Announcing the 2021 Esther Ngan-ling Chow and Mareyjoyce Green Dissertation Scholarship Award Winner, Roxanna Villalobos and 2021 Honorable Mention Awardees, Kristina Fullerton Rico and Emilia Cordero Oceguera

Congratulations to the 2021 Esther Ngan-ling Chow and Mareyjoyce Green Dissertation Scholarship Award Winner, Roxanna Villalobos and 2021 Honorable Mention Awardees, Kristina Fullerton Rico and Emilia Cordero Oceguera

Sociologists for Women in Society first established the Esther Ngan-ling Chow and Mareyjoyce Green Dissertation Scholarship at its annual meeting in February 2007. The primary purposes of the scholarship are: (1) To offer support to women and non-binary scholars of color who are from underrepresented groups and are studying concerns that women of color face domestically and/or internationally and (2) To increase the network and participation of students and professionals of color in SWS and beyond. The award is named after Esther Ngan-ling Chow and Mareyjoyce Green to acknowledge the contributions of these two SWS members who played an integral role in making SWS more inclusive of women of color. The awardee receives an $18,000 scholarship.

Special thanks to the Co-Chairs of the Sister to Sister Committee: LaTonya J. Trotter and Esther Hernández-Medina and the Esther Ngan-ling Chow and Mareyjoyce Green Dissertation Scholarship Award Subcommittee Members: Jennifer James and Adelle Monteblanco.

Photo of Roxanna Villalobos

Roxanna Villalobos (she/hers/ella) is a Ph.D. candidate in the Sociology Department pursuing a designated emphasis in Latin American and Latinx Studies at the University of California Santa Cruz. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology and Feminist Studies from UC Santa Cruz in 2012 and her Master of Arts in Gender & Cultural Studies from Simmons University in Boston, Massachusetts in 2015. She identifies as a Latina with roots in El Salvador and California’s Central Valley. Roxanna grew up in Parlier, California, a small rural town in the heart of California that is home to a predominantly Latinx community of immigrant farmworkers. She’s the proud daughter of a single immigrant mother who has worked as a campesina (farmworker) for over thirty years.

Drawing inspiration from her own background, Roxanna’s research explores the gender and racial subjectivities of working-class Latina girls living and working in rural, farm-working communities in California’s Central Valley. Through this research, Roxanna employs a transnational feminist approach to examine how discourses of rural girlhood reveal nation-making projects of modernity, imperialism, and settler-colonialism, seeking to understand how rural girls of color in the U.S. navigate these discourses in their place-making practices and spatial mobility trajectories. As a feminist qualitative researcher, her research is interdisciplinary at its core, drawing from various fields such as Black and Xicana/Latina intersectional feminist theory, feminist geography, critical girlhood studies, immigration/migration studies, rural sociology, and Latinx sociology.

Through her dissertation research, Roxanna aspires to uplift, understand, and learn from rural women and girls of color within the U.S. and across a transnational context. Outside of school, she loves to watch films of all genres with her partner. Roxanna also loves cuddling with her two cats, Melón y Uvas aka The Fruits, on the couch with some ice cream in hand. When she feels adventurous, she likes to explore new cuisines, visit spooky landmarks, explore national state parks, and travel to new places.

Photo of Kristina Fullerton Rico

Kristina Fullerton Rico (she/her) is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Sociology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her binational, ethnographic research focuses on the experiences of unauthorized immigrants and their families who are physically divided –– due to the tightening Mexico–U.S. border –– but digitally close thanks to cheaper, more accessible communication technologies. Kristina’s Master’s thesis found that mothers with children on either side of the border use technology to forge bonds of “digital siblinghood” between siblings who have never met. Her dissertation uses a feminist, intersectional perspective to study the experiences of older adults who are aging while undocumented. With a focus on gendered and racialized processes, this project examines how individuals cope with social exclusion, isolation, and uncertainty, as well as sources of social support for older immigrants in the United States and for older return migrants in Mexico.

If Kristina had to sum up the key takeaways from her research in just a few lines, she would explain that most migrants who are undocumented hope to adjust their status in order to be able to return to their communities of origin without having to leave the United States for good. In short, unauthorized immigrants are not just afraid of being deported; they also fear not being able to see the people they love — in both of their home countries — again.

Kristina’s work is inspired, in part, by her own experiences as a Mexican immigrant with strong transnational bonds. By studying unauthorized migration using a transnational perspective, she hopes to help shift discourse from “right to stay” policy recommendations to arguing for the right to migrate more freely, a privilege that U.S. citizenship largely bestows.

Photo of Emilia Cordero Oceguera

Emilia Cordero Oceguera (ella/she/her) is a PhD student in Sociology at North Carolina State University. She has a Bachelor’s degree from the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM) and an M.A in Latin American Studies from the University of California, Berkeley. Emilia’s research focuses on the connections among agriculture, food practices, and everyday acts of resistance. She uses intersectionality as a lens to look at the experience of migrant farmworker communities in the U.S. She is specially interested in the ways an intersectional perspective can help shift monolithic views within U.S. academia.

Her dissertation looks at the everyday food and agricultural labor of Mexican migrant farmworker mothers in North Carolina and how they enact resistance to intersectional oppression in their everyday life. Emilia’s research will provide nuance to the portrayal of the migrant farmworker experience in the U.S. by focusing on the everyday lives of farmworker women who are mothers, whose labor within the food industry is undervalued and invisibilized, and whose bodies are racialized within an ethnically hostile context. Emilia is interested in the ways feminist methodologies, like photovoice, can help social researchers create significant connections with their research collaborators and build durable paths towards social justice.

Emilia is from Mexico City and in her journey as a feminist sociologist she looks forward to creating bridges between Mexico and the U.S. Her focus on community-based research also encourages her to pursue connections among academia and grass-roots organizations.

As a woman who lives her life across borders, Emilia is committed to pursuing the well-being and dignity of disenfranchised migrant communities.

SWS will be honoring Roxanna Villalobos, Kristina Fullerton Rico and Emilia Cordero Oceguera, and Kristina Fullerton Rico via a Virtual Awards Presentation on July 7, 2021, from 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm EDT. Pre-registration is required via this link:

SWS will also honor Roxanna Villalobos, Kristina Fullerton Rico, Emilia Cordero Oceguera and all our 2021 Summer Award recipients via a Virtual Awards Presentation. Our Awards Reception is scheduled to take place on Friday, July 9, 2021, between 6:00 pm EDT- 8:30 pm EDT and more information will be shared via the SWS Virtual Meeting Platform.

If you are interested in making a gift to support the Esther Ngan-ling Chow and Mareyjoyce Green Dissertation Scholarship, please contact Barret Katuna, Executive Officer, at You can also make a gift online, by clicking here.