M. Isabel Ayala

M. Isabel Ayala
  • Associate Professor
  • Department of Sociology
  • PhD Sociology, Texas A&M University, 2007
  • M.S. Sociology, Texas A&M University, 2003
  • 414B Berkey Hall
  • 509 E. Circle Drive
  • East Lansing, MI 48823
  • 517-353-6614


Isabel Ayala


María Isabel Ayala is Director of the Chicano/Latino Studies Program and Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology at Michigan State University. Ayala’s work calls attention to the intra-group diversity and capital of Latinx people by examining the relationship between their unique and complex racialization and sociodemographic experiences and behaviors. Moreover, adopting strength-based approaches, Ayala explores the role of Latinx identities in reconstructing structures, centering and highlighting agentive and resilient behaviors and cultures in the navigation of physical, symbolic, and social White spaces. Her humanistic and social justice commitment and her dedication to inclusivity shape her research, teaching, and leadership. Ayala is a 2020-21 Big Ten Academic Alliance Academic Leadership Program Fellow.


Chicano/Latino Studies Program


Ayala, María Isabel and Christian Ramirez. 2019. “Coloniality and Latinx College Students’ Experiences Equity and Excellence in Education.(Forthcoming). 

Ayala, María Isabel and Sheila Contreras. 2018. “It’s Capital! Understanding Latina/o Presence in Higher Education.”Sociology of Race and Ethnicity. DOI:10.1177/2332649218757803

Ayala, María Isabel. 2018. “The rationalization of college attainment through a color-blind lens among Latina(o) students.” Journal of Latinos and Education. DOI:10.1080/15348431.2018.147829

Ayala, María Isabel. 2017. “Intra-Latina Fertility Behavior.” Women, Gender, and Families of Color 5(2): 129-152.

Ayala, María Isabel and Dana Chalupa. 2016. “Beyond the Latino Essentialist Experience: Racial and Ethnic Self Identification and College Attainment.” Hispanic Journal of Behavioral Sciences38(3): 378-394.

Ayala, María Isabel and Lorena Murga. 2016. “Patriarchy and Women’s Multidimensional Agency: A Case Study of a Mexican Sending Village.” Women’s Studies International Forum 59: 1–8. 

Ayala, María Isabel. 2015. “Demography of Race and Ethnicity in Mexico.” Pp. 73-90 in International Handbook of the Demography of Race and Ethnicity, edited byRogelio Saenz, Nestor Rodriguez and David G. Embrick. Dordrecht, NL: Springer Press.


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