Sarah Rios’ research agenda focuses on advancing the study of race, health, and the environment. Rios is interested in the health implications of industrial agriculture and carceral expansion, and community-based resilience through environmental justice activism. Currently, Rios is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Community and Environmental Sociology at the University of Wisconsin—Madison. Rios’ ongoing research about an environmental illness known as Valley Fever that is endemic in the Central Valley of California, places the apex of the medical conversation in a discussion about the racialized social determinants of health and community-based knowledge. Rios analyzes how farm workers and former prisoners’ contract and recover from Valley Fever while mitigating poverty, pollution, and the threats of incarceration or deportation. Rios also works closely with environmental justice activists and prison abolitionist to discuss alternative perspectives about environmental health and justice. She is an alumnus of California State University Fresno, earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in Women’s Studies and in Communication Disorders and Deaf Studies. In 2018, Sarah earned her Ph.D. in Sociology at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Among her distinctions for academic achievement are the Anna Julia Cooper Postdoctoral Fellowship at UW Madison, the UC President Dissertation Year Fellowship, the UC California Studies Consortium Grant, the Center for Poverty Research and the Stanford Center for Poverty and Inequality visiting scholar at UC Davis, and the Chicano/a Institute Studies Fellowship. Her areas of specialization include Environmental Justice; Race and Health; Qualitative Research Methods; and Latino/a Sociology. Sarah is originally from the Salinas Valley of California.
Community & Environmental Sociology
College of Agricultural & Life Sciences