Contact Information
Curriculum Vitae

Adrienne Atterberry

Educations & Degrees:

MA, Sociology, Syracuse University, 2015
MA, Media Studies, The Newhouse School of Syracuse University, 2012
BA, Economics & English Literature, University of Pittsburgh, 2009

Research Interests:

International Migration, Education, Parenting, Citizenship, and Race/Ethnicity


Adrienne Atterberry is a doctoral student in the Sociology Department at Syracuse University.  Before starting her PhD coursework, Adrienne earned undergraduate degrees from the University of Pittsburgh, a graduate degree from the SI Newhouse School, and a certificate in South Asia through Syracuse University’s South Asia Center.

Atterberry’s current work examines the following questions: Why do highly-educated, affluent, and seemingly well-settled immigrants leave their country of migration and return to their country of origin? How do return migrants prepare their children to become the next generation of transnationally-mobile professionals? As a result of their upbringing in two countries, how do their children understand their cultural identity and national belonging? These questions, and more, are addressed in her dissertation, “Cultivating India’s New Transnational Elite: Parenting, Schooling, and Belonging in the Age of Global IT.”

Through analyzing 97 conversations with return migrants, their children, and Indian American alumni of local high schools, Atterberry makes a case for how changes to the global economy affect the lives of Indian and first-generation Indian American return migrants and their families who live in Bangalore, South India. She does so by first explaining why well-settled migrants defy much of the literature on migration and immigrant assimilation by opting to return to their country of national origin. She suggests that to better understand this return migration decision requires stepping away from scholarship that characterizes this choice as a personal or professional “failure,” and instead consider the social and cultural context in which migrants make this choice. Further, Atterberry argues that to fully grasp why they make the decision to return requires considering how the availability of “good” K-12 schools facilitate this move. In doing so, she documents how return migrant parents strategically and effectively use the different schooling options available in Bangalore to prepare their children to tackle the challenges and opportunities available in the global economy. Thus, Atterberry shows how the availability of “good” schools enables parents to move without negatively affecting, and in some ways enhancing, their ability to secure important educational and professional advantages for their children. Meanwhile the children in these transnationally-mobile families, having grown up within two countries before becoming adults, express forms of cultural identity and national belonging that demonstrate their unique social position vis-à-vis their similarities to and differences from US-raised Indian Americans and India-raised Indians. Thus, her dissertation reveals how changes in the global economy lead to new migration patterns and parenting practices, which subsequently produce new ways of being and belonging.

Dissertation:  Cultivating India’s New Transnational Elite: Parenting, Schooling, and Belonging in the Age of Global IT