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Welcome! My name is Melissa Alcaraz and I am a PhD Candidate in the Department of Sociology at The Ohio State University, and I am an affiliate of the Institute for Population Research. I grew up in rural Idaho, the daughter of Mexican immigrants. My own experiences and the opportunities that I have been given have informed my broader research interests and my passion for service and education. I received both my B.S. (2016) and M.A. (2018) in Sociology from Brigham Young University and The Ohio State University, respectively.

My research interests lie at the intersection of education, family formation, and migration. To study this intersection, I focus on the transition to adulthood and how adolescents’ goals for family formation interact with other goals, such as education and migration. I concentrate on studying adolescents and young adults, as adolescence is a critical period of goal-setting and decision-making with long-term implications for adolescents’ outcomes. I am primarily interested in how individuals make decisions about education, family, work, and migration within declining migration contexts – and how these decisions inform later aspirations and opportunities. Further, I am interested in how these decisions vary across gender and reduce or reproduce gender inequities. My research spans both the United States and international contexts.

If you would like to know more about my research interests and experiences, please click on the corresponding tabs or visit my department website.