I am an international migration scholar with a research focus on migration to, from, and within Asia. I am especially interested in how gender, labor, race & ethnicity, and class intersect at the moment of migration and the post-migration experience. I graduated from the University of Michigan in 2012 with a joint PhD in Sociology and Public Policy. Immediately after graduating, I joined Yale-NUS College, a newly-launched liberal arts college in Singapore that is a partnership between Yale University and the National University of Singapore. In 2017, I was promoted to Associate Professor of Sociology (with tenure).
I am primarily a qualitative researcher, using in-depth interviews to collect data on various migration phenomena and experiences. I am also a firm believer in comparative, cross-national studies. I support my qualitative work with quantitative analyses drawn from my own surveys, or census data and other large datasets. I regularly work with student research assistants, using my projects as a way to introduce students to fieldwork and qualitative research methods.
What do I study?
I investigate international migration patterns amongst both high- and low-skilled migrants. I am especially interested in emergent patterns of migration in the 21st century and how these developments reshape our theoretical understandings of how and why migration occurs. My ongoing projects look at the stepwise migration patterns of migrant domestic workers, the labor importation regimes governing migrant nurses, and the return migration decisions of Asian-born, Western-trained bioscientists. You can learn more about my ongoing research projects here.
Where am I now and where have I been?
I was born in India, but have lived for long periods of time in Scotland, Saudi Arabia, the United States, and Singapore. When I was 16, I won a Singapore Airlines Youth Scholarship that brought me to Singapore to attend Victoria Junior College. After finishing my A-levels in 1993, I was awarded another Singapore Airlines scholarship to study at the National University of Singapore’s School of Business. I graduated in 1998 with a First Class Honors degree, also receiving a BP Gold Medal as the top student in the International Business concentration. As part of the terms of my scholarship, I worked at Singapore Airlines for five years on the managerial track, before resigning to pursue my master’s in journalism at New York University. I worked as a reporter and editor in New York City for a while, publishing stories on immigration, race, gender, and labor in the US, before deciding to pursue my doctoral studies. Upon completing my PhD in the joint program in Sociology and Public Policy at the University of Michigan in 2012, I signed on as one of the inaugural faculty at Yale-NUS College in Singapore. After spending an incubation year at Yale, I moved to Singapore in 2013, eager to reacquaint myself with Southeast Asia and to welcome Yale-NUS’ inaugural cohort of students.