Rubén G. Rumbaut, UC Irvine Distinguished Professor of sociology, has been named the recipient of the Julian Samora Distinguished Career Award. Given by the American Sociological Association’s Latina/o Sociology Section, the honor recognizes Rumbaut’s career contributions as a researcher, teacher and mentor.

Rumbaut is internationally known and widely cited for his research on children and young adults raised in immigrant families of diverse nationalities and socioeconomic classes. He has authored, co-authored or edited numerous publications on the topic, including 14 books – with two more forthcoming. Rumbaut earned two best book awards from the American Sociological Association and, as a National Academy of Sciences panel member, contributed to two authoritative volumes on the U.S. Hispanic population.

In 2013, he was elected to the National Academy of Education in recognition of his outstanding contributions in educational research and policy development. The following year, he received the Distinguished Career Award from the American Sociological Association Section on International Migration. In 2015, he was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Rumbaut mines data from large research projects he has directed since the 1980s, including two studies of refugees from Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos and how their children fared in San Diego public schools. Subsequent efforts looked at the educational achievement of immigrant students and language minorities throughout California.

Since 1991, Rumbaut has co-led the landmark Children of Immigrants Longitudinal Study (CILS), following subjects from dozens of nationalities in South Florida and Southern California as they become adults. From 2002-08, he co-directed the Immigration & Intergenerational Mobility in Metropolitan Los Angeles study, which focused on 1.5 and second-generation young adults of Mexican, Salvadoran, Guatemalan, Filipino, Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese and other ethnic origins, compared with native-parentage peers. Numerous follow-ups by Rumbaut and others have been based on this research.

He is currently involved in two longitudinal projects. One is an eight-year cross-national study comparing the educational status and adult transitions of youth who grew up and stayed in their hometown in Ameca, Mexico, and those from Ameca who emigrated to California (whether documented or undocumented). Another, "The Second Generation in Middle Adulthood," is a collaborative study with Cynthia Feliciano, UCI Chicano/Latino studies and sociology associate professor, and a follow up of the CILS San Diego sample of diverse nationalities almost a quarter of a century after the baseline surveys when they were 14 year olds in 8th grade.

His research has been supported by the Russell Sage Foundation, MacArthur Foundation, National Science Foundation, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, U.S. Department of Education, U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, U.S. Office of Refugee Resettlement, and National Institute of Child Health & Human Development.

Rumbaut is a frequent keynote speaker at international conferences and is consulted regularly on immigration by national media. He has testified before the U.S. Congress at hearings on comprehensive immigration reform. He has been a visiting scholar at the Russell Sage Foundation and a fellow at Stanford University’s Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences.

A native of Havana, Cuba, Rumbaut earned a bachelor’s in sociology-anthropology at Washington University in St. Louis and a master’s and doctorate in sociology at Brandeis University. He taught at UC San Diego, San Diego State University and Michigan State University before coming to UC Irvine in 2002.

Rumbaut is receiving his most recent honor at the American Sociological Association’s annual meeting in Montreal on Monday, Aug 14. He’s a featured speaker at the Latina/o Sociology Section’s award ceremony where he’ll be memorializing the life and work of his award’s namesake, Julian Samora. 

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