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Karolyn Tyson is Bowman and Gordon Gray Distinguished Professor of Sociology at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Her program of research centers on understanding racial inequality in educational outcomes and how race matters in educational experiences, particularly for black students. She uses qualitative research methods to study the critical role of institutions and the ways in which people make sense of and respond to their environments.

Tyson is the author of Integration Interrupted: Tracking, Black Students, and Acting White after Brown and is working on a new book about trust and status dynamics in educational processes. By investigating the interplay between institutions and actors, her research has revealed important mechanisms driving racial disparities in education. Her work has published in some of the leading journals in sociology, including the American Sociological Review, Social Forces, Sociology of Education, and Annual Review of Sociology. She is a member of the National Academy of Education and has served as chair of the Sociology of Education section of the American Sociological Association and co-director of the Moore Undergraduate Research Apprentice Program at UNC.