Catalina ValdezGraduate Studentshe/her/hers

I am a doctoral student in the Civil Society & Community Research program. Prior to my time at UW–Madison, I studied sociopolitical barriers facing immigrants and racial/ethnic minorities. I am interested in sociolinguistics in a Southeast Asian context, particularly the impact of increased access to technology on shifts in language learning and its economic implications.

During my undergraduate degree, I worked as a teaching assistant for multiple courses on race and ethnicity. My research focused on long-term migrants, specifically looking at how one’s race and/or religious affiliation obstructs or augments sense of belonging in Utah.

I completed my master’s degree in sociology from Brigham Young University in 2023. My thesis, titled “Helpful or Harmful? The Effect of Heritage Language Use on Perceived Maternal Closeness in United States Immigrant Families,” assessed the impact of English, non-English, and mixed language use patterns on mother-child relationship dynamics in U.S. immigrant homes. During this time, I also studied suicidal ideation and other mental health problems experienced by Central American minors journeying unaccompanied to the U.S.

Awards and Recognition

  • Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellowship-Tagalog, May 2023-Aug. 2023
  • Daniels Scholar, Aug. 2018-Aug. 2022

Selected Publications and Presentations

Valdez, C. (2023). (Book review). “Farming Inside Invisible Worlds: Modernist Agriculture and its Consequences,” by Hugh Campbell. Rural Sociology, 0(0), 1-2.

López, J. L., Munoa, G., Valdez, C., & Terron Ayala, N. (2021). Shades of Belonging: The Intersection of Race and Religion in Utah Immigrants’ Social Integration. Social Sciences, 10(7), 246-254.

A young woman smiling, with chin-length, bleached blonde hair, wearing a dark blue top and a gold necklace depicting the sun from the flag of the Philippines.


  • Civil Society & Community Studies

Degree Program

  • PhD Human Ecology: Civil Society & Community Research


  • MS, Sociology, Brigham Young University
  • BS, Sociology, Brigham Young University



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