Fanni Farago

Fanni Farago

Fanni Farago

Graduate Research Assistant

Sociology: sociology of education, immigration, life course transitions, emotions, health, applied sociology, and mixed-methods research

I am a third-year PhD student in Sociology at George Mason University and a Graduate Research Assistant for the Institute for Immigration Research. I came to Mason after obtaining my M.A. in Sociology from the University of Houston. I have both academic and applied research interests. 

One of my academic interests is to understand how immigrant students' school-related experiences shape their future aspirations and their transition to adulthood. I began exploring this research topic in my M.A. thesis, which quantitatively examined the academic effects of different types of discrimination on 2nd-generation immigrant high schoolers. In the coming years, I will continue exploring this line of research through mixed-methods and with a focus on college students' experiences.

Some of my applied interests center on various topics within program evaluation such as participatory evaluation, assessment in higher education, mixed-methods evaluation, and social impact measurement. My long-term career dream is to have my own independent research consultancy.

Before graduate school, I considered a career in immigration law and pursued related work opportunities. For instance, I served as a DACA and TPS Legal Clinics Volunteer at American Gateways, as an employment-based immigration paralegal at Foster LLP, and as a Workforce Development Intern for refugees at the International Rescue Committee. Through these different roles, I gained experience providing direct services to immigrants from all around the world. However, I wanted to understand the broader impact and quality of these services; how do they affect immigrant integration and how effectively do they serve vulnerable immigrants? Such persistent wonderings eventually prompted me to shift my career goal from becoming a lawyer to becoming a researcher. As a result, in 2016, I decided to pursue a graduate degree in Sociology so I could follow through on my new plan. 

On a personal note, I'm a 1.5 generation Hungarian-American immigrant and a corgi lover. 

Current Research

I work on various research projects for the Institute for Immigration Research (IIR), such as their annual Nobel Prize project, which examines immigrant Laureates and their contributions, along with immigrant recipients of other prestigious awards (e.g., MacArthur Fellowships). 

Since Fall 2019, I have been working on the MAT Utilization Survey, a national survey project that centers on how problem-solving courts use Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) for participants with opioid use disorder (OUD). I work in collaboration with Drs. James WitteFaye Taxman, Thomas Blue, Michael Gordon, along with Lindsay Smith, MA, GRA. We are co-authoring five related manuscripts, one of which has been published while others are under review.

I am also collaborating with Dr. Blake Silver and his Social Science Research Lab to conduct qualitative research on how 2nd generation immigrant students navigate their senior-year transition out of college and how they plan for their futures. We are at the data collection stage for this project. 

Last but not least, Dr. Silver and I are analyzing recently collected interview data on how immigrant students experience student-faculty interactions within higher education. We are co-authoring a book chapter together based on this project, which is currently under review.

Selected Publications

Farago, Fanni, Thomas R. Blue, Lindsay R. Smith, James Witte, Michael Gordon, and Faye S. Taxman. 2022. "Medication-Assisted Treatment in Problem-solving Courts: A National Survey of State and Local Court Coordinators." Journal of Drug Issues.

Silver, Blake, Freddy Lopez, Fanni Farago, and Tharuna Kalaivanan. 2021. "Focused, Exploratory, or Vigilant: Reproduction, Mobility, and the Self-Narratives of Second-Generation Immigrant Youth." Qualitative Sociology.

Flores Morales, Josefina, and Fanni Farago. 2021. ""Of course we need to help the undocumented immigrants!": Twitter discourse on the (un)deservingness of undocumented immigrants in the US during the COVID-19 pandemic." Sociological Perspectives' special issue on The Coronavirus (COVID-19) & Society.


Expanded Publication List

Farago, Fanni. August 2022. "Bridging the Gap: From Grad School to Becoming an Evaluator." American Evaluation Association AEA 365. Read here.

Murray, Kantahyanee, and Fanni Farago. January 2022. “Engaging the WE Community with a focus on Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Antiracism.” American Evaluation Association AEA 365. Read here.

Farago, Fanni, and Michele Waslin. Fall 2021. "Five of the 2021 Nobel Laureates from the United States are Foreign Born." Research report for the Institute for Immigration Research. Read here.

Farago, Fanni, and Michele Waslin. Summer 2021. "Continuing to Lead Through Creativity and Innovation During the COVID-19 Pandemic and Beyond: Immigrant Scientists and Information Technology Workers." Research report for the Institute for Immigration Research. Read here. 

Farago, Fanni, and Michele Waslin. 2020. "Leading Through Creativity and Innovation: The 2020 Nobel Laureates, MacArthur and Schmidt Science Fellows, and Immigrant Scientists in Search of a COVID-19 Vaccine." Research report for the Institute for Immigration Research. Read here.




Ph.D. in Sociology, George Mason University (in progress) (2019-2023, expected)

M.A. in Sociology, University of Houston (2018)

B.A. in European & Middle Eastern Studies, University of Texas at Austin (2013)


Recent Presentations

Spring 2022

"Sociological Perspectives on Student-Faculty Interactions: Understanding the Experiences of Second-Generation Immigrant Students." Farago, Fanni and Blake Silver. Presented at the 93rd Annual Pacific Sociological Association 2022 Conference.

Fall 2021

"How WE Engages Emerging Evaluators to Support their Professional Development." Farago, Fanni, Beeta Tahmassebi, Betsey Kaeberle, and Maryfrances Porter. Presented at Eval21 Reimagined: A Virtual Experience hosted by the American Evaluation Association.

"Designing an Interview Guide Workshop." Kalaivanan, Tharuna, and Fanni Farago. Workshop co-presented at the 7th Annual Mason Public Sociology Conference on behalf of the Social Science Research Lab. 

"Mapping the Needs of International Students: Designing a Mini Survey Study." Project presented at the 2021 Association for Applied and Clinical Sociology (AACS) conference. 

Spring 2021

"Democratizing Northern Virginia (DemNOVA)." Wilkerson, Kellie and Fanni Farago. Project co-presented at the 2021 Mason Graduate Interdisciplinary Conference. 

Fall 2020

"Inequality in the Senior Year: Second-Generation Immigrants’ Narratives of the Transition Out of College." Silver, Blake, Fanni Farago, and Tharuna Kalaivanan. Paper presented at the 46th Annual Mid-South Sociological Association's conference.

"Helping to Heal: Current Trends in Medications for Opioid Use Disorder (MOUD) Utilization Across Problem-Solving Courts." Paper presented at the 46th Mid-South Sociological Association's conference.

"Variants of Discrimination: How do they Impact Immigrant Students' Academic Performance?." Paper accepted to the American Sociological Association's Refereed Roundtable on Immigration and Educational Inequality. Meeting canceled due to COVID-19. 

"Perceptions & Attitudes of Problem-Solving Court Coordinators on the Utilization of Medications for Opioid Use Disorders." Presenters: Lindsay Smith and Fanni Farago. Paper accepted for presentation at the Annual Meeting of the American Society of Criminology. Meeting canceled due to COVID-19.

Spring 2020

"Shaping Student Outcomes: The Relevance of Perceived Peer and Institutional Discrimination for 2nd Generation Minority Adolescents.” Paper presented at the Eastern Sociological Society's Annual Meeting. 

In the Media

2020 New Professional Scholarship Recipient from the Washington Evaluators 

2018 Graduate Student Paper Award Recipient from the University of Houston's Sociology Department