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Sayil Camacho

Postdoctoral Fellow, Vanderbilt University
Chapter Member: Tennessee SSN
Areas of Expertise:

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About Sayil

Camacho received her PhD from the Graduate School of Education & Information Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles. She studies workplace climate and immigrant populations,  exploring the relationship between academic labor and migrant identity. Her interests include the work experiences of undocumented young adults and the effects of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals federal program. During her time as a graduate student, Camacho conceptualized and implemented research studies to support campaigns and processes for policy reform. She is committed to strengthening universities through research, practice, partnership, and inclusion and is the recipient of the 2017 UCLA Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion award by the UCLA Academic Senate and the 2018 Association for Public Policy and Management 40 for 40 Fellowship.  She is based at Vanderbilt University.

In the News

Opinion: "Scholar Allyship with and for the Undocumented Community," Sayil Camacho, Scholars Strategy Network, September 18, 2018.
Opinion: "DACA - Policy, Community, and Global Implications," Sayil Camacho, Association for Public Policy Analysis & Management, May 10, 2018.
Opinion: "Mothers of UCLA," Sayil Camacho (with Kareem Elzein), Vimeo, January 28, 2018.


"Consequences of Administrative Burden for Social Safety Nets that Support the Healthy Development of Children" (with Carolyn J. Heinrich, Sarah Clark Henderson, Monica Hernandez, and Ela Joshi). Journal of Policy Analysis and Management 41, no. 1 (2022): 11-44.

Investigates challenges that low-income families face in accessing health and human services critical for their children's healthy development. Employs a mixed methods approach—drawing on administrative data on economically disadvantaged children in Tennessee, publicly available data on resource allocations and expenditures, and data collected in purposive and randomly sampled interviews with public and nonprofit agencies across the state—to analyze the distribution of resources relative to children's needs and provide rich descriptions of the experiences of organizations striving to overcome administrative burdens and support families. 

"The Praxis of Realizing Election Imperatives in Trump’s America" EJournal of Public Affairs 11, no. 1 (2022).

Details the work that was accomplished to (a) establish a nonpartisan higher education coalition in the state of Tennessee and (b) institutionalize student political learning and engagement at Vanderbilt University, Tennessee's premier research university.

"An Audit Test Evaluation of State Practices for Supporting Access to and Promoting COVID-19 Vaccinations" (with Carolyn J. Heinrich, Kaitlin Binsted, and Shadlan Gale). Social Science & Medicine 301 (2022).

Discusses a field experiment, using a paired audit testing design with testers of different racial and language profiles, was conducted to document and evaluate individual encounters in inquiring about COVID-19 vaccinations in the U.S. states.

"From Theory to Practice: Operationalizing Transformative Mixed Methods with and for the Studied Populatio" Journal of Mixed Methods Research 14, no. 3 (2019).

Details the research practices that were developed to operationalize the guiding principles of the transformative mixed methods design.  Finds that a transformative, explanatory-sequential mixed methods design was utilized to examine the workplace experiences of academic migrants and findings from the study supported better work conditions for the population.

"Lost in Translation “En El Fil”: Actualizing Structural Humility for Indigenous Mexican Farmworkers in California" Springer Link 18 (2020): 531–557.

Demonstrates how we espoused a structural competent point of reference and operationalized the concept of structural humility for the purposes of conducting a communication evaluation strategy in support of California farmworkers

"Discourse and Power: Building Educational Pathways with Undocumented Students" (with Edwin Elias , Cristina Echeverria, Irlinda Martinez, Martha Morales, and Daniela Ortiz Silva). Afro Hispanic Review 38, no. 2 (2019).

Discusses how undocumented undergraduate and graduate students testified before the University of California (UC) during the labor contract negotiations for UC Teaching Assistants, Readers, and Tutors. Mentions  how current university policies and systems prevented equitable participation--demanding that the UC Office of the President (UCOP) administrators permit universal access to graduate Teaching Assistantships.

"The Massive Open Online Course Movement, xMOOCs, and Faculty Labor" (with Robert A. Rhoads, Brit Toven-Lindsey, and Jennifer Berdan Lozano). Review of Higher Education 38, no. 3 (2015): 397-424.

Examines a broad range of texts to make sense of the rise of the massive open online course (MOOC) movement and implications for faculty work. Drawing on Braverman's labor process theory and critiques of neoliberalism, the authors highlight the role of xMOOCs in particular, focusing on challenges to faculty labor.

"Breaking the Silence: The Unionization of Postdoctoral Workers at the University of California" (with Robert A. Rhoads). Journal of Higher Education 86, no. 2 (2015): 295-325.

Examines the postdoctoral unionization movement at the University of California using case study methodology. More specifically, we examine postdoctoral union organizers involved in the United Automobile Workers of America Local 5810, focusing on their efforts to unionize postdoctoral employees at the University of California.