Aptekar conducts research on immigration, race and ethnicity, and urban communities. She teaches classes on sociology, race and ethnic relations, sociological research methods, and social theory. Aptekar is knowledgeable about citizenship acquisition by immigrants in the United States and beyond, as well as how the naturalization process and the meaning of citizenship have changed over time. Her most recent work examines how people get along in diverse and changing urban neighborhoods. In recent years, Aptekar has served on an advisory board of a neighborhood-based youth enrichment organization, taught adult English learners, and volunteered as an instructor at a youth correctional facility.