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Welcome Dr. Maria del Pilar O'Cadiz, New TANMS Education Director

posted Jan 4, 2016, 10:32 AM by Tsai-Tsai O-Lee   [ updated Jan 4, 2016, 10:33 AM ]
Happy New Year!  It is with pleasure that we start off the new year with the introduction of the new TANMS Education Director, Dr. Maria del Pilar O'Cadiz.  Dr. O’Cadiz is a native Southern Californian, born to immigrant Mexican parents. She completed her undergraduate studies at Oberlin College in 1986, and two master’s degrees at UCLA (M.Ed. in Curriculum, Administration, and Teaching and M.A. in Latin American Studies). She studied abroad as an undergraduate student at the University of Cordoba, Spain and completed a year of graduate study at the University of São Paulo, Brazil through the UC Education Abroad Program. She earned her Ph.D. in Social Sciences and Comparative Education at UCLA in 1996, receiving the Comparative and International Education Society’s Gail Kelly Outstanding Dissertation Award. Her dissertation work was published in a book, Education and Democracy: Paulo Freire, Social Movements and Educational Reform in São Paulo (1998) co-authored with Pia Lindquist Wong and her doctoral advisor, UCLA distinguished professor, Carlos Alberto Torres.

While completing her doctoral studies at UCLA, Pilar began her engagement in the Out-of-School Time (OST) field as the educational program director, and later executive director, of the Boyle Heights Elementary Institute, a community based organization that provided afterschool and mentoring programs for Latino youth east of downtown Los Angeles, in partnership with UCLA, community leaders and local businesses. It was during this time (1992-1996) that she recognized the potential of OST settings for leveraging community resources in the creation of innovative learning opportunities for diverse youth to develop the academic proficiencies and social skills needed to achieve their higher education and career goals, and facilitate their meaningful civic engagement.

Consequently, Pilar worked for eight years as executive director of the Collaborative After School Project out of UC Irvine and later Cal Poly Pomona, in partnership with the Los Angeles County Office of Education, providing technical assistance and professional development opportunities to youth serving programs.  Additionally she has provided evaluation and research services as a consultant for various clients, including LAUSDs Beyond the Bell Branch and the League of California Afterschool Providers. She is currently an active member of the Learning in Afterschool and Summer Project Work Group and an Editorial Board member of the Journal of Expanded Learning Opportunities.

As a Project Scientist at UC Irvine School of Education (2006 to 2015), working with Professor and Founding Dean, Deborah Lowe Vandell, Dr. O’Cadiz has been involved in several evaluative studies of OST programs, including the assessment of student outcomes and program quality in publically funded afterschool and summer learning programs for the California Department of Education, and a recently completed study of a three-year statewide initiative aimed at expanding access to quality STEM learning opportunities, and building student STEM interest, engagement and career aspirations.

Dr. O’Cadiz has also worked teaching and advising undergraduate and graduate students as co-coordinator of the Internship Teaching Program at Pacific Oaks College in Pasadena, and adjunct faculty at Antioch University, Cal State Fullerton, Cal Poly Pomona and UC Irvine.  In the past six years she has served on the dissertation committees of doctoral students at Cal State Long Beach, Cal State Fullerton, UC Irvine, USC, Claremont Graduate University, and Chapman University.

Her professional experiences and interactions with talented students and dedicated educators and community leaders over the past two decades will continue to inform and motivate Pilar’s commitment to engaging diverse youth and young adults in 21st century career pathways through innovative expanded learning opportunities in her new role as TANMS Education Director. 

Please join me in welcoming Dr. O'Cadiz to the TANMS family.  She can be reached at mpocadiz@tanms-erc.org or (310) 825-0401.  Her office is located in TANMS headquarters at UCLA in Boelter Hall, Room 7702D. 

A big thank you to Dr. George Youssef for all of his contributions to TANMS as the former Education Director and for assisting us to ensure a smooth transition process.