UC Links Statewide Office
Mara Welsh Mahmood, Executive Director of UC Links, is a developmental psychologist (Ph.D., UC Riverside) interested in learning across multiple contexts. Starting in 1996, Mara worked with UC Riverside faculty and teachers/administrators at the Riverside Unified School District to develop the UC Links after school programs and teach the undergraduate course there. Mara went on to work at the UC Links Statewide Office from 1998 to 2004 as the Director of Site Development and Evaluation. After taking a break from academia to spend time with her two children and work in the consulting world, Mara returned to the Statewide Office in 2018 as Associate Director, and also served as Interim Executive Director before assuming the role of Executive Director in 2021.
John Cano is an educational technology scholar (Ph.D., UC Santa Barbara) interested in how technology-mediated learning environments can enhance the learning experience of K-12 and higher education students. John also studies student engagement; online education; digital citizenship; intercultural education; and informal learning in after-school settings. John worked at multiple universities in his home country (Colombia) as an adjunct faculty member, researcher, and instructional designer before coming to UC Santa Barbara in 2017 to pursue his Ph.D. John joined the UC Links Statewide Office in 2022.
Wesley Veiga is currently an undergrad at Cal studying Sociology and Education. Upon his acceptance to Cal, Wesley Veiga was awarded the African American Initiative Scholarship showing his leadership potential and willingness to contribute positively to the Black community. As of recently, Wesley is also now a two-time recipient of The Leadership Award which is the largest non-academic merit scholarship on the UC Berkeley campus and one of the most prestigious. Wesley began his advocacy at Cal working in two Black-endorsed senator’s offices in the ASUC where he served as a Campus Climate Administrator and the Communications Director. Wesley then continued his work with Mixed @ Berkeley, one of the centers in the bridges Multicultural Resource Center, where he has since accepted his position as Retention Director for the upcoming year in order to continue to recruit and retain hundreds of low-income, first-generation, Mixed students of color into higher education at Cal. Wesley joined UC Links as a student assistant in Fall 2022.
Karla Trujillo worked in the UC Links Statewide office from 2020-2022 and continues to contribute to the UC Links network. She is a successful photographer, videographer, community artist and activist and came to the UC Links Statewide Office with several years of experience working with the communities of San Diego county, providing high-quality science, art and nature focused activities for youth and their families as part of the UC Links program, La Clase Mágica. Karla worked with university and community partners to develop and implement a Pop-Up Art program and other activities During the pandemic, Karla continued to work with her colleagues to develop innovative strategies to engage local youth and their families, including Pop-Up Art On the Go, that installs community-created art in a central location so families can drive-by and experience creativity in community. Karla was selected as a McNair Scholar, graduated from Cal with honors and is now persuing her Ph.D. in Learning Sciences & Human Development at the University of Colorado, Boulder.
Charles Underwood, Executive Director Emeritus of UC Links, is an anthropologist (Ph.D., UC Berkeley) who has worked internationally with educational programs for children and youth from underserved urban and rural communities. As an administrator at the University of California Office of the President, he organized and directed several statewide initiatives related to the development of digital, multimedia, and hands-on activities and resources for K-16 teaching and learning. He directed UC Links from 1996 - 2020. He has taught anthropology at Golden Gate University, the University of Sao Paulo, and the University of California, Berkeley.