Dr. Sara Mata, a lecturer of Sociology at the University of Oklahoma, has been awarded a micro-grant from the Carceral Studies Consortium. The Carceral Studies Consortium, hosted by the Gibbs College of Architecture, brings together faculty, staff and students from across the University of Oklahoma and beyond to cultivate and support rigorous research, pedagogy, and community engagement toward social transformation. 

Dr. Mata will be working with undergraduate student Mariafernanda González for this project. The research will examine the experiences of traditional college-age students and how they have been impacted by immigration detention centers; she will achieve this by gathering testimonial from those who have had direct relationships with individuals at immigration detention centers. There is very little research about how college students recollect their experiences of immigration detention centers, and Dr. Mata’s project will fill this gap. 

This project will help researchers begin to understand the gravity and depth of the ways immigration detention centers have a lasting impact on individuals who have encountered them in their lifetime and how these experiences with immigration detention centers have shaped their perspectives. The end goal of Dr. Mata’s research is to bring light to the effects a system has caused on people and humanizing the crisis.  

This research is a very important look into the often-ignored impacts of the immigration detention system.