Our People

We invite you to make connections, ask questions, and share ideas.

EdInsights’ staff who contribute to the CSU Student Success Network.

 

Dylan Lohmeyer

Dylan Lohmeyer

Finance and Operations Coordinator

d.lohmeyer@csus.edu
(916) 278-7220

Dylan is the Finance and Operations Coordinator for the CSU Student Success Network. Prior to joining EdInsights, Dylan worked in human resources for Major League Baseball and in student finance advising for DeVry University. Dylan earned his BA in Performing Arts from the University of California, Los Angeles and is passionate about helping students achieve their goals in higher education.

Kalifa Madden

Kalifa Madden

Communications Manager

k.madden@csus.edu

Kalifa Madden joined the Education Insights Center (EdInsights) team in January 2020 and currently manages the center’s communications needs. Kalifa earned her BA in Communications and Organizational Public Relations at California State University, Los Angeles. Prior to joining EdInsights she worked as a digital media manager for a non-profit organization in Los Angeles.

Connie Tan

Connie Tan

Research Co-Director

connie.tan@csus.edu

Connie Tan is the Regional Director of EdInsights and she serves as the Research Co-Director for the CSU Student Success Network. Her research interests include understanding factors (such as habits of mind and motivation) that contribute to student success, how to close opportunity gaps, and college and career readiness. With her quantitative and qualitative expertise, Connie has led research and evaluation projects related to understanding students’ educational experiences in postsecondary education, large-scale community college pathways development, and campus-based student success programs. Prior to joining EdInsights, she was an adjunct faculty member at California State University, Dominguez Hills where she taught child development courses. She was also a researcher at the Graduate School of Education and Information Studies and a tutor for the Academic Advancement Program at UCLA. Her previous research examined the role of parental involvement in children’s educational trajectories among immigrant families. Connie received her B.A. in Psychology, M.A. and Ph.D. in Education from UCLA.

Terra Thorne

Terra Thorne

Director of Statewide Initiatives

terra.thorne@csus.edu

Terra is the Director of Statewide Initiatives for the Education Insights Center (EdInsights). In this role, she oversees the CSU Student Success Network and the California Education Policy Fellowship Program. Prior to joining EdInsights, she ran LegiSchool, a civic education collaboration between Sacramento State and the State Legislature that connects students and state leaders to talk about public policy. Terra’s background includes over a decade of experience in public service, and a lifelong commitment to social justice and equity. She is passionate about helping individuals and organizations build their capacity to better serve students and their educational goals.

Terra holds a Master’s degree in Public Policy and Administration from Sacramento State and a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice from Seattle University.

Andrea Venezia

Andrea Venezia

Andrea Venezia, Professor, Public Policy and Administration, California State University, Sacramento, and Executive Director, EdInsights

venezia@csus.edu
(916) 278-4944

Andrea Venezia is Professor in the Public Policy and Administration Department and Executive Director of the Education Insights Center (EdInsights) at California State University, Sacramento. Her work focuses on improving student readiness for, and success in, some form of postsecondary education, particularly for students who are traditionally underserved. See her full bio at EdInsights. For the Network, she acts as the Research Co-Director as well as an adviser on strategic issues such as the structure of Network events, the integration of learning across all Network activities, relationship development, communicating with key groups, being accountable for the work, resource allocation, and the effectiveness of the work.

The CSU Network compensates middle leaders for some of their time to lead key aspects of the work.

 

Rock Braithwaite

Rock Braithwaite

Interim Academy Co-Director

CSUNetwork-MLA@csus.edu

Rock is currently half of the Middle Leadership Academy Director’s Team having served as an Academy team Facilitator.

Larissa M. Mercado López

Larissa M. Mercado López

Conference Director

lmercadolopez@csufresno.edu
(559) 278-8599

Larissa M. Mercado-López, PhD, is an associate professor of Women’s Studies at California State University, Fresno, where she teaches courses on women of color feminisms and engages in proactive mentorship. Within the Student Success Network, Larissa serves as Conference Director for the CSU Student Success Conference. Her academic scholarship is in the fields of Chicana feminism and Literature, and her campus service focuses on researching and improving the student parent population and the Latina PhD pipeline. Larissa is committed to public scholarship and serves as a Senior Editor for the National Center for Institutional Diversity Public Scholarship Initiative at the University of Michigan.

Bianca Mothé

Bianca Mothé

Academy Director

bmothe@csusm.edu

Dr. Bianca Mothé is Professor of Biological Sciences at CSU San Marcos. She serves as Director of the Middle Leadership Academy in the CSU Student Success Network. Bianca focuses on supporting students through the undergraduate experience, especially those from underserved backgrounds. She is passionate about creating highly engaging experiences for students through research and by training peers and colleagues to prioritize student success.

Brett Smith

Brett Smith

Interim Academy Co-Director

CSUNetwork-MLA@csus.edu

Brett is currently half of the Middle Leadership Academy Director’s Team having served as an Academy team Facilitator for the previous three years. His 35+ years of work in education include positions in both academic and student affairs and in three segments; at a private University(NDNU), community college(DeAnza), and San Francisco State University. His campus roles included Advisor, Counselor, Director, university committee chair, program liaison, and course Instructor.

More than professional background, his influences thru education are: Oceanside High School, a multiethnic and uniquely multicultural environment in Southern California; Master’s in Public Administration, education emphasis, teaching credentials and BA in English, at CND, a small private college; AA in Liberal Arts, at Mira Costa CC, his bridge to understanding higher education in California.

The concept of leading from the middle is dear to his heart and important in how he has approached professional life as an educator. Why Middle Leadership? “Being a campus leader is self defined. Engagement from every mind and every heart has value and importance in the business of helping students and campuses meet educational goals and expectations.”

The CSU Network consults with the following fellows about our work.

 

Robert Gabriner

Robert Gabriner

Consultant

Robert Gabriner is the Director of the SF State University Doctoral Program in Educational Leadership for Community Colleges and Schools. He is also the chair of the Leadership Initiative of the Research and Planning Group which sponsors the annual Leading from the Middle Academy. Prior to coming to SF State, Dr. Gabriner was the Vice Chancellor for Institutional Advancement and Dean of Research, Planning and Grants, at City College of San Francisco. He has been with the California community colleges for 39 years as a history instructor and administrator. During the 1980s, he was the president of the Community College Council of the California Federation of Teachers. Dr. Gabriner has been instrumental in establishing and implementing a number of statewide initiatives in California including AB 1725; the ARCC accountability system for California Community Colleges; and the current Basic Skills Initiative. Dr. Gabriner was also a member of the Student Success Task Force which was the originator of the proposals in the Student Success Act.  Dr. Gabriner’ s most recent publications include a book-length study with Dr. Norton Grubb, Basic Skills in Community Colleges, and Basic Skills as a Foundation for Student Success in California Community Colleges.

Melinda Karp

Melinda Karp

Consultant

Melinda Karp is the founder of Phase Two Advisory, which works with colleges, foundations, and non-profits to design and execute evidence-based reform strategies. A nationally-recognized expert on smoothing students’ transitions to college and supporting them once there, she specializes in helping practitioners understand research findings and translating it into action. Melinda consults with the Network on the design and implementation of Convenings.

Prior to founding Phase Two, Melinda was the assistant director at the Community College Research Center (CCRC), Teachers College, Columbia University. At CCRC, Melinda led a large portfolio of studies focused on community college and high school reform. She was also responsible for building CCRC’s internal functions, including managing professional development, strategic planning, and external relations.

Melinda holds a B.S. in human development and family studies from Cornell University; an M.A. in sociology and education from Teachers College, Columbia University; and a Ph.D. in sociology and education from Columbia University.

Thad Nodine

Thad Nodine

Consultant

Thad Nodine, a novelist and writer specializing in education policy, is working with the Network to help document, share, and support innovative efforts to improve student readiness for and success in higher education. For 20 years, Thad has partnered with researchers, practitioners, and policymakers to advance policies and practices that can help more students, particularly low-income students, attain higher levels of education. He has published extensively about K-12 efforts to improve readiness for college and careers, and college efforts to increase student completion and success. Thad has direct experience with federal, state, and local government—as a speech writer for former U.S. Senator Lawton Chiles, a journalist covering education issues in the Colorado General Assembly, and a trustee of Santa Cruz City Schools in California. He has been communications director of the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education; vice president of the Institute for the Study of Knowledge Management in Education; and managing editor of online and print publications, including Measuring Up: The State-by-State Report Card for Higher Education. He has taught writing in community colleges and universities. His debut novel, Touch and Go, won the Dana Award for Fiction. Thad has a Ph.D. in literature from the University of California, Santa Cruz, and a B.A. in government from Oberlin College.

Student Success Network Calendar

 
Supporting and Engaging Men of Color in the CSU

FRIDAY, DECEMBER 11

12:30pm USC Pullias Center for Higher Education and CSU Student Success Network Webinar
 
Winter Middle Leadership Academy

THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 18

10:00am 2020-21 Middle Leadership Academy Session 1

FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 19

10:00am 2020-21 Middle Leadership Academy Session 2

FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 26

10:00am 2020-21 Middle Leadership Academy Session 3
 
Spring Navigating Uncertainty Together Conversation Series

THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 11

9:00am Navigating Uncertainty Together Conversation 1

THURSDAY, APRIL 8

9:00am Navigating Uncertainty Together Conversation 2

 

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