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 2012-2013
Lila Abed graduated from Boston College in May 2012 and is currently pursuing a Masters in Latin American Studies with a government concentration through the Five-Year Cooperative Program. As an undergraduate student, Lila double majored in International Studies (Political Science Track) and Hispanic Studies, and completed a minor in Chinese. Originally from Mexico City, she has worked in various Mexican Embassies around the world. After graduation, she plans to return to work for the Mexican government.
Liz Rebecca Alarcon graduated with a B.A. in International Studies and Sociology from the University of Miami in 2011. After graduation, she lived in Costa Rica for 10 months pursuing a Fulbright Research Grant. While in Costa Rica she traveled all over the country conducting public opinion research and learning about community organizing mainly working with indigenous women's groups. She is now pursuing an MA in Latin American Studies concentrating in Government and Sociology and hopes to further her knowledge in democratization in the region as well as US-Latin American foreign policy.
Claudia Alcaraz graduated from American University with a major in Public Communications and a minor in International Relations. After graduating, she joined the National Puerto Rican Coalition (NPRC) where she tracked and analyzed health, education, climate change and housing legislative activities to assess their potential impact on the Puerto Rican community and to identify areas of opportunity to influence the legislative process. She currently works at the Office of Evaluation and Oversight (OVE) at the Inter-American Development Bank (BID) where she is part of the team that is evaluating pilot development projects of the private sector in the 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.
Tracy Arend is originally from Williamsburg, VA and graduated from Georgetown in 2006 with majors in Government and Spanish. After 5 years of medical leave, she is thrilled to return to classes in the Fall of 2012. Her main areas of interest are the rule of law, organized crime, corruption and violence as they relate to the consolidation of democracy especially in Mexico, Central America, Colombia and Brazil. Upon graduation from MALAS, she hopes to pursue a law degree and doctorate in Comparative Political Science focusing on the role of the rule of law in Latin American democracy.
Gabriela Arias Villela graduated from the College of William & Mary in 2011, where she double majored in government and history. She is currently working towards a MALAS with a concentration in government, specifically interested in U.S. foreign policy implementation in Latin America. Gabriela was raised in Miami, FL, and come from a Cuban-Brazilian background. Between 2008 and 2011 she conducted ethnographic research in northern Nicaragua, and in 2009 studied abroad in Florianopolis, Brazil. Although far from Latin America, in Summer 2012 Gabriela will be working in Bangkok, Thailand. Upon graduation, She hopes to enter the U.S. Foreign Service.
Ria Bailey-Galvis graduated from the School of Foreign Service with a degree in International Politics and Development in the spring of 2011. Here she wrote her senior thesis "The Colombian Constitution of 1991: The Nexus and Judicial Reform and Development." She spent the last summer in Bogotá, Colombia working for the National Planning Department. She will study this summer in Cuba focusing on Afro-Cuban and Caribbean politics. Ria has interned at USAID, State Department and the Brookings Institution. She hopes to work in consulting with Latin American governments and NGOs.
Claire Beeuwkes graduated from Wellesley College with a major in Latin American Studies and a minor in Economics. She spent a year studying and interning in Santiago, Chile, and a summer volunteering in Mexico. Her primary interest is Southern Cone politics, but is looking forward to learning more about the Andean region and Central America. After graduation, she is hoping to work for an international organization.
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.
Paul-Denys Calixte is a second-generation Haitian-American from Gainesville, Florida. Once he started to learn about the cultural and historical similarities between Haiti and Ibero-American countries, he became determined to focus his academic studies on the region. During his undergraduate studies at Harvard, Paul-Denys studied abroad for a semester at the University of Costa Rica, and he spent two months in Peru after graduation. After (or during) his current program here at Georgetown, he would like to work in a think tank or international organization related to Latin American issues, particularly governance and cooperation.
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.
Caitlyn Davis graduated from the University of Maryland College Park in 2009 where she majored in Government and Politics and minored in Spanish language. As a Latin American Studies student, Caitlyn has a concentration in Government and is interested in U.S. foreign policy in Latin America as well as Latin American social development. After graduation she plans to pursue a career with the federal government or an international organization.
One word that describes Christopher Feather is passionate! Christopher is a graduate of the University of Southern California's School of International Relations. Christopher's work has spanned the public, private, and nonprofit sectors. Whether helping start and operate an innovative and successful business, teaching ESL classes in South-Central Los Angeles while playing trumpet in the Trojan Marching Band, or analyzing global political and economic developments at the U.S. State Department: Christopher has valued learning and taking a hands-on approach to life. By pursuing a career in foreign policy, Christopher hopes to contribute to the mutual understanding and policy development of all who share the Western Hemisphere.
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.
Nick Garver is a 2010 graduate of Yale University, where he received a B.A. in Political Science and was a student of Spanish. Nick has spent time in Mexico, Cuba, and Argentina, but he would like to gain more knowledge of the emerging economic engine of Brazil. Nick currently interns at a renewable energy company, Enel Green Power, and plans on pursuing a career in that field or in diplomacy.
Juan Carlos Garzon-Vergara
Ana Carolina Gomez-Marchena was born in Colombia and also lived in Venezuela and Mexico growing up. She has been living in the United States since 2001 and calls Massachusetts home. She graduated from the University of Massachusetts Boston with a degree in Political Science and a minor in International Relations. Her concentration is in Political Economy and Development particularly in relation to women’s empowerment. Prior to joining the program she worked as a research assistant at UMass, and interned at the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, the Hunt Alternatives Fund, and the Spanish language newspaper El Planeta in Boston.
David Guzman Fonseca graduated as an Economist with a double minor in Government and Law and Social Sciences from the University of Los Andes in Colombia. Worked for almost two years as a research assistant for the Centro de Estudios Sobre el Desarrollo Económico (CEDE) in topics related to economic history, political economy and electoral outcomes. During the year of 2011 David became the chief Economic Advisor for a member of the Colombian House of Representatives. Currently interested in measuring the impact of media on electoral outcomes in the Andean countries, focusing on public opinion and political behavior.
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.
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.
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.
Bryan Mulholland graduated with a B.A. in International Studies with a minor in Latin American Studies from the University of Utah in 2009. His focus at Georgetown is International Business Diplomacy and Political Economy with an emphasis on Brazil. Bryan lived in Brazil for 2 years as a missionary and returned there for a three-month internship with Azul Brazilian Airlines in 2008. He currently works as a Portuguese-English translator at the Brazilian Embassy. Bryan hopes to pursue a career with the U.S. federal government or a consulting firm as a Brazil expert.
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.
Rodolfo Pastor Born in Mexico and raised in Honduras, Rodolfo Paster is a proud citizen of Latin America. The countries and the region where he grew up face profound, urgent challenges and have tremendous potential. Rodolfo's goal is to acquire the necessary knowledge and capacities in order to go back home and implement what he has learned in an effort to bring positive change and help build a better future of justice, democracy, freedom and development.
Carmen Peña is currently a first year student in the MALAS program. She works at Partners of the Americas, an international non profit organization that connects, serves and changes lives through development work and exchanges in Latin America. Her experience at Partners has taught her important aspects of development processes in the region. As the Field Operations Officer, she provide administrative and management support to field programs in Latin America. In this role, she has worked closely with US government agencies, foundations and the private sector and has also collaborated with local governments in Latin America to ensure program sustainability and successful implementation of programs in the field. Carmen is seeking to further develop her institutional knowledge of the region and share with fellow classmates her experience working in Latin America.
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.
Natalia Rivera Morales is originally from Bayamón, Puerto Rico and has resided in the mainland since the age of seven. She graduated from Loyola University Maryland in 2011 with a double major in Global Studies and Spanish and a minor in History. After completing her M.A. in Latin American Studies, she hopes to enroll in doctoral program in Latin American and Caribbean History.
Ana Carolina Rodriguez Garcia
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.
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.
Matt Talvacchia's interest in Latin American Development brought him to Georgetown after three years in the private sector with Bloomberg, LP. Originally from Newton, MA, he received his B.A. in Latin American Studies at Yale University. Matt plans to explore the coordination of state and local actors in sustainable development initiatives.
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.
Christine Vidmar graduated from Princeton University where she studied Sociology and Latin American Studies. Christine spent a summer in the Andean town of Ayacucho, Peru interviewing female business owners about their microfinance loans. She also spent 9 months studying at PUC-Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, researching affirmative action policies in higher education and working for a development bank on a Brazilian housing finance project. Christine is pursuing the International Business Diplomacy Certificate at Georgetown in order to pursue a future in business with Latin American markets.
Federica Volpe is from Italy and her interest in Latin America started with a disc of Andean music that she used to listen to as a child. After finishing her studies in International Relations, she went to Chile to intern at the Italian Embassy and then to work at CEPAL. She became passionate about development issues, especially the dynamics of social development and climate sustainability and she would like to pursue a career in this field.
Saskia Westenberg graduated with a B.A. from University College Utrecht (The Netherlands) in Social Sciences. She has had the opportunity to live, extensively travel, study and work in most Latin American countries.She is interested in sustainable development, and food security in particular. While a career after Georgetown is still many mañanas away, she dreams of being a specialist in the field, and hopes to work in an advisory role or leading position in an international organization.
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.
Jing Chuen (Vera) Yang encountered many kind-hearted and passionate people from Latin America in her whole life. Due to such experience, Vera is attracted to the region's culture and governmental diplomacy. She is especially interested in serving the Taiwanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs to Latin America.
Current students: please update your information here!
- May 21, 12pm-1pm: Georgetown Toastmasters Meeting
- May 21, All day: PLEN Women and International Policy Seminar
- May 22, All day: PLEN Women and International Policy Seminar
- May 23, 5pm-7:30pm: Foreign Service Oral Assessment (FSOA) Information Session
- May 23, All day: PLEN Women and International Policy Seminar
- May 24, All day: PLEN Women and International Policy Seminar
- May 29, 2:30pm-3:30pm: Fulbright Webinar: Meet Some Alumni
- Jun 6, 6pm-9pm: Network after Work
- Jun 20, 5pm-7:30pm: Foreign Service Oral Assessment (FSOA) Info Session
- Jul 31, 5pm-7:30pm: Foreign Service Oral Assessment (FSOA) Info Session
Mexican Senator Ninfa Salinas Sada Joins Georgetown University’s Center for Latin American Studies Advisory Board
Emily Gereffi (MALAS '05)
Emily Gereffi (MALAS '05 and BSFS '02) is an International Trade Specialist in the Office of Western Hemisphere at the Department of Commerce.