Lauren Heidbrink, Ph.D., MA/MS


Assistant Professor, Social and Behavioral Sciences
Chair, Master of Arts in Public Policy and Administration

Programs/Classes Taught:

Public Policy and Administration (MA)

Applied Behavioral Sciences (BA)
Social Science (BA)

LAS 110: Introduction to Cultural Anthropology

LAS 309: Critical Thinking and Writing
LAS 331: Dynamics of Group Behavior
LAS 407: Applied Communication in Society
LAS 426: Multicultural Dimensions
LAS 453: Social Inequality
LAS 431: Senior Seminar in Behavioral Sciences
LAS 495: Cultural Geography
INT 430: Methods in Behavioral Sciences
INT 431: Independent Inquiry in Social Sciences
PPA 500: Foundations of Public Administration

PPA 510: Social Inequality and Social Change
PPA 530: Immigration Policy
PPA 570: Qualitative Methodology and Research Design

PPA 593: Public Policy and Administration Capstone

Areas of Expertise:

Immigration and Migration
Childhood and youth

Gender and Global Surrogacy

Human Rights
Legal Anthropology
Central America (Guatemala); Argentina; and Lusophone Africa
Nonprofit administration
Transnational social movements

Torture and Trauma

Juvenile justice
Qualitative Research Methods


Since the late 1990s, I have been working in the fields of human rights and international public health in Argentina Guatemala, El Salvador, Mexico, Ecuador, Angola and Mozambique. As an anthropologist and a professor, I bring a pairing of these diverse professional and research experiences to the classroom. In addition to teaching and research, I consult with a number of nonprofit organizations both nationally and internationally


Ph.D., Anthropology, Johns Hopkins University, 2010
MA, Anthropology, Johns Hopkins University, 2007
MA/MS, International Public Service Management, DePaul University, 2003
BA, City Planning, Latin American Studies, Spanish Literature, University of Virginia, 1998

Research and Interests:

I recently completed a 3-year, multi-sited ethnography on the ways unauthorized migrant youth navigate legal institutions, government bureaucracies and non-profit organizations in the U.S. and abroad. My research explores the ways youth are caught at the intersection of competing interests of international, immigration, juvenile and family laws. I am currently engaged in several research initiatives, including the social reintegration of youth deported from Mexico and the U.S. to Guatemala; inter-generational activism among youth and their unauthorized parents; and a comparative study on global surrogacy in Buenos Aires, Argentina and Chicago, Illinois.


Heidbrink, L. forthcoming: Spring 2017. Assessing Parental Fitness and Care for Unaccompanied Children. Journal of the Social Sciences.

Heidbrink, L. 2015. Unintended Consequences: Special Immigrant Juvenile Status. Journal of Applied Research on Children 5(2): Article 2, 1-29.

Heidbrink, L. 2014. Migrant Youth, Transnational Families, and the State: Care and Contested Interests. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, Human Rights Series.

Heidbrink, L. 2013. Humanitarian Refugee or Criminal Alien?: The Social Agency of Migrant Youth. American Bar Association Children’s Legal Rights Journal 33(1): 133-190.

Heidbrink, L. 2012. At a Crossroads: Youth at the Intersection of the Family and the State. In Transnational Migration, Gender and Rights. Ragnhild Sollund, editor. Great Britain: Emerald Press.

Heidbrink, L. 2010. Recasting the Agency of Unaccompanied Youth. In Emerging Perspectives on Children in Migratory Circumstances: Selected Proceedings of the Working Group on Childhood and Migration June 2008 Conference. R. Reynolds, et al., editors. Philadelphia:Drexel University College of Arts and Sciences and the Drexel iDea Repository. 2010.



Co-founder and Editor, Youth Circulations: Tracing the Real and Imagined Circulations of Global Youth.

Heidbrink, L. forthcoming: 2016. Borders. In The International Encyclopedia of  Anthropology. Carol Greenhouse, editor. Wiley-Blackwell.

Richardson, W., L. Heidbrink and A. Muhammed. forthcoming,: 2015. Black Learning Matters: Experiences of Exclusion and Lessons for Inclusion of Students of Color in Higher Education. In RIP Jim Crow: Fighting Racism through Higher Education Policy, Curriculum, and Cultural Interventions. Virginia Stead, editor. New York: Peter Lang Publishing, Inc.

Castañeda, H.; L. Heidbrink; and K. Yarris. 2014, September. From Alienation to Protection: Central American Child Migration. Access Denied.

Heidbrink, L. and M. Statz. 2014, September. Widening the Frame: Unaccompanied Youth. Anthropology of Children and Youth. Anthropology of Childhood and Youth Interest Group.

Heidbrink, L. 1997. “National Non-governmental Organization Report on the Situation of Argentine Women Since the Beijing Conference on Women.” In The Committee Monitoring the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women of the United Nations.

Contact Information:

Lauren Heidbrink, MA/MS, Ph.D.


Assistant Professor, Social & Behavioral Sciences
Chair, Graduate program in Public Policy and Adminstration
122 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago, IL 60603
Tel/fax: 312.261.3409
Skype: laurenheidbrink


    NLU’s Chicago campus on South Michigan Avenue occupies five floors of the historic Peoples Gas Building. This landmark building, across the street from the Art Institute of Chicago and Grant Park, is easily accessible by train, bus and car and is surrounded by restaurants, parking lots/garages and shops.

    122 S. Michigan Avenue
    Chicago, IL 60603
    (888) 658.8632
    Info » | Directions »

    Conveniently located in a fast-growing business district off I-90 and Route 31, NLU Elgin features 10 classrooms with high-tech media equipment; a computer lab with high-speed Internet access; two conference rooms; and comfortable student lounges. Parking is free at this recently remodeled and upgraded teaching site, which now includes wireless Internet access.

    620 Tollgate Road
    Elgin, IL 60123
    (888) 658.8632
    Info » | Directions »

    Opened in the summer of 2006, NLU North Shore at Skokie is a state-of-the-art modern campus located just off the Edens Expressway near the Old Orchard Shopping Center. The campus includes 44 wireless classrooms equipped with high-tech media equipment; four computer labs with high-speed Internet access, including a walk-in lab in the library; six conference rooms; a public café for beverages and snacks; a student welcome center; a library for research and study; and multiple, comfortable student lounge areas.

    5202 Old Orchard Road
    Skokie, IL 60077
    (888) 658.8632
    Info » | Directions »

    Located just minutes from the East-West Tollway (I-88), NLU Lisle features 42 wireless classrooms equipped with high-tech media equipment; four computer labs with high-speed Internet access, including a separate walk-in lab in the library; a café for beverages and snacks; a student welcome center; a library for research and study; conference rooms; and six comfortable student lounge areas with wireless access.

    850 Warrenville Road
    Lisle, IL 60532
    (888) 658.8632
    Info » | Directions »

    Located in one of Chicago's major northwest suburbs, the newly renovated NLU Wheeling includes 20 classrooms with high-tech media equipment, four conference rooms, four computer labs with high-speed Internet access, large student lounge areas with wireless capabilities and interactive video capabilities, and an extensive research library. The site also houses the university library research collection.

    1000 Capitol Drive
    Wheeling, IL 60090
    (888) 658.8632
    Info » | Directions »

    Established in 1988 and located in one of the city's major business districts, NLU's Florida Regional Center serves students in 13 counties in central Florida. In addition to six classrooms, this location features a conference room, a computer lab with high-speed Internet access, an extensive research library and comfortable student lounges.

    5110 Sunforest Drive, Suite 102
    Tampa, FL 33634
    (800) 366.6581
    Info » | Directions »

    NLU has a proud history of serving graduate students in southeastern Wisconsin. We currently offer all Wisconsin residents online programs in non-licensure education as well as a variety of business-related degrees.

    12000 West Park Place, Suite 100
    Milwaukee, WI 53224-3007
    (414) 577.2658
    Info » | Directions »