Edward A. Bouchet Graduate Honor Society

UCLA 2013-2014 Inductees at the Yale Bouchet Conference on Diversity and Graduate Education
UCLA 2013-2014 Inductees at the Yale Bouchet Conference on Diversity and Graduate Education, (from left) Jorge Mena, Aakash Kishore, Natalie James, Jaclyn Lang, Nicole Lannoy (not pictured), Associate Dean Carlos Grijalva

The UCLA Edward A. Bouchet Graduate Honor Society (Bouchet Society) recognizes outstanding scholarly achievement and promotes diversity and excellence in doctoral education and the professoriate. The Bouchet Society seeks to develop a network of preeminent scholars who exemplify academic and personal excellence, foster environments of support and serve as examples of scholarship, leadership, character, service and advocacy for students who have been traditionally underrepresented in the academy. In the spirit of Bouchet’s commitment to these pursuits both within and without the academic realm, inductees into the honor society bearing his name should also exhibit these qualities.

2016-2017 UCLA Bouchet Society Scholars

Olajide N. Bamishigbin Jr.Olajide N. Bamishigbin Jr.
Health Psychology


Olajide Bamishigbin Jr. is currently a doctoral candidate in Health Psychology at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) where he is supported by the Eugene V. Cota-Robles Fellowship. He received his B.A. in psychology from the University of Miami, where he was supported by the Ronald A. Hammond Scholarship. Olajide’s research focuses on depression in low-income Black and Latino fathers and his first-authored paper, entitled “Risk, Resilience, and Depressive Symptoms in Low-Income African American Fathers,” has been published in Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology. Olajide was invited to share this research at the National Institute of Child and Health Development (NICHD) Fatherhood Outreach: Implications of Men’s Health and Community Engagement in Pregnancy Outcomes conference in 2016. Olajide is also a graduate mentor at UCLA’s Academic Advancement Program, the nation’s largest university-based student diversity program. As a mentor, Olajide meets one-on-one with undergraduate students to assist them in finding research opportunities, writing personal statements, obtaining letters of recommendation, and choosing graduate programs. As a mentor, he also develops and presents quarterly workshops on various aspects of the graduate school application process. Olajide also has considerable experience teaching. He served as an instructor of introductory psychology and abnormal psychology to high school students from around the world in UCLA’s Summer Discovery program and has been a teaching fellow at UCLA for nine quarters. Olajide has also been awarded UCLA’ Summer Graduate Student Research Mentorship Award twice, in both 2013 and 2014.

Rocío GarcíaRocío García


Rocío García is a doctoral candidate at University of California Los Angeles in the Department of Sociology. Her research interests center on intersectional feminist theories, women of color activism, reproductive politics, and ethnography. Her research examines how Latinx reproductive justice activists, Latinx feminist scholars, and Latinx feminist artists use intersectional frames and strategies in ways that provide the foundation for a pan-ethnoracial Latinx feminist interpretive framework. In her dissertation, she draws on multi-year participant observation of a reproductive justice organization, oral histories with foundational Latinx feminist scholars, focus groups with Latinx feminist scholars at different stages in their careers, and archival research of Latinx feminist research and presence in the academy to map the development and contours of Latinx feminist thought. Garcia’s research has received funding and/or recognition from the Department of Sociology at UCLA, the Ford Foundation, and the Collaboratory for Ethnographic Design (CoLED) at UC San Diego. She holds a BA degree in Sociology and Spanish from California State University Stanislaus and a MA degree in Sociology from both University of Nevada Reno and UCLA. Her published work includes an article in Societies that examines how narratives centered on hegemonic femininity and normative family structures are negotiated by professional women of color as they make decisions about family formation.

Rebecca HillRebecca Hill


Rebecca Hill is a doctoral candidate in the UCLA Department of English with a concentration in medieval literature as a Eugene Cota-Robles scholar. Her research seeks to anchor similarities between Arabic and early Middle English literary tropes in the manuscript history of Latin translations of Arabic commentaries and university guidebooks on poetics. She has received the Harry and Yvonne Lenart research stipend for manuscript research travel, as well as the William T. Buice III scholarship for Rare Book Courses in manuscript studies. For two years, Rebecca has been an assistant editor for Comitatus, UCLA Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies’ academic journal. In the past, she served as a reviews editor for the online medieval journal Hortulus. She has been a co-chair for the Medieval and Early Modern Student Association, founded a medieval research working group for graduate students and junior faculty, and has worked and volunteered in various capacities on campus, including as an ESL tutor for the UCLA SPELL program and as a writing consultant for the Graduate Writing Center. Her pedagogical innovations and commitment to teaching have been recognized by the university-wide Distinguished Teaching Award for teaching assistants. As the vice president of the English Graduate Union, she collaborated with various stakeholders in the department to bring professionalization and teaching to the forefront of graduate life. Most recently, she has served a peer counselor and meditation facilitator in UCLA’s new initiative to increase campus access to mental health services at all stages of study.

Angela X. OcampoAngela X. Ocampo
Political Science


Angela X. Ocampo is a PhD Candidate in Political Science. She holds an M.A. in Political Science from the University of California, Los Angeles. Angela received a B.A. in Ethnic Studies and International Relations with honors from Brown University. Angela’s research interests focus on the political behavior of racial, ethnic and religious minorities in the United States. Specifically, she investigates the political behavior of Latinos/as both at the individual and elite level. Angela’s dissertation examines how feelings of belonging to U.S. society, or lack thereof, condition the experiences of Latinos and influence their level of political engagement. Angela’s research and dissertation have received national recognition and funding from the University of California Institute for Mexico & the U.S. (UC MEXUS), UCLA’s political psychology fellowship and the American Political Science Association’s Fund for Latino Scholarship. Angela has also been recognized as a Ford Foundation Dissertation Fellow. Her manuscripts have received the Swarr Prize for the Best Graduate Student Paper at UCLA’s Political Science Department and the Best Graduate Student Paper on Latino Politics at the Midwest Political Science Association meeting. Angela has worked as a mentor, a volunteer, an ESOL teacher and a leader as she is strongly committed to advocating for the inclusivity of various racial, ethnic, religious and socioeconomic perspectives. Angela aspires to pursue a lifelong career in teaching and research to advance scholarship in Political Science and her goal is to ultimately understand and positively enhance the political realities of underrepresented minorities.

Ivuoma N. OnyeadorIvuoma N. Onyeador
Social Psychology


Ivuoma N. Onyeador is a candidate for the Ph.D. in Social Psychology at the University of California, Los Angeles. In her research, she investigates modern manifestations of bias in organizational contexts. She has lines of work that examine the ironic consequences of awareness about implicit bias on Whites’ evaluations of discrimination, perceptions of minorities and White applicants as a function of diversity relevant or diversity neutral qualifications, and whether Asians’ perceptions of their group status relative to other pan-ethnic groups affects their perceptions of other racial minority groups. Ivy’s graduate study was supported by several fellowships including the Cota-Robles Graduate Fellowship at UCLA and the Ford Foundation Predoctoral Fellowship. In 2015, she was the student recipient of the UCLA Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Award. During the 2014-2015 academic year, she served as the Vice President, Academic Affairs of the Graduate Student Association at UCLA. In addition, she has served in leadership positions of the UCLA Black Graduate Student Association, Underrepresented Graduate Students in Psychology, and the Yale Black Alumni Association. Before pursuing her PhD, Ivy served as a Woodbridge Fellow in the Chaplain’s Office at Yale University. In 2011, she received a B.S. in Psychology with distinction from Yale, where she was a Mellon-Bouchet undergraduate research fellow. She will return to Yale in the fall of 2017 for a postdoctoral fellowship in the Psychology department.

Brian J. RamirezBrian J. Ramirez
Mechanical Engineering


Brian J. Ramirez is a Ph.D. candidate of mechanical engineering at the University of California, Los Angeles. The aim of his research is to develop advance, high performance polymer foams for novel impact applications. Brian was awarded the Dissertation Year Fellowship and the Eugene Cota-Robles Fellowship, two of UCLA’s most prestigious graduate fellowships. As well, he graduated magna cum laude with a B.S. in mechanical engineering from the California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, where he was the recipient of the Ronal E. McNair Scholars research fellowship. In addition, he has been recognized as a California Alliance for Graduate Education and Professoriate Scholar (AGEP) and has participated in the Southern California Forum for Diversity in Graduate Education, which advocates for a more diverse student population within STEM fields. His commitment to science has motivated him to co-author several papers in the field of mechanics and materials along with presenting his work at several conferences including the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers, where he received the Best Graduate Presentation Award for 2016. He also serves as a Daily Lab Supervisor to undergraduate and high school students through the Center of Excellence in Engineering and Diversity (CEED) and the High School Summer Research Program (HSSRP), respectively. Brian truly enjoys the opportunity to excite students to pursue engineering and higher education through hands-on materials research. These experiences have been part his educational driving force towards becoming a professor at a research university.

Sonya RaoSonya Rao


Sonya Rao is a PhD candidate in the Anthropology Department at UCLA, with concentrations in Linguistic and Legal Anthropology. Her research is in Los Angeles Immigration Court, where she observes litigants’ access to interpreters. In this research, she observes how legal professionals rationalize the need and effectiveness of interpreting, as well as which linguistic minorities legal professionals perceive as more likely to understand them. The results are analyzed across language and dialect, as well as race and ethnicity. Her research is supported by her department, university, the Social Sciences Research Council, and the National Science Foundation Program in Law and Social Sciences. Sonya’s career in academia and education began when she was selected as a Mellon Mays fellow as an undergraduate at Connecticut College. Sonya is a strong advocate for support of marginalized students and academics, and an active member in networks of academic professionals from underrepresented populations. Her proudest achievements in teaching have been helping students connect to histories that were excluded from their high school curricula. In her spare time, Sonya works on creating best practices training and publications for professionals to work with interpreters. She also writes and produces a podcast on the cultural politics of language, in the hope of creating a wider reach for academic knowledge and conversations.

Casandra D. SalgadoCasandra D. Salgado


Casandra D. Salgado is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Sociology. Her research interests focus on education and wealth inequality, comparative race studies and Latina/o studies. Casandra is currently writing her dissertation, which compares the racial and immigration attitudes, and sources of wealth between U.S.-born Hispanics and whites in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Casandra is passionate about transforming student’s daily lives into resources of analysis, resistance and learning. As a Collegium University Teaching Fellow, she seeks to empower students by bridging their critical thinking skills with challenges confronting their respective communities. Casandra has also bridged her research interests with building support for race and ethnicity research at UCLA. Through the Department of Sociology’s Race and Ethnicity Working Group, she has organized professional development workshops, and a speaker series that features emerging race and ethnicity scholars. Ultimately, Casandra strives to build a career that increases diversity in higher education through mentorship, teaching and research. She earned her B.A. in Peace and Conflict Studies from UC Berkeley, and her M.A. in Sociology from UCLA.

Tiera Chante’ TanksleyTiera Chante’ Tanksley
Graduate School of Education and Information Studies


Tiera Chante’ Tanksley is a doctoral candidate in the Graduate School of Education and Information Studies within UCLA’s Urban Schooling program. Ms. Tanksley’s educational background includes an M.A. in Cultural Studies in Education from UCLA and a B.S. in Inclusive Elementary and Special Education from Syracuse University where she graduated magna cum-laude. Ms. Tanksley’s scholarship, grounded in Black feminist thought and critical race theory, is wholeheartedly and unapologetically dedicated to social justice, equity and empowerment for Students and Faculty of Color.

Kimberly Chantal WelchKimberly Chantal Welch
Theater and Performance Studies


Kimberly Chantal Welch is a doctoral candidate in the PhD Program in Theater and Performance Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles. Her research focuses on the intersections of performance, homelessness, and incarceration. With an emphasis on spatial structures and their relationship to constructions of race, gender, and sexuality, Kimberly’s work addresses historic and contemporary forms of spatial dispossession in Los Angeles and New Orleans. Kimberly has been recognized as a Cota-Robles Fellow as well as awarded several grants to support her research including two funded by the Institute of American Cultures. Kimberly’s work also has been published in Theatre Journal. As well, she received a Bachelor of Arts in Theater from Duke University, where she was a recipient of the Benenson Award in the Arts. Kimberly consistently has advocated for students who traditionally have limited access to resources and higher education opportunities. She has served on numerous academic service-oriented committees and is currently a humanities advisor for a local theater project about homelessness that is funded by the California Endowment of the Arts. Ultimately, Kimberly aspires to teach at a research university and continue to work with diverse communities in the Los Angeles area.