Current Students



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 2016-2017

Dayana Alvira Vidal

BIO: Dayana is an international student at the Center for Latin American Studies. Previously, she was a Human Rights Adviser for the Colombian government for a total of six years. She has experience in managing and monitoring risk situations for vulnerable populations and victims, and coordinating public entities and civil society, in the context of the Colombian armed conflict.  She has gained widespread knowledge analyzing and designing public policy with a human rights and gender approach. During this position, in 2013, she had the opportunity to serve as a Fellow of the Swedish International Development Agency for the Human Rights, Peace, and Security Program.

Concentration: Human Rights and Conflict Resolution.

Research Area – Substantive: Developing programs in post-conflict states. Strengthening Democracy. Cultural studies. Transitional Justice.

Research Area – Geographic: Latin America / Central and South Africa / Sri Lanka

Melissa Bello Leon

BIO: Melissa graduated from Marquette University with a B.A. in International Affairs and Spanish.  Since then, she has been working in marketing operations and project management in both the travel and financial equipment industries.  After completing her M.A. at Georgetown University, Melissa hopes to start a career in the U.S. Foreign Service.

Concentration: Government.

Research Area – Substantive: U.S. diplomacy towards Latin America and Latin American regime change.

Kathleen Burke

BIO: Kathleen graduated from Hobart and William Smith Colleges in May 2016 with a BA in Economics.  At HWS, Kathleen performed extensive research about Latin American raw materials exporters, analyzing the specific implications for economic growth and development.  Spending a semester in Mendoza, Argentina accentuated her interest in Latin American financial markets, governments, and culture.  In addition, Kathleen enjoys dissecting Latin American and Caribbean literature to gain new perspectives on politics and life in the region.  After Georgetown, Kathleen hopes to pursue a career collaborating between international public and private sectors to incorporate regional preferences into sound policy solutions.

Concentration: Political Economy and International Business Diplomacy

Research area — Substantive: Commodities, International trade, Policy

Alexandra Carr

BIO: Alexandra Carr is a first-year student in the Master's of Latin American Studies program. She graduated from the University of Michigan - Ann Arbor in 2011 with a degree in history. Working in Taiwan and Spain for three years after college led to an interest in migration; Alex is pursuing the Conflict Resolution concentration as well as a Certificate in Refugees and Humanitarian Emergencies through the Institute for the Study of International Migration at Georgetown.

Concentration: Conflict Resolution.

Xiaoyue Chen

BIO: Xiaoyue majored in international trade and Spanish at University of International Business and Economics, China. She also studied at University Carlos III of Madrid in Spain as an exchange student. During her course of study, the Sino-Latin American relationship - especially on the economic level - interests her the most. Her work experience at China Zheshang Bank and the Beijing Center for Chinese Studies has contributed to her understanding of micro economic collaborations and enhanced her international mindset.  

Concentration: Political Economy. 

Research Area – Substantive: the economic relationship between China and Latin America.

Anna Coby

BIO: Anna graduated from University of Oregon with a B.A. in Latin American Studies and Romance Languages. Her junior year, Anna attended Universidad San Francisco de Quito in Quito, Ecuador and backpacked through Colombia. During her time in South America, she became interested in the political environment and the indigenous mobilization in the region. After graduating, she spent the last two years teaching English in Spain and traveling extensively throughout Europe, which furthered her interest in international affairs.  

Concentration – Government.

Research Area – Regional: Andean Region.

Research Area – Substantive: Latin American-U.S. relations, leftist political shift in Latin America, indigenous movements.

María Paula de Miquelerena Scarcela

BIO: María Paula is from Uruguay, a small country in South America. She has a Bachelor's degree in International Business from the Universidad Católica del Uruguay, with a Scholarship for Academic Excellence.  After finishing her degree, she continued working back in her country to save money to pursue the Master’s degree in the United Sates. She always wanted to study more deeply about her region and the MA in Latin American Studies at Georgetown offered what she really wanted.

Concentration: Development.

Andrew Elam

BIO: Andrew Elam is an accelerated MALAS student who is currently pursuing his BSFS in International Economics with a certificate in Latin American Studies at Georgetown's School of Foreign Service. He will become a full-time graduate student in the fall of 2016. His planned concentration is Security Studies, and he is currently interested in issues concerning organized crime, corruption, and public administration. He plans to pursue additional graduate study after the MALAS program, and to eventually enter the intelligence community.

Concentration: Security Studies.

Research Area – Substantive: Organized Crime, Corruption, Public Administration.

Jon Ettinger 

BIO: Jon’s lifelong love of the Spanish language and the cultures of the Americas began with a service trip to Honduras at the age of 10. During his undergraduate experience at the College of William and Mary, he studied abroad in Argentina, interned at the embassy of Spain in DC, and participated in collaborative research projects with the National Security Archive. After working for several years as a project manager in the IT industry, Jon returned to South America as a solo traveler in the first half of 2016. By pursuing an MA in Latin American Studies, he hopes to contribute to organizations and institutions working to address social inequality and human rights abuses.

Concentration: Undecided.

Research Area – Substantive: Human rights and memory, 20th-century military dictatorships in the Southern Cone, revolutionary social movements.

Research Area – Geographic: South America, focus on Argentina and Chile.

Danielle Falcón

BIO: Danielle Falcón graduated from the Commonwealth Honors College at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. During her undergraduate program, she studied abroad in Buenos Aires, Argentina. After graduation, she worked at a university in Portoviejo, Ecuador for one year. Her desire to improve educational opportunities in Latin America led her to work afterwards as a program coordinator for WorldTeach, where she collaborated with the Ministry of Education in Costa Rica to send teachers to rural areas of the country.

Concentration: Political Economy.

Research Area – Geographic: Andean Region.

Sabrina Fantoni

Bio: Sabrina Fantoni is born and raised in São Paulo, Brazil. She holds a Bachelor's   degree in journalism from the Mackenzie Presbyterian University of Sao Paulo and is currently a second year in the Masters of Latin American Studies at Georgetown University concentrating in development. She has worked with corporate communications and is a Research Intern at the Center for Strategic and International Studies’ Americas Program (CSIS) in Washington DC. She has also worked as a fellow student for the platform Foreign Policy Interrupted (FPI), an initiative amplifying female voices in foreign policy. In her first year as a Graduate Student, she was also the Latin American representative for Georgetown Women in International Affairs. She is interested in politics, foreign policy, gender issues and development, but mainly passionate about music, dance, soccer, literature and Latin America.

Concentration: Development.

Research Area - Substantive: Gender and Development, Cash transfers as a tool for   gender equality and poverty alleviation

Research Area - Geographic: Brazil - urban and rural areas

Grace Fuller

BIO: Grace Fuller was born in San Cristobal, Venezuela, and moved to the United States at the age of 11. She joined the U.S. Coast Guard at age 18 and earned her B.S. in Intelligence. After seven years of professional experience in the region, she decided to pursue her Master’s Degree in Latin American Studies with a concentration in Security. Her interests are maritime security, immigration, and human rights. Upon graduation she hopes to continue to work in maritime security policy. 

Concentration: Security

Research Area - Substantive: Maritime security, Immigration, Human rights.

Dylan Gaffney

BIO: Originally from North Carolina, Dylan graduated from Georgetown with a BA in Spanish in 2015. As an undergraduate, he spent time in Panama, Costa Rica and Chile. His senior honors thesis studied Mapuche self-representation in the Araucanian indigenous group’s burgeoning film repertoire and explored the dialogue between these portrayals and their representations in mainstream Chilean cinema. Dylan supports Georgetown's international students as an employee of the Office of Global Services. Drawn to MALAS by the program’s dynamic faculty, driven students and unique course offerings, he hopes to pursue a career mitigating climate change and adapting our societies to the challenges it poses, whether that takes him to government, a green business or the nonprofit sector. In his free time, he enjoys biking, reading and cooking.

Concentration: Conflict Resolution and Human Rights.

Research Area – Substantive: The impact of climate change on food, water and energy security; the clout of distinct stakeholders in planning development projects.

Denisse García

BIO: Denisse García was born in Monterrey, Mexico and raised in Wylie, Texas. She graduated from Harvard University in 2014 with a Bachelor’s in Government and a Secondary Field in Economics. During her time in undergrad, she spent summers in Argentina and Mexico for work and research. After graduating from college, she served as an AmeriCorps fellow in Boston. She is now a first-year student in the Master’s of Latin American Studies program. 

Concentration: Political Economy.

Research Area – Substantive: The relationship between economic development and social movements, with a focus on vulnerable and marginalized communities. 

Research Area – Geographic: Mexico.

Naomi Glassman

BIO: Naomi Glassman is doing a joint degree JD/MALAS. She graduated with a BA in Latin American Studies from Swarthmore College, and studied abroad in Quito, Ecuador. Between college and grad school she worked for an NGO in Trujillo, Peru, and then for Covenant House Latin America and NACLA. After her first year of law school at Georgetown, she spent the summer in Santiago, Chile doing legal research on the application and reception of international human rights treaties in the legal complaints filed during the dictatorship.

Concentration: Human Rights and Conflict Resolution.

Research Area – Geographic: Transitional justice; rule of law.

George Gurrola 

BIO: George was raised in both Guadalajara, JAL, Mexico and San Antonio, Texas.  Through the Olmsted Scholar Program, he studied abroad in Valencia, Spain.  He completed his BA in Spanish and graduated as a Distinguished Military Graduate at Texas A&M University.  George served as an Army intelligence Officer for eight years. After completing his graduate studies, George plans to teach at the United States Military Academy at West Point.

Concentration: Security Studies

Research Area – Substantive: Inequality, Citizen Security, Organized Crime, and CT/CN.

Pamela Izaguirre

BIO: Was born in Monterrey N.L, Mexico where she graduated from Universidad de Monterrey with a B.A. in International Relations and a Major in International Law. In 2013 she moved to Washington D.C. to work at the Organization of American States for the Executive Office of the Secretary for Multidimensional Security. Recently, Pamela was promoted to the Office of the Assistant Secretary General where she currently works as the Political Affairs Officer to Chief of Staff of the ASG. Being from a part of Mexico that has had its share of humanitarian and security issues has given her a vested interest in pursuing her Masters in Latin American Studies and concentrating in Security Studies. Her interests are related to drug and immigration policies, violence reduction and border and public security.

Concentration: Security Studies.

Dario Kagelmacher

BIO: Dario Kagelmacher, a Uruguayan with German origins, is a MA in Political Science Candidate from the University of Essex, United Kingdom (expected graduation: November, 2015) and studied Qualitative Analysis: Case study methods at the Essex Summer School in Social Science Data Analysis and Collection. Dario holds a BA in International Relations from the University of the Republic of Uruguay and a Graduate Certificate in International Studies and Integration from the same University. From 2011 to 2014 he was a Teaching Assistant of Public International Law at the School of Law, University of the Republic of Uruguay and worked as an Analyst at the Uruguayan Investment and Export Promotion Institute. He also has experience in working at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Uruguay for almost two years.

Concentration: Government.

Research Area – Substantive: International Institutions, Governance and Latin American Politics.

Peter Kohne

BIO: Peter is from Folsom, California. He completed his undergraduate degree in history at North Carolina State University.  His undergraduate work concentrated in both military and U.S.-Latin American diplomatic history. He also supplemented his historical studies with a minor in Spanish language and literature studies. His experience with Latin America comes from extensive time spent living throughout Peru, Mexico, and the Dominican Republic.

Concentration: Security Studies.

Research Area– Substantive: National Security Policy, U.S.-Latin America relations, indigenous movements, and the evolution of Latin American states.

Research Area – Geographic: Central America and the Andean Region.

Rachel Martin

BIO: Rachel graduated with her BA in international affairs from the University of Mary Washington in 2014, and worked at a non-profit organization in DC for one year after graduating.  She studied in Argentina for six months and lived in Honduras for a month.  She has held an internship with the Washington Office on Latin America and worked as a program assistant with the International Center for Journalists. 

Concentration: Security Studies.

Research Area – Substantive: Conflict areas and citizen security, especially relating to violence of the state against its citizens.

Research Area – Geographic: Colombia, Mexico.

Kandya Obezo Casseres

BIO: Kandya Obezo Casseres is a Fulbright-Laspau Scholar from Cartagena, Colombia. She has a B.A in communications from the University of Cartagena and a Master of Arts in Development and Culture from the Universidad Tecnológica de Bolivar. Her intellectual interests are focused on afro-Colombian communities and the Colombian peace process. She has conducted several research projects in afro-descendant communities, especially in her own village, San Basilio de Palenque, founded in the 16th century by escaped slaves and considered the first free town in Latin America. Her community has preserved unique cultural traditions but has been threatened by the market transformation and the armed conflict between Colombian paramilitary and guerrilla groups that somehow affected its direct surroundings. Combining academia and activism, upon graduation she hopes to foster economic and social development opportunities for ethnic minorities in her country but also throughout Latin America.

Research Area – Substantive: Afro-Colombian communities and the Colombian peace process. 

Concentration: Conflict Resolution and Human Rights.

Research Area – Geographic: Colombia.

Norie Ogata

BIO: Norie Ogata is originally from Brazil, majored in Economics and holds a Master's Degree of Project Management from George Washington University. She joined a private consulting company that bridges Brazilian and Japanese public and private interests for 15 years. This work experience is unparalleled, from a wide range of knowledge, such as due diligence of grass roots grants to preparing feasibility studies. She is currently a candidate in the Master’s in Latin American Studies at Georgetown University. She believes this Master’s degree will lessen the likely biased information, and help her understand the historical and economic roots of Latin America from a third-party perspective. The master’s at Georgetown will enable her to work more efficiently and consciously when she goes back to her country.

Concentration: Development.

Research Area – Substantive: Focus on how Latin American countries could work to compete in the world trade, not only as commodity exporters, but as value-added product exporters.

Research Area – Geographic: Brazil.

Chandler Payne

BIO: Chandler was born in Richmond, Virginia and raised in Raleigh, North Carolina. He graduated from the McDonough School of Business in 2015 with a B.S.B.A. in International Business and Finance and as a member of the Portuguese Honors Society. During his time as an undergrad on the hilltop, he spent a summer and semester studying in Rio de Janeiro. Between graduation and entering the MA program in LAS, he spent a year as a capital markets analyst at Bank of America Merrill Lynch. Chandler hopes to pursue a career in Brazil in a role focused on either consumer retail or real estate and physical infrastructure development.

Concentration: Political Economy [and International Business Diplomacy].

Research Area - Substantive: Competitiveness and Private-Public Relations in Brazil, Infrastructure Development and Innovation in Brazil.

Research Area - Geographic: Brazil.

Antonio Quintanilla

BIO: Antonio was born in El Salvador and raised in the Washington, D.C. area. He obtained a B.A. in Latin American Studies with a minor in French from Brigham Young University. He spent the next two years working in the field of corporate immigration and global mobility where he assisted multinational corporations implement their immigration programs. As an undergraduate, he interned at the Library of Congress and participated in additional internships in Peru and Utah. His work includes teaching self-reliance workshops, recruiting volunteers, developing basic business courses for earthquake victims, and teaching English to local immigrant populations. He hopes to enter the U.S. Foreign Service following his studies at Georgetown’s School of Foreign Service.

Concentration: Political Economy, International Business Diplomacy.

Research Area – Substantive: Effects of neoliberalism and U.S. foreign policy in South America during the 20th century. 

Research Area – Geographic: South America.

Eric Salgado

BIO: Eric Salgado is from East Haven, CT. He graduated magna cum laude from Fairfield University in May 2014 where he studied Spanish Language and Latin American studies. His interest in Meso-American history and culture was sparked from a young age due to his familial ties to Honduras. During his undergraduate career, Eric studied abroad at la Universidad Centroamericana in Managua, Nicaragua, participated on and led service immersion trips to Quito, Ecuador, and conducted field research in León, Nicaragua and Havana, Cuba.  In addition to being fluent in Spanish, Eric began studying Brazilian Portuguese in an effort to understand more fully the growing role that Brazil plays not only in Latin America, but also in the world. Eric is one of thirty people nationwide to be named a 2015 State Department Charles B. Rangel International Affairs Graduate Fellow.

Concentration: Conflict Resolution and Human Rights.

Research Area – Substantive: Police Reform & Citizen Security in Brazil; U.S. - Brazilian Relations; Immigration Policy in the Dominican Republic; U.S. - Cuban Relations.

Research Area – Geographic: Central America, Cuba and Brazil.

Yoko Sasaki

BIO: Originally from Tokyo, Japan. After studying Spanish and working in local manufacturing in Peru, Mexico, Chile, and Argentina for a total of five years, she worked as an economist for the Latin American region for Japanese public development agencies: the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). She holds an M.A. in International Economics from Aoyama Gakuin University of Tokyo and a B.A. in Comparative Culture (concentration: Political Science) from Sophia University of Tokyo. She interned with the energy group at the Inter-American Dialogue.

Concentration: Political Economy.

Research Area – Substantive: Latin American-Asian relations.

Ben Schwertner

BIO: Ben grew up in Bethesda, MD and Canaan, NH.  He is a graduate of Florida State University with a double major in Political Science and Environmental Studies. After graduating, he spent two years as an Agriculture and Food Security Volunteer in the Peace Corps, living in a rural village in northern Nicaragua. A first-year MALAS student at Georgetown, he looks forward to building on his experiences in Latin America and broadening and deepening his understanding of the region.  He is especially interested in conflict resolution, economics, and U.S. policy toward the region.

Concentration: Government.

Marielle Septien

BIO: Marielle is from Austin, Texas, where she studied International Relations at St. Edward's University. After graduating in 2012, she completed a State Department Internship in Montevideo, Uruguay, followed by a Fulbright Fellowship in Madrid, Spain. Upon her return, she worked with DACA and Cuban asylees in various nonprofits. Eventually, she’d like to work with economic development in Latin American countries, mitigating the consequences of narcotrafficking and gang related violence with other sustainable opportunities. 

Concentration: Development.

Research Area - Substantive: Migration, remittances and development as well as tourism development in Mexico.

Research Area - Geographic: Mexico and Central America.

Stephania Sferra Taladrid

BIO: Stephania is a second-year student in the Master’s program with the Center for Latin American Studies. In 2012, she worked with the Movement for Peace with Justice and Dignity, which represents the victims of organized crime in Mexico. She then decided to produce her first documentary: “A Whisper of Solace: The Origins of the General Victims Law in Mexico.” The documentary was premiered along with CLAS as part of their Human Rights Film Series. In 2014, she joined the Secretariat for Political Affairs at the OAS. She then worked at BP America and returned to the OAS to work directly with the Executive Office at the SAP. This past summer she interned at the White House in the Office of Communications.

Concentration: Government.

Research Area – Substantive: Human rights, transitional justice, comparative legislative studies and U.S. foreign policy in Latin America.

Research Area – Geographic: Mexico.

Yan Shi

BIO: Yan finished undergraduate studies in Spanish Philology at Beijing Foreign Studies University, during which she went to Spain to do an exchange program at the Autonomous University of Madrid. Then she continued her studies and spent one year at Tsinghua University in the School of Social Sciences. She has worked for the Peruvian Embassy in Beijing, Confucius Institute in Madrid, and China Commission for Promotion of International Trade, as well as coordination work for other Conferences and Fora.

Concentration: Government.

Research Area – Substantive: Political development of Mexico in the framework of NAFTA.

Research Area – Geographic: Mexico.

Claudia Soliz Castro

Originally from La Paz, Bolivia, Claudia holds a Bachelor's degree in Economics from the E. Claiborne Robins School of Business, as well as a degree in Sociology from the School of Arts and Sciences at the University of Richmond.  She has also coursed classes in Economics at Università Commerciale Luigi Bocconi in Mila, Italy. Before coming to Georgetown, Claudia worked as a program assistant for a non-profit organization that worked with women-owned and minority-owned small businesses in Richmond, Virginia. While in Richmond she was able to actively participate with the Latino community and organize different types of events for the community. In the future Claudia hopes to do her master's thesis on the new forms of indigeneity and its relationship to informal markets in Bolivia’s Andes region.

Concentration: Political Economy.

Research Area– Substantive: Nation-state building, racial dynamics, informal economies, and social movements.

Research Area – Geographic: Bolivia and the Andean Region.

Alessandra Soto

BIO: Alesssandra Soto has an M.A. in Sociology from the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile (PUC). Before moving to the United States she was an adjunct professor at PUC, where she taught undergraduate core courses in Sociological Theory and Sociology of Art. For the past few years, she has worked at Georgetown University as Program Coordinator of the Central America Youth Ambassadors Program (CAYA), a youth diplomacy program funded by the U.S. State Department, where she has had the opportunity to work with at-risk youth from the region. Alessandra’s primary research interests include sociology of art, politics of memory, and migration in Latin America.

Concentration: Development.

Research Area – Substantive: Sociology of art, sociology of religion, politics of memory, Latin American literature and cinema, and migration in Latin America.

Sawyer Thomas

BIO: Sawyer is a first-year student in the MA program. She graduated from the University of North Carolina Wilmington in 2016 with a BA in International Studies and a BS in Environmental Sciences. Her undergraduate thesis was about the religious and cultural values surrounding high fertility rates and the environment in developing countries. As an undergraduate, Sawyer participated in a study abroad program in Peru, which led to an interest in international development and environmental justice. Since then, she has interned with The Full Belly Project, a non-profit focused on providing appropriate agricultural technologies to impoverished communities.

Concentration: Development.

Research Area – Substantive: Sustainable development; Environmental justice; Gender equality.

Sarah Tralins

BIO: Sarah Tralins is a recent graduate of Tufts University in Medford, MA. She was born and raised in Miami, FL. Her mother spent 15 years working in Venezuela and Sarah grew up in a Spanish-speaking and very Latin influenced home. She is fluent in both Spanish and Portuguese, having spent 8 months studying abroad in Florianopolis, Brazil. Past experience includes work in both the public and private sectors, specifically in the fields of government, lobbying and government relations, and the non-profit sector. On campus, Sarah is an Editorial Assistant for the Georgetown Journal of International Affairs (Politics & Diplomacy) and a member of the Latin American Policy Association (LAPA).

Concentration: Political Economy.

Research Area – Substantive: Sarah is particularly interested in political strategy, Latin American politics, and U.S.-Latin America relationships (economic and trade policy).

Research Area – Geographic: Brazil, Guatemala.

Tiffany Virgin

BIO: A native of Miami, Florida, Tiffany Virgin is a first-year student in the Master's of Latin American Studies program. She graduated in 2015 from Wake Forest University with a BA in Politics and International Affairs with minors in Latin American and Latino Studies as well as Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. While an undergraduate, she spent time in Buenos Aires, Argentina and Santiago, Chile at the Universidad Diego Portales. Her undergraduate thesis focused on the concept of citizenship within MS-13 and 18th Street's gang structures in order to demonstrate how it impacts the dynamics of organized crime, human development and government relations in Central America. She has since incorporated these aspects into her current research. While concentrating in Development studies, her commitment in the field is to intersect the relative concerns that merge development strategies with citizen security challenges in the region. Much of her research focuses on education and human development issues in light of organized criminal activity and gang presence in the Northern Triangle.

Concentration: Development.

Research Area – Substantive: Education and human development, political economy, citizen security.

Research Area – Geographic: Central America, Cuba, and the Andean Region.

Priscila Vivar

BIO: Priscila Vivar graduated from Wellesley College with a B.A. in Economics and Latin American Studies and is currently enrolled in the MA accelerated graduate program.  She studied abroad at the Pontifícia Universidad Católica in Santiago, Chile where she broadened her professional acumen in the political process in Chile, business development, economics and human resources. She is of Brazilian and Ecuadorian descent and her language skills have served her well as a Portuguese translator for Catalytic Communities, a Non-Profit Organization in Brazil. She also served as a Spanish interpreter for several events hosted by the Commander, Navy Region Hawaii with the Chilean, Mexican and Colombian Navy who were participating in the world’s largest maritime exercise known as the Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) for 2012 and 2014. As an undergraduate, she worked as a Research Assistant to the Director of the Latin American Studies Department at Wellesley College and as the Student Manager at Wellesley's Center for Work and Service.  In her free time she loves to read, cook and craft ceramics!  Her career goal is to be a member of the next generation of foreign policy leaders strengthening alliances, and serving underrepresented groups by influencing policy that can improve economic, gender and social equities.

Concentration: Political Economy.

Research Area (Substantive): Interest in advancing gender equality and promoting women’s social and economic development in Latin American and in the Caribbean.

Research Area (Geographic): Central and South America.

Ilona Zhuk

BIO: Ilona was born and raised in Belarus, but moved to the U.S. in her early 20s. She earned her B.A. in International Studies from Loyola University Chicago. Then, she spent a couple of years in Guatemala working for International Crisis Group and teaching English language. While in Guatemala, she also pursued an M.A. in International Relations from the Universidad Francisco Marroquín.

Concentration: Security Studies.

Research Area – Substantive: Organized crime, drug trafficking and immigration.

Research Area – Geographic: Mexico and Central America.