Dr. Ruth N. López Turley completed her undergraduate work at Stanford University (1996) and received her Ph.D. in Sociology from Harvard University (2001), where she was a Doctoral Fellow at the Kennedy School of Government’s Multidisciplinary Program in Inequality and Social Policy. Prior to coming to Rice, she was an Assistant and Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Wisconsin – Madison, where she was a faculty affiliate of the Wisconsin Center for Education Research (WCER), the Interdisciplinary Training Program in Education Sciences (ITP), and the Institute for Research on Poverty (IRP). In 2004, she was a National Academy of Education Postdoctoral Fellow.
Dr. Turley’s research focuses on educational inequality in the U.S., with the aim of closing socioeconomic gaps in achievement and attainment. Her work includes the study of the transition from high school to college, college expectations, the Hispanic-White college application gap, college proximity, parents’ contributions to college costs, living on campus during college, K-12 educational outcomes of immigrant youth, the evidence-based school interventions movement, student mobility, and relations of trust among parents and school personnel (social capital). Her research has been funded by organizations such as the Russell Sage Foundation, the Spencer Foundation, and the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, and she has received training on conducting cluster-randomized trials from the Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education.
Dr. Turley received numerous teaching and mentoring awards at Wisconsin, including an Exceptional Professor Award, Award for Excellence in Teaching, several Honored Instructor Awards, and the Dr. Brenda Pfaehler Award of Excellence.
Dr. Turley serves as a Council Member (elected) of the Sociology of Education Section of the American Sociological Association and is on the Editorial Board of the Sociology of Education journal.
Dr. Turley is originally from Laredo, Texas. She is married to Rev. Dr. Steve Turley, and they are the proud parents of two sons, Alejandro (2006) and Gabriel (2008).