Student Spotlight: Yasamine Bolourian Ph.D. ’18


When Yasamine Bolourian decided to pursue a Ph.D., she wanted to commit to a program that “prepared students to be highly-competent leaders in their field,” and in her case, engage in cutting-edge research in special education and autism. After learning that UCR was home to some of the nation’s leading experts in autism research and the highly regarded SEARCH Family Autism Resource Center, GSOE quickly became Yasamine’s top choice. Now, three years into her Special Education doctorate, she has been trained in gold standard autism assessments at SEARCH, has co-authored on several studies, and presented research with GSOE’s Dr. Jan Blacher, Distinguished Professor and director of SEARCH, and SEARCH assistant director, Dr. Katherine Stavropoulos.

Tell us about your experience as a graduate student researcher at SEARCH Family Autism Resource Center, and some of the projects the center has been working on? SEARCH is truly unique as it is the UC-system’s first no-cost screening clinic for individuals suspected of having autism. Since day one, I wanted to be actively engaged in practice at the clinic. As part of the SEARCH team under Dr. Blacher’s supervision, I have had various educational and clinical opportunities, working closely with children and families from diverse backgrounds. It has been particularly inspiring to interact with families during a very critical period in their lives and, consequently, continue to cultivate empathy and become more attuned to their lived experiences.

More recently, we have embarked on new projects and collaborations that have expanded our reach. SEARCH and the UCR School of Medicine have partnered to improve access to care and receipt of services for underserved minority families in the community, and we have had an integral addition to the SEARCH team, Dr. Katherine Stavropoulos. Among other notable titles, Dr. Stavropoulos is an assistant professor at the GSOE and a clinical psychologist, who brings invaluable insight and perspective into the additional co-occurring issues that children in this population face. Training under her wing has vastly broadened my content knowledge in the field of autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

What drew you to the field of special education? I was drawn to special education because of the desire to enhance the quality of life for students with autism and other special needs, as well as their families. These populations have well-documented substantial academic, social, and behavioral challenges that require attention in both the home and school environments.

Tell us a little about your own research interests, and what you are currently working on? My research focuses on understanding the social and emotional development of youth with developmental disabilities, specializing in autism spectrum disorder. Social-emotional issues in children with autism are frequently reported by both parents and teachers, and therefore permeate home and school systems. My research explores the manifestation of these issues (e.g., social deficits, anxiety, behavioral problems) in order to help researchers, families, and educators understand the difficulties experienced by youth with autism.

While the bulk of my research has been focused on children with ASD, I envision an increase in research attention on adults, a population that has been relatively neglected in the field. In line with this, I am interested in understanding and supporting students with autism in the postsecondary setting. I have been fortunate to engage in research with Dr. Blacher at the GSOE that investigates the experiences of university students with autism and ADHD, as well as faculty knowledge about developmental disabilities, through a project entitled “Autism 101.”

Yasamine serves as graduate student researcher at UCR’s SEARCH Family Autism Research Center, where she has been trained in gold standard autism assessments.

What have been some of the highlights of being a graduate student at UCR? One of the many highlights of being a graduate student at UCR has been receiving mentorship and collaborating with faculty across the GSOE. In particular, I have had the opportunity to work with Dr. Keith Widaman, Dr. Marsha Ing, and Dr. Robert Ream on a variety of projects that have greatly added value to my graduate research and training experiences.

What advice would you give an incoming graduate student? “It takes a village to raise a graduate student:” My advice to incoming students is to take full advantage of UCR’s exceptional resources and faculty. For instance, the Graduate Division offers a wide array of resources to meet student needs. Early on, I participated in the Graduate Student Mentorship Program, as well as utilized group workshops and individual consultations offered at Grad Quant and the Writing Center. These programs have been tremendously helpful in answering questions related to coursework, personal research, and general graduate school survival skills. More recently, I have been making use of Dissertation Occasion, which provides students who are working on their dissertation with the space and time (and coffee!) for dedicated writing hours.

Best advice someone has given you as a graduate student? Don’t forget about self-care! For me, I try to see my friends and family as much as possible, and exercise – sort of…

UCR’s Graduate School of Education Announces New Faculty

L to R: Dr. Cati V. de los Ríos, Dr. Leigh Patel, and Dr. Tara J. Yosso join GSOE.


UC Riverside’s Graduate School of Education is delighted to welcome three new faculty: Drs. Cati V. de los Ríos, Leigh Patel, and Tara J. Yosso. All three hold appointments in GSOE’s Education, Society, and Culture program.

Assistant Professor Cati V. de los Ríos officially joined GSOE in Winter 2016. A former high school teacher in Pomona Unified School District and Boston Public Schools, and teacher educator in New York City and Oakland, California, her research spans a number of phenomena, including Chicanx and Latinx adolescents’ critical and close readings of corridos, Chicanx and Latinx youth’s multimodal and translingual literacies, youth community organizing, and the civic literacy practices extant in secondary Ethnic Studies classrooms. Her teaching and scholarship are informed by ethnic studies frameworks and sociocultural and critical theories of language and literacy, and she has over a decade of community organizing for K-12 Ethnic Studies efforts nationwide. Dr. de los Ríos has been published in academic journals including Reading Research Quarterly, Research in the Teaching of English, Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, and Race and Social Problems. She is a former Cultivating New Voices (CNV) Fellow with NCTE, and in 2016, she was selected for dissertation fellowships from both the Ford Foundation and National Academy of Education/Spencer Foundation. In 2017, she was awarded the Jean Anyon Award from AERA’s special interest group Grassroots Community and Youth Organizing for Education Reform.

Professor Leigh Patel is an interdisciplinary researcher, educator, and writer. With a background in sociology, she researches and teaches about education as a site of social reproduction and as a potential site for transformation. Her work addresses the narratives that facilitate societal structures, and she works extensively with societally marginalized youth and teacher activists. Dr. Patel is the author of four books, over 100 articles and essays, and has been featured in media outlets including The Atlantic, HuffPost live, and the Feminist Wire. Prior to working in academia, she was a journalist, a teacher, and a state-level policymaker. Across all of these experiences, her focus has been on the ways that education structures opportunities in society and the stories that are told about those opportunities. She is currently working on her forthcoming book, To Study is to Struggle: Higher Education and Settler Colonialism.

Professor Tara J. Yosso joins GSOE as a recruit from the UCR cluster hire focused on scholars working with the diverse U.S. populations who are part of what are identified by Américo Paredes as “Greater Mexico.” Her research and teaching apply the frameworks of critical race theory and critical media literacy to examine educational access and opportunity. She has authored numerous collaborative and interdisciplinary chapters and articles in publications such as the Harvard Educational Review, International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education, and The Blackwell Companion to Social Inequalities, and has been awarded a Ford Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship for Diversity and Excellence in University Teaching. Her article, “Whose Culture has Capital? A Critical Race Theory Discussion of Community Cultural Wealth,” has become the top cited article in Race Ethnicity and Education since its publication in 2005, with over 3,000 citations. The American Educational Studies Association recognized her book, Critical Race Counterstories along the Chicana/Chicano Educational Pipeline (Routledge) with a 2008 Critics’ Choice Book Award. Prior to joining GSOE, Dr. Yosso was a Professor in the School of Education and a faculty affiliate in Latina/o Studies at the University of Michigan, and held previous positions as assistant and associate professor with tenure in the Department of Chicana and Chicano Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara. She earned her Ph.D. in urban schooling in the Graduate School of Education and Information Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles.


Donor Honor Roll

UCR’s GSOE would like to recognize the generous contributions of our donors!

June 2017-present

Bezos Family Foundation
Dr. & Mrs. John and Kathy Allavie
Drs. Irving Hendrick & Linda Scott Hendrick
Drs. Stephen & Ruth Sandlin
Dr. Patricia A. Hatch
Haynes Foundation
John Randolph Haynes and Dora Haynes Foundation
John and Elizabeth Leonard Family Foundation
Justice Barton C. Gaut & Mrs. Merla C. Gaut
MacArthur Foundation
Mr. & Mrs. Kenneth and Nancy Noller
Mr. Chester G. Fossum, Jr.
Mr. Clyde Derrick
Mr. Dwight A. Tate & Dr. Katherine A. Wright
Mr. James C. Calkins
Mr. John Torres, Jr.
Mr. Ted & Dr. Jo Dutton
Mrs. Christine R. Jones
Mrs. Paula E. Torres
Mrs. Sara K. Peck
Ms. Barbara Kerr
Ms. Elizabeth V. Dunne
Ms. Esther Severy
SchoolsFirst Federal Credit Union
Spencer Foundation
Stuart Foundation
The Tower Foundation of San Jose State University

Areas of Support
June 2017-present

Athena Waite Teacher Education Fund
Beckman Coulter Foundation Scholars Fund
Bridge to Success Teacher Education Endowed Student Award Fund
Flora Ortiz Endowed Scholarship Fund
General Support for Teacher Education
General Support for the Graduate School of Education
Graduate School of Education (GSOE) Colloquium Fund
GSOE Teacher Education Fund
Institute for Teachers of Color (ITOC)
James E. and James C. Calkins Endowed Teacher Preparation Graduate
Award Fund
John and Elizabeth Leonard Family Foundation Teacher Education Scholarships
Operation Education Fund
Research in the School of Education
SchoolsFirst Federal Credit Union Teacher Education Professional Development Seminar Fund
SEARCH Family Autism Resource Center
UCR-RUSD Pipeline Scholarship Fund