The Higher Education Race & The Economy (HERE) LAB

The Lab seeks to explain uneven racial and class distributions of resources and risk in higher education systems and economies—and to help reverse those inequalities.


The Higher Education, Race, and the Economy (HERE) Lab was established in 2021 by Dr. Laura Hamilton and Dr. Charlie Eaton. As a community and policy-engaged research institution, the Lab’s mission is to understand and address disparities in the distribution of resources and risks within higher education systems and economies.

These inequities are not inevitable or immutable.

We believe social science has a role to play in the creation of a more robust, publicly supported, and equitable higher education system and economy. The Lab contributes systematic empirical analyses that help to inform pressing social debates and develop policy initiatives around postsecondary inequality. At every stage of our research, we collaborate with community organizations, policy advocates, and policymakers.

We are housed in the University of California-Merced, a Minority-Serving Institution located in the Central Valley of California—a region that is both historically under resourced and a generative space to do this work. The Lab empowers racially marginalized and economically disadvantaged students and postdoctoral scholars, who are the next generation of higher education and socio-economic thinkers. They are the future of higher education and the economy, and the HERE Lab is part of the transformation.

Our Team
Charlie EatonAssociate Professor of Sociology; HERE Lab Co-Founder
Laura HamiltonProfessor of Sociology; HERE Lab co-founder
Veronica GarciaPolicy and Communications Director
Christian SmithPostdoctoral Fellow
Caleb E. DawsonPostdoctoral Fellow
Kwan Woo KimPostdoctoral Fellow
Leia BeltPostdoctoral Fellow
Kimberly Garcia-GalvezDoctoral Student
Jullanar WilliamsDoctoral Student
Heather DanielsDoctoral Student
Alumni + Collaborators
Camila AlvarezAssociate Professor of Sociology, UC-San Diego
Amber D. VillalobosCentury Foundation Fellow
Veronica LermaAssistant Professor of Sociology, UC-Davis
Hyunsu OhAssistant Professor of Sociology, Louisiana State University
Adam GoldsteinAssociate Professor of Sociology, Princeton University
Frederick WherryVice Dean for Diversity and Inclusion and Townsend Martin Professor of Sociology, Princeton University
Policy Partners, Friends, and Funders

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