Skip to main content

Lab Members

Vanderbilt University Members

Luis A. Leyva (he/him/his), PRISM Lab DirectorLeyva Faculty Headshot

Peabody Programs:

Ph.D. program in Learning, Teaching & Diversity

Master’s program in Learning, Diversity & Urban Studies and Learning & Design

Undergraduate and master’s programs in Elementary & Early Childhood Education

Luis is a research faculty member in the Department of Teaching & Learning at Vanderbilt. His research explores how historically marginalized students at intersections of race, gender, and sexuality construct their identities while navigating instructional and student support contexts in undergraduate STEM education. Prior to joining the Peabody faculty, Luis earned a Ph.D. in mathematics education with a concentration in Women’s & Gender Studies from Rutgers University. Leyva was certified as a K-12 mathematics teacher in New Jersey. He holds over six years of professional experience in higher education initiatives, including living-learning communities and summer bridge programs, designed to increase STEM retention and success among historically marginalized groups.

idphoto

Aneva Jefferson (she/her/hers), Research Assistant

Peabody Program: Master’s in Community Development & Action (HOD)

PRISM Projects: 

Intersectionality as a Methodological Tool

Aneva was born and raised in Springfield, MO and recently received a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology with a Spanish minor from the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Her interests include working with trauma-exposed youth and implementing community-based mental health initiatives that foster resilience; her professional experiences span serving as a research assistant for a child adversity lab, a mental health advocate for a non-profit, and an Americorps member in inner-city preschools led to a passion for children and their well-being. After taking a poverty and development class while studying abroad in the Dominican Republic, her love for children quickly became an educational journey to learn more about the best ways to support child development on a community level. In her free time, Aneva loves eating ice cream, seeing live music, traveling, and talking about the enneagram with friends.

BBalmer_HeadshotB R. Balmer (they/them/their), Research Assistant

Peabody Program: Master’s in Community Development & Action (HOD)

PRISM Projects: 

EquiRUME (Equity in Research on Undergraduate Mathematics Education)

Queer Students of Color in STEM

B holds a Bachelor’s degree in Anthropology and Philosophy with a minor in Cultural Studies from the University of Minnesota, Duluth. Over the past several years, they have split their time conducting community-based research in support of anthropologists and community psychologists, and direct-service work through various nonprofits in the Northland. In addition to PRISM, B serves as project manager for the 2020 International Conference on the Learning Sciences to be held in Nashville, TN, and continues to conduct community-based research in Northern Minnesota and Northwestern Wisconsin, exploring veteran and military family post-deployment reintegration. In their free time, you will likely find B knitting at a local dive-bar, spending time with their partner and cats, or listening to records or true crime podcasts.

IMG_0891Enrique Abreu-Ramos (he/him), Research Assistant

Peabody Program: Undergraduate major in Cognitive Sciences

PRISM Projects:

Transformative Inclusion in Postsecondary STEM at Hispanic-Serving Institutions

Queer Students of Color in STEM

Enrique Abreu-Ramos is member of the Vanderbilt Class of 2023, majoring in Cognitive Studies with a minor in Spanish. He is originally from New York City, with both of his parents are from the Dominican Republic. At Vanderbilt, Enrique is a Posse Scholar and involved in Ultimate Frisbee and the Vandy SMASH Club. He is also a member of the Project C.U.R.E., a non-profit organization committed to equitable access to healthcare and medical supplies/equipment. Enrique is currently considering career pathways in medicine/health counseling and psychiatry.

Roditti Headshot

Niccolo Roditti (he/they), Research Assistant

Peabody Program: M.Ed. in Community Development & Action (HOD)

PRISM Projects:

Queer Students of Color in STEM

Niccolo received their Bachelor of Arts in International Studies and Psychology from North Carolina State University in Raleigh, NC. Their focus quickly turned to community organizing for immigration reform, housing, and queer visibility. Niccolo’s experiences in affordable housing, as a high school advocate, a bilingual storyteller in laundromats, and a Rape Prevention Education Coordinator led to their interest in curriculum design. An intersectional and anti-oppression framework that allows for gender variance and flow of identities supports an environment conducive for learning. Niccolo works as a Graduate Assistant for the Turner Family Center for Social Ventures. In their free time, you can catch Niccolo creating digital content as a drag artist through the NC based organization, Queer Wrath, a grassroots organization that supports other nonprofits in the Raleigh-Durham. They enjoy reading, thrifting, skateboarding, and dancing like no one is watching.

Oscar Guzmán - Headshot DocumentOscar Guzmán (he/him/his), Research Assistant

Peabody Program: Master’s in Human Development Counseling with specialization in School Counseling (HOD)

PRISM Projects:

COURAGE in Undergraduate Mathematics

Queer Students of Color in STEM

Oscar holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Educational Studies and English Language Arts from Marquette University in Milwaukee, WI. His professional experience as an academic counselor in an urban all-boys high school led to his interests in exploring the intersections of discipline-specific curriculum development and student well-being at intersections of race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, and socioeconomic status. Oscar works as a graduate assistant in the Office of Inclusive Excellence at Vanderbilt University. In his spare time, Oscar enjoys reading, biking, spending time with friends, FaceTime-ing with his family from Chicago, and going on aimless drives throughout Nashville and its surrounding communities. You may occasionally catch Oscar on Sunday mornings enjoying brunch at Tavern on Broadway.

Screen Shot 2020-01-31 at 7.04.41 PMTaylor McNeill (they/them/theirs), Lab Coordinator & Research Assistant

Peabody Program: Ph.D. in Learning, Teaching & Diversity (Mathematics & Science Education concentration)

PRISM Projects:

COURAGE in Undergraduate Mathematics

Intersectionality as a Methodological Tool

Queer Students of Color in STEM

Taylor’s research interests are focused on centering the experiences of students from marginalized populations in post-secondary mathematics education and STEM classrooms to inform more inclusive pedagogy.  Prior to arriving at Vanderbilt, Taylor received a Ph.D. in mathematics from Rice University.  Taylor has taught in a variety of contexts at the elementary, secondary, and undergraduate levels. However, their teaching experiences have been primarily oriented towards supporting high-achieving and STEM career-aspiring math students. Witnessing inequities amplified by commonplace classroom interactions has fueled Taylor’s interest in contributing to research that disrupts the white, patriarchal standards of advanced mathematics.

External Members:

Brittany Marshall Headshot

Brittany Marshall (she/her/hers)

External Program Affiliation: Ph.D. in Learning, Cognition, Instruction, and Development (Mathematics Education); Certifications in Africana Studies and Women’s & Gender Studies at Rutgers University

PRISM Project:

COURAGE in Undergraduate Mathematics

Brittany is interested in the mathematics identities and belonging(ness) of African American girls and women, as well as, the teachers who help build their confidence and guide them to pursue STEM majors and careers. Prior to Rutgers, Brittany spent nine years teaching 4th-12th grade mathematics classes and served as the math department head/instructional coach in Chicago Public (and charter) Schools. She holds a bachelor of architectural studies from the University of Illinois and a master of architecture from North Carolina State University.

Screen Shot 2020-04-22 at 9.10.14 AM

Alexandria Cervantes (she/her/hers)

External Program Affiliation: Masters’s in Curriculum & Instruction (Mathematics, Science & Engineering Education) at University of Illinois – Urbana Champaign

PRISM Projects:

Intersectionality as a Methodological Tool

Race, Masculinities & Identity in STEM Education

Alexandria joined the PRISM lab during an immersive summer research experience as a McNair Scholar at California State University-Monterey Bay. During this time, Alexandria worked on a research project focused on Latinx students’ identity constructions in undergraduate mathematics and a review of research on equity issues in developmental mathematics.

Alumni:

Zander Alley Headshot (2)

Zander Alley (he/him/his), Research Assistant

Peabody Program: Undergraduate major in Human & Organizational Development (Community Leadership & Development track)

PRISM Projects:  

Intersectionality as a Methodological Tool

Race, Masculinities & Identity in STEM Education (independent study)

In 2018, Zander was competitively selected for the Vanderbilt Undergraduate Summer Research Program Fellowship, which funded his study of undergraduate Black women’s sources of academic struggle and support as engineering and computer science majors. Zander’s other research interests include school discipline and equity-oriented policy interventions to the school-to-prison pipeline.

Liz

Elizabeth King (she/her/hers), Research Assistant

Peabody Program: Master’s in Child Studies (Psychology &Human Development) with focuses on poverty and intervention and Latino & Latina studies through the Vanderbilt Graduate School

PRISM Project:

Queer Students of Color in STEM

Elizabeth received her Bachelor of Arts in Sociology & Anthropology from Middlebury College in 2013, where she focused in queer and feminist studies and also completed her K-6 student teaching with a minor in Education Studies. Prior to returning to graduate school, Elizabeth spent five years as a team facilitator for a child abuse multidisciplinary investigative team, and also as a child and adolescent forensic interviewer and clinical supervisor at the Randolph-Tucker Children’s Advocacy Center in West Virginia. Currently, Elizabeth is interested in the socio-historical, cultural, and structural contexts of child and family behavior, and the role of identity and perceived identity in influencing behavior and opportunity in young adulthood. In Elizabeth’s non-academic time, she enjoys hanging out with her partner and dog, as well as enjoying fantasy series, true crime podcasts, musical theatre, genealogy, and binge-reading about history.