Ingrid Nelson

Assistant Professor of Sociology

Teaching this semester

EDUC 2206/SOC 2206. Sociology of Education

Examines the ways that formal schooling influences individuals and the ways that social structures and processes affect educational institutions. Explores the manifest and latent functions of education in modern society; the role education plays in stratification and social reproduction; the relationship between education and cultural capital; the dynamics of race, class, and gender in education; and other topics.

SOC 2010. Introduction to Social Research

Provides firsthand experience with the specific procedures through which social science knowledge is developed. Emphasizes the interaction between theory and research and examines the ethics of social research and the uses and abuses of research in policy making. Reading and methodological analysis of a variety of case studies from the sociological literature. Field and laboratory exercises that include observation, interviewing, use of available data (e.g., historical documents, statistical archives, computerized data banks, cultural artifacts), sampling, coding, use of computer, elementary data analysis, and interpretation. Lectures, laboratory sessions, and small-group conferences.

Teaching next semester

AFRS 2208/LAS 2708/SOC 2208. Race and Ethnicity

The social and cultural meaning of race and ethnicity, with emphasis on the politics of events and processes in contemporary America. Analysis of the causes and consequences of prejudice and discrimination. Examination of the relationships between race and class. Comparisons among racial and ethnic minorities in the United States.

EDUC 1028/SOC 1028. Sociology of Campus Life: Race, Class, and Inequality at Elite Colleges

Explores higher education in the contemporary United States through a sociological lens, highlighting the ways that elite colleges and universities both promote social mobility and perpetuate inequality. Examines the functions of higher education for students and society; issues of inequality in college access, financing, campus experiences, and outcomes later in life; the history and consequences of affirmative action; how and why historically white colleges and universities have diversified their student bodies; the challenges and benefits of diversity and inclusion on campus; and other topics. Emphasis on writing sociologically for public and academic audiences.


  • B.A., Sociology, Wellesley College
  • M.A., Sociology, Stanford University
  • Ph.D., Sociology of Education, Stanford University

Research Interests

Social contexts of educational inequality, Latin@ youth, out-of-school time, transitions to adulthood, pathways to college, community-based research, rural youth

Publications and Reports

Why Afterschool MattersNelson, Ingrid A. 2017. Why Afterschool Matters. Camden, NJ: Rutgers University Press. 

Nelson, Ingrid A. 2016. “Rural Students’ Social Capital in the College Application Process.” Rural Sociology 81(2):249-81. 

Nelson, Ingrid A., Rebecca A. London, and Karen Strobel. 2015. “Reinventing the Role of the University Researcher.” Educational Researcher 44(1):17-26. 

Nelson, Ingrid A. 2010. “From Quantitative to Qualitative: Adapting the Life History Calendar Method.” Field Methods 22(4):413-28. 

Nelson, Ingrid A. 2009. “The Differential Role of Youth Development Program Participation for Latina/o Adolescents.” Afterschool Matters 8:20-33. 

Nelson, Ingrid A. and Billie Gastic. 2009. “Street Ball, Swim Team and the Sour Cream Machine: A Cluster Analysis of Out of School Time Participation Portfolios.” Journal of Youth and Adolescence 38(9):1172-86. 

Strobel, Karen and Ingrid A. Nelson. 2007. “A Model for Fostering Youth Leadership: The Youth Engaged in Leadership and Learning Program (YELL).” Youth Developments: Issues and Analyses in Youth Policy 1(2):1-8. 

Strobel, Karen and Ingrid A. Nelson. 2007. Understanding Youth Leadership Development: An examination of the Youth Engaged in Leadership and Learning Program (YELL). Stanford, CA: John W. Gardner Center. 

Nelson, Ingrid A. Forthcoming. “The Semi-Structured Life History Calendar Method for Qualitative Research.” In Research Methods in Health Social Sciences, edited by P. Liamputtong. Springer.


Conference Papers and Presentations

“Plugging the Rural Brain Drain: Social Capital Among College Graduates Who Return to Rural Locales.” American Educational Research Association. April, 2017 

“To Leave or Not to Leave: Empowering Rural College Graduates for Rural Return.” Sociology of Education Association. February, 2017

“Learning to Return: Residential Sorting Among Rural College Graduates.” American Sociological Association. August, 2016

“My Bio Lecture Had More People Than My Hometown”: Social Capital in Rural Students’ Pathways to College Graduation.” Sociology
of Education Association. February, 2016
“Social Capital and College Persistence among Rural College Graduates.” American Educational Research Association. April, 2015
“Trajectories of Advantage: Social Capital in Low Income Rural Achievers’ Pathways to College.” Sociology of Education
Association. February, 2015

“Staying in Maine: Family and Community Social Capital in Rural College Graduates Transition to Adulthood.”
American Sociological Association Annual Meeting. August, 2014

“’Kind of Make-Your-Own Pathway’: Rural College Graduates’ Social Capital During the College Process.”
American Educational Research Association Annual Meeting. April, 2014

“Parental Support and College Satisfaction Among Rural Scholarship Recipients.”
American Sociological Association Annual Meeting. August, 2013

“Educational Success and the Transition to Adulthood for First Generation Rural Students.”
Eastern Sociological Society Annual Meeting. March, 2013

“Varying Influences of Extracurricular Participation for Latino Youth: Intertwining Roles of Context, Relationships and Agency.”
American Sociological Association Annual Meeting. August, 2012

“From Stop Over to Savior: The Embedded Influence of Out of School Time Programs for Mexican American Youth.” 
Eastern Sociological Society Annual Meeting.
 February, 2012

“University, Schools, and Multiple Agencies Sharing Data to Inform Community-Wide Action.”
American Educational Research Association Annual Meeting. April 2011.

“Making Sausage: Multi-Level Relationship Building in University-School Research Collaborations.”
American Educational Research Association Annual Meeting. May, 2010

“The Power of Mastery: Adolescents’ Mastery Goal Orientation, Classroom Practices and School Change.”
Society for Research on Adolescence Biennial Meeting. March, 2010

“Latinos’ Perceptions of the Quality of Local Public Schools.”
National Conference on Latino Politics, Power and Policy. October, 2009

“Adapting the Life History Calendar for Qualitative Studies: Examining Latino Youth’s Pathways to College.”
American Sociological Association Annual Meeting. August, 2009

“From Quantitative to Qualitative: Reinventing the Life History Calendar.”
Ethnographic and Qualitative Research Conference. June, 2009

“Extracurricular Activities and Higher Education: A Longitudinal Mixed-Methods Study of Latino Adolescents.”
American Educational Research Association Annual Meeting. April, 2009

“Street Ball, Swim Team and Sour Cream Machines: A National Look at Adolescents’ Extracurricular Portfolios.”
American Educational Research Association Annual Meeting. April, 2009

“Extracurricular Activity Participation and Hispanic Adolescents’ Pathways to College.”
Add Health Users Conference, National Institutes of Health. July, 2008

“Latino Youth Pathways to College: Differential Role of After School Program Participation.”
American Educational Research Association Annual Meeting. March, 2008

“The Road Less Traveled: Pathways to Civic Engagement Among Latino Youth.”
American Educational Research Association Annual Meeting. March, 2008

“Can I Really Make a Difference? Urban Youth as Agents of Change.”
Society for Research on Adolescence Biennial Meeting. March, 2008

“Bored or Burnt Out? Youth and Out of School Activity.”
American Educational Research Association Annual Meeting. April, 2007


Karofsky Prize 

Faculty Award for Community Engagement   

Karofsky Family Encore Lecturer                 

Vice Provost of Graduate Education Academic Achievement Award for the Stanford University LGBT Community Resources Center, 2011.

2010 Emerging Scholar Award - Out-of-School Time Special Interest Group of the American Educational Research Association (AERA)