The Justice Lab at UW-Madison focuses on ending racial, economic, and health disparities across the rural-urban interface.

Kay Varela


Postdoctoral Scholar, Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work, University of Southern California

Dr. Kay S. Varela is a Postdoctoral Scholar at the University of Southern California’s Dworak-Peck School of Social Work. Her research focuses on Critical Race Theory and LatCrit; Critical Race Criminology and punishment; the intersection of race, class, and gender and their impact on public and personal safety and risk assessment; and juvenile justice. Specifically, Dr. Varela focuses on the ways in which race, class, and gender affect perceptions of and experiences with public and personal safety. Dr. Varela earned two Bachelor’s degrees from Calvin College (now Calvin University) in Political Science and Sociology, with minors in Philosophy and Gender Studies; a Masters of Science degree in Sociology from Texas A&M University; and a PhD in Sociology from Texas A&M University. Dr. Varela’s research can be found published in journals such as Sociological Spectrum; Urban Education; and Sociology of Race and Ethnicity, among others. Her research has been supported by Texas A&M University’s Office for Diversity and the George Bush Presidential Library at Texas A&M University; as well as the Educational Research Association and the Law and Society Association.