21st Century - Psychology

Carola Suárez-Orozco

Carola Suárez-Orozco is a cultural developmental psychologist, academic, and author. She is a Professor in Residence at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and the Director of the Immigration Initiative at Harvard.[1] She is also the co-founder of Re-Imagining Migration, a nonprofit organization.[2]

Suárez-Orozco has focused her research on immigrant children and youth with a particular attention on highlighting the experiences regarding educational contexts. She also works extensively to elucidate how the process of immigration affects immigrant children, adolescents, and young adults. She has authored or co-authored several winning books, including Transformations: Immigration, Family Life, and Achievement Motivation Among Latino Adolescents, Children of Immigration, Learning a New Land, Immigrant-Origin Students in Community College, and Education: A Global Compact for a Time of Crisis.[3]


After spending her early years being raised in Lausanne, Saurez-Orozco emigrated along with family to the United States at the age of 5.[4]

Suárez-Orozco received her Bachelor’s degree in Development Studies from the University of California, Berkeley in 1978, and a Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology from John F. Kennedy University in 1980. She went on to enroll at the California School of Professional Psychology, in 1988. She completed her Clinical Internship in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego, earning her Doctoral degree in Clinical Psychology in 1993.[4]

She has been married to Argentine born anthropologist and academic Marcelo Suárez-Orozco since 1977 with whom she has written and collaborated with.


Upon receiving her Doctoral degree, Suárez-Orozco held appointments as a school psychologist at Escondido Union School District as well as a guidance counselor at Cambridge Rindge and Latin School. In 1997, she became the Harvard Immigration Project Senior Research Associate in 2003. Following this appointment, she joined New York University’s Steinhardt School of Education as Associate Professor of Applied Psychology and Teaching & Learning in 2004, and later on became Professor of Applied Psychology in 2006. In 2012, she left New York University, and served as a Professor at the University of California, Los Angeles until 2022 and is now professor emeritus. She was appointed Professor in Residence at Harvard University Graduate School of Education in 2022 and directs the Immigration Initiative at Harvard.[5] Since July 2022, she has been serving as Professor in Residence at Harvard University Graduate School of Education.[1][6]


Trained as a clinical psychologist, Suárez-Orozco’s focuses her research on child, adolescent, and young adult experiences of immigration, while covering a broad range of topics including academic engagement and achievement, identity formation, family separations, civic engagement, and the unauthorized experience.[7]

Suárez-Orozco has led several major studies in her career. An early seminal study includes the Longitudinal Student Adaptation Study (LISA) funded by the NSF, the Spencer, and William T. Grant Foundations.[8] This longitudinal study which she ran out of the Harvard Immigration Project followed 400 immigrant newcomer young adolescents originating from China, Central America, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, and Mexico for 5 years.[9] Drawing on diverse sources of information including yearly student interviews, parent interviews, school data, and observational data, the study elucidated predictors of educational adaptation.[10][11] The study was foundational in pointing to the role of family separations, undocumented status, pre-migratory traumas, as well as varying school contexts in variations in trajectories of performance.[12] The study led to multiple journal articles as well as the Harvard University Press book– Learning a New Land: Immigrant Students in American Society.[13]

She went onto to lead a study of immigrant origin young adults attending community colleges. Funded by the William T. Grant Foundation,[14] the Research on Immigrants in Community College (RICC) study considered the experience of 646 immigrant community college students attending 3 community colleges in New York.[15] The study served to shed light on the ways in which immigrant students navigate community colleges—the setting where they are most likely to initiate their higher educational journey. This mixed-methods study drew on ethnographic and survey data as well as extensive interview of students, faculty, and administrators and was the basis for the New York University Press volume (2019) volume—Immigrant-Origin Students in Community College: Navigating Risk and Reward in Higher Education.[16]

In addition, in 2016, she was awarded a Lyle Spencer Foundation Grant to research the role of teacher enactments of bias in K-12 classrooms.[17] She has also co-led a study, with Ford Foundation surveying over 900 undocumented college undergraduates across the country.[18] Most recently she has led the Ford Foundation work entitled—”Bridging the Compassion Gap” Addressing Social Inclusion for Immigrant Origin Children & Youth.[19]

In 2006, the American Psychological Association awarded her a Presidential Citation noting: “Whereas you have brought your skills to bear with remarkable effectiveness in a wide range of educational, policy making, and social contexts, cutting across a broad swath of behavioral and social sciences, and whereas, you have consistently approach work with immigrant populations from a perspective of strength and resilience, properly disposing of stereotyping and pathologizing approaches, now therefore the American Psychological Association recognizes and commends you for your distinguished contributions to our understanding of the health, well-being, and adjustment needs of immigrant children and their families.”[20]


  1. Jump up to:a b “Carola Suárez-Orozco Joins HGSE Faculty”Harvard Graduate School of Education. April 5, 2022.
  2. ^ “Home Page”Re-imagining Migration.
  3. ^ “Carola Suárez-Orozco”scholar.google.com.
  4. Jump up to:a b “Carola Suárez-Orozco – Institute for Immigration, Globalization, and Education”.
  5. ^ “UMass Boston”www.umb.edu.
  6. ^ “Carola Suarez-Orozco”National Academy of Education.
  7. ^ “Carola Suarez-Orozco | U-M LSA National Center for Institutional Diversity”lsa.umich.edu.
  8. ^ “Afterword: New directions in research with immigrant families and their children”.
  9. ^ “UCLA faculty voice: Like it or not, immigrant children are our future”UCLA.
  10. ^ Suárez-Orozco, Carola; Hernández, María G. (January 31, 2012). “Immigrant Family Separations: The Experience of Separated, Unaccompanied, and Reunited Youth and Families”The Impact of Immigration on Children’s Development. Contributions to Human Development. 24: 122–148. doi:10.1159/000331032ISBN 978-3-8055-9798-2 – via www.karger.com.
  11. ^ Suárez-Orozco, Carola; Hee Jin Bang; Ha Yeon Kim (March 31, 2011). “I Felt Like My Heart Was Staying Behind: Psychological Implications of Family Separations & Reunifications for Immigrant Youth”Journal of Adolescent Research26 (2): 222–257. doi:10.1177/0743558410376830S2CID 146477456.
  12. ^ Carola, Suarez-Orozco; Irina, Todorova; Josephine, Louie (June 30, 2001). “The Transnationalization of Families: Immigrant Separations & Reunifications”{{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  13. ^ Trejo, Michelle (May 31, 2014). “Book Review: Learning a new land: Immigrant students in American society”Hispanic Journal of Behavioral Sciences36 (2): 231–234. doi:10.1177/0739986314528680bS2CID 146820333.
  14. ^ “New Report Outlines Areas for Research to Reduce Inequality for Immigrant-Origin Children and Families”William T. Grant Foundation. February 23, 2015.
  15. ^ Suárez-Orozco, Carola; Yoshikawa, Hirokazu; Tseng, Vivian (February 28, 2015). Intersecting Inequalities: Research to Reduce Inequality for Immigrant-Origin Children and Youth. William T – via ERIC.
  16. ^ Suarez-Orozco, Marcelo; Suárez-Orozco, Carola (January 1, 2011). “Immigrants in Community Colleges”The Future of Children21 (1): 153–169. doi:10.1353/foc.2011.0009PMID 21465859S2CID 27881188 – via www.academia.edu.
  17. ^ “Lyle Spencer Research Awards to Transform Education” (PDF).
  18. ^ “$1.5 million in grants to UCLA from Ford Foundation will support immigrant youth, low-wage workers”UCLA.
  20. Jump up to:a b “APA informs Congress about risks to immigrant children”.
  21. ^ “SRA Biennial Meeting” (PDF).
  22. ^ “MEMBERS”.
  23. ^ “‘Transitions’ by Carola Suárez-Orozco wins Social Policy Award”UCLA.
  24. ^ “Arthur W. Staats Lecture for Unifying Psychology”. March 14, 2023.

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