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McNair Scholar 2012Biftu Khalif

Biftu Khalif is a senior at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, double majoring in sociology and child psychology and with a minor in public health. Her research interests revolve around immigration, mental health issues (with a focus on immigrants) and human rights/social justice. Ms. Khalif plans on getting her M.A. in Occupational Therapy.

Biftu Khalif photo
My dream is to obtain a degree in Occupational Therapy and start my own non-profit organization to help the many individuals who are unable to perform daily tasks due to a disability in countries like Ethiopia.

Research project

Coming of Age:  A look at the 2nd Generation and US-Born Young Adults View of their Families

Abstract: Existing research reveals that the transition to adulthood now takes longer as compared to a half-century ago. This growing body of research has focused primarily on white middle class young adults, failing to look at immigrant experiences. This research examines a diverse subsample of young adults’ interviews, conducted through the Research Network on Transitions to Adulthood Study, paying particular attention to their perceptions of their families’ role in their transition to adulthood. The subsample consists of Black and White US-born young adults as well as second-generation immigrant young adults from various ethnic groups including Dominican, West Indies, and Russian Jews. Analysis focused on financial/housing support, racial inequality and family formation. The results showed that US born young adults centered on their own independence while immigrants centered on their obligation to helping their parents. Additionally, Blacks discussed struggles due to race while their white counterparts did not see race as an issue. Download poster. [PDF]

Faculty profile

Teresa Swartz is currently an associate professor of Sociology and Asian American Studies at the University of Minnesota. Dr. Swartz received her B.A. in psychology from UCLA. She then received her MA and Ph.D. in sociology from UCSD. Her research specializes in the areas of families, social inequality, race and ethnicity, gender, social policy and welfare state. Dr. Swartz has published several journal articles, chapters and a book on foster care called, “Parenting for the State.” She is currently writing a book on young adults and their relationships with their parents.