Professor Ong has done research on the labor market status of minorities and immigrants, displaced high-tech workers, work and spatial/transportation mismatch, and environmental justice. He is currently engaged in several projects, including an analysis of the relationship between sustainability and equity, the racial wealth gap, and the role of urban structures on the reproduction of inequality.

Previous research projects have included studies of the impact of defense cuts on California’s once-dominant aerospace industry, the impact of immigration on the employment status of young African Americans, and the influence of car ownership and subsidized housing on welfare usage.

Dr. Ong is the Director of the Center for Neighborhood Knowledge and editor of AAPI Nexus, and has served as an advisor to the U.S. Bureau of the Census, and to the California Department of Social Services and the state Department of Employment Development, as well as the Wellness Foundation and the South Coast Air Quality Management District.

He received a master’s in urban planning from the University of Washington, and a Ph.D. in Economics, University of California, Berkeley. Along with his quantitative research, his professional practice includes teaching and applying visual forms of communication.


Chhandara Pech is the Assistant Director at the UCLA Center for Neighborhood Knowledge. His expertise is in spatial and statistical analysis. He has conducted extensive research on neighborhood change, gentrification, residential segregation, wealth/income inequality, and the foreclosure crisis. He was the lead data analyst for the Los Angeles component of the gentrification and displacement project. Chhandara earned his Master’s degree in Urban and Regional Planning, BA in Political Science, and has a certification in Geographic Information Systems from UCLA.

Wendy Miranda Arevalo is a graduate student researcher at the UCLA Center for Neighborhood Knowledge. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology from California State University, Long Beach and is currently a 2nd-year dual-degree student studying Public Health and Urban Planning at UCLA. She is interested in the intersection of the built environment and health and in air quality. She hopes to serve environmental justice for communities to create healthier and equitable environments.

Tiffany Green is a graduate student researcher at the Center for Neighborhood Knowledge. She is currently pursuing a Master of Urban and Regional Planning at UCLA, where she explores ideas surrounding housing policy, residential segregation, and creating equitable systems for local government. Tiffany is also a Data & Research Fellow at Forward Through Ferguson. She has a background in business and theology, holding an MBA from Lindenwood University and a MA from Ozark Christian College.

Victor Tran is a graduate student researcher at the Center for Neighborhood Knowledge. He received a BA in Sociology and Geography with a minor in Urban and Regional Studies. From his education and research, he is interested in examining how inequality and differences are constructed and perpetuated in spatial forms that can determine how different bodies and communities experience urban environments and processes. At UCLA, Victor was involved in organizations and social justice programs such as Alternative Breaks, the Vietnamese Student Union, and Southeast Asian spaces that centered around community service and engagement, education and advocacy, and intergroup dialogue and relations. Victor is from Santa Ana, California.

Mary M.G. Nguyen is a graduate student researcher at the Center for Neighborhood Knowledge. She is currently pursuing a Master of Social Welfare and Public Policy at UCLA as a first year and has experience in Asian American research study in mental health. She is eager and willing to learn how to combat the inequitable systems that continue to oppress communities of color in housing and medical/mental health care, as well as spreading awareness and giving voice to those who are constantly silenced.

Anne Yoon is a graduate student researcher at the Center for Neighborhood Knowledge. She is currently pursuing a Master of Urban and Regional Planning degree at UCLA. She is interested in research that explores how racialized experiences take place in urban structures and the narratives created for resident-driven policy change. She has a background in nonprofit and foundation capacity building and programmatic strategy and holds a B.A. in International and Global Studies in the Middle East and Geography from Middlebury College.

Darlene Medrano is a graduate student researcher at the UCLA Center for Neighborhood Knowledge. She earned a Bachelor’s degree in Economics and minor in Political Science from University of California, Merced. She is currently a 2nd-year student in the Masters of Public Policy Program at UCLA. She is currently pursuing her Data Analytics Certificate and is interested in a career in policy research. She hopes to serve underrepresented communities through research that can create policy change.

Mia Lewis is a graduate student researcher at the Center for Neighborhood Knowledge. She holds a BS in Geography from Florida State University and is currently pursuing a Master of Urban Planning at UCLA. She is most interested in studying the intersections of technology, equity, and transportation planning in the hope of finding ways to create more accessible and sustainable transportation systems.

Joana Muñoz is a Project Policy Analyst at the UCLA Center for Neighborhood Knowledge. She graduated from UCLA with a B.A. in Public Affairs and two minors in History and Education studies. Influenced by her first-generation low-income status and immigrant heritage, Joana has developed strong academic interests in educational disparities and the challenges and barriers that children from low SES households and immigrant families face in relation to educational achievement and access to college.

Patrick Andrei Romero (he/him/his) is an undergraduate student researcher at the UCLA Center for Neighborhood Knowledge. He is a third-year student with a double major in Asian American Studies and International Development Studies, and a minor in Education Studies. Patrick previously conducted educational research on the impact of involvement on Filipino American students at UCLA who are affiliated with on-campus student organizations, and how these cultural spaces foster retention through community building. Heavily influenced by his Bay Area upbringing and immigrant background, his main research interests include the educational experiences of marginalized groups and environmental justice for impacted communities of color.

Abigail Fitzgibbon is an undergraduate student researcher at the Center for Neighborhood Knowledge. She is a third-year undergraduate at UCLA pursuing a degree in Geography/Environmental Studies and a minor in Geospatial Information Systems (GIS). Hailing from Massachusetts, she has experience working in political organizing, nonprofits, and organic agriculture. She has strong interests in cartography and data science, which she hopes to apply to graduate school and post-graduate career in public service. At CNK, she is passionate about applying her skills in GIS to understand how to build a more equitable Los Angeles, especially related to clean transportation access.

Aaron Tae is a rising third-year undergraduate student at UCLA pursuing a degree in Data Theory. Born in South Korea, Aaron moved to Los Angeles, California when he was five years old and has lived there since. He has experience working with low-income status and immigrant students during his volunteer tenure at a small academy in Koreatown called E-PLEX, while also being a person of low-income status and an immigrant himself. He has a passion for data analysis, data science, and data in general. He is excited to utilize and apply what he is passionate about to contribute to CNK’s efforts in shedding light to how communities and neighborhoods of color are mistreated even in urban city planning processes.

Briana Soriano is a fourth-year undergraduate majoring in Geography/Environmental Studies and minoring in Geospatial Information Systems & Technologies. Throughout her time here, she has continued to help under-resourced communities across Los Angeles with UCLA BruinCorps. She currently employs her technical skills in local government for planning, engineering, and administrative functions. She aims to meaningfully expand her contributions using location intelligence for racial equity and social justice at CNK.


Silvia Gonzalez (Jimenez) is a project director for community-based and environmental equity at the Luskin Center for Innovation. Previously, Silvia worked as the founding assistant director at the CNK. She continues to conduct research with CNK as the project manager for and serves as an expert with the UCLA Latino Policy & Politics Initiative. She has worked extensively, as a researcher and consultant with nonprofit, community-based, and government organizations on projects related to neighborhood change and gentrification, anti-displacement policies, environmental equity, and climate planning. Her research focuses on the implications of place and the urban spatial structure on socioeconomic inequality and environmental health.  She holds a BA in Geography/Environmental Studies and a Master’s in Urban and Regional Planning with a focus on Economic Development from UCLA, and a PhD in Urban Planning also from UCLA.


C. Aujean Lee is an assistant professor in Regional and City Planning at the University of Oklahoma. She received her PhD in Urban Planning from UCLA. Her work examines residential segregation and racial disparities in homeownership, community institutions, and wealth, with a focus on immigrant, Latino, and Asian communities. She also examines nonprofits in providing social protections to vulnerable communities in transitional or uncertain policy circumstances. Her work has been published in Housing Policy Debate, Journal of Planning Education and Research, Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly.


Andre Comandon is a post-doctoral scholar at the USC Sol Price School of Public Policy. His research focuses on issues of segregation and housing in international comparative perspective. He recently worked with the Organization for Economic and Cooperation and Development and has written on Europe, China, Mexico, and South Africa. His most recent research focuses on segregation in the context of Los Angeles and the implications of  housing stress for segregation. Andre earned a M.A. in Political Science, a Master’s degree in Urban and Regional Planning, and a PhD in Urban Planning from UCLA, and a B.S. in Economics and International Studies from the University of Oregon.

Manon is a critical urbanist, an organizer, and an interdisciplinary designer based in Brooklyn, NY. Her work centers on developing research and multimedia tools that demystify complex urban processes and put power into the hands of communities most impacted by urban injustice. She co-founded Landlord Watch, an organization that builds digital tools with homeless New Yorkers to combat housing discrimination, and has been an active member of the Anti-Eviction Mapping Project since 2014.  Moving forward, she hopes to continue working with communities, organizers, and activists, to build people power for just cities. You can see some of her past work here.
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