Research Project

Legal status and civic stratification in the U.S.

Nicole Kreisberg is a Sociology PhD student, studying first-generation immigrant legal status and civic stratification in the U.S. Here she describes her fellowship year.

I am extremely grateful to the PSTC fellowship for giving me the time to meet two important academic benchmarks and to make progress on several individual and collaborative research projects.

This year, I successfully completed two preliminary exams, the first in Social Demography and the second in Race, Ethnicity, and International Migration. I also finished my M.A. thesis, under the guidance of advisor Margot Jackson and readers Michael White and Andrew Schrank. The thesis, entitled "Civic Stratification in the United States: Legal Status and First Generation Immigrant Economic Incorporation," uses survey data to test how legal status shapes the employment and occupational prestige of over 4,000 immigrants to the United States over time. It will be submitted to the American Sociological Review.

Additionally, without the fellowship’s support, I would not have had the time to work on several collaborative research projects. One is a co-authored paper with my PSTC mentor, Margot Jackson. We use survey data to evaluate the role of legal status on immigrant educational inter- and intra-generational mobility in the United States. We will complete an article for publication during the summer of 2017. Michael White and I also have two collaborative research projects. The first, in partnership with two colleagues from the Gauteng City-Region Observatory, studies residential segregation following the end of Apartheid in South Africa. The manuscript is almost complete and will be submitted to publication shortly. The second project, which he and I just started, studies historical immigrant assimilation to the U.S. using micro-data from the Census. The final collaborative project is with Andrew Schrank, in Sociology. We are working on a co-authored paper for publication that explores what country-level factors affect a country’s likelihood of receiving Temporary Protected Status in the United States.

The biggest resource that I recommend other trainees utilize is the Center’s interdisciplinary community. For example, the Center gave me the time and resources to help start the Migration Working Group with Professor Zhenchao Qian. This year, the Migration Working Group has been a wonderful sub-community in which to brainstorm ideas and learn from other students across campus. It is this breadth of connections across disciplines as well as the intellectual depth of knowledge in migration to which I owe the greatest debt. In sum, the PSTC fellowship, along with its intellectual community, has given me a strong foundation to launch my research career.