Kristy Shih

Kristy ShihKristy Shih, Ph.D.

  • Professor of Human Development
  • Email:
  • Phone: (562) 985-5581
  • Office Location: LA3-105B
  • Office hours for Spring 2024: Wednesdays 2:45-3:45pm (F2F and via Zoom) and by appointment. Please email Dr. Shih for an appointment.
  • Website:


  • Ph.D. (2011), M.A. (2008) University of California – Riverside, Sociology
  • M.S. (2004) University of Illinois – Urbana-Champaign, Human Development and Family Studies
  • B.A. (2002) University of Richmond, Psychology and Sociology

Research Interests

Dr. Kristy Shih is a critical race feminist sociologist specializing in adult development, Asian Americans, racial/ethnic minority families, immigrant and transnational families, family diversity, intersectionality, feminist theories and methods, qualitative interview methods, and anti-racist and social justice scholarship.

An expert on Asian American families, Dr. Shih’s scholarship has interrogated the negative impacts of the “model minority myth/stereotype” on Asian American youth, families, and communities. Her current multi-site interview project examines the transnational family experiences of adult former “parachute kids” from Taiwan who immigrated to the U.S./Canada alone for educational purposes during middle to high school years. As parents often stay in the home country to continue their employment or family obligations, minor-aged “parachute kids” are left on their own, with relatives, or in boarding houses with a stranger acting as their legal guardian. In conducting intensive interviews with former “parachute kids” who are now adults living in the U.S. or Taiwan, this study examines how they describe growing up in a foreign country without their parents, the ways in which they negotiate racial/ethnic and gender identities and inequities in a transnational context, and how transnational living arrangements affect their relationships with their aging parents and other family members. This study also explores the return migration experiences of adult former “parachute kids”: what prompted their return to their homeland, how they cope with the dramatic changes they face living and working in Taiwan, what impacts their U.S. education and experiences have on their relationship with their parents and their interaction with employers and coworkers in Taiwan, and how they maintain ties to their social networks in the U.S.

Using qualitative in-depth interviews with mother/son/daughter-in-law triads, Dr. Shih’s previous research engages a critical race feminist analysis of gender and power dynamics in Taiwanese, Taiwanese American, and Mexican American families.


  • HDEV 357: Approaches to Adulthood Through Aging 
  • HDEV 360: Cultural Foundations for Human Development 
  • HDEV 408: Impacts of Race & Racism on Human Development across the Lifespan 

Editorial Appointments

Media Interviews

Selected Publications