Mara Getz Sheftel is a Postdoctoral Scholar at the Population Research Institute at Pennsylvania State University. She works in the Crossnational Aging Research Lab (CARL) with PIs Ashton Verdery and Rachel Margolis (Western University) and is a Visiting Research Collaborator at the Office of Population Research at Princeton University.
Mara is a sociologist and demographer who uses a life course perspective to study new drivers of stratification for aging adults. Mara completed her PhD at the CUNY Graduate Center in 2021
With a background in mentorship and service-learning, Mara is an experienced and enthusiastic educator.
Mara's research investigates three drivers of older adult stratification across the life course: (1) increasing racial, ethnic, and immigrant status diversity, (2) rising socioeconomic stratification and occupational segregation, and (3) changing family structure and social networks.
She comes to this field with an interdisciplinary background spanning Sociology, Demography, Public Policy and International Studies. Therefore, her research is aimed at informing policies and services to improve population health and functioning for older adults.
Mara's research has been published in Demographic Research and Population Review and presented at the Population Association of America (PAA), American Sociological Association (ASA), and the Gerontological Society of America (GSA) Annual Meetings.
Diversification of the older adult population in the US
Mara uses large scale survey data to document prevalence of disability and cognition within Latino subgroups in the US and explores sources of heterogeneity including selection mechanisms, early life conditions, and immigrant documentation status.
Rising socioeconomic stratification & occupational segregation
Mara looks at the consequences of socioeconomic stratification and occupational segregation across the life course for the health and well-being of older adults, investigating sources of wealth stratification among immigrant population in the US and the long term impact of labor market segregation on older age cognitive disparities by race/ethnicity and nativity.
Changing family structure and social networks
Mara looks at the role of family structures and social networks in older adult health outcomes within a crossnational comparative framework.