PhD, Boston College, 2004
MSc, London School of Economics and Political Science, 1996
BA, University of New Hampshire, 1992
Drawing from Sociology, American Studies, and Critical Race and Gender Studies, I teach about contemporary globalization, labor migration between the United States and Latin America, and the ways in which social inequalities influence the experiences of childhood and adolesence in the U.S. Inspired by the pedagogy of Paolo Freire, I structure my courses around discussions of power, and challenge students to explore how intersections of privilege and subordination shape life experiences and opportunities. This means that while we study theories of globalization, inequality and migration, and engage with empirical research, we also explore how these sociological phenomena relate to our own lives. My teaching menu includes four introductory classes, Latinx Immigration; Unequal Childhoods; Being Human in STEM (with Sheila Jaswal) and Transnational American Studies (with Jallicia Jolly), and four advanced seminars - Globalization, Inequality and Social Change; Gender, Power and Migration; Immigration and the New Second Generation and Meanings of Mobility; Latinx Youth and the American Dream. I also enjoy teaching in the First Year Seminar program, for which I have taught Progress? and Antiracism.
I am a qualitative sociologist interested in how contemporary global Capitalism affects the movement of people across international borders as well as within nation-states. I am especially interested in how the institution of the family influences and is influenced by immigration.
My first book, Striving and Surviving: A Daily Life Analysis of Honduran Transnational Families (Routledge 2005) and related articles focused on the gender dynamics of undocumented or mixed legal status transnational families, those divided between their home and host countries. This research contributes scholarly analyses of transnational survival strategies, in which poor families divide their productive (wage) and reproductive (care) labor across borders, and how these strategies can reproduce or intensify gender and generational inequalities. This research also explores how social constructions of motherhood and fatherhood influence the experiences of those living within transnational families. I also enjoyed writing methodological pieces related to the community-based and action-oriented methods I employed in this project.
My second book, The Last Best Place? Gender, Family and Migration in the New West (Stanford University Press 2014) explores the intersections of gender, migration and rurality in Montana, a new immigrant destination in the American West. Utilizing a feminist ethnographic approach, my research centers on the narratives and experiences of migrant men, women and children, the majority of whom are undocumented. In the book, I analyze social constructions of masculinity and femininity, and how they are influenced by intersections of rurality, legal status and economy. In addition, I investigate how physical and cultural geography impact gender and family relations.
My third book (with Cecilia Menjivar and Leisy Abrego), Immigrant Families (Polity 2016), draws from ethnographic, demographic and historical data to analyze how key axes of inequality (race, class, gender, generation and legal status) influence how immigrant families fare in the United States.
I am currently working on a life history project, exploring the social mobility paths of low-income Latinx youth who are or who have attended elite colleges. I am especially interested in how family, place and immigration status shape youth's experiences of social mobility as well as their future aspirations. In 2020, with funding from the Russell Sage Foundation, I expanded the project to look at how COVID19 has impacted family well-being. My first publication from this project, Stratified Lives: Family, Illegality and the Rise of a New Educational Elite (with Aleli Andres '17) was published in Dec. 2019 in the Harvard Educational Review.