advancing youth and community well-being

Ceres Policy Research - Our Team



Angela Irvine-baker, Ph.D.

Dr. Irvine has more than 25 years of experience in education and social policy. Raised in Santa Cruz County, CA, Dr. Irvine earned her BA from UC Berkeley in 1988, her secondary teaching credential from St. Mary’s College of California in 1989, and her PhD in sociology from Northwestern University in 2002 while simultaneously serving as a National Science Fellow (NSF) in public policy and program evaluation. Dr. Irvine spent eight years running Ceres Policy Research from 2002 through 2010, four years as research director at the National Council on Crime and Delinquency (NCCD), and two years as a Vice President at Impact Justice. She has studied housing, education, health, and criminal justice policy. She has served as the principal investigator of a national study of youth deincarceration; a national study of lesbian, gay, bisexual, questioning, gender nonconforming and transgender (LGBQ/GNCT) young people in the youth justice system; a project to improve permanency for LGBT youth and youth of color within the criminal justice and youth justice systems; a survey of every detention hall, ranch, and camp in California to understand statewide pathways into the youth justice system for LGBT young people; and a National Institute of Justice researcher-practitioner partnership grant in Santa Cruz County to determine whether structured decision-making instruments used by adult probation departments can lead to more equitable probation outcomes for Latinos and women. While at the National Council on Crime and Delinquency and Impact Justice, Dr. Irvine raised over $3 million for research and public policy projects. In 2017, she returned to Ceres to leverage her experience at national policy research organizations to support the expanded influence of grass-roots organizations.  



crystal farmer, research assistant

Crystal Farmer is currently an undergraduate student studying Sociology at the University of California, Santa Cruz. She has worked with Ceres Policy Research since September, 2017.  She currently assists with all aspects of the organization, from supporting the finance department to providing research and administrative assistance. As a research assistant, she will be helping with data collection, data analysis, and report writing. She has focused content expertise on the intersections of race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and gender identity.


mitzia martinez, research assistant

Ms. Martinez graduated from U.C. Berkeley in 2018 where she studied African American Studies. While at Cal, she has worked as a research assistant in a lab studying police-youth interactions.  Her thesis focused on anti-Black bias within anti-deportation movements. In addition to her previous research, Mitzia also brings important lived experience as an young person whose family has experienced many different immigration statuses. She is assisting with survey collection, stakeholder interviews, and report writing for research focusing on on immigrant communities and our work to end youth incarceration in California.



aisha canfield-allen, m.p.p.

Ms. Canfield has worked closely with Dr. Irvine over the past five years. She is currently currently a senior consultant for On Common Ground Consulting. Her research largely focuses on the disproportionate detention of LGBT/GNC youth, identifying systemic points of disparity, such as contact with child welfare. In addition to her research, Canfield trains juvenile probation departments across the country to implement data collection systems and evaluates community-based providers serving system-involved youth nationally. She is also an expert on the Prison Rape Elimination Act, providing specialized training about the needs of LGBTQ prisoners. Canfield challenges all of these organizations to have an honest dialogue about disproportionality and move towards cultural affirmation. She currently works on a broad range of projects with Ceres.


malachi garza

Malachi Garza has worked with the W. Haywood Burns Institute for the past fifteen years.  He has been the Director of the Community Justice Network for Youth, a group of over 200 community-based organizations that partner with probation departments at Annie E. Casey Foundation-funded Juvenile Detention Alternative Initiative (JDAI) sites.  He has also spent many years organizing and coaching LGBTQ organizations. He is a founder of Brown Boi Project, a community of masculine of center womyn, men, two-spirit people, transmen, and allies committed to changing the way that communities of color talk about gender.  He is also on the board of BreakOUT! in New Orleans, an organization that serves transgender people of color. He is an expert on system-community collaboration and provides training and coaching on this topic.  He is leading a research project for Ceres focused on what programming in the youth justice system should look like to meet the needs of youth across the entire gender spectrum. 


shannan wilber, esq.

Shannan Wilber has over two decades of experience leading national efforts to improve outcomes for LGBT youth in the child welfare and juvenile justice systems as well as youth embroiled in immigration and school discipline proceedings.  Between 2001 and 2012, Shannan served as the Executive Director of Legal Services for Children, a nonprofit law office in San Francisco that represents children in foster care, guardianship, education and immigration proceedings. She has facilitated the Equity Project, a national advisory group of experts on LGBT youth in the juvenile justice system for over ten years. She is currently the Youth Projects Director at the National Center for Lesbian Rights. She provides coaching on the development of anti-discrimination policies and on the development of data protection protocols.



center for juvenile justice reform, georgetown university

Ceres Policy Research is partnering with the Center for Juvenile Justice Reform at Georgetown University as well as the National Center for Lesbian Rights and GLSEN to provide an annual certificate program for youth-serving systems and agencies interested in improving the well-being of lesbian, gay, bisexual, questioning, gender nonconforming and transgender youth in the justice system.


Impact Justice

Dr. Irvine is working as a consultant with Impact Justice.  In this role, she is coordinating the EBP+ Collaborative, an evaluation of SBIRT for Reclaiming Futures, and a multi-system data analysis project focussed on the school-to-prison pipeline.