Sociology Professor Selected As Russell Sage Fellow to Write Book on Undocumented College Students

Office of Communications | Mon Jun 24, 2019

Sofya Aptekar Working on Book with Queens College Professor Amy Hsin

Each year, the Russell Sage Foundation invites a small number of scholars to its New York headquarters to investigate topics in social and behavioral sciences. Starting in September, Assistant Professor of Sociology Sofya Aptekar will be one of the foundation’s 15 visiting scholars.

Aptekar and Russell Sage fellow Amy Hsin, an associate professor of sociology at Queens College, will be writing a book based on their research on how the lack of legal status affects the lives of undocumented youth attending colleges in the City University of New York system. (Queens College is one of the schools in the CUNY system.)

Tentatively titled “Beyond DREAMers,” the book will explore differences in educational and employment trajectories, family dynamics, and identities among a diverse sample of young undocumented New Yorkers from Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa, and Asia. Drawing from administrative data and student interviews, the book will also study the impact of the introduction, repeal, and subsequent political and legal turmoil surrounding Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) on both DACA recipients and those not eligible for the program.

“Although many undocumented youth never attend college, understanding how legal status shapes and impedes the educational and occupational trajectories of those who do is vital to answering questions about the social mobility of this group,” Aptekar said.

Aptekar and Hsin have been studying undocumented college students through a $600,000 grant from the W. T. Grant Foundation. This is the second year of the grant.

About UMass Boston
The University of Massachusetts Boston is deeply rooted in the city’s history, yet poised to address the challenges of the future. Recognized for innovative research, metropolitan Boston’s public university offers its diverse student population both an intimate learning environment and the rich experience of a great American city. UMass Boston’s 10 colleges and graduate schools serve more than 16,000 students while engaging local and global constituents through academic programs, research centers, and public service. To learn more, visit www.umb.edu.