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Skye Allmang, MSW, MPP - Update from the Field

Skye Allmang, MSW, MPP

Site: Centro de Investigación y Docencia Económicas (CIDE) Mexico City, Mexico
Mentor: Carlos Vilalta, PhD, CIDE

Skye is a third-year PhD student in the Department of Social Welfare at UCLA. Her research focuses on youth employment issues, with a particular interest in addressing barriers to employment, such as mental health issues and juvenile justice system involvement.  Her summer research project focuses on understanding the relationship between delinquency and substance abuse for adolescents in Mexico. 
Before coming to UCLA in 2012, Skye worked with a community action agency in Santa Barbara County, as Project Coordinator for a youth job-training program. This experience increased her interest in working with local communities to address issues related to health and poverty.
Skye earned a Master in Social Welfare degree from the Luskin School of Public Affairs, a Master of Public Policy degree from Brandeis University, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Cultural Anthropology from Boston University.

Update from the Field

by Skye Allmang, candidate, PhD in Social Welfare

¡Hola from Guadalajara!

To prepare for my summer research project in Mexico City, I completed intensive coursework in Spanish at the University of Guadalajara. I was part of a month-long program called the Programa de Español para Extranjeros (PEPE) with about 28 students enrolled from various universities around the world.  

PEPE staff (pepitos), faculty and our summer 2016 class of students with the executive vice president of the University of Guadalajara.

PEPE staff (pepitos), faculty and our summer 2016 class of students with the executive vice president of the University of Guadalajara. 


On Fridays we took cultural trips, one of which was a visit to a pre-Hispanic archaeological site called Guachimontones, which is known for its circular stepped pyramids.

Guachimontones, a pre-Hispanic archeological site, near the town of Teuchitian in the state of Jalisco. 


Research and Fieldwork

In late July, I traveled to Mexico City to conduct research with Dr. Carlos Vilalta at the Centro de Investigación y Docencia Económicas (CIDE). CIDE university in the Santa Fe neighborhood of Mexico City; it offers bachelors, masters, and PhD degrees in public administration, economics, international studies, political studies, and history. Dr. Vilalta studies the spatial and temporal aspects of crime, using quantitative research methods. 
As part of my collaboration with Dr. Vilalta, I have worked on two research papers.  The first examines the role of context on the relationship between marijuana use and property crime in Mexico.  The second paper re-assesses the relationship between marijuana use and property crime, to include alcohol use, as well.  The first paper will be published in Substance Use and Misuse, and the second paper will be sent to journals later this year.


The grant from the UCLA Blum Center on Poverty and Health in Latin America has provided me with great opportunities both to conduct empirical research and to connect with researchers, policymakers, and practitioners working with youth in Mexico.  My collaboration with Dr. Vilalta at CIDE has been particularly fruitful, as it has provided me with additional research experience, and allowed me to connect with other people working on issues related to youth crime, mental health, and employment in Mexico City.  For example, I had the chance to meet with the Subsecretary for the National Program for the Social Prevention of Violence and Crime in Mexico.  Overall, the experience I had living in Guadalajara and Mexico City this summer will be very helpful in laying the foundation for future research in Latin America.