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Thomas Piñeros-Shields

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Thomas Piñeros-Shields, Ph.D. Lecturer


Collective action and social movements; immigration policy; youth civic engagement; public sociology and participatory action research; and experiential pedagogies.

Research Interest

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 UMass Lowell.  Prior to joining the faculty at UMass Lowell, 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. Piñeros Shields’ publications have primarily been applied policy relevant reports and program evaluations for local, state and national stakeholders on topics ranging from immigration policy, youth civic engagement and community planning.

  • Social Problems
  • Sociology of Immigration
  • Youth and Society
  • Internships
  • Social Movements
Selected Publications

  • Piñeros Shields, Thomas (Invited Panelist), “The Vigil: How Religion and Motherhood Shape Social Movement Participation” Migration Viewed Panel, Northeast Modern Language Association (NeMLA), Hartford, CT: March 17-20, 2016.
  • Piñeros Shields, Thomas, “The Argument: Should the state adopt proposed legislation allowing undocumented immigrants to pay in-state tuition?: Yes”, Boston Globe Regionals: North, October 9, 2015.
  • Piñeros Shields, Thomas, “Analysis of Benefits and Costs of the Education Equity Act (H. 1061/S.654)” Student Immigrant Movement, Boston, MA: September 7, 2015
  • Piñeros Shields, Thomas, ”Ni de aquí, ni de allá: A Framework for Liminal Experiences of Undocumented 1.5-Generation Immigrants.” Presented at the Eastern Sociological Society Annual Meeting. New York, NY: February 29, 2015.