Kerilyn's research asks how processes of development shape (im)mobility outcomes. She examines how the social transformations associated with 'development' shape the aspirations people hold for their lives and the real capabilities they have to achieve them -- whether at home or elsewhere. Her publications to date focus on how formal education impacts migration aspirations, why young Ethiopian women migrate to the Middle East as domestic workers, new approaches in migration theory, and how to more meaningfully incorporate 'immobility' into migration studies.
Her doctoral dissertation, entitled 'Moved by Modernity: Migration, Development and Changing Aspirations in Rural Ethiopia', utilizes original household survey and census data, in-depth interviews and ethnographic methods to analyze the impacts of development policy on the mobility patterns of a traditionally pastoral people in the central lowlands of the Ethiopian Rift Valley. She explores how migration patterns have interacted with political, economic and social change over time; explains generational, gender, and household divides in present-day (im)mobility outcomes; and considers the impact of changing aspirations and capabilities of young people on future migration trends. In this context, she addresses questions related to mobility and immobility, rural transformation, urbanization, education, and gender.
Kerilyn graduated from the University of Virginia with a BA in Psychology (2009), during which time she did qualitative research on public health access among Afro-Brazilians in Bahia, Brazil. She holds an MSc in Migration Studies from the University of Oxford (2014). Her masters thesis was entitled “Understanding the Aspiration to Stay: a Case Study of Young Adults in Senegal." Her doctoral research contributes to the Migration as Development project, led by Prof. Hein de Haas, which examines how the social transformations associated with development affect the geographical orientation, timing, composition and volume of both internal and international migration across six case study countries.