I am a socio-cultural psychologist whose work examines how human experience and development shapes and is shaped by broader sociopolitical, economic, and historical transformations. My research focuses on new forms of international immigration, especially undocumented immigration in Canada and the United Sates. After completing my Ph.D. in Social and Theoretical Psychology at the University of Calgary in Canada, I moved to Chicago where I conducted research as a Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Chicago funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC). Since August 2017, I am working as an Assistant Professor in Child Development in the College of Education at California State University Sacramento.
I began my career studying prominent sociocultural and psychological theories of self and experience, focusing particularly on the work of French phenomenologists Paul Ricoeur and Maurice Merleau-Ponty. Since then my work has turned to critical migration studies to develop rich, sociopolitically-informed psychological accounts of the everyday lives of undocumented immigrants in Canada and the United States (see publications). From a critical, sociocultural psychological perspective, I seek complex accounts of undocumented migrants’ experiences that recognize both the broader sociopolitical determinants of migration and the roles of migrants who navigate these to achieve meaningful lives. Thus far research on undocumented migration has been led by sociologists and anthropologists who have traced the ways restrictive immigration policies limit undocumented migrants’ social opportunities. However, less is known about how undocumented migrants variably experience and respond to their conditions, as psychological investigations of their lives have been limited. My research addresses these shortcomings by employing sociocultural psychological research approaches with critical migration perspectives to develop rich understandings of undocumented migrants’ experiences. Such analyses are needed not only to avoid oversimplifying migrants to mere victims of sociopolitical forces, but also to identify how undocumented migrants transform their unequal conditions and contribute to social change. Accordingly, my work traces the various ways that immigrants understand, interpret, and creatively respond to shifting political circumstances as they seek to build meaningful lives with others.