Our Staff

Amanda E. Lewis


Email: Amanda E. Lewis

Amanda Lewis, Director Amanda Lewis is Professor of African American Studies & Sociology at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC). Her research focuses on how race shapes educational opportunities and how our ideas about race get negotiated in everyday life. She is the author of Race in the Schoolyard: Negotiating the Color-line in Classrooms and Communities. She is also the co-editor (with Maria Krysan) of The Changing Terrain of Race and Ethnicity, and co-author (with Mark Chesler and Jim Crowfoot) of Challenging Racism in Higher Education: Promoting Justice. Her latest book (with John Diamond) is Despite the Best Intentions: Why racial inequality persists in good schools. Her research has appeared in a number of academic venues including Sociological Theory, American Educational Research Journal, American Behavioral Scientist, Race and Society, DuBois Review and Anthropology and Education Quarterly. She lectures and consults regularly on issues of educational equity and contemporary forms of racism.

Iván Arenas

Associate Director

Email: Iván Arenas

Ivan ArenasIván Arenas is a Mexican-American anthropologist, architect, artist, activist, and most importantly a parent. When he has his fieldwork shoes on he focuses on the production of emergent political subjectivities and alternative political imaginaries through practices of struggle in urban settings. Before joining IRRPP, he worked with UIC’s Social Justice Initiative where he curated two year-long exhibits that mobilized and extended his research on the intersection between protest practices, social transformation, and aesthetics. Interested in connecting faculty, students, and the community, Dr. Arenas seeks to create research and programming that enable not just greater understanding but mobilizes towards collective action. He received his PhD in Anthropology in 2011 from the University of California, Berkeley. 



Faith Kares

Associate Director

Email: Faith Kares

Faith KaresFaith R. Kares is a cultural anthropologist who specializes in diaspora, race/ethnicity, and urban development processes. She has applied her anthropological training in various contexts, including evaluating the efficacy of California’s juvenile justice system, studying the impact of afterschool programming on minority youth in Chicago, conducting participant-observation research among Asian Americans in San Francisco’s rave scene, and examining the operations and practices of the Chicago Police Department. Dr. Kares’ work raises questions of equity and access, and she is dedicated to making research legible to communities outside of academia. She is interested in developing programming that contributes to an intellectually vibrant environment, and to both supporting and collaborating with faculty and students on research that engages diverse communities and promotes ongoing dialogue and change. She obtained her PhD in anthropology from Northwestern University in 2015, and her BA in cultural anthropology and women’s studies from Mount Holyoke College in 2003.  



Ryan Viloria

Office Manager

Email: Ryan Viloria

Ryan ViloriaRyan Viloria earned his Master of Arts degree in English from the University of Illinois at Chicago in May 2012 with a research focus on Asian American literature. His scholarship examines gay/bisexual protagonists and divisions of history and memory in Filipino American novels. Most recently he presented his work at Northwestern University's Queertopia! 2012 academic conference.


Viloria previously worked as the graduate assistant for the UIC Chancellor's Committee on the Status of Asian Americans, briefly served as Managing Editor for UIC's graduate journal Packingtown Review, and has contributed entries for New World Encyclopedia. He is also the Social Chair for i2i: Asian Pacific Islander Pride of Chicago, a community organization that celebrates and affirms Asian and Pacific Islanders who identify as LGBTQ. Viloria's general policy interests and activism revolve around minorities in culture, social welfare, and representation in media and government.

William "Buddy" Scarborough

Research Assistant

Email: Buddy Scarborough

Buddy ScarboroughBuddy Scarborough is a PhD candidate in Sociology at the University of Illinois at Chicago. His research focuses on the economic and cultural determinants of wage inequality across labor markets in the U.S. He has published in multiple peer reviewed journals, and is the co-editor with Barbara Risman and Carissa Froyum of The Springer Handbook of the Sociology of Gender which is currently under contract for publication in summer 2018.


In addition to working at IRRPP, Buddy also serves as the Graduate Fellow for the Chicagoland Chapter of the Scholars Strategy Network. Prior to graduate school, Buddy worked in Kabokweni, South Africa from 2010 to 2013.









Luna V. White

Marketing Assistant

Email: Luna V. White

Luna WhiteLuna White is a graduate student in Sociology at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Their research focuses on racism, social movements, and whiteness. More specifically, Luna studies the ways in which Black Liberation and Fredeom organizers conceive of whiteness and strategize considering whiteness as well as white "allies" or "comrads".


Luna received their bachelor’s degree in Sociology from the Univesity of Southern California with minors in French and Digital Studies. In their free time, Luna enjoys painting and working with racial justice activists and organizers.





Maité Pensado

Office Assistant

Email: Maité Pensado

Headshot of Amanda McDonald Maité is an undergrad at the University of Illinois at Chicago majoring in Studio Fine Arts and minoring in Museum and Exhibition Studies. Her love for painting, drawing, photography and ceramics motivates her to pursue a career as an art curator.


Outisde of work, Maite enjoys doing yoga, working on my art projects, meditating and visiting museums.





Amanda McDonald

Office Assistant

Email: Amanda McDonald

Headshot of Amanda McDonald Amanda McDonald is in finishing her last year of her undergraduate studies in both the African American Studies and the Sociology department. Currently, she is researching the ways in which Black undergraduate students access social support services on campus and establish community among their peers. This past summer, she had an amazing time studying abroad in the Dominican Republic.


Recently, Amanda has picked up a habit of watching, what some would call, "gangster films" or crime dramas. One of her favorites is A Bronx Tale.



Kathleen Stauffer

Business Manager

Silvia BecerraKathleen Stauffer, Assistant Dean for Administration in the College of Urban Planning and Public Affairs (CUPPA), has over 20 years of experience at UIC. She provides human resource and financial expertise for IRRPP.