Dr. Rivera Rodas’ research interests concern (1) the relationship between economic inequality and educational opportunities, (2) the response of educational institutions to increasing ethnic and racial diversity and spatial inequalities, and (3) the impact of public policies on the educational achievement of traditionally disadvantaged groups. Specifically, her research looks at the impact of gentrification on the educational outcomes of traditionally disadvantaged groups (e.g., students who qualify for free or reduced price lunch, African Americans, Latinos, English Language Learners, and immigrants).
Her work also examines how educational institutions spend money allocated for low-income populations in order to better understand how fiscal policies are impacting the shifting demographics of K-12 schools. Her work also delves into issues of equity and access to quality education for underrepresented populations in light of shifting educational policies like school choice and vouchers. She uses secondary data analyses of large datasets that she has merged together using ArcGIS and STATA and advanced econometrics, such as difference-in-difference, structural equation modeling, and hierarchical linear modeling to study racial and socioeconomic disparities in educational access, quality and achievement.