“I think what we’ve proven with this program [at Long Beach City College] is that it can have an impact, that former gang-involved young [people]…want to change their lives, that institutions [of higher education] can be committed to this population. And again, I want to elevate LBCC because they have a fierce commitment for racial equity. Because, there could be some [colleges] that talk about [racial equity], but this institution is about [racial equity].”

– Dr. Adrián H. Huerta



Assistant Professor of Education

USC Pullias Center for Higher Education

USC Rossier School of Education


We interviewed Dr. Huerta about his research trajectory, the amazing LBCC Phoenix Scholars program for gang-involved youth and young adults, and his advice for those looking to make an impact with their research. We invite you to listen and enjoy our chat here.

LBCC Phoenix Scholars

In partnership with USC Pullias Center for Higher Education, the LBCC Phoenix Scholars is a free multi-year program designed to support gang-impacted youth and young adults (16 to 24 years of age) to pursue and graduate with a college degree, certificate or credential. Scholars will receive support throughout their college journey and assistance with placement in high-demand internships/jobs (with livable wages) in the local community.

The program offers multiple student services such as early college experiences for high school aged students, assistance with the LBCC enrollment application, community support, paid internships, and individualized academic counseling.

Visit the program page to learn more about requirements and components.

Follow and support!




Check out the press release to learn about the teams making this program possible.

National Academy of Education (NAEd)/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship 

The NAEd/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship supports 25 early career scholars working in critical areas of education research. These $70,000 fellowships support non-residential postdoctoral proposals that make significant scholarly contributions to the field of education. The fellowship also develops the careers of its recipients through professional development activities involving NAEd members.

See the 2022 cohort here and view Dr. Huerta’s research description for a more detailed understanding about his approach and goals.


Adrián H. Huerta is a tenure-track professor of education at the Pullias Center for Higher Education located in the Rossier School of Education at USC. He is an expert on boys and men of color, gang-involved populations in the educational pipeline, and the high school-to-college transition. His research has been published in competitive academic journals, including the Community College Review, Journal of College Student Development, Urban Review, Urban Education, and others. He has secured more than 2.2 million dollars in research, evaluation, and fellowships from the U.S. Department of Education, the ECMC Foundation, the College Futures Foundation, and many others. With the support of a 990k grant from the US Department of Education, Dr. Huerta led the design and implementation of a program for gang-involved young adults at Long Beach City College, which supports more than 100 students. He is a 2022 National Academy of Education/Spencer Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow for his groundbreaking research on former/inactive gang members who have earned college degrees. He was also awarded the Early Career Award from the Association for the Study of Higher Education in 2022. Dr. Huerta holds affiliations with various centers and institutes, including the USC Center on Education Policy, Equity & Governance, USC Institute for Addiction Studies, University of Texas, Austin, Project MALES, and is an Affiliate Board Member, University of Oklahoma, Carceral Studies Consortium.