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About Dr. Sondra Cuban

Sondra is an educational sociologist. Her areas of interest are in immigration and education,  international and comparative education, adult and higher education, e-learning and community technologies. She directs the Adult & Higher Education program in the Department of Health & Community Studies in Woodring College of Education. Sondra has worked in a range of educational settings including jails, libraries, community colleges, and non-profits, and with disenfranchised groups and non-traditional students. Pivotal in her work is academic activism, with community-university partnerships---researching and teaching these through intersectional and critical approaches. Her 2013 publication, Deskilling Migrant Women in the Global Care Industry focuses on highly skilled immigrant women who were caregivers to older persons in England and their downward mobility in the labor market. She studied the risks that these pioneer immigrants took in gambling on low-level jobs as stepping stones towards a better livelihood for themselves and their families. She profiles these participants' trajectories, situations and adaptations as they came to terms with dead end jobs and adjusted their  aspirations. They communicated with their transnational families and found supports but were unable to secure professional jobs, or pathways to careers, in England (see video).

Currently her scholarship focuses on the nexus of economic justice and migrancy in the U.S.  Beginning 2014, she is interviewing high-skilled and low-skilled immigrants in Washington State and their ICT-based cross-border communication with their transnational families, and the impact of family separation and reunification on language, labor, support, and their economic and social mobility. The findings will be featured in her forthcoming book, Transnational Family Communication: Immigrants and ICTs  (Palgrave/MacMillan). In another Seattle-based project, Sondra focuses on the ways under-represented community college students mentor immigrants and refugees transitioning out of homelessness and which is sponsored by the Low-Income Housing Institute. See project website. Using a model of community-based education, these students mentor the residents and create a participatory action research project with social justice outcomes.


Present Professor, Human Services and Rehabilitation, Western Washington University Woodring College of Education


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