Her research and teaching interests include comparative ethnic studies, 20th century U.S. history, (sub)urban history, and critical geography, particularly as it relates to notions of place and mobility. A native of the California Inland Empire, Carpio received a B.A. in Anthropology at Pomona College and went on to earn an M.A. in Urban Planning at the University of California, Los Angeles. She completed her doctorate in the Department of American Studies and Ethnicity at the University of Southern California.
As a graduate student, she received two Ford Foundation Fellowships, a USC Provost Fellowship, and recognition as PAGE Fellow by Imagining America, a consortium of universities dedicated to public engagement. She is a former Cassius Marcellus Clay Fellow in the Department of History and Program in Ethnicity, Race, and Migration at Yale University.
Her manuscript project examines mobility—as practiced, policed, and imagined—as an agent in the production of racial difference. This work focuses on the development of the Inland Empire, located east of metropolitan Los Angeles, over the course of the 20th century. Cutting across these discussions are questions on how practices and policies defined by mobility have helped maintain control over labor and lent legitimacy to exclusionary claims in multiracial places. More so, it examines the ways people of color negotiated their place within these meaning systems through claiming the right to mobility or, in other instance, the right to stay put.
Carpio has served as a coordinator for the Los Angeles and Metropolitan Studies group at the Huntington Library and has published in the Journal of Urban Affairs, Casden Annual Review, Journal of American History, and Arcadia local history series. She has a long-standing interest in the public humanities and is a founding member and former chair of the FemTechNet Critical Race and Ethnic Studies Committee.