• Overview


    I am a sociologist and currently an AAAS Science and Technology Policy Fellow at the National Institutes of Health, National Institute on Aging's Division of Behavioral and Social Research, where I support research to examine the needs of America's diverse and aging population. In my previous role as a Legislative Fellow in the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives, I engaged in the policy-making process to address pressing issues within the American healthcare and immigration systems. I believe that the social and behavioral sciences—using rigorous quantitative and qualitative research methodologies—can play a key role in explaining how individuals and families adapt across a variety of contexts in the United States, engage in and contribute to their communities, and try to overcome challenges to achieve well-being.

    Subject Matter Expertise

    family and inter-generational transmission; adolescent development and well-being; healthcare and health disparities; mental health; aging and life course; U.S. and international migration; immigrant incorporation; race and ethnicity; mixed-method research


    2016 University of California-Davis. PhD, Sociology

    2012 University of California-Davis. MA, Sociology

    2007 University of California-Davis. BA, Sociology and Communication (Honors, Phi Beta Kappa)

    Selected Distinctions

    2018 Director's Award, National Institute on Aging

    2017 Science & Technology Policy Fellowship, American Association for the Advancement of Science

    2016 Congressional Fellowship, American Sociological Association

    2015 Minority Fellowship Program Award, American Sociological Association

    2014 Graduate Program Fellowship, UC Davis Office of Graduate Studies

    2013 Graduate Research Fellowship, UC Davis Center for Poverty Research

  • Experience

    Health Scientist

    Division of Behavioral and Social Research at National Institute on Aging, National Institutes of Health, Washington D.C.

    08/2017 - present

    Supporting cutting-edge research and research resources in areas including population change, family dynamics, and health disparities.


    NOTE: competitively selected as a Science & Technology Policy Fellow by the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

    Legislative Fellow

    U.S. Senate, Washington D.C.

    12/2016 - 08/2017

    U.S. House of Representatives, Washington D.C.

    09/2016 - 12/2016

    Provided scientific knowledge and research to inform healthcare and immigration policy issues.


    NOTE: competitively selected as a Science & Technology Policy Fellow by the American Sociological Association and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

    Ph.D. Researcher

    Sociology Department at University of California, Davis

    09/2009 - 09/2016

    Collaborated with researchers on four large-scale funded projects. See Collaboration for project descriptions.

    Project Manager

    Sociology Department at University of California, Davis

    03/2014 - 06/2016

    Trained and supervised 15 research assistants to conduct quantitative and qualitative data entry, coding, and analysis on the Extended Families Study. This project examined the causes and consequences of diverse family structures in the United States during and after the Great Recession.

    Program Manager

    Undergraduate Research Center at University of California, Davis

    08/2013 - 06/2016

    Designed and managed undergraduate educational pilot programs focused on research training and career development.

    Paralegal Specialist

    Antitrust Division at U.S. Department of Justice, Washington D.C.

    07/2007 - 08/2009

    Had significant responsibility and hands-on experience in major investigations and civil litigation. Assisted in civil antitrust enforcement, competition advocacy, and competition policy in the areas of healthcare, health insurance, and other commodities industries.

  • significant digits

    There are endless possibilities to what data can tell us. Here are some significant digits you should know about me:

    26 to 4 million

    Size of data sets I work with. I quality-check and analyze complex numerical and textual information on a daily basis and have experience with city, state and national-level data sets from the U.S., Asia, and Latin America. I have a proven ability to work with large amounts of data and exercise a high level of attention to detail to ensure accuracy across data sets and projects.

    5 publications

    Solo and co-authored peer-reviewed and policy-related publications on topics including: social science and science policy; Asian and Latino youth mental health and self-esteem; and Spanish-bilingual nurses' interactions with and strategies for providing care to Hispanic patients (the latter funded by the Center for Poverty Research at the University of California-Davis).


    Amount of funding I raised to conduct my research, having successfully convinced granting organizations of the innovation, importance, and impact of my work.

    1 of 6

    I am one of a half-dozen nationally recognized and awarded researchers by the American Sociological Association in 2015. I have met and networked with a diverse group of scientists, expanding my knowledge about cutting-edge data analysis being done in the field.

    over 50

    Amount of presentations, lectures, and workshops I have delivered over the past few years in my various roles. I have a polished and dynamic communication style that appeals to audiences including domestic and international students, and researchers in fields ranging from economics to psychology. I am also prepared to handle tough Q&A sessions.

    15 researchers

    Number of research assistants I supervised on the Extended Families Study. As a project manager, I have significant experience in creative problem solving and see collaboration and teamwork as essential to the research process.


    Positive satisfaction rating as Program Manager from participants in the Research Training & Mentorship Program (RTMP). I have developed strong relationships with over 40 participants, understanding and responding to their needs to make the most of their program experience.

    2 years

    Time with the US Department of Justice where I investigated healthcare and health insurance mergers and acquisitions. I have significant experience when it comes to understanding the regulatory and industry perspectives towards U.S. healthcare.

  • Project Collaborations

    Immigrants and Community Organizations

    "'We’re More Active': Structuring Ethnic Divisions and Ties for Filipinas and Latinas in a Diverse Community-Based Organization" with Dina Okamoto and Melanie Jones Gast


    We examine community-based organizations and their effects on local Latino and Filipino immigrant populations.

    Immigrant Health Care

    "Caring and Carrying the Cost: Hispanic Nurses' Challenges and Strategies for Working with Co-ethnic Patients" with Ming-Cheng Lo (published in the Russell Sage Foundation's Journal of the Social Sciences special issue "New Immigrant Labor Market Niches")


    We explore the structural and cultural constraints faced by Hispanic nurses who work with co-ethnic immigrant patients in Northern California, as well as how they deal with these issues.

    Immigrant Youth Mental Health

    "Determinants of Second Generation Asian and Latino Youth Self-Esteem" with Jo Mhairi Hale (published in International Migration)


    We determine racial group differences in self-esteem outcomes as predicted by individual, family and school contexts among Asian and Latino second generation children of immigrants.

    U.S.-Mexico Child Migration

    "Child Migration from Mexico to the United States" with Erin Hamilton


    We detail Mexican family structures prior to and during migration to the U.S. using population data that tracked Mexican households over time and across space, including across the Mexico-U.S. border.

    U.S.-Mexico Stepwise Migration

    "Examining the Connection between Domestic and International Migration in Mexican Migrant Trajectories" with Erin Hamilton


    We analyze north-south and rural-urban domestic and international migration trajectories between Mexico and the U.S.

  • Dissertation

    Across Generations: Immigrants and their Children's Experiences of Living in Extended Families

    Migration since the 1960s has coincided with a significant increase in the number of extended households—those with non-immediate relatives—since the 1980s. This "doubling-up" has peaked in the last several years as part of the Great Recession, highlighting economic inequality as a concern for America’s diverse families. Despite the financial insecurity experienced by a majority of Americans during the recession, immigrants in extended households tend to have higher incomes and lower poverty rates than immigrants in nuclear families, indicating that coresidence is motivated by more than just economic concerns. My dissertation uses the extended family to understand immigrant integration through a mixed-method study design and asks: how do the causes, meanings, and consequences of extended living arrangements apply to recent migrants, and how do they change over immigrant generations?

    I argue that the determinants, outcomes, and understandings of extended living for immigrants are different than they are for natives. Recent migrants’ orientation to coresidence reflect culturally-bounded values from the home country, along with struggles during the migration process, that prove to be beneficial to their adaptation in the United States. Over time and across generations, immigrants’ experiences of living together become similar to the US-born where they reflect socioeconomic barriers and instability, and are understood as a lack of self-sufficiency or independence. For the descendants of immigrants, the process across generations is one of integration into American society, both in terms of cultural and economic stratification. However, the implication of this integration is that a previously beneficial family form for immigrants has been undermined and weakened.

  • Teaching Experience

    Immigration and Opportunity

    Social and demographic analysis of immigration: motives and experiences of immigrants; immigration and social mobility; immigration, assimilation, and social change; multicultural societies.


    Teaching Assistant: Fall 2011, Fall 2012

    Sociology of Health Care

    Overview of sociological research in medicine and health care, with emphasis on the organizational, institutional, and social psychological aspects.


    Teaching Assistant: Fall 2010, Spring 2012, Spring 2015

    Race Relations

    Functions of the social definitions of race and racial groups. Analysis of racial conflict, oppression, and other forms of ethnic stratification. Models of ethnic interaction and social change. Emphasis on racial relationships within the U.S.


    Reader: Summer 2012

    Self and Society

    Principles and basic concepts of sociological social psychology. Includes the study of the character of the self, identity, roles, socialization, identity change, emotion and social interaction.


    Teaching Assistant: Winter 2010, Spring 2010, Winter 2011, Spring 2011, Winter 2012

    Sociology of Gender

    Analysis of biological, psychological, cultural and structural conditions underlying the status and roles of men and women in contemporary society, drawing on a historical and comparative perspective.


    Reader: Summer 2011

  • Mentorship

    We live in a world where there are endless possibilities as to how we can better shape our society and communities. To this end, I'm passionate about mentorship and helping to train the next generation of researchers, scientists, and policy-makers.

    UC Davis Research Training & Mentorship Program

    The Research Training & Mentorship Program pairs graduate student mentors with second year undergraduates in the humanities and social sciences to introduce students to academic research and help them build research and analytical skills. For more information and to apply, click here.

    UC Washington Center (UCDC) Mentorship Program

    The UCDC Mentorship Program facilitates networking and mentoring of UCDC students, using alumni contacts and resources in the Washington DC area. For more information, click here.

  • Contact Me

    etnguyen [at] ucdavis [dot] edu