Faculty Research Group on Immigrant Workers

Ongoing Projects & Speaker Series

Speaker Series

Nov. 1, 2016: Emily Hipps, Who are the refugees? 

On Tuesday, Nov. 1, Hipps presented to more than 150 attendees (students, faculty members and members of the community) information on refugees, their characteristics and their journey to get resettled in the United States. Her presentation can be accessed here

Ongoing Projects

The presence of large populations of immigrant workers in the Central Minnesota region provides Research Group members with opportunities to engage in hands on research that is relevant to and often in collaboration with their communities.  At present, research projects include: 

Ann Finan (SOC) and Sandrine Zerbib (SOC): New Immigrant Farmers in the Upper Midwest: Exploring the Effects of Gender and Immigrant Identity on Farming

Drs. Finan and Zerbib are collaborating on contributing knowledge on an understudied marginalized population in Minnesota: immigrant women farmers.  We will study how this emerging group of new farmers negotiates the challenges of their chosen livelihood, and how they make sense of environmental issues and community in Minnesota, thereby linking gender, immigration, farming and sustainability processes.  They are conducting semi-structured interviews with respondents, engaging in participant observation in on-farm and market activities, and conducting a follow-up survey if resources allow.

Chukwunyere Ugochukwu (CMTY): Colored Spaces:  New Communities of Color Place in Small Towns and Rural Areas

Dr. Ugochukwu is analyzing how Midwest small towns’ physical layouts indicate that immigrant communities of color reside in defined parts.  Ugochukwu is examining recent Latino immigrants’ connections to the rest of the community physically, spiritually, economically, politically, environmentally, socially, and culturally, while exploring housing, cultural, and recreational amenities layout. The aim is to understand the problem of spatial disconnection, exclusion, and segregation of recent immigrant communities of color and how to effectively promote their integration in the built landscape. His research is currently supported by the Minnesota State Chancellors's Diversity Mini-grant.

Monica Garcia-Perez (ECON): The impact of Owners and Coworkers' Race in Wages and Hiring

Dr. Garcia-Perez is analyzing the impact of social networks on immigrant workers' wages, employment opportunities, and their labor market assimilation processes.  Part of her research has been supported by a New Researcher's Fund Grant, provided by the SCSU Office of Sponsored Programs.  Dr. Garcia-Perez is also working on a project on that analyses immigrant concentration in the US.  Using longitudinal US Census data, the project depicts the different variables that influence the likelihood that an individual works with other immigrant workers after considering a set of demographic characteristics such as age, sex, and location.  She is also drawing up a research project on the use of emergency rooms by immigrants in Minnesota. 

Other Projects

In January, 2010, the Research Group won a $10,000 Diversity Minigrant from the Chancellor's Office on Equity and Affirmative Action. The grant was generously matched with $2,000 from the College of Social Sciences Dean Frances Harrold. A recent Progress Report is available to view.