Bianca Wirth

Bianca Wirth

Curriculum Vitae


2021, M.A. Criminology, The Pennsylvania State University
2013, A.B. Public Relations, University of Georgia

Professional Bio

Research Interests

My research falls within the areas of criminology and demography with a specific focus on law enforcement, immigration, policy, and communities. Methodologically, I am interested in applying mixed methods to my research, with a focus on spatial, longitudinal, qualitative, and survey design methodologies. I am particularly interested in understanding the complex relationship between community characteristics and demographic changes.

Current Research

I am currently working on three ongoing research projects that are supported by multiple entities, including the Population Research Institute at Penn State, and external funding from the National Science Foundation and the National Institute of Justice.

US Community Context, Politics, and Immigrant Settlement

While both immigration and community context are widely studied in the fields of Criminology and Demography, immigration enforcement and sentiment towards immigrants are relatively underexplored in studies of US immigrant settlement. I apply an integrative theoretical approach, borrowing from migration and social control perspectives, to examine the impact of community and political context on patterns of US immigrant settlement across different destination types. I explore how and why patterns of immigration enforcement and sentiment toward immigrants impact migrant settlement decisions. Using spatial regression techniques and growth mixture modeling, I explore these research aims while assessing the strength of the immigrant destinations construct from both theoretically informed and data-driven approaches. This dissertation is being done alongside other relevant work with my primary adviser, Dr. Eric Baumer.

American Local Leaders Survey

The American Local Leaders Survey is an NSF-funded national survey that aims to understand how American elected and appointed officials manage religion-state relationships at the local level. Our team surveyed local officials who work in city and county management, education, planning and zoning, health, and law enforcement agencies. My work on this project includes assisting with survey design, managing the technical programming and testing, and finalizing survey implementation and distribution. Future work on this project will include analysis of survey data, analyzing multiple conjoint survey experiments, and writing journal articles with team members. My primary advisers on this project are Dr. Gary Adler and Dr. Eric Plutzer, co-principal investigators of the project.

Work After the Pandemic

The Work After the Pandemic study pilot is a qualitative study in which we conduct interviews to better understand participants’ relationships with work over the life course. We particularly focus on if and how the COVID-19 pandemic impacted participants' perceptions of work in their lives. As a research team member, I worked on revisions of the interview guide and conducted pilot interviews for the study. Additional project work supported team members and the project more broadly. Future work on this project will expand the study beyond its pilot phase, interviewing participants across the US, and subsequent data analysis. My adviser on this project is Dr. Sarah Damaske, the principal investigator of the project.

Research Interests by Concentration


Criminology, Community and Urban Sociology, Law and Social Control, Immigration Policy


Immigration, Migration, Foreign-Born Settlement, Policy

Mixed Methods

Spatial Analysis, Survey Design, Latent Class Analysis, Growth Mixture Modeling, Qualitative Interviewing, Qualitative Analysis
Bianca Wirth
918 Oswald Tower University Park, Pennsylvania 16802
Mailroom: 203 Oswald Tower