Diana's research lives at the intersections of race, ethnicity, and migration; the sociology of education; and community and urban sociology. She explores research questions related to the relationship between neighborhoods and schools, Latinx communities in the United States, the (re)making of spaces and places in metropolitan areas, and how stratification patterns are reproduced and maintained. To answer these research questions, Diana draws on a range of spatial, qualitative, and quantitative methodologies.
Most recently, her research has focused on how public education systems and social policy maintain or disrupt systems of racial, ethnic, and class stratification amid demographic change. 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 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. Diana is interested in how the micro decision-making of these parents is both informed by and contributes to the patterns of racial and class stratification in the United States.
Diana approaches research through an interdisciplinary lens that draws on extant theories and methodologies from sociology, demography, and geography in particular. Additionally, her work is informed by ongoing research in multiple fields including education, urban planning, and ethnic studies. Through her research, Diana aims to inform academic and public discourse across fields in hopes that social policy will become more responsive to the needs of communities that have been historically marginalized and disenfranchised in the United States.
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
Diana's dissertation uses a mixed-methods comparative case study approach to understand how middle-class Latinx parents make decisions about whether to stay put or migrate out of the city amid racial and ethnic demographic change in the New York City metropolitan region. Additionally, this study aims to use these qualitative insights about the decisions middle-class Latinx parents make with respect to housing to better understand the uneven spatial distribution of the shifting Latinx student enrollment in elementary schools across New York City’s metropolitan area post-2000. While most of the recent studies on school demographic change focus on either urban or suburban spaces, this study aims to examine both simultaneously as a means of understanding the complexities particular to each context as well as the connections between them and the broader implications for how parents and schools navigate complicated social dynamics regardless of urbanicity. With a focus on Latinx families in particular- a driving force of demographic change happening in both suburbs and cities- the findings from this dissertation have implications for crafting housing and school policies that aim to maintain racially and ethnically diverse communities instead of promote what many consider to be the inevitable (re)segregation of these spaces along racial and class lines.