Team

Staff

Jarvis Sulcer, Ph.D.

Executive Director

Jarvis joined LPFI in 2007, first as Academic Director and most recently serving as the Director of Education overseeing the SMASH and IDEAL programs. He brings with him a deep passion for our mission and experience in making an impact through education. He will lead LPFI in expanding the impact of its education programs and institutional research. He received his Ph.D. in Nuclear Science and Engineering at Cornell University in 1998. He was the only African-American male in the United States to receive a Ph.D. in his field of study that year.

Janeen Mendoza Perez

Development Associate

Janeen Mendoza Perez is a California native who grew up in the San Joaquin Valley. She’s the proud daughter of immigrants Jesus and Consuelo Perez originally from El Ejido Hermosillo, Baja California,México. She graduated from the University of California San Diego in 2011 with a B.A. in Economics and Latin American Studies and studied abroad in Milan, Italy and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. After completing a year of AmeriCorp’s in Oakland, she joined LPFI as a Resident Advisor for Cal's SMASH program.

Alexis Martin, Ph.D.

Senior Research Associate

Alexis Martin joined LPFI in 2011. Alexis received her Ph.D. in Social and Cultural Studies at UC Berkeley's Graduate School of Education, her B.A. in Interdisciplinary Social Sciences from the University of Redlands, and her M.A. in Education from UC Berkeley. Prior to LPFI she taught education courses at UC Berkeley & Sonoma State University, and worked with teachers in professional development inquiry groups examining equity in their classrooms. She has also taught high school social studies and has done outreach with students who were the first in their families to attend college.

Allison Scott, Ph.D.

Director of Research and Evaluation

Allison conducts and manages empirical research related to hidden bias and barriers in K-12, higher education, and the workplace. This research agenda is centered on expanding the understanding of hidden bias and inequity and providing practical solutions to ensure fairness from the classroom to the boardroom.  Allison comes to LPFI with a research background focused extensively on investigating educational inequality, perceived racial bias and discrimination, and educational outcomes for individuals with diverse backgrounds.

Bianca Escalante

Associate Director of Development

Born in Los Angeles, Bianca is the daughter of a Guatemalan father and a Costa Rican mother, both of whom immigrated to the United States in the 1970’s.

Catherine Douglas

SMASH: UCLA Site Director

Cathy is the Site Coordinator SMASH: UCLA. Additionally, she works as a the Associate Director, Pre-College Programs for the Center for Excellence in Engineering and Diversity (CEED) in the Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science (HSSEAS). In this capacity, she is responsible for the academic year coordination of Mathematics Engineering Science Achievement (MESA) preliminary and regional competitions for middle school and high schools, professional development activities for teachers, and college planning workshops.

Chase Shugarman

Communications Intern

Chase Shugarman joined LPFI as a Communications Intern in fall 2013. He is a freshman at UC Berkeley studying business and has previously lived in Ohio and San Diego. He has experience with web design and runs his own company called Yee Daa Skateboarding. His other work experience comes from overseeing the concession stand at the Maumee Soccer Centre in Ohio, running security overnighters, and managing the facility. Chase has also done much volunteer work. He worked at a soup kitchen for several years.

Damali Robertson

Institutional Grants Manager

Damali Robertson joined LPFI’s Development Team as a Grantwriter in 2011.  Prior to LPFI, she served as the External Relations Coordinator for the Haas Center for Public Service at Stanford University since 2007.  In that role, she was responsible for stewarding donors; conducting research on funding opportunities and program outcomes; drafting grant proposals, stewardship and endowment reports.

Gideon Morikang

SMASH: Prep Progam Associate

Gideon will be providing operational support to the SMASH: Prep Academy. He is a philosopher at heart and future economist. Gideon is finishing up his last semester at Solano Valley College and plans to transfer to Cal in Fall 2014 to earn a degree in Economics.

James Sarria

SMASH: Located at Stanford Site Director

In 2009 James joined the Level Playing Field Institute (LPFI). He started in the residential program, and is currently the Site Director at Stanford University, managing the partnership with the University and running the Summer Math & Science Honors Academy(SMASH). James spends his summer managing SMASH Academy, and the academic year supporting his scholars with events to develop a strong community and continue with STEM exposure programming.

Jed Sullivan

Academic Technologist

   Jed Sullivan joined LPFI in 2012 as Academic Technologist. His focus is helping to identify and implement technologies to further the pedogogical goals of LPFI. Prior to LPFI, Jed worked as the director of technology for The Chicago School, where he managed student information systems and oversaw instructional design. In his free time, Jed enjoys photgraphy and creating installation art for the Berkeley based group, The Foundry, as part of their artist in residence program.

Jeremiah Sims, M.A. (Ph.D. Candidate)

Program Director, SMASH: Prep & IDEAL Student Services Coordinator

Jeremiah grew up in Richmond, California and is the first in his family to earn a college degree. A former IDEAL scholar, he graduated from U.C. Berkeley in 2008 with a B.A. in Rhetoric with Honors. He also earned in a M.A. in Education in 2010, from U.C. Berkeley. And, he is currently a Ph.D.

Lisa S. Webb, Ed.D

SMASH: UC Berkeley Site Director

Lisa joined LPFI in 2014 as the site director of SMASH at U.C. Berkeley. Lisa has over 25 years of experience in higher education administration. Her positions include serving as the Assistant Dean of Graduate Studies at the University of California at Davis and the Assistant Dean for Multicultural Graduate Student Affairs in the School of Humanities and Sciences at Stanford University where she also served as a Residence Dean.

Melissa Grasso

Financial Analyst

Melissa Grasso joined LPFI in 2013 as the Financial Analyst. Melissa was awarded the Dr. James E. Dorsey scholarship from Kean University, where she earned her B.S. in Accounting. During the decade that followed, she concentrated her efforts in helping non-profit organizations grow in NYC. A New York native, Melissa called NJ home for most of her life and now lives in San Francisco.

Pierre Tchetgen, M.A., M.I.M.S., (Doctoral Student)

Communication Technologies Facilitator, SMASH: Prep

Pierre is the leader of the Internet Community Arts and Media Partnerships (iCAMP) and a PhD candidate at UC Berkeley's Graduate School of Education. He holds a Bachelors in Computer Science and Economics Management from Ohio Wesleyan University, a Masters in Humanities from the University of Chicago, a Masters in Information Management and Systems from UC Berkeley's School of Information and has taught Philosophy, Music and Drama at Harold Washington College, one of the City Colleges of Chicago.

Rachel Sims, M.A.

Operations Director

Rachel oversees all SMASH programs, ensures quality programming and leads the operational development of new sites and program initiatives. She leads the team directly responsible to servicing a community of over 300 scholars and families and as such, engages staff to find innovative approaches to further our work in those communities. Rachel is an important thought partner to LPFI's directors and leading contributor in program development. Rachel completed her undergraduate education at U.C. Berkeley, designing a degree that focused on Comparative Studies in Management.

Rachel Kram Villarreal, Ph.D.

Director of Development

Rachel joined LPFI as Development Director in 2014. She recently returned to her native Bay Area roots after working in Tucson, Arizona with a variety of community organizations and at the University of Arizona. To the Level Playing Field Institute, she brings years of fundraising and program management experience focusing on youth development, education, and social justice.

Ramon Chairez

SMASH: USC Site Director

I am passionate about working with diverse communities, especially in the area of education and personal development. I believe that youth in our communities are better served when we, as educators, positively promote and intertwine both components. Education is very much a community affair, and I focus on providing spaces where students can develop supportive bonds and connections to enrich both their educational and personal journeys. This strong interest led me to participate in the Community Based-Block Program (CBB) out of SDSU, where I received an M.A.

Ronald Fortune, Ph.d. M.B.A.

Chief Operating Officer

Ronald is the Co-Founder and Chairman at Education.com. Previously Dr. Fortune served as CEO from October 18, 2006 to February 29, 2012. Dr. Fortune was the founder and CEO of Edumetrics Learning, a company focused on developing technology-based educational content for students, which eventually formed a partnership with the EPGY program at Stanford University. He also served for 10 years as CEO of Computer Curriculum Corporation (CCC). During his tenure as CEO, CCC became the largest educational software company in the United States.

Sepehr Vakil M.S., (Doctoral Student)

SMASH: Prep: Integrated Science Instructor

My passion for equitable education stems from my family and upbringing. Born in Iran in 1983, my family immigrated to the United States in 1985 due to the political instability and limited educational opportunities of our home country. Since then, though I’ve bounced around the United States I’ve spent most of my time in California. In 2007, I finished my M.S in Electrical Engineering from UCLA before working at a start-up tech company in Berkeley.

Shantina Jackson, M.A. (PhD candidate)

Director of Education Programs

Shantina initially joined LPFI as a SMASH instructor in 2006 and, since that time, has worked toward the achievement of LPFI's mission within numerous roles, including Residential Director at SMASH: Berkeley, Operations Director and the 2012 SMASH: USC Site Director.  Shantina was instrumental in launching SMASH programs at UCLA and USC and in implementing the College Success curriculum across all SMASH sites.  As the Director of Education Programs, she continues to focus on the quality and integrity of LPFI's programs.

Sumaiya Talukdar, J.D.

Director of Strategic Partnerships and Community Engagement

Sumaiya works on new program initiatives and scaling the impact of the Level Playing Field Institute with a focus on computer science. She also leads the Communications Department and ensures community engagement with the students and programs of LPFI.

Vipul Gupta MSc

Curriculum and Instruction Director

Vipul Gupta joined LPFI in 2013.  He has a passion for STEM education, where he has been developing courses and curriculum for over ten years.  Vipul comes to LPFI after working at a variety of schools and institutions, bringing with him a connection to the best practices in teaching and learning.  As the Director of Curriculum and Instruction he helps develop and maintain the integrity and high standards of the SMASH and SMASH:Prep programs.

Board

Harry Bims, Ph.D.

Board Chair

Harry Bims is the founder of Bims Laboratories, a technology consulting firm, and is a recognized technology expert on a wide range of broadband wireless technologies.  He is a Senior Member of the IEEE, and the named inventor on 16 US patents.  Prior to Bims Laboratories, Dr. Bims was the founder and CEO of AirFlow Networks, a venture capital-backed startup building innovative enterprise-class WiFi networks.  He received his PhD in Electrical Engineering from Stanford University in 1993.

Ben Jealous

Board Member

Benjamin Todd Jealous is a Venture Partner at Kapor Capital. He is the former president and CEO of the NAACP. He stepped down from his post at the end of 2013. The youngest president in its history, he began his career at age 18 opening mail at the NAACP Legal Defense Fund.  Jealous has been a leader of successful state and local movements to ban the death penalty, outlaw racial profiling, defend voting rights, secure marriage equality, and free multiple wrongfully incarcerated people.

Duane Valz, J.D.

Board Member

Duane is presently a senior member of the Patent Team at Google Inc., overseeing a variety of matters impacting the company's business and strategic corporate development. He has counseled a wide variety of emerging growth, public and privately held companies on intellectual property and technology matters. Duane received both his Bachelor's and Juris Doctor degrees from U.C. Berkeley. He has advised a number of leading non-profit organizations in a director capacity.

Freada Kapor Klein, Ph.D.

Founder, Board Member

Freada, founder of the Level Playing Field Institute (LPFI) and co-founder of the SMASH Academy, is a nationally recognized authority on issues of bias, harassment, and diversity. She co-founded the first organization in the US to focus on sexual harassment in 1976.  She received her Ph.D. in social policy and research in 1984.

Maria Echaveste, J.D.

Board Member

Maria Echaveste is a co-founder and partner of the Nueva Vista Group (NVG), a government relations firm. Ms. Echaveste is also a Researcher and Lecturer at the University of California at Berkeley's Boalt School of Law and Goldman Graduate School of Public Policy. Prior to NVC, she served as Assistant to the President and Deputy Chief of Staff for President Clinton from May 1998 through January 2001 and as Director of the Office of Public Liaison at the White House from February 1997 to May 1998.

Michael Madison

Board Member

Michael Madison is the founder and Managing Director of Cocoon Ventures, a venture firm with support from Mitsubishi’s Innovation Kitchen in Tokyo. Michael was also recently named as one of the Business Journals' 2009 top 40 executives under the age of 40 in the Silicon Valley. He joined the LPFI Board in 2011.  Michael started writing software in the 2nd grade, and by the time he started junior high, he was a code contributor to NASA Langley’s supercomputer management systems.

Mitchell Kapor

Board Member

Mitch is, to quote the New York Times, an elder statesman of modern computing. As founder of Lotus Development Corporation and the designer of the Lotus 1-2-3 spreadsheet (the "killer application" for the IBM PC), he helped make the personal computer ubiquitous in the business world.

Tyler Scriven

Board Member

Tyler Scriven is a member of the leadership team at Palantir Technologies, a leading Silicon Valley high-technology company dedicated to providing next-generation software in support of critical missions throughout the world. There he is responsible for leading all people operations, including the company’s global recruitment effort. Additionally, he is responsible for infrastructure development and planning, along with various other operational areas of the company, both domestically and abroad.

Ross Fubini

Board Member

Ross Fubini is a Vice President of Engineering at SuccessFactors (NASDAQ: SFSF). He arrived at SuccessFactors after his venture backed company, CubeTree, was acquired in June of 2010. Ross was the Co-Founder and Board Member of Cubetree, an enterprise collaboration suite that integrates social networking features like profiles and microblogging with tools like wikis, blogs etc. Prior to CubeTree, Ross was Senior Director of Engineering at Symantec.