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Nafeesa Andrabi '14


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Chapel Hill, NC

Oxy Major/Minor:  


Current Company:

University of North Carolina Chapel Hill

Current Position:

PhD Candidate in Sociology

Campus Involvement/Special Programs:

Ultimate Frisbee, Green Bean barista, Neighborhood Partnership Program, Oxy Printshop

Secondary Schooling:

PhD, Masters

Favorite MP/Cooler Food:

Mozz Sticks

Best Oxy Class:

Sociology of Health and Illness

Groups I Identify With:

BIPOC, Muslim, Women in stem, Transfer Students, community college students


I am a 4th year Sociology PhD student with specialization in Race/Ethnicity and Health/Illness. I am also a predoctoral fellow in the Biosocial Training Program at Carolina Population Center. I integrate multidisciplinary theoretical and methodological approaches to understand health disparities and experiences of race in the US. My research is funded by the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health.

My primary line of research is on understandings of race among Muslims in the United States and the mental and physical health consequences of Muslim racialization. I am also part of a collaborative team that is studying the historical and contemporary measurement of race and ethnicity in population health research (for example, who is systematically excluded across population health research because of our measures, and how do different measures of race and ethnicity change our findings?). Lastly, I study how subjective experiences of inequality impact health across the life course (for example, how might two adolescents living in the same low-income neighborhood experience status and deprivation in different ways, and what are the consequences of these differences to their immune function and cardiovascular health in adulthood?).

Before starting my PhD, I worked at University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine as a project coordinator for the Health, Emotion and Addiction Lab. When I'm not reading, writing, or researching, I love to trail run, backcountry ski, rock climb, mountain bike, bake as many cakes as possible and make wonky pottery.

Building a network of mentors has been critical for me on my academic and personal journey. I want to be able to share the wealth of information I have accumulated throughout my time in academia, the social sciences and health research. Especially as a Muslim woman of color, the process has often been challenging; I hope that sharing my experiences and lessons I've learned along the way can help pave the way for more radical, systematically oppressed folks to feel like they belong in these spaces, and that I can contribute to being a part of other folks' support networks just as I have benefitted immensely from my own.

Career Advice:

We are all embedded in systems and structures that inform what we have and the opportunities we are given. Don't fall prey to the myth of meritocracy and forget to acknowledge your own privilege, every step of your career. You might work hard, but the institutions that advantage or oppress us are working harder. Be honest with yourself about your values. Find a community of peers and mentors who will help you identify these values and stick to them when you start to waver.

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