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Center on Race, Immigration & Social Justice California State University, Sacramento

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CRISJ Research Projects

  • Collaboration with UC PromISE project collected data across various UC and CSU campuses in order to assess the institutional context for undocumented Latina/o/x college students’ Academic success and well-being. For more information visit:
  • CRISJ associates research on equity and inclusion of historically underrepresented faculty at an HSI campus.


CRISJ Faculty Associates Spotlight

Susan Nakaoka

Dr. Susan Nakoaka is the Undergraduate Program Director and an Assistant Professor in the Division of Social Work at California State University, Sacramento. Dr. Nakaoka received her Ph.D. in Urban Planning at University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). Her current research and scholarly focus centers on Critical Race Theory, oral histories of Asian Americans and Mexican Americans in the Sacramento River Delta, and Native Hawaiian community development models. She has published her research in various scholarly journals, including Intersectionalities: A Global Journal of Social Work Analysis, Research, Policy, and Practice, British Journal of Social Work, Harvard Asian American Policy Review, Journal of Culture, and Ethnicity in Social Work, among others. Dr. Nakaoka has taught various courses at Sacramento State, including Social Work and Diverse Populations, Social Work Policy and Welfare in America and the Master of Social Work Capstone course Services, Welfare in America, and Race, Class and Gender. She has also taught at other institutions, such as University of Hawaii, California State University Dominguez Hills, Loma Linda University, and UCLA.

Dr. Nakaoka is originally from Southern California and is a third-generation Japanese American. Like many other Japanese Americans at the time, Dr. Nakaoka’s parents were forcefully and inhumanely imprisoned in concentration camps during the World War II era. After the war, her father’s family settled in Walnut Grove, a small town on the Sacramento River Delta. Having family members forcefully placed in concentration camps and growing up in a predominantly Asian American and Mexican American community are the major forces shaping Dr. Nakaoka’s interests in race and social justice.

Besides having an impressive scholarly and teaching record, Dr. Nakaoka provides invaluable service to the campus and community. She currently serves on the Asian Pacific Islander Committee of the Delta Protection Commission, and she’s a Board Member of Sacramento River Delta Historical Society. On a national level, Dr. Nakaoka serves on the board of the Association for Community Organizing and Social Action. Along with her social work colleague Dr. Stacey Ault, she is a founding member of a network of critical race scholars in social work. Dr. Nakaoka is also an active member of the Taskforce for the Center on Race, Immigration, and Social Justice (CRISJ) at Sacramento State. She has served on two CRISJ panels and is currently a coordinator for a CRISJ book-drive for children in the Delta region. Dr. Nakaoka is an invaluable member of the community, and our students, faculty, and staff are lucky to have her at Sacramento State!

CRISJ Student Spotlight

Jannet Esparza

Jannet Esparza is a Sociology master graduate from California State University, Sacramento. She received her B.A. in Political Science and Communications with an emphasize in Broadcasting Journalism from California State University, Fullerton. Her research focuses on the way the immigration-industrial-complex has worked in California. Her experiences and background as an immigrant motivates her research and professional endeavors. Jannet’s research interest include immigration, criminality, and race. Moreover, she has been active doing community service and has worked at various non-profit organizations where she became well versed in a variety of immigration reliefs available to immigrant communities.

Jannet has been active in CRISJ, participating in forums and panels organized by CRISJ — her critical stance and perspective have made her an invaluable member of CRISJ.