UGSP Board 2021-2022











Maira Karan & Ritika Rastogi
UGSP Co-Presidents

Maira and Ritika are both 5th year doctoral candidates in the Developmental area. They are both proud and honored to serve as co-presidents of UGSP for the 2021-2022 academic year. Throughout their time in the department, Maira and Ritika have both been passionate about uplifting the voices of underrepresented undergraduate and graduate students. They have been involved in numerous initiatives aimed at ensuring a more equitable and inclusive climate within the department. Together, they hope to continue to uphold the mission of UGSP and legacy of the organizations founding members (see below).

Vivian Young 
UGSP Secretary

Vivian is a 3rd year doctoral student in the Clinical area. Her research is focused on examining organizational and system-level factors that support the mental health workforce and impact the adoption and sustainment of evidence-based practices (EBPs) in community mental health settings. She is passionate about supporting and addressing the needs of underrepresented undergraduate and graduate students in the department.

Sarah Rocha 
UGSP Treasurer

Sarah Rocha is a 3rd year graduate student in the Developmental area. Her research focuses on psychosocial and biologic factors linking socioeconomic status with health across the lifespan. She is dedicated to supporting the needs of underrepresented students in research and psychology through her role as UGSP treasurer.

Committee Chairs

Sukriti Gupta
UGSP High School Outreach Committee

Sukriti is a 1st year graduate student in the Behavioral Neuroscience area. Her research is focused on understanding the role of different brain regions in decision making. Being a first generation immigrant, she was very fortunate to have found mentors throughout her academic journey who helped her in finding her passion for research. Moreover, she is acutely aware of the uncertainties and challenges surrounding the process of seeking higher education. As the Co-Chair of the High School Outreach Committee, she hopes to disambiguate and facilitate this process for local high school youth.

Xochitl Arlene Smola
UGSP High School Outreach Committee

Arlene is a first-generation 2nd year Latina doctoral student in developmental psychology. She is interested in the impact of cultural values and disparities on the psychobiological development of adolescents from diverse backgrounds. Her commitment to serving underrepresented youth stems from her personal experiences gaining mentors while transitioning from two high schools with vastly different resources and funding. As part of the high school outreach committee, she hopes to connect with local youth in an effort to demystify the hidden curriculum of higher education.

Icy(Yunyi) Zhang
UGSP Social Committee

Icy is a 2nd year doctoral student in the developmental area. Her research focuses on understanding the processes of teaching and learning. She especially cares about the translation of research in cognitive and developmental psychology to real classrooms to directly impact students. She is also dedicated to creating more access to STEM education for students from disadvantageous backgrounds.


Riley Marshall
UGSP Brown Bag Committee

Riley is a 2nd year doctoral student in the Social area. Their work focuses on experiences of discrimination and institutional trust. They care deeply about the role of community support and mentorship in academia, and hope that the Brown Bag Committee provides space for resources and shared experiences among URM graduate students.

Ryan Sabillo
UGSP Brown Bag Committee

Ryan is a 2nd year doctoral student in the Social area. His research focuses on dominant group reactions to social change. He hopes that Brown Bag events will provide spaces to students from underrepresented backgrounds to find community and maintain program retention by discussing issues related to identity in the university setting, providing professional development opportunities, and demystifying the “hidden curriculum” in academic institutions.

Brittany Drake
UGSP Transfer Outreach

Brittany is a 5th year doctoral student in the Clinical area. Although she did not finish high school, Brittany later obtained a GED, and entered community college, opening the door to higher education. She is enthusiastic about forming mentoring relationships with underrepresented and non-traditional undergraduate students, increasing awareness of alternative trajectories toward higher education, and helping transfer students leverage their unique backgrounds to support their education and career goals.

Kimberly Martin
UGSP Transfer Outreach

Kimberly is a 5th year doctoral student in the Social area. Kimberly is passionate about improving intergroup relations and the experiences of underrepresented students. She is dedicated to student mentorship and shedding light on the multiple pathways available to students as they journey toward and through higher education.  

Claudia Aguirre
UGSP Undergraduate Outreach

Claudia is a 5th year doctoral student in the Behavioral Neuroscience area. As a first-generation college student and Latina, she is familiar with the academic and personal struggles that come with being from and underrepresented and disadvantaged background, but has been fortunate to have found her passion for research early during her undergraduate studies. As part of the Undergraduate Outreach Committee, she hopes to be able to provide undergraduates with the information and resources they will need to be successful during their undergraduate studies at UCLA and thereafter.

Stephanie Yu
UGSP Undergraduate Outreach

Stephanie is a 4th year doctoral student in the Clinical area. Her research is focused on culturally responsive implementation and adaptation of evidence-based practices to enhance mental health equity for racially/ethnically marginalized youth in public sector settings, such as community mental health settings and schools. She is dedicated to supporting and mentoring undergraduate students from marginalized backgrounds who are historically excluded from academia and higher education. To this end, Stephanie is passionate about initiatives aiming to diversify academia in her role as Undergraduate Outreach Committee Co-Chair, such as creating, compiling, and disseminating resources to demystify the hidden curriculum of higher education to reduce inequities.


Courtney Heldreth

Courtney Heldreth
UGSP Founder

“UGSP is important to me because it makes me feel supported by others like me who might have unique experiences in graduate school. UGSP is an important community that encourages the potential and promise of those from underrepresented groups by giving back to others in a meaningful way.”


Jenessa Shapiro

Jenessa Shapiro
Founding UGSP Faculty Sponsor

“UGSP is important to me because it provides a supportive, welcoming community for students from underrepresented groups. What is impressive about UGSP is that it is student-initiated and student-run. As a result, UGSP genuinely understands, and can address, what is needed and wanted by underrepresented students in psychology. UGSP is clearly committed to making a difference in the pipeline– committing time, energy and resources to the graduate students in psychology, to the undergraduate community, and to the community at large. I hope to see you at the next UGSP event!”