Mayra Cazares-Minero

Mayra CazaresEducation

PhD (May 2022)

University of California, Berkeley, School of Social Welfare
Dissertation Title: Multidimensional Educational Resilience among Former Foster Youth
Committee: Dr. Jill Duerr Berrick (chair), Dr. Susan Stone, Dr. Chunyan Yang

MSW (2018)

University of California, Berkeley, School of Social Welfare 
Concentration: Children and families

BA (2014)

University of California, Riverside
Major: Psychology, Magna Cum Laude
Honors Thesis 2013 – 2014: Children's Kinetic Family Drawings: Projections of and Relations among Attachment, Parenting, Psychopathology, Maltreatment, and Future Adjustment
Honors Thesis 2012 – 2013: Foster Youths' Self-Narratives: Relations among Pitch, Narrative Content, Religiosity, and Psychopathology

Research Interests

  • Foster Youth/Transition-Age Youth
  • Resilience
  • Hispanic families in child welfare
  • Emerging adulthood
  • Higher education

Teaching Interests

  • Social Welfare Policy
  • Child Welfare
  • Program Evaluation


Curriculum Vitae

Research Grants and Funding

Research Fellowship Award, Greater Good Science Center, University of California, Berkeley
Multilevel factors and processes associated with educational resilience among former foster youth
Role: Principal Investigator

Awards and Honors

2021-2022 David P. Gardner Research Seminar on Higher Education, Center for Studies in Higher Education, University of California, Berkeley ($3000)

2021-2022 Dissertation Fellowship Award, Institution for Research on Labor and Employment, University of California, Berkeley ($15,000)

2021-2022 Dean's Completion Fellowship Award, Berkeley Graduate Division, University of California, Berkeley (tuition and fees; $23,000)

2020 Mary C. and Robert J. Birgeneau Graduate Fellowship Award, Berkeley Social Welfare, University of California, Berkeley ($5000)

2020 Research Fellowship & Mentorship Award, Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowships, University of California, Berkeley ($5000)

2020 Paul Crissey Graduate Student Research Award, American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children ($750)

2020 Semi-Finalist, Chicana Latina Foundation Scholarship & Leadership Program

2020 Semi-Finalist , Hispanic Scholarship Fund

2018-2020 Professional Development Award, Latinx Center of Excellence in Behavioral Health, School of Social Welfare, University of California, Berkeley ($2000)

2017-2018 Stipend Program Award, Latinx Center of Excellence in Behavioral Health, School of Social Welfare, University of California, Berkeley ($10,000)

2016-2020 Eugene Cota-Robles Fellowship, Berkeley Graduate Division, University of California, Berkeley (tuition and fees; $28,000)

2013 Undergraduate Millennium Scholar, Society for Research in Child Development

2013 Award of Excellence as a Research Assistant, University of California, Riverside, Department of Psychology

2012 Researcher of the Year, Psi Chi, National Honor Society in Psychology, Riverside Chapter

2012-2014 Chancellor's Honor List, University of California, Riverside

2011-2014 Dean's Honor List, University of California, Riverside

Research Experience

2020 – Present Principal Investigator
Multilevel factors and processes associated with educational resilience among former foster youth

  • Develop a conceptual model of multidimensional educational resilience
  • Recruit former foster youth who are attending University of California campuses or Cal State University campuses in study to complete an online survey on their educational resilience and their current life experiences
  • Data analyses is underway

2020 Graduate Student Researcher
Sexual Health and Reproductive Equity Program, University of California, Berkeley
Project: Identifying person-centered contraceptive need to advance contraceptive access
Principal Investigator: Gómez, A. M.

  • Developed stakeholder interview guide related to contraceptive need
  • Conducted initial interviews with stakeholders to elicit measurement priorities, identified additional measures related to contraceptive need, and obtained feedback on existing measures;
  • Conducted an expert stakeholder review of the compiled measures; and
  • Conducted a two-stage cognitive interview process (in English and Spanish) to ensure the legibility of items, distinguish difficult or confusing items, and establish common understandings of item meanings.
  • Translated cognitive interview guides and questionnaire in Spanish

2020 Graduate Student Researcher
University of California, Berkeley
Project: Cross-national experiences of foster care: does the welfare state matter?
Principal Investigator: Duerr Berrick, J.

  • Wrote a literature review on the post-secondary educational trajectories among former foster youth (FFY) in the U.S.
  • Created study survey in Qualtrics
  • Scheduled eligible FFY participants in focus groups concerning the positive experiences in foster care and caregiver characteristics that may have shaped their educational success
  • Trained research team (comprised of undergraduate School of Social Welfare students) on how to conduct focus groups and how to develop focus group interview guides
  • Assisted in the development of the focus group interview guide and co-facilitated focus groups

2018 Graduate Student Researcher
Latinx Center of Excellence in Behavioral Health Program, University of California, Berkeley

  • Provided Latinx undergraduate and graduate students in the School of Social Welfare (SSW) with one-on-one instructional support in writing, statistics, and research and mentorship.
  • Provided Latinx prospective doctoral program applicants support with their personal statements and statements of purpose.
  • Developed and facilitated a workshop for Latinx undergraduate and graduate students on the importance of personal and professional self-care.
  • Developed and facilitated a workshop for Latinx undergraduate students at UC Davis on graduate school and careers in social work.
  • Developed a preliminary "equity and inclusion" toolkit for professors in the SSW to learn and implement culturally humble teaching methods in the classroom.

2017 MSW Internship, Research Assistant
First Place for Youth, Oakland, CA: Evaluation & Learning Team

  • Managed and conducted an informational, qualitative study concerning the implementation and use of the Baby Bonding Curriculum and its impact on transition-age youth who are pregnant or new parents as well as its impact on the service relationship with their Youth Advocate and Education & Employment Specialist.
    • Conducted qualitative interviews with Youth Advocates, Education & Employment Specialists, and My First Place Program youth participants.
    • Analyzed interviews and created themes
    • Presented findings and recommendations to Program Managers and staff which resulted in curriculum changes and expectations for training
  • Assisted in the completion of a grant application which resulted in funding.
  • Assisted Program and the Evaluation & Learning Teams in the modification of the Action Plan template utilized by youth advocates and education & employment specialists in the goal development with clients.
  • Completed a literature review of education, employment, and housing statistics of transition-age youth (19-25 years old) to assist Program Managers in setting program benchmarks for My First Place Program participants.
  • Co-facilitated a weekly Dialectical-Behavioral Therapy (DBT) Group for a group of youth participating in the Youth in Transition Program
  • Completed monthly data uploads for Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago concerning the Youth in Transition Program.
  • Managed and conducted monthly 6-month &12-month follow-ups with former My First Place Program participants concerning their housing, education, and employment status

2012-2016 Research Assistant
University of California, Riverside, Department of Psychology
Adversity and Adaptation Lab
Principal Investigator: Yates, T.M.

  • Assisted with three studies aimed at (1) understanding the specific relations between how children think and feel about themselves, others, and relationships (i.e., representation) and various indices of regulation (e.g., emotional, behavioral, physiological, and interpersonal); (2) examining the pathways of education, employment, health, and relationships among emancipated foster youth; and (3) examining relationships between foster youth and their social workers.
    • Completed two distinct independent theses as part of the honors program involving the development and implementation of a coding team to evaluate nonverbal play productions among high risk eight-year olds and evaluating nonverbal narrative features among emancipated foster youth.
    • Conducted semi-structured interviews with outside informants (e.g., friends, partners, parents) by phone.
    • Provided administrative support by entering, cleaning, and backing-up data, transcribing, managing equipment during assessments, and coding parent-child interactions.
    • Managed a transcription team and rating team on recorded worker-youth meetings.

2014-2015 Research Assistant
University of California, Los Angeles, Department of Psychology
Culture and Anxiety Lab for Mental Health Advancement
Principal Investigator: Chavira, D.

  • Aided in the implementation of two studies aimed at (1) examining individual, familial, social and cultural factors that affect risk for anxiety and depression among adolescents ages 13-18 recruited from a rural community; and (2) examining the feasibility of a new service mode of delivery (i.e., Promotora-guided, computer-assisted CBT) for treating low-income Latinos with anxiety and depressive disorders in community health centers.
    • Underwent training to administer the Mini-International Neuropsychiatric Interview to high school students over the phone.
      • Administrative support, including website development and transcription.
      • Translated consent forms and CBT program.
      • Transcribed Spanish parent interviews about their children's advancement with anxiety.



Cazares, M.K. & Hernandez, J. (2020). Identifying Strategic Entry Points for Services among Transition-aged Mothers who are Homeless. Child Welfare, 97(6).

In Preparation

Cazares-Minero, M.K. The conceptualization and measurement of resilience among foster youth: a review of the literature. 

Cazares-Minero, M.K. Hispanic children and families within the child welfare system: a review of the literature

Cazares-Minero, M.K., Gomez-Vidal, C. Decolonizing mentorship through a framework of belongingness for ethnic minority graduate students.

Duerr-Berrick, J.D., Cazares-Minero, M.K. The impact of resource parents on the post-secondary educational trajectories of former foster youth.

Eastman, A.L., Palmer, L., Wiegmann, W., Cazares-Minero, M.K. Identifying parents in foster care in California: a comparison of self-report data and administrative data.

Peer-reviewed Conference Presentations

Cazares-Minero, M.K. (Scheduled 2022) Examining multidimensional resilience among former foster youth who attend 4-year universities. Oral presentation abstract submitted to the 26th Annual Society for Social Work and Research Conference. Washington, D.C.

Cazares-Minero, M.K. & Gomez-Vidal, C. (Scheduled 2021). Decolonizing mentorship through a framework of belongingness for ethnic minority graduate students. Oral presentation abstract accepted to CSWE's 67th Annual Program Meeting. Orlando, FL.

Hernandez, J., & Cazares, M.K. (2020, January). Examining Potential Gender Bias in the Child Welfare System: A Comparison of Father and Mother Engagement. Poster presented at the Twenty-Fourth Annual Society for Social Work and Research Conference. Washington, D.C.

Hernandez, J., & Cazares, M.K. (2020, January). Does Father Engagement Improve Child Welfare Outcomes?: An Examination of the Relationship between Permanency Outcomes and Father Engagement in the Child Welfare System. Oral presentation at the Twenty-Fourth Annual Society for Social Work and Research Conference. Washington, D.C.

Cazares, M.K., Arcara, J., & Gomez, A.M. (2019, April). The Impact of Religiosity on U.S. Latinos' Openness to Pregnancy. Poster presented at the Ninth International Conference on Religion & Spirituality. Granada, Spain.

Cazares, M.K. (2018, October). Homelessness & Service Use of Formerly-Incarcerated Transition Aged Youth. Poster presented at the Latino Social Workers Organization 2018 Conference. Chicago, IL.

Cazares, M.K., & Hernandez, J. (2018, January). General Functioning and Service Use of Homeless and Housed Transition Aged Youth Who Are Parenting. Poster presented at the Twenty-Second Annual Society for Social Work and Research Conference. Washington, D.C.

Hernandez, J., Berrick, J.D., Ph.D., & Cazares, M.K. (2017, May). Family Support Services of the Bay Area: An Evaluation of a Support and Education Class for Kinship Caregivers.

Cazares, M.K., Peterson, S., & Yates, T.M., Ph.D. (2016, April). Worker Job Satisfaction: Relations with Worker Characteristics and Caseload. Poster presented at the Ninety-Sixth Western Psychological Association Convention. Long Beach, CA.

Cazares, M.K., Tyrell, F.A., & Yates, T.M., Ph.D. (2014, August). Exploring Ethnic Identity Development in Emancipated Foster Youth. Poster presented at the American Psychological Association's Annual Conference. Washington, D.C.

Cazares, M.K. & Natsuaki, M.N., Ph.D., and Xinying Li, M. D. (2014, May). The Roles of Pubertal Timing and Peer Affiliation on Externalizing Problems in Chinese Adolescents. Poster presented at UCLA's Twenty-third Annual Psychology Undergraduate Conference. Los Angeles, CA.

Cazares, M.K. (2014, April). Children's Kinetic Family Drawings: Projections of and Relations among Attachment, Psychopathology, Maltreatment, and Future Adjustment. Paper presented at UCR's Eighth Annual Symposium for Undergraduate Research, Scholarship and Creative Activity. Riverside, CA.

Cazares, M.K. (2013, May). Foster Youths' Self-Narratives: Relations among Pitch, Narrative Content, Religiosity, and Psychopathology. Paper presented at UCR's Seventh Annual Symposium for Undergraduate Research, Scholarship and Creative Activity. Riverside, CA.

Teaching Experience

Graduate Student Instructor
SOCIAL WELFARE 282B Seminar in Social Welfare Research
This is a required course for graduate social welfare students in the completion of their capstone project for the Master's degree. It provides an overview on techniques for and challenges in program evaluation. Students develop the critical skills necessary to assess the quality of evaluation research projects, to apply technical evaluation skills in professional practice, and to develop evaluation plans for a variety of programs.
Served as Teaching Instructor in Spring 2020

  • Met one-to-one with students to review their program evaluation plans
  • Consulted with students on the methods of their program evaluation plans;
  • Created and recorded an online module on how to conduct qualitative research (e.g., interviewing, focus groups, field notes)
  • Provided a lecture on a process program evaluation I conducted during my Master's program at my second-year field placement
  • Graded drafts and final capstone project; and managed the course website.

SOCIAL WELFARE 112 Social Welfare Policy
This required course for undergraduate social welfare majors introduces students to the history, structure, and major components of the U.S. welfare state. It offers an overview of contemporary social welfare policies affecting low-income families in the U.S., with attention to their historical and philosophical foundations.

  • Served as Teaching Instructor in Spring 2019, Summer 2019, & Fall 2019
  • Designed weekly class activities and led weekly discussion sections for 50 students
  • Reviewed, edited, and graded student papers and exams; and managed the course website.

Academic Service

2018, 2021 Equity & Inclusion Committee, School of Social Welfare, UC Berkeley
Doctoral Student Representative

Formal Mentorship Experience

2020 Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowships, Office of Undergraduate Research, UC Berkeley
Graduate Student Mentor
This program is designed to foster research skills and paths to advanced studies for undergraduates and broaden the professional development of doctoral students.

  • Mentored one undergraduate student on how to conduct research (i.e., qualitative and quantitative); how to complete a human subjects protocol; how to implement focus groups and create interview guides; how to conduct cognitive interviews; how to conduct a literature search; how to write an academic paper; and provided mentorship on graduate school and different career pathways.

Practice and Professional Experience

2018-2019 DreamCatcher Youth Shelter, Oakland, CA
Youth advocate volunteer

  • Advocated for youth concerning housing, mental health services, and education and employment opportunities
  • Completed a 20-hr training on the commercial sexual exploitation of children, its impact on the local community, and how to make a difference. Topics included:
    • CSEC 101; cultural humility; intersection of homelessness and CSEC; the law & CSEC; labor trafficking; risk & protective factors for child trafficking; critical mentoring for trafficking survivors

2016-2017 Meadow Homes Elementary School, Concord, CA
School Social Worker Intern

  • Provided individual counseling to students (grades TK-5th; largely Latinx) concerning their academic performance, emotions and behaviors, peer and family relationships, identity, goals, and self-esteem.
  • Counseled parents about their child's academic performance, and if and how environmental stressors may be affecting their academic performance; referred parents to external resources when appropriate.
  • Participated in Student Success Team meetings involving the vice principal, teachers, resource specialist, parent liaison, and children's parents to discuss the educational and socio-emotional needs of the child.
  • Facilitated group counseling with 10 "newcomer" students in the 8th grade concerning topics of acculturation, higher education, family, identity, expectations of the U.S., and culture blending.

2015-2016 Five Acres: The Boy's and Girl's Aid Society of Los Angeles
Research Assistant

  • Scored, processed, analyzed, and distributed outcome measure results for Five Acres Evidence-Based mental health practices.
  • Conducted annual testing of clients in Five Acres Non-Public School using the Kaufman Test of Educational Achievement (3rd Ed), scored each assessment, and distributed the results to teachers and staff.
  • Assisted Research Department staff in managing, analyzing, and reporting data measures related to Five Acres Balanced Scorecard system.
  • Maintained Research Department databases for use in Five Acres Data Warehouse and assisted users in accessing data if needed.
  • Consolidated and maintained Research department Excel spreadsheets into a relational Access ¬¬¬¬¬to facilitate the reporting of outcomes to division directors and senior leadership.

2014-2015 St. Anne's Maternity Home, Los Angeles, CA
Residential Counselor

  • Monitored, supervised, and guided probation/foster youth girls and their children.
  • Tutored residents with their homework and supervised them on outings.
  • Provided crisis management to residents as well as helped them process their thoughts, emotions, and behaviors when appropriate.

2013-2014 Operation Safehouse, Riverside, CA
Youth counselor and volunteer

  • Supervised up to 15 youth ages 11-17 during their daily chores, school, and free time.
  • Discussed with clients their goal(s) for the day.
  • Shadowed and co-faciliated group discussions (e.g., drug addictions, self-harm, health).

2013 Gateway Program, University of California, Riverside
Peer Mentor

  • Served as a one-quarter peer mentor to 50 first-generation undergraduate students.
  • Planned and conducted weekly workshops related to academia and campus resources.
  • Held one-on-one and group talking sessions with students to address concerns related to social, academic, and personal issues.

2012-2013 College of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences First Year Experience, University of California, Riverside
Peer Mentor

  • Served as a peer mentor to 75 first-generation undergraduate students for an academic year.
  • See description for UCR Gateway Program.

2012-2014 Psi Chi, The International Honor Society in Psychology, University of California, Riverside Chapter
Community Service Chair

  • Planned, organized, and arranged community service events for undergraduates in the Department of Psychology at UCR.

2012 Family Service Association Clinic, Moreno Valley, CA

  • Chart sorting/closing.
  • Shadowed case managers.
  • Observed Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT) and the Positive Parenting Program (Triple-P) in English and Spanish.

Data Analysis Training

  • Measurement in Education and the Social Sciences
  • Latent Class Analysis
  • Multiple Linear Regression
  • Hierarchical Linear Modeling
  • Qualitative Research Methods
  • Causal Inference
  • Software: R, Stata, SPSS