Van Tran Elected a Member of Prestigious Sociological Research Association

September 14, 2023

The election, rare for an associate professor, is based on the strength of his scholarship, which focuses on the integration of immigrants.

Van Tran (Photo credit: Alex Irklievski)
Van C. Tran (Photo credit: Alex Irklievski)

Graduate Center Associate Professor Van C. Tran (Sociology, International Migration Studies) was caught off guard in June when he received a letter from the prestigious Sociological Research Association informing him that he had been elected a new member.

“I had no idea I was even nominated, so this was a complete surprise,” he said.

It’s rare for associate professors to be invited to join the organization, which was founded in 1936 to recognize and advance excellence in sociological research. Each year, 14 new members are elected based on the strength of their research.

“I am deeply honored to have been elected as an SRA member,” Tran said, “and it is very meaningful to be recognized by my peers in this way.”

Tran, an urban sociologist, focuses on the integration of immigrants and their children, ethnic and racial categories, diversity and intergroup relations, neighborhood gentrification, and urban poverty and social inequality.

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Born in Vietnam, Tran grew up in refugee camps in Thailand before settling in New York City in 1998. He developed his interest in immigration and urban inequality as an observer of the city’s many diverse communities.

As a social scientist, he views the city as a social laboratory for original research and innovative teaching, both of which hold the potential to inform urban social policy. Since 2019, he has helped mobilize research on critical issues facing New York City as the deputy director for the Graduate Center’s Center for Urban Research.
The author and co-author of more than 30 peer-reviewed articles and book chapters, Tran recently co-authored a groundbreaking, data-driven study showing that public housing developments function as pipelines to prison for their low-income and largely minority residents.

He is currently collaborating with Na Yin, a professor at Baruch College, examining the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the mental health of low-income Chinese elders in Flushing, Queens.

“This is a uniquely vulnerable population due to the rise in anti-Asian violence during the pandemic,” Tran said. “Yet their experiences are not captured by most surveys on health, including the National Health Interview Survey or the Health and Retirement Study the two major sources of health data in the U.S. Our project seeks to fill this gap.”

Van joins 10 fellow Graduate Center professors who are members of the Sociological Research Association: Distinguished Professor Emeritus Richard Alba; Distinguished Professor Paul Attewell; Distinguished Professor Emerita Cynthia Fuchs Epstein; Distinguished Professor Nancy Foner; Presidential Professor Phil Kasinitz; Presidential Professor Leslie McCall; Distinguished Professor Ruth Milkman; Distinguished Professor John Mollenkopf; Professor Robert Smith; and Professor Emerita Sharon Zukin.

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