Elizabeth Aranda, Ph.D.


Elizabeth Aranda, Ph.D. is a Professor of Sociology at the University of South Florida. A native of Puerto Rico, she has dedicated herself to documenting the lived experience of migration and to share (im)migrants’ stories through her research and teaching. She is author of Emotional Bridges to Puerto Rico and co-author of Making a Life in Multiethnic Miami. Her research has appeared in various journals such as Social Problems, and Gender & Society, among others. 

Elizabeth Aranda



melanie escue, ph.d.

Research Associate

Melanie Escue, Ph.D. is a Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of North Carolina at Pembroke and Research Associate at the Im/migrant Well-Being Research Center at the University of South Florida. Currently, her work focuses on the lived experiences and emotional well-being of undocumented young adults, second generation immigrant young adults, and Puerto Rican post-disaster migrants. Most recently, her work has been published in the American Behavioral Scientist, Hispanic Journal of Behavioral Sciences, Journal of Cultural Geography and Latino Studies. 

Melanie Escue



Liz ventura, mph, CPH 

Research Associate 

Liz Ventura is a dynamic public health professional whose career is underpinned by a rich blend of medical, anthropological, and epidemiological knowledge. As a bilingual immigrant with roots in Cuba, Liz brings a unique perspective to her work in public health, shaped by diverse cultural and educational experiences. At the University of South Florida, Liz pursued a bachelor's degree in Anthropology. She then furthered her education by obtaining a master's in Public Health with a concentration in Epidemiology at the same institution. Her commitment to public health is further evidenced by her certifications in Applied Biostatistics and Epidemiology of Infectious Diseases, equipping her with the skills to analyze complex health data effectively. Her professional journey is marked by experience in grant writing and research, particularly in projects aimed at enhancing community health. Liz's work has often intersected with immigrant populations, where she has applied her skills in program development, data analysis, and bilingual communication to effectively serve these communities. Committed to addressing health disparities and promoting equitable health outcomes, Liz's work embodies her belief in the power of public health to create positive change, especially for marginalized and immigrant populations. 

Liz Ventura



Felix Sutphin

Undergraduate Research Assistant

Felix Sutphin Garcia is a senior undergraduate student at the University of South Florida, majoring in sociology with a concentration in social justice and inequality. He is currently engaged in an internship program in partnership with Nicer FL and the Im/migrant Well-Being Research Center that focuses on helping im/migrants with language acquisition. Felix is also actively involved in a project as an undergraduate research assistant, where he delves into the experiences of second-generation im/migrant young adults. His identity as a bilingual researcher and scholar is deeply rooted in his own background as a Latino second-generation immigrant, motivating his passion for understanding and advocating for the im/migrant community.

Felix Sutphin