SIMRM 2023

Damini Purkayastha

PhD researcher at Interface Demography

Damini Purkayastha is a PhD researcher at Interface Demography, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium and a Visiting Scholar at the Ralph Bunche Institute for International Studies, The Grad Centre, CUNY. Her doctoral research, funded by the EU Horizon 2020 HumMingBird project, focuses on the lived experience of skilled migration policies in Europe. Voices of migrants shape her analysis of labour market restrictions in Europe, as she examines how intersections with gender, race, and class exacerbate existing inequalities. Damini has an MA in English Literature (LSR, Delhi University, India...

Yolanda Valencia

Writer and Teacher

Yolanda Valencia is a feminist Mexican immigrant scholar, writer and teacher. In 2019, Dr. Valencia completed her PhD in geography at the University of Washington, Seattle. That same year, she joined UMBC as an Assistant Professor at the Department of Geography and Environmental System. Drawing on transnational approaches, her work focuses on understanding how undocumented immigrants make a meaningful life in the midst of state-sponsored violence in the United States. Developing the concepts of Relational life and legal death, Dr. Valencia is currently working on two journal articles and a...

Shiyue Cui

Ph.D. candidate in the Sociology Department

Shiyue Cui is a Ph.D. candidate in the Sociology Department at the University at Buffalo, where she researches social inequality, international migration, race and ethnicity, and environmental sociology. She is working on her dissertation entitled “‘Making It Work Here’: Mixed Methods Research about Refugee Employment, Family Dynamics, and Gender Roles.” In this study, she examines how family dynamics and gender roles influence the employment outcomes of Asian refugees as they resettle in Western New York.

Bianca Ortiz-Wythe

Doctoral Candidate in Public Policy

Bianca Ortiz-Wythe is a doctoral candidate in public policy at the McCormack Graduate School of Policy and Global Studies at the University of Massachusetts Boston. She received her master’s degree in history and public policy from the George Washington University. There she was awarded the Elmer Lewis Kayser prize for best master’s thesis for her work on nutrition policy during WWII. Currently, she is writing her dissertation which explores the experiences of Guatemalan asylum in alternative to detention. Her research interests include migration and gender, immigration law, and social...

Teresita Cruz Vital

PhD student in Economics at UC Berkeley

Tere is a third year PhD student in economics at UC Berkeley. She received a BA in economics from UC Berkeley in 2018 and was a Gates Millennium and McNair Scholar. Her research interests exist at the intersection of labor economics and economic inequality and center immigrant communities. Tere and her family’s experience as Mexican immigrants in the US and the work she has done working with immigrants in her community influenced her decision to pursue graduate school, and continue to inform her research questions. Prior to starting her PhD, Tere completed a 2-year post-bacc program at...

Fabiola Perez-Lua

Doctoral Student at UC Merced Public Health

Fabiola is a third-year doctoral student at UC Merced Public Health and scholar of immigrant health. She is a first-generation college student, born and raised in an immigrant farmworker family in the California Central Valley. Fabiola applies social theories of racial social disparities, such as political economy of health and structural violence, and to study the role of the agricultural industry and the immigration system on farmworker health.

Yujung Hwang

Assistant Professor of Economics at Johns Hopkins University

Yujung Hwang is an assistant professor of economics at Johns Hopkins University. She works on applied microeconomics about topics related to immigration, race, and culture. She received her Ph.D. degree in economics from Yale University in the year 2019, and her dissertation was about South Asian immigrants' cultural assimilation in the UK. Before joining Johns Hopkins in 2020, she was a postdoctoral scholar at the University of Geneva in Switzerland. She grew up in South Korea and completed her undergraduate degree in economics and mathematics at Yonsei University in Seoul in the year...

Zabdi Salazar

Berkeley Law Student

Zabdi Salazar is a 2L at Berkeley Law, where she serves as the Managing Editor for the California Law Review. She is also a fourth year student in the Jurisprudence and Social Policy (JSP) PhD program at Berkeley Law. Her research interests include refugee and asylum law, immigration law, administrative law, and sociology of law. She aspires to become a law professor and contribute to the socio-legal literature on immigration.

Mitzia Martinez

Doctoral Student , JSP in Berkeley Law School

Mitzia is a rising fourth-year doctoral student at the Jurisprudence and Social Policy (JSP) Program in Berkeley Law School. Her research examines how becoming a green card holder impacts the self-concept, sense of community, and relationships of formerly undocumented immigrants. Her inspiration to pursue this research comes from her own lived experience as she was undocumented for 16 years. Mitzia immigrated from México at the age of nine with her parents and two younger siblings. She is the first person in her family to graduate from college and pursue a graduate education.

Karina Chavarria

Assistant Professor of Sociology at California State University Channel Islands

Dr. Karina Chavarria is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at California State University Channel Islands. Broadly, her research agenda bridges multiple sociological sub-fields: education, migration, and race and ethnicity. In particular, she examines the relationship between educational inequalities as these impact marginalized youth across race/ethnicity and immigration status, with particular attention to youth’s agency in enacting transformative social change.