CRA-E Staff

The CRA Education Committee is supported by several staff members. Click on their names to learn more about them.

Headshot of Erik Russell. He is wearing a tan-colored business suit, and smiling.

Erik Russell


Erik serves as the Director of Educational Initiatives. In his role, he provides operational leadership, program management, and relationship building for the organization. He drives program activities focused on education and career progression with a focus on diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility. Through careful engagement, recruitment, cultivation, and talent support, Erik aims to amplify efforts to promote advanced computing research.

Prior to taking on this role, Erik was the Director of Broadening Participation in Computing Initiatives,  supporting the CRA-WP team with all of their programming and initiatives.

And before joining CRA in 2012, Erik advanced computer science education as an Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellow within the Directorate for Computer & Information Science & Engineering at the National Science Foundation.

To reach him, please email erik [at]

Julia Sepulveda Avalos


Julia serves as a Program Associate, primarily supporting the UR2PhD program. In her role, she provides project management, communications, and operational support to the team to ensure programmatic success.

Before joining CRA, Julia worked at Milltown Partners, a global advisory firm, where she supporting technology and non-profit organizations. She was responsible for leading project management, research, and writing efforts to create and execute strategic communications for clients, while assisting them in managing reputational risks. Prior to working in communications, Julia had brief stints within the non-profit, higher education, and private industries.

Julia holds a Bachelor’s degree from Brown University in International Relations with a focus on Security & Society. As a first-generation college graduate, Julia is passionate about supporting and advocating for initiatives that promote equitable access to professional development opportunities. In her free time, she enjoys cooking, baking, keeping up with pop culture, and playing with her pet.

To reach her, please email julia [at]

Kayley McDonald


Kayley is a Program Assistant supporting the Computer and Information Science and Engineering Graduate Fellowships (CSGrad4US) program.

Kayley attended Penn State University where she studied Public History and Business, and developed a passion for accessibility and equitable opportunity in education and engagement experiences. She previously worked for the Carnegie Museums of Art and Natural History in her home city of Pittsburgh, PA.

To reach her, please email kmcdonald [at]

Learn more about CRA-E Board Members and Activities.