Immigration/Immigrants and education; Education policy; Racial/Ethnic identity; Youth activism; School-based personnel advocacy for immigrant students; Community-school partnerships; Ethnography, Case Study, and Mixed-Methods Designs;

Sophia Rodriguez is an Associate Professor in the Urban Education specialization in the Teaching, Learning, Policy, and Leadership department. Dr. Rodriguez's interdisciplinary scholarship, drawing on tools from education, anthropology, and sociology, asks questions about the social and cultural contexts of education policy and practice. Her integrated research agenda addresses issues related to racial equity, urban education and policy, and centralizes minoritized youth voices. Her two current longitudinal projects, funded by the Spencer and W.T. Grant Foundations (2018-2022) and the Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS), utilize mixed-methods and ethnographic designs to investigate how community-school partnerships, teachers, and school-based mental health professionals promote equity and advocate for undocumented (im)migrant and refugee youth. The IMLS project that focuses on newcomer migrant youth belonging was recently awarded the prestigious Library of Congress Literacy Award. Her scholarly work has appeared in Anthropology & Education QuarterlyEducational Policy, Journal of Contemporary EthnographyTeachers College Record and Urban Education, and is forthcoming in Educational Researcher. In 2022, she was named a William T. Grant Scholar to conduct a longitudinal study about how schools manage the welcome of newcomer immigrant youth. For her work to date, Rodriguez received the Early Career Award for Division G (Social Contexts of Education) in the American Educational Research Association.

Twitter: @SoRoPhD

Honoree, Maryland Research Excellence, Division of Research, University of Maryland (2023)

William T. Grant Scholars Award (2022-2027)

Early Career Award Recipient, Division G (Social Contexts of Education), American Educational Research Association (2022)

Oustanding Reviewer, AERA Open, American Educational Research Association (2022)

Excellence in Scholarship Award (Pre-Tenure), College of Education, University of Maryland, College Park (2022)

Latinx Research Center, Research Fellow, Santa Clara University (2020-2023)

Visiting Scholar, Center for the Social Organization of Schools and School of Education, Johns Hopkins University (2020) 

Recipient, Library of Congress Literacy Award for "Linking Learning and Belonging" project (2019)

Member, Scholar Network for the Study of Immigration, Colorin Colorado (from 2018)

Recipient, North Carolina Association for International Educators Professional Development Scholarship (2018)

Visiting Scholar, Sociology/Interdisciplinary Studies, Vassar College (Summer, 2018)


(*Denotes graduate student co-author)

Please email me for copies of the manuscripts. 


Peer-reviewed Journal Articles (Selected)


  • Rodriguez, S. & Wy, G.C.* (In Press). Struggling to belong: Evidence from a survey with middle and high school youth in public schools. Educational Researcher

  • Rodriguez, S., Bennett, C.,* Yu, M., Acree, J.* (2023). Activism and resistance from the trenches: A comparative study of undocumented migrant experiences in China and the U.S. Comparative Education Review.

  • Rodriguez, S. & Macias, E.* (2022). “Even being a citizen is not a privilege here.”: Undocumented Latinx immigrant youth and perceptions of racialized citizenship. Sociology of Race & Ethnicity.

  • Rodriguez, S. (2022). “Immigration knocks on the door...We are stuck..”: A multi-level analysis of undocumented youths’ experiences of racism, system failure, and resistance in policy and school contexts. Teachers College Record. doi:10.1177/01614681221093286

  • Rodriguez, S. & Crawford, E. (2022). School-based personnel advocacy for undocumented students through collective leadership in urban schools: A comparative case study. Journal of Research on Leadership Education

  • Rodriguez, S., Roth, B., & Villarreal Sosa, L. (2022). "Immigration enforcement is a daily part of our students' lives": School social workers' perceptions of racialized nested contexts of reception for immigration students. AERA Open

  • Sinclair, K., Rodriguez, S. & Monreal, T. (2022). "We can be leaders": Minoritized youths' subjugated (civic) knowledges and social futures in two urban contexts. International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education 10.1080/09518398.2022.2025488
  • Rodriguez, S. & Kuntz, A. (2021). Avowing as healing in qualitative inquiry: Exceeding constructions of normative inquiry and confession in research with undocumented youth. International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education.
  • McCorkle, W. & Rodriguez, S. (2021) When Nationalism Supersedes Belief in Religious Freedom: An Analysis of Teachers’ Beliefs, Educational Studies, 57:2, 182-201, DOI: 10.1080/00131946.2020.1863802
  • Rodriguez, S. (2021). "They let you back in the country?": Racialized inequity and the miseducation of Latinx undocumented students in the New Latino South. The Urban Review
  • Rodriguez, S. (2020). Community-school partnerships as racial projects: Examining belonging for newcomer migrant youth in urban education. Urban Education. Online first:
  • Rodriguez, S. & McCorkle, W. (2020). On the educational rights of undocumented students: A call to expand teacher awareness and empathy. Teachers College Record. 123(5). Online first:…
  • Rodriguez, S. (2020). “I was born at the border, like the ‘wrong’ side of it”: Undocumented Latinx youth experiences of identity, belonging, and racialized discrimination in the U.S. South. Anthropology & Education Quarterly. 51(4), 496-526.
  • Rodriguez, S. (2019). “You’re a sociologist, I am too”: Theorizing disruption in fieldwork with undocumented youth. Journal of Contemporary Ethnography. 49(2), 257-285. DOI:
  • Rodriguez, S. (2019). “We're building the community; it’s a hub for democracy”: Lessons learned from a library-based program for newcomer immigrant and refugee youth. Children and Youth Services Review, 102, 135-144.
  • Rodriguez, S. & McCorkle, W.* (2019). Examining teachers’ awareness of immigration policy and its impact on attitudes toward undocumented students in a southern state. Harvard Journal of Hispanic Policy, 31(1), 21-44.
  • Rodriguez, S. (2018). ‘Good, deserving immigrants’ join the Tea Party: How South Carolina policy excludes Latinx and undocumented immigrants from educational opportunity. Education Policy Analysis Archives, 26(103). DOI:
  • Rodriguez, S., Monreal, T.*, & Howard, K.J. (2018). “It’s about hearing and understanding their stories”: Teacher empathy and socio-political awareness toward newcomer undocumented students in the New Latino South. Journal of Latinos and Education. DOI: 10.1080/15348431.2018.1489812.
  • Rodriguez, S. & Monreal, T.* (2017). “This state is racist”: Policy problematization and undocumented youth experiences in the New Latino South. Educational Policy, 31(6), 764–800.

Book Reviews

  • Murillo, K.* &  Rodriguez, S. (In Press). Precarious Protections. Unaccompanied minors seeking asylum in the U.S. by Chiara Galli. Anthropology & Education Quarterly.  
  • Lopez-Escobar, L.* & Rodriguez, S. (2023). Schools under Siege: The impact of immigration enforcement on educational equity by Patricia Gándara and Jongyeon Ee. Anthropology & Education Quarterly.

  • Rodriguez, S. (2020). Migranthood: Youth in an era of deportation by Lauren Heidbrink. Anthropology & Education Quarterly
  • Ramos, D. & Rodriguez, S. (2020). Invited book review, Measuring Race: Why disaggregating data matters for addressing educational inequality by Robert Teranishi et al. Teachers College Record.
  • Rodriguez, S. & Thompson, E.A.* (2019). Invited book review, Fragile families: Foster care, immigration, and citizenship by Naomi Glenn-Levin Rodriguez. Anthropological Quarterly, 91(1).

Public Scholarship and Policy Briefs 

Media Mentions / Writings 


  • Mentoring Grant, William T. Grant Foundation (Principal Investigator, Funded, $60,000). Mentoring activities with doctoral student Lisa Lopez-Escobar. “Latinx youth belonging in community-based organizations.” (2023-2024)
  • William T. Grant Scholars Program (Principal Investigator, Funded, $350,000). “The educational welcome of newcomer immigrant children: A mixed-methods study of school-community partnerships to reduce inequality.” (2022-2027).
  • Abell Foundation, Improving Retention and Success of Baltimore City Students Graduates in Maryland. (Sub-contract).
  • William T. Grant Foundation, Officer's Research Grant (PI, Funded $50,000). Equity for immigrant students in community-based organizations.  (2020-2022).
  • Spencer Foundation, Small Grants Program (Co-PI, Funded $49,661). "Equity for immigrant students: Examining the influence of school social workers in K-12 settings" (2018-2022).
  • Institute for Museum and Library Services. "Linking learning and belonging: A collaborative approach to narrowing the achievement gap for new arrival immigrant teens." (Sub-contract). 



TLPL 788: Immigration and Education

TLPL 770: Black and Latinx/o Education: History and Policy

TLPL 788: Critical Policy Analysis of Urban Education