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UC Santa Barbara professor receives $300,000 grant to study gang-associated youth

UC Santa Barbara professor receives $300,000 grant to study gang-associated youth


SANTA BARBARA — Victor Ríos, associate professor of sociology at UC Santa Barbara, has received a $300,000 grant from the William T. Grant Foundation for a study examining how the interactions between gang-associated youth and their parents, school professionals, police and probation officers affect their identity and criminal behavior, the university reported this week in a media release.

Ríos’s grant is one of six awards totaling more than $2.5 million to support researchers and organizations working to understand and improve the environments in which at-risk youth spend time.

“It is an honor to receive this award,” Ríos said. “The William T. Grant Foundation is a prestigious institution known for its work in youth development.”

The funding will allow Ríos to expand his current research into a longitudinal study that examines the quality of interactions between at-risk adolescents and the authority figures in their lives. This data will help scholars and others understand the resilience and persistence among young people.

“I am so pleased to congratulate Professor Ríos on this wonderful grant for his study of at-risk youth,” said Chancellor Henry T. Yang. “UC Santa Barbara takes great pride in the pioneering research and teaching of our faculty, who are working not only to advance the frontiers of knowledge but also to serve our state and nation and help our society. We appreciate the visionary support of the William T. Grant Foundation for research that is making a difference.”

“This award is confirmation of the continued importance of Professor Ríos’s work,” said Melvin Oliver, the Sage Sara Miller McCune Dean of Social Sciences at UCSB. “The William T. Grant Foundation only supports research of the highest quality that combines rigor with strong social policy implications. Professor Ríos is emblematic of work in the Division of Social Sciences that addresses public issues through the application of social science.”

Oliver, who is a member of the Board of Trustees of the William T. Grant Foundation, did not participate in the vote on Rios’s award.

“Professor Ríos’s ambitious research on the factors that contribute to the social marginalization and hypercriminalization of Latino and Black men has garnered significant national attention,” said Verta Taylor, professor and chair of sociology. “This new project will provide insight into the important role that parents and other authority figures play in helping young people at risk for gang involvement unshackle themselves from the criminal justice system. Ríos has a keen commitment to public sociology and is emerging as a leading expert on gang process and gang reduction.”

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