• Overview


    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)


    My areas of expertise include immigrant integration, children and families, and immigrant health. I collect and analyze data (both quantitative and qualitative) to understand the social world and what drives human behavior and action. My research is influenced by growing up as the daughter of refugees in San Jose, CA and living and working in Washington, DC. In my current role as a Legislative Fellow in the U.S. Senate, I research and evaluate legislation related to immigration and healthcare policies.

    Subject Matter Expertise

    U.S. migration; international migration; immigrant incorporation; race and ethnicity; marriage and family; adolescent development and wellbeing; healthcare and health disparities; mental health; mixed-method research


    2016 Congressional Fellowship, American Sociological Association

    2015 Minority Fellowship Program Award, American Sociological Association

    2014 Dissertation Writing Award, UC Davis Sociology Department

    2014 Graduate Program Fellowship, UC Davis Office of Graduate Studies

    2013 Graduate Research Fellowship, UC Davis Center for Poverty Research

  • Experience

    Legislative Fellow

    Office of Senator Kirsten Gillibrand at U.S. Senate, Washington D.C.

    12/2016 - present

    Researching and advising on immigration and healthcare policy issues.

    Congressional Fellow

    Office of Congressman Mike Honda at U.S. House of Representatives, Washington D.C.

    09/2016 - 12/2016

    Managed a portfolio of policy issues including: healthcare and health disparities; women, children, and families; poverty; and social welfare.

    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, analysis, and coding on the Extended Families Study, a project that examined multigenerational immigrant and US-born families.

    Program Manager

    Undergraduate Research Center at University of California, Davis

    08/2013 - 06/2016

    Contributed to a department that facilitates and advises students on research and career development skills. Designed and managed educational pilot programs.


    Sociology Department at University of California, Davis

    06/2012 - 06/2016

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

    Paralegal Specialist

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

    08/2007 - 07/2009

    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.

  • Publications

    Nguyen, Emerald T. and Ming-Cheng Lo. 2017. Diverse Strategies Among Latina Nurses Providing

    Care to Co-Ethnic Patients. Center for Poverty Research, 2016 Policy Brief. Davis, CA: University

    of California-Davis.


    Nguyen, Emerald T. and Jo Mhairi Hale. Forthcoming. “You Just Don’t Understand Me!: Determinants of

    Asian and Latino Youth Self-Esteem” (accepted at International Migration)


    Nguyen, Emerald T. “It’s a Full House: How Immigrants and the Native-Born Explain Their Extended

    Family Living Arrangements” (under review)


    Nguyen, Emerald T. “Intergenerational Relationships and Cultural Change in Immigrant Extended

    Families” (under review)


    Lo, Ming-Cheng M. and Emerald T. Nguyen. “Caring and Carrying the Cost: Latina Nurses’ Challenges and

    Strategies for Working with Co-Ethnic Patients” (revise and resubmit at the Russell Sage

    Foundation’s Journal of the Social Sciences special issue “New Immigrant Labor Market Niches”)

  • 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.

    2 articles

    Forthcoming co-authored publications about how hospitals and clinics providing culturally competent care through Spanish-bilingual nurses affect Latino patients in California. This work is 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 professional organization for sociologists 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 government and industry side of 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 (accepted 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 Asian and Latino Youth Self-Esteem" with Joanna Hale (under review at Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies)


    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 with coresidence become similar to natives 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 data-driven world where there are endless possibilities to what this information can tell us and how we can use it to help shape our 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.

  • Contact Me

    etnguyen [at] ucdavis [dot] edu