About

ValdiviaCarolina Valdivia (PhD, Harvard) is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Criminology, Law and Society at UC Irvine.

Carolina’s research interests include immigration, law and society, the sociology of education, race and ethnicity, youth and families, and the U.S.-Mexico borderlands. Her work explores how various forms of legal and social exclusion impact the lives of immigrant youth and their families, including their educational trajectories, mental health, and political participation.

Her current book manuscript explores the consequences of heightened immigration enforcement on undocumented immigrants and their families. Drawing from participant observation and in-depth interviews with 103 individuals in undocumented and mixed-status families, Carolina examines how immigration enforcement practices affect important aspects of family life (e.g. roles, responsibilities, dynamics) and individuals’ participation at work, school, the household, and the broader community. Her work has been supported by several organizations, including the Ford Foundation, the Society for the Study of Social Problems, and the Center for U.S.-Mexican Studies at UCSD.

Since 2017, Carolina has also been co-directing the UndocuResearch project. The project examines the experiences of immigrant high school students and the school personnel who work with them. The first and second stages of the project entailed in-depth interviews with high school students who are members of undocumented and mixed-status families (n = 40), as well as educators, counselors, and administrators (n= 44). The research team also conducted participant observation at eight different high schools in San Diego County. The project has been supported by the Sociological Initiatives Foundation, the Latino Center for Leadership Development, UndocuScholars at UCLA, Palomar College, the North County Higher Education Alliance, and the ACT.

Prior to joining UC Irvine, Carolina was a UC President’s Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Sociology at the University of California, Los Angeles. She received her Ph.D. in Education from Harvard University, an M.A. in Sociology from San Diego State University, and her B.A. in Sociology and Criminology from CSU San Marcos.

Contact Carolina at: c.valdivia@uci.edu

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