U.S.-Latin American relations and Latino Studies, and is an adjunct faculty member in political science at LMU. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and a director of the U.S.-Mexico Foundation.

 

Steven Bradford

Steven Bradford
Senior Fellow

Steven Bradford is a senior fellow at the Center for the Study of Los Angeles. Bradford made history as the first African American member of the Gardena City Council, a position he held for 12 years. During his time on the council, he presided over job and business growth and a balanced budget for the city. In 2009 he took those governing skills to Sacramento when he was elected to represent the 51st Assembly District. He was re-elected in 2010, and in 2012 he was elected once again to represent the redrawn 62nd District. Former Assembly Member Bradford earned a degree in political science from California State University, Dominguez Hills.

 

Maia Krause

Maia Krause
Research Fellow

Maia Krause is a research fellow at the Center for the Study of Los Angeles. She assists with various phases of research including survey development, implementation, and dissemination. Prior to joining the Center she completed her PhD in English at UC Irvine. At UCI, she worked at the UC Humanities Research Institute, where she provided administrative and research support to initiatives in the humanities and social sciences. Krause earned her BA in English from Stanford University.

 

Mara A. Cohen-Marks

Mara A. Cohen Marks
Senior Fellow

Mara A. Cohen-Marks is a senior fellow at the Center for the Study of Los Angeles. Her scholarship on topics such as housing, community redevelopment, racial and ethnic politics, public opinion, and local elections appears in leading peer-reviewed and professional journals. Active in community organizations, she is a board member of a community organization called One LA and an alumni ambassador for the OpEd Project. Cohen-Marks received her PhD in political science from UCLA and her BA in political science from Colorado College.

 

Matt A. Barreto

Matt A. Barreto
Research Scholar

Matt A. Barreto is a research scholar at the Center for the Study of Los Angeles and the co-founder and managing partner of the polling and research firm Latino Decisions. Barreto is also a professor of political science and Chicana/o studies at UCLA. The recipient of numerous recognitions for his research, including being named one of the top 15 leading Latino pundits by Huffington Post, he has been invited to brief the U.S. Senate, the White House, Congressional Committees, and has been a keynote speaker at many of the major Hispanic association conferences including NALEO, LULAC, CHCI, NCLR and others. He received his PhD in political science from the University of California, Irvine.

 

Stephen A. Nuño

Stephen A. Nuño
Research Scholar

Stephen A. Nuño is a research scholar at the Center for the Study of Los Angeles. He is also an associate professor studying political behavior, race and ethnic politics, Latino politics, mobilization, and partisanship at Northern Arizona University. Nuño is a contributor for NBC News-Latino, where he focuses on national stories that have an impact on the Latino community. He has written over 100 pieces for NBC, along with articles for Reuters, TPM, MSNBC, and The Monkey Cage Blog for Washington Post. He has a BA from UCLA and a PhD from UC Irvine, both in political science.

 

Nathan D. Woods

Nathan D. Woods
Research Scholar

Nathan D. Woods is a research scholar at the Center for the Study of Los Angeles and a partner of the Washington D.C. office of Edgeworth Economics, a consulting firm specializing in economic and statistical analysis. Woods serves as a consulting and expert witness and supervises economic and statistical research projects requiring the construction and analysis of large statistical and analytical databases. His published research concerns the application of statistics to answering questions surrounding political representation, public opinion, and participation. He has a PhD in political science from the Claremont Graduate University’s School of Politics and Economics.

 

Frank Romo

Frank Romo
Graduate Fellow

Frank J. Romo is a graduate fellow at the Center for the Study of Los Angeles. He earned his BA in Chicana/o Studies and Urban Studies from LMU in 2012. After graduation, Frank engaged in a yearlong post-graduate studies program in architecture and planning at Columbia University. Frank is currently pursuing a MA in Urban Planning at the University of Michigan. Frank’s Los Angeles based research seeks to document the expansion of the LA Metro Rail and monitor its effects on economic development throughout the region.

 

Mason Stockstill

Mason Stockstill
Assistant Director of Communications
and Media Relations at LMU

Mason Stockstill is an Assistant Director of Communications and Media Relations at LMU. Previously he worked in communications for Oakland-based SEIU United Healthcare Workers-West, and as a journalist for the Los Angeles Newspaper Group, The Associated Press, and City News Service. His work as a reporter was honored by the Society of Professional Journalists and the California Newspaper Publishers Association, and he twice placed in the National Headliner Awards. A native of Southern California, Stockstill earned a BA in American Literature and Culture from UCLA and an MFA in English and Creative Writing from Mills College, where he also taught writing.

 

Xinyi Hu

Xinyi Hu

Xinyi Hu
Graduate Assistant
StudyLA

Xinyi Hu is a graduate assistant at StudyLA. She received her master's degree in TESOL from USC and enrolled in LMU's Chinese bilingual education program in 2016 to continue pursuing her teaching credential. Her current interests include international education, Chinese language teaching, and immersion language teaching methods. Xinyi works on a variety of StudyLA projects including social media, office management, and undergraduate supervision. Prior to coming to the US, Xinyi studied language translation with a focus on business in Tianjin, China and worked as an oral English instructor for a private language institution.