Thomas Piñeros-Shields

Thomas Piñeros-Shields, Department of Sociology

205-R Dugan Hall


Collective action and social movements, Immigration policy, Youth civic engagement, Public sociology and participatory action research; and experiential pedagogies (i.e. internships, service-learning).

Research Interest

The Undocumented Immigrant Student Social Movement, Immigration Policy, Participatory Action Research with Youth, Out-of-school Time Programs for Youth

Educational Background

B.S., Human Development and Family Studies, Cornell University
M.A., Urban and Environmental Policy, Tufts University
Ph.D., Sociology and Social Policy, Brandeis University


Thomas Piñeros Shields, Ph.D. is a full-time lecturer in the Department of Sociology at the University of Massachusetts at Lowell.  Prior to joining the faculty at UML, he worked as a full-time Research Associate at the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University for over a decade where he conducted multi-site, mixed-methods evaluations of community-based organization initiatives to promote civic-engagement for young people, as well as evaluations for substance abuse and HIV prevention, college access, entrepreneurship skills, and STEM programs where his work included program management, IRB applications, survey and other instrument design, individual and group interviews, site visits, case studies, and analysis of large data sets using SPSS multivariate statistical analyses.  In addition, Mr. Shields has developed community based and participatory research projects with youth in Waltham and with undocumented immigrant young adults.  Prior to working at Brandeis University, he worked in both the youth development and community development field, participating in the East St. Louis Action Research Project with the University of Illinois.  Thomas taught a course “SOC 89a: Internships for Community Action and Social Change” at Brandeis University for six years and “Social Movements” at Tufts University.  He served as interim chair for the Peace, Conflict and Coexistence (PAX) Program at Brandeis.  Thomas’ dissertation was ethnography of the Student Immigrant Movement (SIM) that explains how DREAMers emerged as new political actors.