Skip to main content

Sayil Camacho

Lecturer & Program Director, Masters in Leading Organizations, Department of Leadership, Policy, and Organizations

Sayil Camacho (PhD, University of California, Los Angeles) is the inaugural director of the Masters in Leading Organizations online Program at Vanderbilt University in the Peabody College of Education and Human Development.  Camacho earned her doctoral degree from the University of California, Los Angeles Graduate School of Education & Information Studies.  Her mixed-methods dissertation study titled, “Postdoctoral Scholars at the University of California: Constructing a Migrant Identity Within the Workplace,” offers a new framework to understand the relationship between academic labor and migrant identity formation for workers sponsored by temporary workplace visas.

Post graduating in 2017, Camacho completed two postdoctoral fellowships with the Scholars Strategy Network and the Vanderbilt Policies for Action Research Hub to support research projects that inform public policy and strengthen democracy.  Notably, work conducted for National UnDACAmented Research Project at the Harvard Graduate School of Education helped demonstrate the effects of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) federal program and informed public debate for the 2020 DACA Supreme Court hearing.  As part of the transdisciplinary research team, Camacho developed a new framework to understand the conditions that heighten adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and utilized research findings to showcase how social constructs determine access to resources, as well as shape the identities of recognized and unrecognized individuals, groups, and populations. 

Camacho’s social justice work is guided by her emancipatory worldview and her research interests aim to actualize transformative reform for oppressed and repressed populations. For example, as a graduate student, Camacho formed an undocumented student-led campaign that helped secure multi-year funding ($8.4 million) for undocumented graduate students at the University of California and co-founded the UCLA Bruin Excellence & Student Transformation Grant Program (securing $440,000.00 in grant funding). During her time at Vanderbilt University, Camacho co-developed the first and second annual TN Civic Campus Summit—a platform that convened colleges and universities across the state to support student political learning and engagement in a voting restrictive state.  In recognition of these and other accomplishments, Camacho was awarded the UCLA Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion award by the UCLA Academic Senate and was the 2018 recipient of the Association for Public Policy and Management 40 for 40 Fellowship.