blanca2Blanca Gordo
is a Senior Researcher and part of the Artificial Intelligence Group at the International Computer Science Institute (ICSI) in Berkeley, CA. Most recently, she was the principal investigator of and lead a research team to conduct an evaluation of the California Connects Program, a federal public policy initiative in California. The Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP) at the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) of the US Department of Commerce funds California Connects. Blanca holds a PhD in City and Regional Planning from the University of California, Berkeley, and specializes in social problems and technology. Her perspective synthesizes regional and local economic development, urban poverty, technology development processes, organizational analysis and development, public policy, ethnic populations (African American and Latino), demographics, and social inequality structures. She has taught related courses in the Department of City and Regional Planning and the Department of Ethnic Studies at the University of California, Berkeley, as well as the Department of Sociology at the University of San Francisco and the Department of Mexican American Studies at San Jose State University.


Julia_BerndJulia Bernd enjoys working on projects where she simultaneously learns how people and societies function and makes that learning useful by helping people. Julia received her MA in Linguistics from Stanford University, and since has applied her academic training to practical causes in a wide variety of social science and public health research projects around the Bay Area. In addition to her work at ICSI on the California Connects evaluation team, Julia is a research and outreach consultant for the Family Acceptance Projecttm at San Francisco State University, and a professional editor. (Her interest in language and culture has led to multiple simultaneous careers!) Julia’s current work combines studying processes of social change with participating in those processes; and she has spent time as a grassroots progressive activist. Previously, Julia was the Assistant Director of Peninsula Peace and Justice Center in Palo Alto, and currently serves on its Board of Directors.


NoeliaNoelia González Cámara is a political philosopher and researcher with a multidisciplinary background. She worked as a research assistant at the Institute of Philosophy – Spanish National Research Council where she participated in several projects, like Políticas migratorias, Justicia y Ciudadanía and Integración, participación y Justicia social. She has a PhD in Humanities by Pompeu Fabra University, Barcelona and MA in Political Philosophy by Complutense University of Madrid. Her fields of interest include political philosophy, critical theory, social movements and the interaction between politics and economy in the production of immigration. Her theoretical work is specially focused on Hannah Arendt’s and Karl Marx’s thought.


amandaAmanda Halperin obtained her MA in Public History, focusing on the historical interactions between culture and communication technology, and subsequently worked at local museums around the Bay Area to assist communities in exploring, recording, and sharing their histories. She has taught for over ten years, mentoring ELL and international students about American college practices; facilitating technology-based courses for adult learners; and developing lessons attuned to the needs of students from various academic, economic, and cultural backgrounds. This experience allowed her the opportunity to talk to many people about what they know, what they want to learn, and how they learn best, and the results of these discussions have fed into her primary goal as an educator: discovering and implementing effective teaching practices. She is currently designing curricula that encourage students to both retain information and to apply it in real world situations.


DeborahDeborah Freedman Lustig is a Research Associate at the Institute for the Study of Societal Issues (ISSI), UC Berkeley. Lustig earned her Ph.D. in anthropology from the University of Michigan. Her research has focused on gender, education, and youth violence in the United States and Kenya, where she was a Fulbright Senior Scholar in 2004-5. Her research on teenage mothers has been published in the journals Anthropology and Education Quarterly and Childhood and in Childhood, Youth, and Social Work in Transformation: Implications for Policy and Practice (Columbia University Press, 2009). Her recent research on young adults coming of age in Oakland, California is available here. She is on the board of the African Library Project and Six Seconds, and she volunteers as a Court-Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) for a child in foster care.


carmen1Maria del Carmen Peñaranda-Cólera is a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Social Psychology at the Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB), where she also teaches. She is currently a visiting assistant research educator in the Graduate School of Education at the University of California, Berkeley. Maria del Carmen holds a PhD in Social Psychology and a MA in Research in Social Psychology from UAB. She received a Bachelors degree in Psychology from UAB as well as a Bachelors degree in Social Work from UB.

Her research is focused on how new Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) develop and redefine relationships in contemporary societies, particularly in everyday life and socialization of migrants and people in transit. She is interested on the social perceptions and processes of adopting technological competencies. Her doctoral dissertation “Te escuchas aquí al lado. Uses of Information and Communication Technologies in transnational migration contexts” examines the role that ICT have in the establishment and maintenance of transnational ties over long distances, focusing on transnational practices that, as affective work, emotional labor and care from the distance, allowing the development of the transnational family. She also is interested in developing qualitative research methodologies in Social Sciences that she applied in her research and on which has taught related courses.


pedroPedro Ruiz graduated from UC Berkeley with a degree in Ethnic and Chicano Studies and is currently pursuing a master’s degree in Urban Planning at the University of Southern California. Pedro’s interests are aimed at improving the quality of life for underserved communities. He is especially interested in demographic analysis, the digital divide, gentrification, and social inequalities. In the past, he helped conduct a technology needs assessment of the Southeast Los Angeles region for the Center for Latino Policy Research in Berkeley, CA. In addition, Pedro worked at the San Diego Association of Governments as a research analyst helping on various transportation projects and data collection efforts. Pedro is also a graduate research assistant at the Tomás Rivera Policy Institute at USC.


GerardoGerardo Sánchez recently moved to the Bay Area seeking stories of connectivity in the information age. Born and raised in Mexico City, he received a degree in Sociology from UNAM. Later, he studied at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark, where he received a MA in Applied Cultural Analysis. There, he started his career as a cultural researcher working with community and immigrant associations in the south of Scandinavia. Before joining the Digital Equality research team at ICSI, Gerardo conducted ethnographic research about a digital literacy program in several rural indigenous communities in the Gulf of Mexico, using a culture driven approach to analyze the relationships among technology, culture and public policy. In the Bay Area, the heart of the Internet culture, he is studying underserved and underrepresented ethnic populations, and their paths towards sustainable ICTs’ adoption and appropriation for social development. He is passionate about social theory, traveling, music, food, and hiking California’s national parks.


NessJ.S. Onésimo (Ness) Sandoval is an Associate Professor of Sociology in the Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice at Saint Louis University. His research interests focus on Urban Sociology, Demography, Spatial Statistics, Social-Environmental Synthesis, Racial Inequality, Spatial Demography and Spatial Criminology, and Latino Sociology.

Ness’s primary research interests cover spatial demography, poverty and social welfare, urban sociology and planning, race relations, transportation policy, and Latino sociology. He is currently working on three research projects: transportation for vulnerable populations; neighborhood diversity and residential differentiation; and pan-ethnic diversity. He has organized his work to examine the social, economic, and cultural life of the metropolis and to analyze the processes of building and maintaining systems of racial domination and differentiation. His research projects are unified by an underlying theoretical concern with differentiation, stratification, and the recognition of social, cultural, and symbolic capital, as well as by a methodological pluralism. The projects are designed to foster a dialogue for a new urban sociology that captures the diversity of social life, social suffering, racial harmony and discord, and urban experience.


Digital Equality Advisory Board

Jenna Burrell, Associate Professor, School of Information, UC-Berkeley

Jerry Feldman, Senior Researcher, Artificial Intelligence, The International Computer Science Institute

Srini Narayanan, Director, Artificial Intelligence, The International Computer Science Institute