Dr. Elizabeth Vaquera

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Dr. Elizabeth Vaquera

Executive Director, Associate Professor of Sociology and Public Policy & Public Administration


Office Phone: (202) 994-9242

Dr. Elizabeth Vaquera joined GW in 2016 as the inaugural Director of the Cisneros Hispanic Leadership Institute and Associate Professor of Sociology and Public Policy and Public Administration. Vaquera's research focuses on vulnerable and diverse groups, particularly Latinos/as and immigrants. Her work has analyzed the character and importance of immigrant status, race, and ethnic identity in outcomes such as education, health, and emotional and social well-being. In her role as Director of the Cisneros Institute, Vaquera translates this work by designing and leading programs for high-achieving Hispanic students at the pre-college and university level. In addition to an extensive body of work published in leading peer-reviewed journals, Vaquera is the co-author of several books, the most recent of which, Education and Immigration, examines the educational experiences of immigrants and their children living in the U.S. She is also the recipient of several federal grants by the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health.


Immigration, Latino/a Sociology, Race and Ethnicity, Children and Youth, Sociology of Well-Being, Education, Quantitative Methods

“A Longitudinal Study of Adversity, Stress Processes, and Latinx Health from Adolescence to Young Adulthood” (2020-2024). PI: Katherine Roche. National Institutes of Health. Role: CO-I.

“Metropolitan Washington Workshop on Immigration and Race” (2019-2020). Co-PIs: Marie Price and Elizabeth Vaquera. George Washington University Seminars Funding Program. 

“The U.S. Immigrant Political Climate and Latino Families: A Mixed Methods Study.” (2017-2021). Co-PIs: Kathleen Roche and Elizabeth Vaquera. George Washington University Cross-Disciplinary Research Fund (CDRF).

“Ontological Security in Uncertain Times: Legal Status and the Social and Emotional Well-Being of Undocumented Young Adults.” (2017-2020). Co-PIs: Elizabeth Aranda, Heide Castaneda, and Elizabeth Vaquera. National Science Foundation (SBE) PD 98-1331.

“Adoption of New Lifestyles among Refugee Families: Health Implications of Integration.” (2015-2016). Center of Excellence in Maternal and Child Health Education, Science and Practice Faculty Pilot Research Grant Application. PI: Solveig A. Cunningham.

“Identity Negotiations among Immigrant Young Adults.” (2013-2014). University of South Florida College of Arts and Sciences Internal Award. 

New Researcher Grant, University of South Florida (2009-2011). PI: Elizabeth Vaquera. “School Belonging and Engagement among Immigrant Students: A Comparative Study of Youth in the U.S. and Spain.”

“Friendships and Risk of Over-weight among Diverse-origin Adolescents” (2009-2011). PI: Elizabeth Vaquera; Co-PI: Solveig A. Cunningham, Emory University. NIH-NIDDK 1R21DK081878-01A1.

“Immigrant Transnationalism and Modes of Incorporation.” National Science Foundation (2008). SES-0752644. (Co-PI: Elizabeth Aranda, University of South Florida). 

Refereed Journal Articles

Aranda, Elizabeth, Elizabeth Vaquera, Heide Castañeda, and *Girsea Martinez Rosas (2022). "Undocumented Again? DACA Rescission, Emotions, and Incorporation Outcomes among Young Adults." Social Forces. https://doi.org/10.1093/sf/soac056

Vaquera, Elizabeth, Heide Castañeda, and Elizabeth Aranda (2022). "Legal and ethnoracial consciousness: Perceptions of immigrant media narratives among the Latino undocumented 1.5 generation." American Behavioral Scientist: 00027642221083538.

*Chavez, Berta, Robert Lucio, Leticia Villarreal Sosa, and Elizabeth Vaquera (2021). "The Reality of a Journey: What School Social Workers Need to Know about the Experiences of Latinx Undocumented Youth." Journal of Ethnic & Cultural Diversity in Social Work: 1-12.

Aranda, Elizabeth, Elizabeth Vaquera, and Heide Castaneda (2021). “Shifting Roles in Families of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Recipients and Implications for the Transition to Adulthood.” Journal of Family Issues. 42(9): 2111-2132.

Roche, Kathleen M., Elizabeth Vaquera, Claudia A. Delbasso, Gabriel Kuperminc, Marisa Cordon, and Maria Ivonne Rivera (2020). “Worry, Behavior Change, and Daily Adversity: How U.S. Latino/a Parents Experience Contemporary Immigration Actions and News.” Journal of Family Issues: 1-23.

Vaquera, Elizabeth, *Rebecca Jones, Pau Marí-Klose, Marga Marí-Klose, and Solveig Argeseanu Cunningham (2018). "Unhealthy weight among children in Spain and the role of the home environment." BMC Research Notes 11(1): 591-599.

Aranda, Elizabeth and Elizabeth Vaquera (2018). “Immigrant Family Separation, Fear, and the U.S. Deportation Regime.”  Monitoring of Public Opinion: Economic and Social Changes Journal, 5 (147): 204-2012.

Roche, Kathleen M., Elizabeth Vaquera, Rebecca MB White, and Maria Ivonne Rivera (2018). "Impacts of Immigration Actions and News and the Psychological Distress of US Latino Parents Raising Adolescents." Journal of Adolescent Health 52(5): 525-531.

Vaquera, Elizabeth and Elizabeth Aranda (2017).  “Moving Up and Down the Ladder: Perceived Social Mobility and Emotional Dispositions among South Florida’s Immigrants.” Sociological Forum 32(4): 793-815.                                       

Vaquera, Elizabeth, Elizabeth Aranda, and *Isabel Sousa-Rodriguez (2017). “Emotional Challenges of Undocumented Young Adults: Ontological Security, Emotional Capital, and Well-being” Social Problems 64(2): 298-314.

Neely, Stephen and Elizabeth Vaquera (2017). “Making It Count: Breadth and Intensity of Extracurricular Engagement and High School Dropout.” Sociological Perspectives: 1-24.

*Villalobos Carrasco, Cecilia F.; Ibis M. Álvarez Valdivia, and Elizabeth Vaquera. (2017). “Amistades co-étnicas e inter-étnicas en la adolescencia: diferencias en calidad, conflicto y resolución de problemas.”  [Co-ethnic and inter-ethnic friendships in adolescence: Differences in quality, conflict, and problem solving].  Educación XX1. 20(1): 99-120.

Aranda, Elizabeth, Elizabeth Vaquera, and *Isabel Sousa-Rodriguez (2015). “Personal and Cultural Trauma and the Ambivalent National Identities of Undocumented Young Adults in the USA”. Journal of Intercultural Studies 36(5): 600-619.

Aranda, Elizabeth and Elizabeth Vaquera (2015). “Racism, the Immigration Enforcement Regime, and the Implications for Racial Inequality in the Lives of Undocumented Young Adults.” Sociology of Race and Ethnicity 1(1): 88-104.

Flores-González, Nilda, Elizabeth Aranda, and Elizabeth Vaquera (2014). “‘Doing Race’: Latino Youth’s Identities and the Politics of Racial Exclusion.” American Behavioral Scientist 58(14): 1831-1851.

*Dotson, Hilary M., Elizabeth Vaquera, and Solveig A. Cunningham. (2014). “Sandwiches and Subversion: Teachers’ Mealtime Strategies and Preschoolers’ Agency.” Childhood 21(2): 1-15.

Vaquera, Elizabeth and Grace Kao (2012). “Educational Achievement of Immigrant Adolescents in Spain: Do Gender and Region-of-Origin Matter?” Child Development 83(5): 1560-1576.

Cunningham, Solveig A., Elizabeth Vaquera, and *Jeanne L. Long (2012). “Race, Ethnicity, and the Relevance of Obesity for Social Integration.” Ethnicity and Disease 22 (2): 317-323.

Cunningham, Solveig A., Elizabeth Vaquera, *Claire Maturo, and K.M. Venkat Narayan (2012). “Is There Evidence that Friends Influence Body Weight? A Systematic Review of Empirical Research.” Social Science and Medicine 75: 1175-1183.

Vaquera, Elizabeth and Elizabeth Aranda (2011). “The Multiple Dimensions of Transnationalism: Examining their Relevance to Immigrants’ Subjective Well-being.” Journal of Social Research & Policy 2(2): 47-72.

Aranda, Elizabeth and Elizabeth Vaquera (2011). “Unwelcomed Immigrants: Experiences with Immigration Officials and Attachment to the U.S.” Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice 27(3):299-321.

*Kramer, Rory and Elizabeth Vaquera (2011). “Who is Really Doing It? Peer Embeddedness and Substance Use during Adolescence.” Sociological Perspectives 54(1): 37-58.

Vaquera, Elizabeth (2009). “Friendship, Educational Engagement, and School Belonging: Comparing Hispanic and White Adolescents.” Hispanic Journal of Behavioral Sciences 31(4): 492–514.

Vaquera, Elizabeth and Grace Kao (2008). “Do You Like Me as Much as I Like You? Friendship Reciprocity and its Effects on School Outcomes among Adolescents.” Social Science Research 37: 55-72.

Vaquera, Elizabeth and Grace Kao (2006). “The Implications of Choosing No-Race on the Salience of Hispanic Identity: How Racial and Ethnic Identification Intersect among Hispanic Adolescents.” The Sociological Quarterly 47: 375-396.

Kao, Grace and Elizabeth Vaquera (2006). “The Salience of Racial and Ethnic Identification in Friendship Choices among Hispanic Adolescents.”  Hispanic Journal of Behavioral Sciences 28: 23-47.

Vaquera, Elizabeth and Grace Kao (2005). “Private and Public Displays of Affection among Interracial and Intraracial Adolescent Couples.” Social Science Quarterly 86 (2): 484-508.

De Miguel, Jesús M., Elizabeth Vaquera, and *Jara D. Sanchez (2005) “Spanish Universities and the Ranking 2005 Initiative.” Higher Education in Europe 30 (2): 199-215.

De Miguel, Jesús M., Bernabe Sarabia Heydrich, Elizabeth Vaquera, and Haizam Amirah. (2004). “¿Sobran o Faltan Doctores?” (Too Many or Too Few PhD’s?). Empiria: Revista de Metodología de Ciencias Sociales 7: 115-155.

Vaquera, Elizabeth, and Jesús M. de Miguel (2001). ”Mujeres en la Torre de Marfil: Feminización de la Universidad Española” (Women in the Ivory Tower: Feminization of Spanish Universities). Revista de Gestión y Análisis de Políticas Públicas 22: 77-94.

De Miguel, Jesús M., Jordi Caïs, and Elizabeth Vaquera (1999). “Modelo de Indicadores de Calidad de las Universidades” (Quality Indicators of Higher Education). In Revista de Gestión y Análisis de Políticas Públicas 16-17: 29-62.

* indicate student co-author

Books & Book Chapters

Aranda, Elizabeth, Elizabeth Vaquera, and Isabel Sousa-Rodriguez*. (2016). “Personal and Cultural Trauma and the Ambivalent National Identities of Undocumented Young Adults in the U.S.” in Kivisto, Peter (ed.) National Identity in an Age of Migration: The US Experience. New York, NY: Routledge. [Reprinted]

Kao, Grace, Elizabeth Vaquera, and Kimberly A. Goyette (2013). Education and Immigration. Cambridge: Polity Press.

Mari-Klose, Pau, Marga Mari-Klose, Elizabeth Vaquera, and Solveig A. Cunningham (2010). Infancia y Futuro: Crecer en la Sociedad del Riesgo. La Caixa: Barcelona. Colección Estudios Sociales 30. (Title translation: Childhood and the Future: New Realities, New Challenges.)

De Miguel, Jesús M., Jordi Caïs, and Elizabeth Vaquera (2001). Excelencia: Calidad de las Universidades Españolas. Madrid, Spain: Centro de Investigaciones Sociológicas. (Title translation: Excellence: Quality of Spanish Universities).

Edited Collections

Co-editor of special issue with Elizabeth Aranda and Roberto Gonzales (2014). “Latino Incorporation across Social Institutions.” American Behavioral Scientist.

Vaquera, Elizabeth, Elizabeth Aranda, and Roberto Gonzales. (2014). “Patterns of Incorporation of Latinos in Old and New Destinations: From Invisible to Hypervisible.” American Behavioral Scientist 58 (14): 1823-1833.


Ph.D. Sociology, University of Pennsylvania

M.A. Sociology, University of Pennsylvania

M.A. Sociology, University of Barcelona

B.A. Sociology, University of Barcelona