Ingrid A. Nelson

Affiliation: Sociology
Professor of Sociology
Professor Nelson teaches classes on education, transitions to adulthood, race and ethnicity, and research methods. Her research draws on data-driven partnerships to examine how racialized educational systems shape the resources, relationships, and identities that enable adolescents to navigate structural inequalities.
Nelson's work explores the interconnected roles of cultural and social capital across a range of overlapping in and out of school contexts to illuminate how dynamic social institutions--including families, schools, colleges, and communities--reinforce and disrupt processes of social reproduction. Her first book, Why Afterschool Matters, spotlights the experiences of Mexican American youth in California, investigating how and why extracurricular participation influences the educational attainment of some students more than others. Her research has further expanded theoretical explanations for bachelor’s degree attainment among marginalized youth by examining the relationship between family, school, and community social capital among rural adolescents in Maine. Her current book project examines what and how undergraduates learn about race and racism in the wake of racially-charged controversies at an elite liberal arts college. Drawing on interviews, surveys, and document analysis, this in-depth case study explores how structures and policies mediate the relationship between increasing racial diversity on a historically white campus and key social and academic outcomes.
Ingrid Nelson Headshot


  • PhD, Sociology of Education, Stanford University
  • MA, Sociology, Stanford University
  • BA, Sociology, Wellesley College