Sociology Graduate Students

Michelle Parra
  • Title
    • PhD Candidate
  • Division Social Sciences Division
  • Department
    • Sociology Department
  • Affiliations Latin American & Latino Studies
  • Phone
  • Email
  • Office Location
    • Rachel Carson College Academic Building, N/A
  • Mail Stop Rachel Carson College

Summary of Expertise

I am a qualitative researcher that uses feminist theories of color, such as intersectionality and transnational feminist theory, to examine how gender, sexual, racial, and class inequalities are co-constitutive elements within the US. My dissertation project is a multisite ethnography that researches how two mobility paths, higher education and migration, shape Latinas' own gender and sexual subjectivities as well as generational negotiations of these social forces among migrant mothers and their college-going daughters. 


Research Interests

Broadly speaking, my research interests lie in the intersection of sexual, gender, race, and class formations.

Biography, Education and Training

University of California, Santa Cruz

Ph.D. in Sociology (Expected date June 2023)

Designated emphasis in Latin American and Latino Studies

Dissertation Tite:Desiring A Better Life: Heteronoormativity, Mobility, and Generational Negotiations Among Latinas

Dissertation Committee: Julie Bettie (co-chair), Jessica Taft (co-chair), and Lorena Garcia

Comprehensive Exam Committee: Jessica Taft, Julie Bettie, Sylavann Falcón, and Lorena Garcia


San Francisco State University

Master of Arts in Sexuality Studies

Thesis: “When I Left, I Felt like I Betrayed Them”: Latina Women Navigate the Benefits and Harms of a College Education

Advisors: Jessica Fields and Belinda Reyes


University of California, Santa Barbara 

Bachelor of Arts, Sociology

Bachelor of Arts, Feminist Studies

Thesis: Hookup Culture: How Young Latina Women Negotiate and Construct their Sexual Identities

Advisor: Leila J. Rupp


Honors, Awards and Grants

2023- Sociologist for Women in Society Chow-Green Dissertation Scholarship Recipient


2023- AERA Minority Dissertation Fellowship in Education Research


2023- Alternative AAUW Dissertation Fellowship


2023- Honorable Mention, Ford Foundation Dissertation Fellowship


2022-2023- UC President's Pre-Professoriate Fellowship


2022- The Sociology of Sexualities Martin P. Levine Memorial Dissertation Fellowship Award 


2020-2021-Sociology of Race, Class, and Gender Graduate Award, UCSC


2019-2020- Graduate Student Grant, Research Center for the Americas, UCSC


2019-2020- Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award, UCSC


2018-2019- Women’s, Health, Gender, and Empowerment (WHGE) Student Ambassador, UCSC


Spring 2018- Lionel Cantú Memorial Award, UCSC


2017-2018- Regent’s Fellowship, UCSC


Spring 2017- University’s Graduate Student Award for Distinguished Achievement, SF State


Spring 2017- Jim Brogan Teaching Scholarship, SF State


Academic School Year 2016-2017- CSU Sally Casanova Predoctoral Scholar, SF State


Summer 2016- Chicana Latina Foundation


Academic School Year 2015- 2016-Deborah H. Tolman Fellowship Sexuality Studies, SF State


Summer 2013- Spring 2015-McNair Scholars Program, UCSB


Spring 2015- Dr. Clyde Woods Award for Excellence in Scholarship and Collegiality, UCSB



Mentoring Experience

Winter 2022- Science Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program


Summer 2021-2023- Science Internship Program


Winter 2022- Koret Graduate Mentor


2021-2023- Pathways to Research Graduate Mentor


Spring 2018- UCSC’s Women’s Center MINT Program (Matriculating, Influencing, Networking and Triumphing) Scholarship Search Committee


Fall 2017- Present-Cultivamos Excelencia Graduate Mentor


Fall 2017- Spring 2019-UCSC’s Women’s Center MINT Program (Matriculating, Influencing, Networking and Triumphing) 


Service Experience

2021-present- Graduate Student Coordinator for the WoC Community Group at UCSC


2020-2022- ASA Sexualities Section Equity Task Force


2020-2021- Graduate Student Representative for the ASA Sexualities Section 


Spring 2018- Chicana Latina Foundation Scholarship Search Committee


Winter 2018- Chicana Latina Foundation Scholarship Workshop


Winter 2018- Sociology Job Candidate Student Search Committee


Fall 2017- Sociology Job Candidate Student Search Committee

Selected Publications

Parra, Michelle Gomez, and Lorena Garcia. 2023. ““I have Tasted Freedom”: An Intersectional Analysis of College-Going Latinas’ Desire for and Meanings of Mobility.” Gender & Society, DOI:


Parra, Michelle Gomez. 2022. "An ‘Anchor Baby’ Yearns for a Feminist of Colour and Decolonial Sex Education." Sex Education, DOI: 10.1080/14681811.2022.2071251

Selected Presentations

April 2022-“Made in LA: How Working-Class Latinas Experience and Remember Girlhood.” Pacific Sociological Association, Sacramento, CA. 


August 2018-“I Don’t Want a Life Like That: Upwardly Mobile Latinas’ Gender and Sexual Identities.” American Sociological Association, Philadelphia, PA.


April 2018-“I Don’t Want a Life Like That: The Implications of a College Education for Upwardly Mobile Latinas.” Borderlands Conference UC Santa Barbara.


March 2018  -“I Don’t Want a Life Like That: Working-Class Latina Women Navigate the Benefits and Harms of a College Education.” Pacific Sociological Association, Long Beach, California.


March 2018 -“When I Left, I Felt Like I Betrayed Them: How College Education Impacts the Well-Being of Working-Class Latinas.” Thinking Gender, The University of California, Los Angeles. Los Angeles, CA.


May 2015-“UCSB Hookup Culture and Latina College Women’s Sexual Subjectivities.” Feminist Studies Honors Symposium, Santa Barbara, California.


April 2015 -"Hookup Culture: How Young Latina College Women Negotiate their Sexual Identities,” National Association for Chicana and Chicano Studies, San Francisco, California.


Teaching Interests

Sexualities; Gender; Race/Ethnicity; Mobility (Immigration and Higher Education); Girlhood Studies; Latinas; Women of Color Feminisms; Queer of Color Critique; Queer Theory; Qualitative and Feminist Methods.