Student Leadership Board

Cosette Lias | Outreach Chair

Cosette is interested in education policy— especially in exploring the ways incarceration, homelessness, mental illness, and dis/ability are affected by and affect one’s education. She wants to dismantle institutions that harm disadvantaged communities. Fun fact: she is a published author and illustrator of a children’s book.

Erika Cervantes | Program Chair

Erika considers herself a generalist when it comes to her policy interests but has focused much of her time at Luskin on issues related to housing and homelessness. She resonates with PPDE because of its mission on community-centered policymaking and empowering students of color. She enjoys spending her free time watching Disney movies with her 3-year-old niece.

Dickran Jebejian | Advocacy Chair

Dickran Jebejian is a second year MPP at UCLA Luskin, and a native angeleno. He is interested in housing, food, and poverty policy. His interest in PPDE comes from a long term commitment to diversity and equity issues. He hopes to foster empowerment and change at Luskin during his time as a student and ongoing as an alum. Fun Fact: He worked as a line cook while in undergrad and has an extensive cookbook collection.

Irma Castañeda | Outreach Chair

Irma Castañeda is a 2nd year MPP student who is originally from the Chicagoland area. Her policy and research interests focus on higher education access, affordability, and equity. As part of her role in PPDE, she hopes to make the Luskin MPP program a more welcoming environment for current and prospective students from underrepresented backgrounds. In her free time, she enjoys latin dancing and getting ice cream with friends!

Jess Bendit | Communications Chair

Jess Bendit is a dual degree MPP-MSW, graduating in 2021. At Luskin, Jess focuses on criminal justice policy and nonprofit management. Outside of school, she reads sci-fi, listens to pop music, and samples cheeses.

Jess Mitchell-Laguna | Advocacy Chair

Adam Barsch | Program Chair

Kerry Browne | Budget Chair

Kerry's policy interests are in education, housing and transportation. He joined PPDE due to an interest in the equity dimension of policy-making. Born in Illinois and raised in Massachusetts, he moved to Los Angeles from Boston after spending a few years in AmeriCorps and after-school programs in Boston Public Schools. He misses the accent and the people but not the weather.

María Morales | Communications Chair

María is interested in the intersection between youth leadership development and civic engagement, as well as Latino politics and immigration. While Texas is home for María, she is originally from Guanajuato, México, where she found that the easiest way to learn how to ride a bike is under the pouring rain.

Michael Rios | External Affairs Chair