Integrated Search Menu

Alissa Ruth

Profile photo
Director of Strategic Initiatives
Academic Professional, TEMPE Campus, Mailcode 2402
Biography: 

Alissa Ruth is an educational anthropologist and serves as the director of strategic initiatives within the School of Human Evolution and Social Change. Ruth received her doctorate degree in sociocultural anthropology with a focus on immigration to the U.S. and undocumented immigrant youth. Broadly stated, her research focuses on structural inequalities faced by historically underserved students -- including students of color, immigrant and first-generation students -- within the United States and how those individuals overcome obstacles for upward social mobility. For example, a past project investigated how undocumented immigrant youth, called DREAMers, utilized their knowledge of U.S. culture and society in order to form community and claim rights. Her current research interests include innovative teaching pedagogies that improve students’ structural awareness, cultural understandings of public education, resistance and conformity within educational institutions, and the success of first-generation college students. She also promotes and studies pedagogies that support undergraduate and graduate students learning high quality, systematic research methods. 

Before joining ASU in 2007, Ruth taught English as a Second Language at the University of Guanajuato in Guanajuato, Mexico for two years and is certified in student-centered teaching pedagogies. She has over 15 years of higher education experience including research, teaching, advising, study abroad, curriculum design, and online program/course development. Additionally, Dr. Ruth is highly engaged in mentoring students and community members on various college and career pathways. 

Education: 
  • Ph.D. Anthropology, Arizona State University 2014
  • M.S. Justice Studies, Arizona State University 2007
  • B.A. Anthropology, University of Florida 1999
Research Interests: 

Diversity Issues in Higher Education, First-Generation Students, Critical/Inclusive Pedagogy, Structural Awareness, Migration to the U.S., Undocumented Immigrants/immigrant youth, 1.5 Generation Immigrants, Immigrant Health, Human Rights, Citizenship, with a regional focus in US Southwest, Mexico/Latin America

Publications: 

Select Publications: 

Ruth, A., A. Brewis & C. SturtzSreetharan. (2021). Effectiveness of Social Science Research Opportunities: A Study of Course-based Undergraduate Research Experiences (CUREs). Teaching in Higher Education. https://doi.org/10.1080/13562517.2021.1903853

Ruth, A., M. Beresford & E. Cantú. (2020). Community and Autonomy: Motivations for Entrepreneurship among Arizona Community College Students. Human Organization. Fall 79(3). https://doi.org/10.17730/1938-3525-79.3.237

Ruth, A., C. SturtzSreetharan, A. Brewis & A. Wutich (2020). Structural Competency of Pre-Health Students: Can a Single Course Lead to Meaningful Change? Medical Science Educator.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s40670-019-00909-9

Cadenas, G., N. Lynn*, E. Cantú, T. Spence* & A. Ruth. (2020). A Programmatic Intervention to Promote Entrepreneurial Self-efficacy, Critical Behavior, and Technology Readiness among Underrepresented College Students. Journal of Vocational Behavior February 116 (Part A):103350. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jvb.2019.103350

Ruth, A. & E. Estrada. (2019). DACAmented Homecomings: A Brief Return to Mexico and the Reshaping of Bounded Solidarity among Mixed-Status Latinx Families. Hispanic Journal of Behavioral Sciences. May 43(2): 145-165 https://doi.org/10.1177/0739986319843112

Ruth, A., E. Estrada, S. Martinez-Fuentes & A. Vazquez-Ramos. (2019). Soy de aqui, Soy de alla: DACAmented Homecomings and Implications for Identity and Belonging. Latino Studies. Fall 17(3): 304-322 https://doi.org/10.1057/s41276-019-00197-9

Ruth, A., A. Wutich & A. Brewis. (2019). A Model for Scaling Undergraduate Research Experiences: The Global Ethnohydrology Study. International Journal of Mass Emergencies and Disasters. March 37(1): 25-34

Ruth, A. (2018). Attaining the College Dream: The Effects of Politics on the Social Capital of First-Generation Undocumented Immigrant Students. Human Organization. March: 77(1) https://doi.org/10.17730/1938-3525.77.1.22

Ruth, A., A. Brewis, D. Blasco & A. Wutich. (2018). Long-term Benefits of Short Term Research-Integrated Study Abroad. Journal of Studies in International Education. https://doi.org/10.1177/1028315318786448

See google scholar for full list. 

Research Activity: 

Ruth is currently working on the following projects:

  • Access, Equity and Inclusion in Higher Education  This project seeks to understand what various interventions and mechanisms can promote pathways for successful higher education and skill development, specifically for historically underrepresented and underserved students. 
  • Methods4all This projects has three objectives: to 1) bring methods training to Ph.D. students; 2) make social science research methods accessible to a broad audience; 3) build a scholarly community to support methods research and learning in cultural anthropology.

Past Projects: 

  • Social Entrepreneurship and Career Pathways Study  This multi-year project, supported by the Cisco Fund, an advised fund of Silicon Valley Community Foundation, focused on studying the educational and career development of underserved high school and community college youth, in relation to their exposure to social entrepreneurship curriculum. 
  • Intergenerational Family Dynamics in a New Era of Immigration  This multi-year, multi-faceted research project examines various legal, economic, political, social and familial dimensions of today’s Mexican immigrants who have lived a majority of their lives in the United States.
Summer 2021
Course NumberCourse Title
ASB 590Reading and Conference
ASB 792Research
ASB 799Dissertation
Spring 2021
Course NumberCourse Title
ASB 102Intro to Cultural Anthropology
ASB 484Internship
ASB 492Honors Directed Study
ASB 493Honors Thesis
ASB 499Individualized Instruction
ASB 584Internship
ASB 590Reading and Conference
ASB 592Research
ASB 790Reading and Conference
ASB 792Research
ASB 799Dissertation
Fall 2020
Course NumberCourse Title
ASB 322Peoples of Latin America
ASB 484Internship
ASB 492Honors Directed Study
ASB 499Individualized Instruction
ASB 590Reading and Conference
ASB 592Research
ASB 790Reading and Conference
ASB 799Dissertation
Summer 2020
Course NumberCourse Title
ASB 590Reading and Conference
ASB 792Research
ASB 799Dissertation
Fall 2019
Course NumberCourse Title
ASB 102Intro to Cultural Anthropology
ASB 484Internship
ASB 492Honors Directed Study
ASB 499Individualized Instruction
Summer 2019
Course NumberCourse Title
SSH 403Cross-Culturl Stds Global Hlth
ASB 443Cross-Culturl Stds Global Hlth
Spring 2019
Course NumberCourse Title
ASB 102Intro to Cultural Anthropology
ASB 484Internship
ASB 499Individualized Instruction
Fall 2018
Course NumberCourse Title
ASB 102Intro to Cultural Anthropology
ASB 484Internship
Summer 2018
Course NumberCourse Title
SSH 403Cross-Culturl Stds Global Hlth
ASM 414Urban and Environmental Health
ASB 443Cross-Culturl Stds Global Hlth
Spring 2018
Course NumberCourse Title
ASB 102Intro to Cultural Anthropology
ASB 484Internship
ASB 499Individualized Instruction
Fall 2017
Course NumberCourse Title
ASB 102Culture in a Globalizing World
ASB 484Internship
Spring 2017
Course NumberCourse Title
ASB 484Internship
ASB 494Special Topics
ASB 499Individualized Instruction
Fall 2016
Course NumberCourse Title
ASB 484Internship
Presentations: 

Ruth has overseen cutting-edge curricular projects including online programs, undergraduate research, and study abroad programs. An example of a project she managed was ASM 246 Human Origins--an open, digitally enabled course for ASU’s Global Freshman Academy