Sophia Rodriguez

Educational Leadership and Cultural Foundations (ELC) Department 
Sophia Rodriguez headshot

Assistant Professor
Office: 350 SOE Building

Research Interest

sociological analysis of education policy, immigrants and education, community-school partnerships, youth activism, qualitative inquiry, and ethnography


  • Ph.D. in Cultural and Educational Policy Studies, Loyola University Chicago
  • M.S. in English Education for Adolescence, Fordham University
  • M.A. in Literature and Critical Theory, 19th century American Studies, Sonoma State University
  • B.A. in Political Science, with honors; English Literature, Marquette University


Dr. Rodriguez’s Ph.D. is in Cultural and Educational Policy Studies (history and sociology of education). Dr. Rodriguez is a social science researcher, drawing on tools from the disciplines of education and sociology to inquire about the social and cultural contexts of education policy and practice. She uses critical qualitative research methodologies and mixed-methods to examine minoritized youth experiences of activism, inequality, identity, and belonging. She has taught English and ESL grades 7-12 in New York City public schools and in Chicago. She has been the Chair of the Foucault and Contemporary Theory SIG through the American Educational Research Association (AERA) and is a member of several organizations, including: American Educational Studies Association (AESA), American Sociological Association, and Comparative and International Education Society (CIES). She currently serves on the editorial boards of Policy Futures in Education and Educational Studies.

Her current grant research projects, funded by the Institute for Museum and Library Services (2016-2019) and the Spencer Foundation (2018-2020), focus on the experiences of newcomer undocumented immigrant youth in K-12 schools, and how educators and school-based mental health professionals can better advocate for newcomer undocumented immigrant youth.

Link to Dr. Rodriguez’s CV


Rodriguez, S. (In press). Fragmented dwellings: Undocumented youth activism in higher education spaces in an era of the Anthropocene. Philosophy and Theory in Higher Education.

Rodriguez, S. (2018). ‘Good, deserving immigrants’ join the Tea Party: How South Carolina policy excludes Latinx and undocumented immigrants from educational opportunity. Education Policy Analysis Archives, 26(103). DOI:

Rodriguez, S., Monreal, T.*, & Howard, K.J. (2018). “It’s about hearing and understanding their stories”: Teacher empathy and socio-political awareness toward newcomer undocumented students in the New Latino South. Journal of Latinos and Education. DOI: 10.1080/15348431.2018.1489812

Rodriguez, S. (2018). “Risky” Subjects: Theorizing migration as risk and implications for newcomers in schools and societies. European Education50(1), 6-26.

  • Lead Article

Rodriguez, S. & Monreal, T.*[1] (2017). “This state is racist.”: Policy problematization and undocumented youth experiences in the New Latino South. Educational Policy, 31(6), 764–800.

Rodriguez, S. (2017). “People hide, but I’m here. I count.”:  Examining undocumented youth identity formation in an urban community-school, Educational Studies., 53(5), 468-491.

Rodriguez, S. (2017). “My eyes were opened to the lack of diversity in our best schools”: Re-conceptualizing competitive school choice policy as a racial formation, The Urban Review, 49(4), 529-550.

Rodriguez, S. (2016). Toward a methodology of death: Deleuze’s event as method for critical ethnography. Critical Questions in Education, 7(3), 232-249.

Howard, J., Thompson, C. Nash, K., & Rodriguez, S. (2016). Missing stories: The messy processes, multifaceted risks, and multiple roles of critical ethnographers. Critical Questions in Education, 7(3), 302- 324.

Tesar, M., Kupferman, D., Rodriguez, S. & Arndt, S. (2016). Forever young: Childhoods, fairy tales and philosophy. Global Studies of Childhood, 6(2), 1-12.

Rodriguez, S. (2016). “We need to grab power where we can”: Teacher activists’ responses to neoliberal policies during the Chicago teacher’s strike of 2012-2013. Workplace: A Journal for Academic Labor, 26, 74-88.

Rodriguez, S. (2015). The dangers of compassion: The cultural positioning of refugee students in policy and education research and the impact on teacher education. Knowledge Cultures, 3(2), 112-126.

Rodriguez, S. (2013). “Can we just get rid of the classroom?”: Thinking space, relationally. Taboo: Journal of Culture and Education, 13(1), 97-111. 

[1] * denotes graduate student co-author.