Marta has spent years studying the causes of poverty among Hispanic Americans. She's analyzed their educational opportunities, where they live, what kind of work they do, and how much money they earn.
In 1987 her co-authored book, The Hispanic Population of the United States, became the first authoritative description of the country's Hispanic population.
In 1994 Marta helped design and lead a study about the minorities who live in Chicago's inner-city ghettos. Marta found that people who live in poor places don't do well because they have fewer opportunities in education and the labor market.
Since 1999 Marta's research has focused on how colleges admit students. Many colleges have been abandoning the practice of affirmative actionâ€”a policy of giving special weight to an applicant's race and ethnicity for admittance. But after studying the alternatives, Marta concluded, "There is simply no hope that an individual can break the chains of educational inequality without affirmative action."
Marta sees a widening gap in opportunity and achievement between whites and Hispanics. She says, "Leaving minorities behind is to nobody's advantage."
These days, Marta's life is a whirlwind of activity. In addition to teaching and mentoring students at Princeton University, she's involved in research projects that address the importance of education among minorities. Her life is so busy, that in a skit about her at her department's annual Follies, she had to be played by three people!