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Ashley meeting with friends outside Hamilton’s Days-Massolo Center.
Coming from a low-income background and identifying as a first-generation student, I never imagined I’d be conducting research, let alone presenting at a national conference. Professor Matthew Grace was the first person to really believe I could tackle such a sphere, and it was his guidance, and support from the POSSE community, that enabled me to believe in myself as well. 

After my sophomore year, I received funding from Hamilton’s Levitt Center to study colorism in the Latinx community. My project focused heavily on individuals’ understanding of race, skin tone hierarchies, and the role each person plays in further instituting such harmful narratives. Meanwhile, Professor Grace, the advisor for my project, was collecting survey data on people’s experiences and anxieties regarding the pandemic. While analyzing his findings, he discovered several key differences among racial-ethnic groups. Because the pandemic fore fronted the discrepancies in access to primary care providers, paid sick days, and even personal protective equipment, my previous research provided insight as to how these inequalities might manifest themselves as a result of racism, classism, sexism, ableism, and the other -isms. I was thrilled when Professor Grace invited me to help him with his research. 

We presented our study, “Racial-Ethnic Differences in COVID-19 Anticipatory Stressors,” at the American Sociology Association conference. It was my Introduction to Sociology course with Professor Grace that really set in stone my decision to pursue a sociology concentration, so to have the professor who inspired me invite me to collaborate with him was truly a transformative experience. 

Ashley Garcia

Major: sociology and women’s & gender studies
Hometown: Miami, Fla.
High school: Mater Academy Charter High School
Activities: Sadove Student Center manager, Women’s & Gender Studies research assistant, POSSE scholar 

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Exploring Colorism in the Latinx Community

Garcia’s project focuses on how Latinx individuals identify themselves and socialize within the context of colorism.

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One Project Informs Another

Assistant Professor of Sociology Matthew Grace teamed up with Ashley Garcia ’22 to present “Racial-Ethnic Differences in COVID-19 Anticipatory Stressors,” at the American Sociology Association conference in August 2021.

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