Zulema Valdez, Ph.D.

Professor of Sociology and Associate Vice Provost for the Faculty, University of Southern California, Merced

Zulema Valdez is professor of sociology at University of California, Merced, where she also holds an appointment as Associate Vice Provost for the Faculty. Prior to her arrival at UC Merced, she was associate professor of sociology at Texas A&M University. She is an expert in the study of ethnic and minority entrepreneurship, undocumented students in higher education, and health disparities in low-resource immigrant and ethnic minority communities. Professor Valdez has received fellowships from the Ford Foundation, the National Poverty Center and the Center for Comparative Immigration Studies, as well as grants from the National Institute for Health and the American Sociological Association. She is the author of two books, The New Entrepreneurs: How Race, Class, and Gender Shape American Enterprise and Entrepreneurs and the Search for the American Dream, dozens of articles, and several edited volumes. Professor Valdez is committed to mentoring the next generation of young scholars and was honored to receive the Distinguished Graduate Teaching and Mentoring Award from the University of California, Merced for the 2019-2020 academic year. In her efforts to advance social justice and engage with her local community, she volunteers as facilitator for the Insight Garden Program at Chowchilla Women’s Prison and serves on the advisory board for the American Bar Foundation’s Network for Justice research initiative, The future of Latinos in the United States: Law, Opportunity, and Mobility. Valdez holds a PhD in Sociology from UCLA.