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Diana Cordova-Cobo


Areas of Interest:

- Sociology of Education

 - Latinx Studies

 - Critical/Critical Race Theory

- Neighborhoods & Schools

 - Race, Ethnicity, & Migration

 - Mixed-Methods Research

- Education & Housing Policy

 - Urban & Metropolitan Studies 

 - Spatial & Qualitative Methods

Dissertation: When the color-line blurs: A comparative case study exploring how Latinx parents make housing and schooling decisions amid demographic inversion in New York City’s metropolitan area

Bio: Diana Cordova-Cobo (she/her(s)/ella) is a Ph.D. candidate in the Sociology and Education program, a 2021-22 Research Scholar at The National Research Center on Hispanic Children and Families, and a Research Fellow at Student Achievement Partners. Diana's research broadly focuses on the relationship between neighborhoods and schools, the diverse experiences of Latinx communities in the United States, and the (re)making of spaces and places in metropolitan areas. Her work is guided by two central questions:

1. How does demographic change happen at the school and neighborhood levels in metropolitan areas? and

2. How do schools and local governments respond to demographic change through their policies and practices?

Under the first question, she is most interested in the role of housing policy and education policy as drivers of demographic changes as well as the role of the micro decision-making and actions of Latinx families that result in immigration or migration to certain areas. Under the second question, she is most concerned with how these responses are shaped by monolithic depictions of Latinx communities- and other racially marginalized communities- in those contexts and how said policies or practices (re)produce or disrupt patterns of racial, ethnic, and class stratification. To answer these research questions, Diana draws on a range of spatial, qualitative, and quantitative methodologies.

Most recently, her research has focused on the demographic change that occurs under gentrification. Prior to her dissertation work, a central line of study was understanding the gentrification of public schools and neighborhoods in New York City and how schools best served legacy non-Latinx Black and/or Latinx families as gentrification took place. This previous work informed her dissertation, which explores how middle-class Latinx parents decide to stay in gentrifying city neighborhoods or leave for nearby suburbs in the New York City metropolitan area post-2000. Using a comparative case study approach that relies on interview data, document analysis, and geospatial analytics, the study focuses on how perceived racial identities, class status, and beliefs about the purpose of schooling shape middle-class Latinx parents’ neighborhood and school choices. Centered on parents that are largely overlooked or homogenized in research on neighborhood and school choice, the study has implications for how schools and local governments can best meet the needs of a growing population and provides counternarratives to traditional theories of spatial assimilation and school choice that are helpful for crafting anti-displacement policies in schools and communities.

In addition to her research interests, Diana is passionate about making research accessible and practical for educators, parents, community members, and policymakers. Prior to starting in the Sociology and Education program, Diana was a middle school social studies teacher in the Washington Heights neighborhood of New York City. The lessons she learned from her students and the experiences they shared with her continue to motivate and inspire the work she does today. (For a full list of publications and teaching experience, please visit the website linked above.)

Diana holds an M.Phil. in Sociology and Education, an M.A. in Social Studies Education from Teachers College, Columbia University, and a B.A. in Political Science with honors from the University of Florida. 

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