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Sylvia Martinez named new director of Center for Research on Race and Ethnicity in Society

Sylvia Martinez. Photo by James Brosher, Indiana University.  Sylvia Martinez. Photo by James Brosher, Indiana University. Sylvia Martinez, an associate professor in the IU School of Education, has been appointed as the new director of the Center for Research on Race and Ethnicity in Society at IU Bloomington. She replaces Dina Okamoto, who served as director since 2014.

The mission of the center, founded in 2008, is to advance the study of race and ethnicity in the social sciences and humanities. Part of the Schuessler Institute for Social Research, it uses an interdisciplinary approach in bringing together faculty, postdoctoral scholars, graduate students and undergraduates to meet, collaborate and advance research on race and ethnicity.

“We are thrilled Dr. Martinez is taking on this important role,” IU Bloomington Provost and Executive Vice President Rahul Shrivastav said. “Her background in Latino/a education and ethnic identity development will bring energy, depth and sensitivity to the center’s projects — which, historically, have been outstanding. CRRES is essential to opening necessary, interdisciplinary conversations on campus and creating a space where our community can remain connected and challenged in the best of ways. We look forward, with great anticipation, to future programs.”

A decorated researcher, Martinez joined IU in 2006. Her research focuses on Latino/a engagement in high school, how Latino/a students obtain information regarding the college application process and Latino/a ethnic identity development.

Martinez holds a Ph.D. in sociology from the University of Chicago and is jointly appointed in the Educational Leadership and Policy Studies in the IU School of Education and in the Latino Studies Program in the Colleges of Arts and Science. She formerly served as director of the Latino Studios Program and participated in the working group Social Science Diversity Initiative, which conceptualized the idea for CRRES.

“As part of the working group that conceptualized the idea and mission for what is now CRRES, this new position as director of the center is very special to me,” Martinez said. “I think Dina Okamoto and Michelle Moyd brought our vision to life in ways I never imagined, and I am grateful for their leadership and service. I am excited to take on this new endeavor and to continue CRRES’ mission.”

This fall, CRRES will be continuing to focus on research, archiving summer 2020 protest signs and developing census data to showcase patterns of migration in Indiana and the greater Midwest. The center will also host monthly coffee hours for anyone interested to come visit and discuss all things related to research on race and ethnicity over food and beverages.