MA students at CLAS are a diverse group. Students’ backgrounds reflect a broad range of international and domestic experiences, with some coming to CLAS directly from an undergraduate program in the US or abroad, and others bringing with them years of professional experience. Students also participate in a wide range of activities, taking advantage of the many research opportunities and student groups available at Georgetown.
Master's Degree Candidates 2013-2014:
Liz Rebecca Alarcon graduated with a B.A. in International Studies and Sociology from the University of Miami in 2011. After graduation,she traveled to Costa Rica to pursue a Fulbright Research Grant. Her Fulbright research consisted of conducting public opinion research regarding the effectiveness of development aid on the Costa Rican-Nicaraguan border. She is now pursuing a Master's in Latin American Studies concentrating in Democracy & Governance. Her areas of interest are security, human rights and democratization in the Andean Region, but with special interest in Venezuela, where her family is from. She is also proud to be this year's United Nations Association of the US Leo Nevas Youth Activist Awardee.
Nicholas Alexandrou graduated with a Bachelor Degree for both International Studies and History in May 2013 from the University of Charlotte in North Carolina. During undergraduate, he traveled to Costa Rica for study abroad and engaged in volunteer activities in both Nicaragua and Honduras. Additionally, towards the end of his undergraduate program, Nick conducted surveys in Cusco, Peru during the summer time before the beginning of his senior semester. Now, he is pursuing his Masters in Latin American Studies with a concentration in political economy and plans to focus primarily on the Central American region.
Nicole Amaral graduated from Georgetown University in 2009 with a B.A. in Government and Spanish. Her love of Latin America began with an unforgettable backpacking trip across South America in 2007, and she hasn’t looked back since. After graduation, Nicole worked in the non-profit and private sectors in Chile, Colombia, and the United States, focusing on entrepreneurship and education. Her intern and professional experience includes the Organization of American States, Endeavor, ICF International, and Casa Bellavista Hostel—a backpacker’s hostel she co-founded in Bogota. Nicole currently works as a Junior Professional Associate at the World Bank in the Education Sector for Latin America and the Caribbean. She is pursuing a concentration in Political Economy, with a special interest in education, innovation, and entrepreneurship in the region.
Maria Fernanda Perez Arguello: 22, Costa Rican. After getting her BA in European Studies at the Sorbonne, she completed an MA in International Law and human Rights at the United Nations University for Peace. Maria Fernanda will probably concentrate in History, with a focus on gender and Costa Rica. For the time being, she hopes to keep studying, possibly pursuing a PhD. Pura vida!
Alma Caballero graduated from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service in May 2013 with a B.S. in Science Technology and International Affairs. As an an undergraduate student Alma studied abroad in Rome, Italy and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. She lead Georgetown University’s Latin American Student Association (LASA) and the Georgetown Aspiring Minority Business Leaders and Entrepreneurs (GAMBLE). Alma was born and raised in Mexicali, Baja California Mexico and has worked at The Brookings Institution, the Organization of American States, as well as the Embassy of Mexico in Washington D.C. She is now pursuing her Masters in Latin American Studies with a concentration in political economy and seeks to complete the Landegger Program in International Business Diplomacy.
Originally from Lima, Perú, Marek Cabrera has lived in Los Angeles for the past 24 years. In 2008 he finished a double major in Political Science and History, and a minor in Latin American Studies, at UCLA. His academic interests are economic and political so-called 'populism', grass roots participatory democracy, and economic development.
Jennifer Chaves is from Colombia and moved to the States when she was 13 years old. During college she had the opportunity to travel to Ecuador, Brazil, and Guatemala, all of which changed her life and led her to pursue a Masters in Latin American Studies. Her concentration is Political Economy and she hopes to look at it through a number of lenses-- mainly human rights, gender and culture.
Kathryn Cronquist graduated from Boston College in 2011 with a major in Art History and a minor in International Studies. She has spent the last two years teaching Biology with Teach for America in South Carolina. While at Boston College, she had the opportunity to study abroad in both Ecuador and Spain. While in Ecuador, Kathryn was able to spend many weekends visiting a rural farm, where she learned about the agricultural practices as well as the culture of the local people. This experience pushed her to pursue a future in environmental development in the Andean Region.
Daniel Delgado – since earning his B.A. in Political Science with a Minor in Spanish from Purdue University Calumet in 2012, Daniel has continued his academic journey into the world of politics. Having been raised and completing his undergraduate education just outside of Chicago, he has had the opportunity to work with highly politicized issues such as immigration and equality for underrepresented minority groups. Highlighting his passion for U.S. Foreign Policy and Latin America, he chose to pursue a government concentration in the MALAS program here at Georgetown to strengthen his knowledge of policy and international affairs. Daniel hopes to begin the JD/MALAS dual program in fall of 2014 in preparation for a career relating to international policy and diplomacy.
Luisa Fernanda Escobar: A political scientist since 2004 from Pontificia Univesidad Javeriana and with postgraduate studies in Public Administration from Universidad de los Andes (Bogotá-Colombia). Ms. Escobar has seven years of experience in advocacy, public policy and governmental matters. She worked in Bogotá’s Office of the Mayor and was in charge of the political engagement between the Office of the Mayor and the City Council. Additionally, she worked as Special Assistant to the Deputy for Citizen Participation and Social Organizations where she implemented programs to promote participation of social organizations (youths, afro-Colombians, indigenous peoples, LGBTI, women, disabled persons and neighborhood associations). In the United States, Ms. Escobar was volunteer advocate for Manhattan Legal Services where she presented petitions on behalf of persons with disabilities in front of governmental agencies relating to their rights to housing and disability benefits. Most recently, she was a co-founder of the International Center for Human Rights Advocacy which was an non-profit organization dedicated to working with vulnerable populations, particularly she was advocating for an indigenous community in Colombia regarding the presentation of a petition to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights about territory rights and other human right’s violations. She is now pursuing her Masters in Latin American Studies with concentration in development and plans to keep working with vulnerable populations in the region.
Sarah Gagnon graduated from Union College with an interdisciplinary major of Political Science and Latin American Studies and a minor in Spanish in June 2012. Through Union I received a Minerva Fellowship to work and live in a remote coastal town called Estero de Platano in Ecuador after graduation. I lived there for 9 months, primarily focusing on community development and education. Although I have wanted to be a translator since I was young, it was really my experiences in Ecuador that have led me to pursue a Master's in Latin American Studies with a development concentration.
Ashley Nelcy Garcia was born in Rio Grande City, Texas, but spent part of her childhood in Miguel Aleman, Tamaulipas, Mexico. She recently graduated from The University of Texas at Austin with a dual degree in Latin American Studies and Radio Television and Film. She is highly interested in topics concerned with the violation of human rights in Mexico; her undergraduate research focused in feminicides in Cd. Juarez, the Mexican drug war, narco-culture, and the impact of the 4th information regime and social networks among Mexican youth. In the future, Ashley plans to work for the public sector in an area that focuses in foreign policy in Latin America.
Casilda Hevia graduated with a B.A. in History from the University of Exeter in the UK in July 2012. Originally from Madrid, but brought up in London, Casilda has travelled extensively around Latin America triggering her passion for the region. She has interned for the Department of International Affairs at the Organization of American States as well as Meridian International Centre in Washington D.C. She has further collaborated with the NGO “City of Hope and Joy Foundation” and completed missionary work with the Orphanage Joachim Anbagam in Trichy, India. Casilda is now pursuing an MA in Latin American Studies, and seeks to concentrate in cultural studies with a special interest in poltical journalism and cinema.
Samuel Hoyle graduated with a double major in Spanish and International Studies in 2008 from Colby College in Waterville, ME. For the past 4 years he has been teaching Spanish at a small private boarding school called Gould Academy in Bethel, ME. Sam found his interest in Latin American while he was studying abroad in Buenos Aires, Argentina in 2006. Since then he has traveled extensively throughout Argentina, Peru, Mexico, and Guatemala. He hopes to focus on political economy, learn Portuguese, and pursue the International Business Diplomacy certificate as a masters candidate in Latin American Studies.
Juanita Islas is from Ontario, California but spend a part of her childhood in Tijuana, Baja California Mexico. She graduated from the University of California, Berkeley in 2011 with a Bachelor of Arts in Latin American Studies focusing on U.S.-Mexico relations. As an undergraduate student she worked with California Senator Loni Hancock and was involved in various Latino organizations on campus. After graduation, she worked in the Office of the Assistant Secretary General at the Organization of American States, the Center for International Policy under the Cuba Project and for AMGlobal Consulting. Juanita continues to be involved in the Latino community in Washington D.C. as a former English teacher for Language ETC and as the current Director of Programming for Alpha Gamma Alumnae Chapter of Omega Phi Beta Sorority, Incorporated. Juanita is currently pursuing a Masters in Latin American Studies with a concentration in Political Economy and hopes to become a Foreign Service Officer.
Melanie Kaplan graduated from Wellesley College, Wellesley, MA with a major in Latin American Studies and a minor in Economics. She spent a semester studying at the University of Buenos Aires and has traveled to each of the continents' sub-regions. During her undergraduate years, Melanie interned for the US House of Representatives and for the International Trade Administration in the US Department of Commerce. Originally from Southern California, her interest in Latin America stemmed from an early exposure to cross-border issues with Mexico that developed into a broader interest in U.S.- Latin American relations. At Georgetown, Melanie plans to concentrate on political economy and is especially interested in Southern Cone nations. After graduation, Melanie hopes to do policy work for an international organization.
A Pittsburgh-native, Amanda Knarr grew up with an early interest in international development. She recently graduated from Washington & Jefferson College with a double major in Political Science and International Studies with a focus in Latin America. She's been fortunate enough to travel and conduct research throughout the Caribbean, as well as in South America. While attending Georgetown she will be focusing on Political Economy. After graduation, she aspires to become a political consultant.
Patrick Krissek graduated from The Ohio State University in June 2011, where he studied Economics and Spanish. He has spent time living in both Chile and Mexico, and has experience working for the State Department domestically and abroad. He is particularly interested in trade and economic development issues throughout the Latin American region. Patrick currently works at the International Trade Administration in their Office of Trade Promotion.
Eben Levey graduated from Vassar College (2008) with a degree in urban studies. Eben's primary research interests lie in 20th century social movements, particularly in PRI and post-PRI Mexico.
Katherine Mann graduated from Johns Hopkins University in 2012 where she majored in International Studies and Spanish with a minor in Latin American Studies. She is interested in the concept of populism and its role in Latin American politics. Also, she is interested in Latin American relations with the US. With this program she hopes to further develop her language skills, to expand from Spanish into Portuguese, and delve deeper into the politics of the region. After graduation, she hopes to begin a career in diplomacy.
Alana Marsili is a graduate of Iona College (2009). After College, Alana went on mission trips to Africa and Ecuador and found her passion in economic development. She continued her studies in Spain and traveled to Brazil to work for several months as an English Teacher and curriculum developer. In the US, she has done consultancies with the United Nations Association for Haiti and Conference of Non-Governmental Organizations. Alana began her M.A. at the Center for Latin American Studies in Ecuador and is looking forward to a research project this summer (2012) in Peru. Thus far, her studies have focused on the importance of financial inclusion in Latin America, microcredit models, and rural markets.
Carlos Martinez Gonzalez was born on the border between Mexico and the United States. A Mexican lawyer from the Tecnológico de Monterrey, he is an Editorial writer, columnist and political analyst. In Washington, D.C. he is the Chief Correspondent of the El Mañana in Nuevo Laredo. He holds a Certificate in Global Business Administration from the University of North Carolina, an Intercultural Leadership Certificate from the University of Macquiare within the program ""The Scholar Ship"" where he focused on Global Conflict Resolution with field exposure in eleven countries around the world. Substitute Customs Broker, authorized by Mexican law. Specialized in political marketing and campaign strategy. Phi Delta Phi, international legal fraternity member. COPARMEX Nuevo Laredo Young Entrepreneur Commission, former founding president. Gente Nueva Foundation in Nuevo Laredo, former founding president. Promoter of human values, gestured the visit of Edson Arantes do Nascemento ""Pele"" to Nuevo Laredo. The Tamaulipas state government awarded him with the Youth State Prize 2011 in the category of Civic Merit.
Douglas McRae graduated from Middlebury College in 2008 with a major in Latin American Studies. After graduation he spent three years in Peru serving with the Peace Corps as a Community Health Educator, working with rural mothers and teens on topics ranging from reproductive health to improved wood-burning stoves. Douglas also lived and studied for a year in Mexico, and has traveled in several South American countries. He hopes to pursue a double concentration in History and Government through the MALAS program (as well as improve his knowledge of Brazil and Portuguese), with the aim of starting a career in diplomacy, policy research, or non-profit work.
Fernando Mello started to work as a journalist when he was 17. He graduated from the University of São Paulo, with a degree in Political Science. After covering politics for 12 years (working for VEJA Magazine and Folha de S.Paulo), he came to Georgetown to study issues like democracy, governance, and accountability. In 2013, he received the Inter-American Press Association In-Depth Reporting Award, due to the work “The impunity surrounding crimes where the accused are politicians and the difference in procedural times between these and those crimes committed by common citizens." In the same year, he was part of the team who received the Esso Award, for to the most important contribution to the Brazilian Press. Because of that, he was the 10th most awarded Brazilian journalist in 2013, according to the group Jornalistas e Cia. In the past year, he has been focusing on his research and on consultant project about Latin America, especially Brazil and Argentina.
Juliana Munoz is from Bogota, Colombia. She studied Business Management and Latin American Studies in La Crosse, Wisconsin. She would like to focus her studies here at Georgetown on Sustainable Development and Social Business Responsibility.
Paula Narvaez has a Bachelors degree in Psychology and a Masters degree in Economics and Regional Development. She also has relevant experience working in public issues; she worked at the Women Ministry in Chile, the Ministry of Labor and social welfare and the Madame Bachelet's Presidential Cabinet. After work during 14 years in the Chilean Government, she decided to study Latin American's political processes at Georgetown University. Paula is currently working at UN Women as programme specialist in Latin American and the Caribbean Geo section in New York.
Bridget O'Loughlin graduated from Georgetown in 2011 with a degree from the School of Foreign Service in Comparative Studies of the U.S. and Latin America. Her interest in the region stems from a longtime study of Spanish and the SFS's non-Western regional history requirement which landed her in Latin American History II in the Spring of 2008. She's been hooked ever since! She spent last year in Maracaibo, Venezuela as a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant where she mentored some amazing kids at el Centro Venezolano Americano del Zulia and developed an interest in the intersection of citizen security concerns and human rights which she hopes to make the focus of her graduate studies. She has traveled widely throughout the region and her personal goal is to continue over the next two years!
Rodrigo Otarola y Bentin is originally from Lima, Perú. He graduated from Cornell University with a major in History and a minor in International Relations. Rodrigo started his Masters with the Conflict Resolution summer program in Colombia, where he researched peace building strategies and social mobilization in frontier regions. Upon graduation from the program, he hopes to become a U.S. Foreign Service officer.
Ana Paz-Rangel returned to her hometown of Salinas, California after graduating from Santa Clara University in 2008. It was there that she worked as a Legal and Project Assistant at California Rural Legal Assistance, which predominantly serves Latino farm workers, like her grandparents who helped raise her. Ana also acquired experience with nonprofits, philanthropy, and grant-making by joining the Grants and Programs team at the Community Foundation for Monterey County and in 2012, she interned for a government agency in Paraguay where she coordinated a human trafficking monitoring project. Ana’s primary interests are international migration and U.S.-Latin American foreign policy and in addition to Spanish, she also speaks French and German.
Meredith Pierce graduated from Washington University in St. Louis with a double major in Latin American Studies and Spanish. After graduation, she came to D.C. for an internship with the Washington Office on Latin America and worked with the Center for International Policy for two and a half years. She's interested in pursuing work related to social justice and human rights in Latin America.
Richard Portwood's interest in Latin America came when he served a mission in Paraguay for two years before college. While an undergraduate at Utah Valley University, majoring in International Relations and minoring in Economics, Richard founded an NGO that facilitates exchange programs between young American and Russian leaders. At Georgetown, Richard is synthesizing his areas of interest by looking at extra-regional powers (such as Russia/Soviet Union) in Latin America and plans to use his synthesized regional knowledge to work for the U.S. Government.
Kristen Rice-Jones graduated from Wellesley College with a double major in Political Science and Spanish. Her focus in Latin America stems from her Dominican-American heritage and her interest in the linkages between political ideology and economic policies. She is now pursuing her Master's after three years as a Legislative Assistant on Capitol Hill. In addition, her work experience includes the U.S. Departments of Commerce, Health and Recreation. Through her studies, she is seeking to enhance her knowledge of the region and will be pursuing a career in U.S.-Latin American foreign and trade policy.
Carlos Omar Rivera Morales graduated from Johns Hopkins University with a Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts with departmental honors in History and a minor in Spanish Language and Hispanic Culture. While an undergraduate he was an intern at the Environmental Protection Agency where he earned the OCSPP Customer Service Award. His concentration is in political economy with a specific interest in trade. He intends to study in Chile for the summer and is interested in studying trade policy and business in Latin America.
Ana Carolina Rodriguez Garcia is originally from Bogotá, Colombia. She received a B.A. in Philosophy from the Javeriana University (2006). She holds an M.A. degree in Spanish Literature and Cultural Studies from Georgetown University (2009). Currently, she is an M.A candidate in the Center for Latin American Studies at Georgetown University. Her interests primarily deal with human rights, conflict resolution and gender relations in Latin America. Her avenues of interest continue to expand through more in-depth exposure to the conflict in Colombia. For this reason she has been doing fieldwork with two NGOs in Colombia: Jesuit Refugee Service, and Development and Peace program in Magdalena Medio. During this time, she worked with women leaders, and grass-roots communities. Her newest passion is exploring the connection between Latin America and the Middle East.
Ana Isabel Rodriguez graduated from Universidad Pontificia de Salamanca with a Licenciatura in Journalism. During the program, she studied a semester in Uruguay, and she fell in love with the country and its neighbors. Her family ties with Mexico and Brazil also brought her close to the region. After that she graduated from CEU San Pablo University (Madrid) with an MA in IR. She wrote the MA thesis on the Brazil-EU Strategic Partnership, because she was attracted to the rapid growth of the Brazilian economy and Lula´s role in the international affairs. She was working at that University for the last two years as a researcher, coordinating the MA´s in IR. Her goal is to pursue her PhD. at Georgetown in Government, with a concentration on LA Foreign Policy, mainly Brazil´s. Later she would like either to become a professor or to work at an international organization.
Cesar Rosales studied International Relations at Tecnologico de Monterrey in Mexico City. During the past couple of years he has worked as research assistant at the Latin American Faculty of Social Science (FLACSO Mexico) and focused on world governance and presidential elections in Latin America. Moreover, he has worked as a public and regulatory affairs consultant for a firm based in Mexico City. He loves scuba diving, outdoor activities and classical music.
Juan Manuel Rubio
Cassandra Saenz graduated from the School of Foreign Service with a degree in International History. Originally from South Texas, she is interested in the political and social conception of borderlands throughout the Americas (i.e. US-Mexico, Mexico-Guatemala, Chile-Peru), and the life of borderland peoples.
Born in Colombia, Jamie Lorena Salazar came to the United States in 2001. She received her undergraduate degree in Government and Politics from the University of Maryland in College Park, minoring in Spanish Literature and getting a certificate in Latin American Studies. She has worked for over four years in Non-Profits dedicated to empowerment of women, afrodescendants and indigenous populations of the americas through leadership programs and seminars. Jamie's focus at Georgetown is economic development and conflict resolution in areas with high Afrodescendant communities and Indigenous groups mostly in the Andean Region.
Carlos Sarmiento graduated from Florida International University with a Bachelors degree in International Relations and a second major in Political Science. Carlos was born in Venezuela, and attained his primary education there. His imperishable love for his country and region, have lead him to endeavor to learn more about the process of democratization in the Latin American Basin. Rather, he joins the Masters in Latin American Studies Program hoping to further his knowledge of developmental avenues for said region, despite the present climate of drug trafficking, populism, scarcity, and income distribution inequality. Upon graduation, he hopes to become a Foreign Service Officer.
Ray Shisler graduated from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington with a double major in Finance and Marketing. He is currently serving as a Latin American Foreign Area Officer with the U.S. Army and upon graduating will work as a Defense Attaché. His most recent Latin American assignment was in 2012, where he attended the Brazilian Army’s Command and General Staff course in Rio de Janeiro.
Christopher Sullivan graduated from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service with a BS in International Politics with a concentration in International Security in 2013. As a candidate for a Master’s in Latin American Studies, he is concentrating on Conflict Resolution and Human Rights. Having been first exposed to Andean culture during a semester abroad in Quito, Ecuador, Chris intends to continue his work abroad as a part of CLAS’s Colombia program. He hopes to pursue a PhD in History with a focus on radical politics and peasant uprisings in Latin America.
Born in Guatemala City, Guatemala, Tatiana Toro moved to the United States at the age of eight. She graduated from Kutztown University of Pennsylvania in May 2013 with a B.A. in Political Science, focusing primarily on Comparative Politics. Tatiana focused her senior thesis on the recent trial of former Guatemalan President Efraín Ríos Montt. During her travels to Central America and the Caribbean, she became more passionate for the culture and government of the region and is hoping to connect that passion to her studies at Georgetown. Tatiana is currently seeking a concentration in Government and, upon graduation, hopes to pursue a career in the diplomatic field.
Henderson Trefzger is a native of North Carolina who graduated from Wake Forest University with a BA in Political Science and a minor in Latin American Studies. Henderson hopes to work in either risk analysis consulting or government. This semester, Henderson is working at the US Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration in order to learn more about the economic relationship between the United States and Latin America.
Lauren Wolkoff comes to this program with a background in Spanish, journalism and health care communications. She worked as a reporter in Central America for several years covering health policy and the environment, among other topics, and more recently edited a magazine published in both Spanish and Portuguese for Latin American physicians. She currently is director of communications for the Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, and ultimately hopes to connect her current professional interests with her knowledge of and interest in Latin American studies.
Seth Wyngowski graduated from American University with degrees in International Studies and Spanish/Latin America Language and Area Studies. He has studied abroad in Mexico, Argentina, and Brazil, volunteered in Guatemala, and traveled extensively in Latin America. Seth currently works at the U.S. Department of State's Office of the Coordinator for Cuban Affairs as a Foreign Affairs Officer trainee. At Georgetown he will focus on Brazilian political economy and U.S. foreign policy toward the region. In the future, Seth hopes to join the U.S. foreign service.
Xingjun Ye was born and raised in Canton, China. She graduated with a BA in Spanish in June 2013 from Sun Yat-sen University, China. She studied abroad in Spain as an undergraduate student. She worked in the Consulate General of Mexico in Guangzhou, China for a year where she found her interest in the China-Latin American relationship. Xing is pursuing a concentration in Political Economy with a special interest in China’s economic engagement with Latin America.
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