McNair Scholars Program Staff


Beth Schneider

Beth Schneider is the Director of the McNair Scholars Program and Professor of Sociology at UCSB. She is affiliated faculty in the Department of Feminist Studies. Her primary research areas include sexuality and gender studies, political and social movements, and health. Her books include The Social Context of AIDS (with Joan Huber), Women Resisting AIDS: Feminist Strategies of Empowerment (with Nancy Stoller), and The Lesbian and Gay Studies Reader (with Peter Nardi). She is the lead author of the UCSB report on campus climate for LGBTQ students, staff and faculty. Dr. Schneider served for ten years on the Editorial Board of the international journal Sexualities, for four years as the Editor of Gender & Society, one of the top five journals in gender and women’s studies, and served twice as the chair of the Sexualities Section of the American Sociological Association. In addition to her work with McNair, Dr. Schneider was the Co-Principal Investigator for NSF grant “Diversity Initiative for Graduate Study in the Social Sciences.” In the local community, she is on the Board of the Santa Barbara Women's Political Committee.

Yvette Martínez-Vu

Yvette Martínez-Vu is the Assistant Director of the McNair Scholars Program at UCSB. She is an inter-disciplinary scholar with a PhD in Theater and Performance Studies and a BA in English Literature from UCLA. Her research areas include Chicana and Latina feminist performance, devotional images and objects, and intersectionality in motherhood studies. Prior to joining the McNair staff, Dr. Martinez-Vu worked for the UCLA Scholarship Resource Center and Undergraduate Research Center for Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences, where she advised and mentored recipients of national and international scholarships and fellowships, including the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellows. She is a recipient of various awards, including the Ford Dissertation Fellowship, IUPLR Mellon Fellowship, a multi-year UC Cota-Robles Fellowship, and the Mellon Mays Fellowship. Dr. Martinez-Vu also has experience providing freelance academic coaching and editing services for undergraduate and graduate students. She is also the co-founder of two activist scholar collectives, the multi-institutional Chicana M(other)work collective and the Mothers of Color in Academia de UCLA group.

Gokh Alshaif

Gokh Alshaif is the Program Coordinator for the McNair Scholars Program. In 2014, she earned Bachelor degrees from California State University, Bakersfield (CSUB) in Political Science and Religious Studies. During her time as a McNair scholar at CSUB, her research projects included “Liberating the Veiled Women of the Desert: Western Feminism and the Muslim Woman” as well as “Daughters of Sojourners: The Yemeni-American Female’s Experience in Education." Gokh went on to receive her Master’s degree in Global & International Studies from UC Santa Barbara where her Master’s thesis explored the empowerment and disenfranchisement of Yemeni women during Yemen’s unification period. Her experience as a first generation Yemeni-American female has influenced not only Gokh’s research interest in gender, race, education, and empowerment, but also her desire to continue serving underrepresented communities and first-generation college students.

Ellen Broidy

Ellen Broidy, Writing Consultant, holds a PhD in U.S. History from UC Irvine and an MA in Library Science from UC Berkeley. Prior to joining McNair, Dr. Broidy was the head of the Collections, Research and Instructional Services Department at UCLA's Young Research Library. In addition to her McNair responsibilities, she also teaches a graduate course in Women's Studies at UCLA and provides editorial and research services as well as dissertation coaching.


Graduate Mentors

Cruz Ortiz Jr.

Cruz Ortiz Jr. is a PhD student in Bren School of Environmental Science and Management at the University of California Santa Barbara. He received his BS in Earth Science from the University of California Santa Cruz and his MS in Environmental Engineering Sciences from the University of Florida. Cruz is currently a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow. His research investigates the environmental implications of nanotechnology, specifically the fate and transport of nanomaterials in the environment.


Madeline Nolan

Madeline Nolan is a PhD student in the Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Marine Biology with an emphasis in Plant Community Ecology at UCSB. She received her BS from Ohio State University in Biology and Biochemistry and her MS in Natural Resource Management with an emphasis in Conservation Ecology from University of Michigan. Her research focuses on investigating how climate change will impact the distribution, composition and restoration of perennial bunchgrass communities in southern California. Madeline also works part time at the Cheadle Center for Biodiversity and Ecological Restoration where she assists with native plant restoration around campus.


Gina Vanegas

Gina Vanegas is a PhD student in the Department of Counseling, Clinical & School Psychology with an emphasis in Counseling Psychology at UCSB. She is a McNair alum who received her BA in Psychology and her M.Ed. in School Counseling from Georgia State University. Her research focuses on exploring creative approaches to increase access and improve utilization of mental health services by Latinas/os. Gina is also an Intern Clinician at Sanctuary Centers of Santa Barbara, a non-profit mental health services organization.