Our People

About the CSU Student Success Network

The CSU Network is facilitated by the Education Insights Center (EdInsights) at Sacramento State. The Network operates under a distributed leadership model comprised of EdInsights and CSU staff, and CSU faculty.

Breaunna Alexander

Breaunna Alexander

Research Manager, EdInsights

breaunna.alexander@csus.edu

Breaunna Alexander is a research associate with EdInsights focused on evaluating institutional effectiveness and initiatives to improve the community college experience. Breaunna is passionate about increasing access and success for underrepresented and underserved populations and understanding how institutions impact individuals and communities as a whole. Her previous research has utilized a variety of research methods to evaluate juvenile welfare cases and analyze the state of parole in multiple Oregon counties. Breaunna received a Master’s degree in Public Policy from Oregon State University and a BA in Psychology from San Diego State University.

Ellie Clifford Ertle

Ellie Clifford Ertle

Middle Leadership Academy Director

eertle@csuchico.edu

Dr. Ertle is Associate Dean of Undergraduate Education at Chico State where she provides integrated leadership of the First-Year Experience, REACH Student Success program and Major Quest for Undeclared students, facilitates cross-divisional collaborations for student equity and success, and supports the Dean in the advancement of UED’s growing set of programs and initiatives focused on advancing equity and student success. Having earned her EdD in Educational Leadership from UC Davis, Dr. Ertle has presented and published on equity in higher education, civic engagement and public sphere pedagogy, scholarship of learning and teaching, and institutional change. In her time at Chico State, Dr. Ertle has demonstrated collaborative and transformative leadership, creative program building, and a resolute commitment to equitable student success.

 Jeanine Cunningham

Jeanine Cunningham

Research Manager, EdInsights. CSU Student Success Network

jeanine.cunningham@csus.edu

Jeanine believes strongly that higher education should be accessible and that it is the responsibility of the institution to prioritize the supports and structures that enable accessibility and student success. As a member of the research and evaluation team at EdInsights, Jeanine’s work broadly engages the measurement of institutional effectiveness and the evaluation of equity initiatives. As an educator, Jeanine has taught college and university courses on deviance and social control, social movements, ethics, and social research methods. As a researcher, her primary research focuses upon structures of power, narratives and meaning-making, and the use of multi-method research strategies including network analysis. She holds an M.S. from the University of Oregon and an M.A. from Sacramento State University, both in Sociology, along with a B.S. in Criminology from California State University, Fresno.

 Jaquelyn Caro-Sena

Jaquelyn Caro-Sena

Research Associate, EdInsights

 j.caro-sena@csus.edu

Jackie Caro-Sena is a research associate at EdInsights focused on the large-scale evaluation of the California Community Colleges Institutional Effectiveness Partnership Initiative (IEPI). She uses mixed methods to evaluate IEPI’s professional development resources and help provide equitable opportunities for underrepresented students. Jackie received her Master of Arts in Education from UC Davis in June 2017 and her BA in Ethnic Studies and American Studies with a concentration in Social Policy from UC Berkeley in May 2015.

Laura Diep

Laura Diep

Administrative Coordinator

laura.diep@csus.edu

Laura Diep joined EdInsights in May 2022, and currently supports the organization and its projects as an administrative assistant. Laura earned her BS in Managerial Economics from the University of California, Davis. During her time there, she worked as a financial wellness peer advisor and served as the advocacy coordinator for her college chapter of Nazun (Challah For Hunger). In the former role, she taught financial wellness to her fellow students. In the latter role, she helped raise thousands of dollars for the Yolo Food Bank by baking and selling challah to the local community. A former transfer student, Laura is passionate about promoting accessibility and equity in education.

Shonda Goward

Shonda Goward

Advisory Board Chair

shonda.goward@csueastbay.edu

As the Assistant Vice Provost for Undergraduate Advising and Success at San Jose State University, Dr. Goward supports the university’s student success initiatives by leading peer supported learning. She is excited to work with the Network as the Convenings Director. Shonda has 15 years of professional experience in higher education administration particularly in the area of academic student support. Shonda’s current research, and passion, focuses on how universities can work to retain marginalized students and support their academic success and well-being.

Madeleine Kerrick

Madeleine Kerrick

Interim Executive Director, EdInsights

m.kerrick@csus.edu

Madeleine is the Interim Executive Director at EdInsights. In her role at EdInsights, which facilitates the Network, she focuses on evaluating initiatives aimed at promoting student success within community college and public university systems. Her research interests include: understanding how institutions can impact individuals’ development and vice versa; advancing institutional change in support of student success; and qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods. Prior to joining EdInsights, Madeleine was an adjunct lecturer at San Jose State University where she taught courses on research methods and identity development. Her previous research examined how we form identities, self-beliefs, and relationships—particularly in the contexts of talk about romance and sex, and the transition to parenthood. Madeleine received her M.S. and Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology from UC Santa Cruz and her B.A. in Child Development – Social and Community Settings from Sacramento State University.

Kalifa Madden

Kalifa Madden

Communications Manager, EdInsights

k.madden@csus.edu

Kalifa Madden joined EdInsights in January 2020 and currently manages the  communications needs of both EdInsights and The Network. Kalifa earned her BA in Communications and Organizational Public Relations at California State University, Los Angeles. She has a passion for communications and enjoys facilitating the needs of the organization, through creativity, collaboration and transparency. She is also passionate about student success initiatives as a first-generation, transfer student herself. Prior to joining EdInsights, Kalifa worked as a Digital Media Manager and Social Media Specialist in Los Angeles.

Larissa M. Mercado-López

Larissa M. Mercado-López

Conference Director

lmercadolopez@csufresno.edu
(559) 278-8599

Dr. Larissa M. Mercado-López is a 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.

Ben Paquette-Ferguson

Ben Paquette-Ferguson

UX Design Analyst, Research Assistant, EdInsights

paquette-ferguson@csus.edu

Ben is the UX Design Analyst & Research Assistant at Education Insights (EdInsights). In his role, Ben creates visuals that tell compelling data-driven stories. Ben has spent over ten years providing exceptional experiences to customers and clients in a multitude of fields including higher education, non-profit, immigration, medical, and tech. He graduated with a BA in Spanish and a minor in Business Administration from Cabrini University, a private school located outside of Philadelphia, PA. During the pandemic, he took the opportunity to further his education and earned a certificate in User Experience (UX) Design. Ben continues to provide positive experiences utilizing research and design thinking while sharing his passion for education, equity, and accessibility.