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 2017-2018

Amanda Chatupron-Lacayo, MA'19 

Amanda Chatupron LacayoBIO: Amanda is originally from Phoenix, Arizona and has lived in San Jose, Costa Rica and Andover, Massachusetts. She is a recent graduate of The George Washington University with a B.A. in both International Affairs and Spanish. At GW, Amanda performed extensive research on literature about military dictatorships, specifically in Chile and Argentina, culminating in a thesis written entirely in Spanish. Most recently, she studied abroad in Santiago, Chile where she interned as a political analyst at a think tank. Living in Arizona and Central America has shaped Amanda's interest in topics of migration and security in the region; she is pursuing the security studies concentration in the Master's program with a focus on immigration. Amanda also currently serves as the Graduate Coordinator of the BSFS Fellows within the Center for Latin American Studies.     

Concentration: Security

Research Area -- Substantive: Immigration, Transnational / Organized Crime 

Research Area -- Geographic: Central America

Andrew Elam, MA'17

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.

Anna Coby, MA'18

Photo of Anna CobyHometown: Portland, Oregon

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. Upon completing her first year in the Masters in Latin American studies, she studied Portuguese and interned at FIESP in the department of international trade in São Paulo, Brazil.   

Concentration: Political Economy

Research Area – Substantive: Indigenous Movements & International Trade

Research Area – Geographic: Brazil/ Andean Region

Antonio Quintanilla, MA'18

Photo of Antonio QuintanillaHometown: Gaithersburg, MD

Bio: Antonio was born in El Salvador and raised in the greater Washington, D.C. area. He obtained a B.A. in Latin American Studies from Brigham Young University. He then spent several years working in the field of corporate immigration and global mobility where he assisted multinational corporations to implement their employment-related immigration programs. While at Georgetown, he completed a field study with PwC, interned with Prospectiva Consulturia in São Paulo, and served as president of LatAm Council. He is currently a Consultant with Prospectiva Consultoria developing strategic analysis for political risk.

Concentration: Political Economy, International Business Diplomacy.

Research Area – Substantive: Effects of economic liberalization in the region

Research Area – Geographic: Brazil

Cameron Trimpey-Warhaftig, MA'18 

Camila Jorge Do Amaral, MA'19

Catalina Rodríguez, MA'18

Photo of Catalina RodriguezHometown: San Jose, Costa Rica/ Tegucigalpa, Honduras

Bio: Catalina is originally from Costa Rica but always lived in Honduras. She majored in International Politics at Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service with a Certificate in International Development. She is now pursuing a Masters at Georgetown University's Center for Latin American Studies with a Concentration in Development. She has interned at the Inter-American Dialogue, Organization of American States, Population Services International, Instituto Unibanco, and is currently at Chemonics International. She has also studied abroad in Lyon, France, and São Paulo, Brazil. 

Concentration: Development

Research Area – Substantive: Education and Health

Research Area – Geographic: Central America

Chandler Payne, MA'18

Photo of Chandler PayneHometown: Raleigh, North Carolina

BIO: Chandler was born in Richmond, Virginia and raised in Raleigh, North Carolina. He obtained a BS in Finance and International Business from Georgetown’s McDonough School of Business. He then served as a capital markets analyst at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, engaging with several Brazilian and Latin American clients in the energy, retail, and financial sectors. While at CLAS, Chandler has worked as a summer senior consultant at Falconi in São Paulo, Brazil and has completed a field study with the World Bank.

Concentration: Political Economy, International Business Diplomacy

Research Area – Substantive: Private, public and semi-public relations; infrastructure and capital markets development; competitiveness and innovation

Research Area – Geographic: Brazil


Christopher Valdes, MA'19

BIO:  Chris grew up in Hampton Roads, Virginia and then went on to study Psychology and Latin American History at Virginia Tech.  After spending a semester studying development at Tecnológico de Monterrey in Mexico, he decided to return to Latin America after graduation.  He taught 6th grade in rural Honduras for two years.  From 2012 until now he has been directing and producing a documentary film, "Olancho" that examines the effects of the drug trade in Central America as seen through the eyes of Honduras' most infamous drug ballad band.  The film has competed in festivals across the U.S., Europe, and Latin America.  

Concentration: Security Studies

Research Area- Substantive: Illicit economies, organized crime, immigration

Research Area- Geographic:  Mexico & Central America

Claudia Soliz Castro, MA'17

BIO: 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.

Daniel Alemany, M'19 

Diego Suárez salazar, ma'18

Dylan Gaffney, MA'17

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.

Emilie Newton, MA'18

Photo of Emily NewtonHometown: Santa Barbara, California 

BIO: Bachelor of the Arts in International Affairs and Political Science at Lewis and Clark College, studied abroad in Cuenca, Ecuador. She hopes to move back to Latin America in the future and work in an embassy working on economic development. 

Concentration: Political Economy and International Business Diplomacy

Research area - Substantive: Development economics in regards to natural resource preservation
Research area - Geographic:
The Caribbean and Andean Region



George Gurrola, MA'18

Photo of George GurrolaBIO: 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 B.A. in Spanish and graduated as a Distinguished Military Graduate at Texas A&M University. George has traveled throughout the region and has multiple deployments abroad as an officer in the U.S. Army. Most recently, George served at the U.S. Embassy in Santiago, Chile. After completing his graduate studies, George plans to continue serving in the federal government. 

Concentration: Security Studies

Research Area – Substantive: U.S. foreign policy in Latin America, state security reform, and CT/CN. 

Research Area – Geographic: Mexico and Southern Cone. 

Gianinna Romero, MA'17

Photo of Gianinna RomeroHometown: Punto Fijo, Venezuela 

BIO: Gianinna Romero holds a law degree from the Universidad Catolica Andres Bello in Caracas, Venezuela. Her interest in Human Rights brought her to Washington DC to work at the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. The political environment in DC attracted her to the School of Foreign Service to understand Latin America’s contemporary issues believing it is a key component to appropriately address human rights violations. After graduation, Gianinna would like to work in empowering minorities throughout the region. 

Concentration: Human Rights and Conflict Resolution

Research Area – Substantive: Human Rights violations in modern democracies in the region. 

Research Area – Geographic: Central American and The Andes. 

Graciela Fuller, MA'18

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.

Isabella Despirito, MA'19

Photo of Isabella DespiritoHometown: East Greenwich, Rhode Island

BIO: Isabella is a graduate of The Ohio State University with a degree in Spanish and International Studies. She followed her passion for Latin American language and culture to Chile, where she studied at the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaíso and traveled extensively in Latin America in 2016. As an undergraduate, Isabella completed an Honors thesis examining transnational identity in the U.S.-Mexico borderlands as exhibited through punk rock music. This past year, she interned for the General Consul to Guayaquil, Ecuador through the Virtual Student Foreign Service helping to teach English to university students through social media platforms. After her graduate studies, she hopes to work for the U.S. Foreign Service in Latin America.

Concentration: Government





Javier Ochoa, MA'19

Photo of Javier OchoaHOMETOWN: Buenos Aires

BIO: Javier is from Buenos Aires, Argentina and has also recently acquired Italian citizenship. He obtained his undergraduate degree in Legal Translation from the Universidad de Buenos Aires in 2013 and immediately after graduating began working as a Visa Assistant at the Consulate of the U.S. Embassy in Argentina. Working within a migration context for two years, Javier was influenced to go further into the international field and applied for an internship at the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights of the Organization of American States, an experience that deepened his interest in the region. With the understanding that staying in Washington, DC would be key for advancing his career, Javier joined the International Monetary Fund as a Staff Assistant in the Monetary and Capital Markets department, where he is learning about the region from an economic perspective. By pursuing a MA in Latin American Studies, Javier hopes to obtain the necessary tools to address many of the issues affecting the Americas.

Concentration: Undecided

Research Area (Substantive): Immigration; human trafficking; organized crime.

Research Area (Geographic): South America

Jon Ettinger, MA'18

Photo of Jon EttingerHometown: Glastonbury, Connecticut

Bio: Jon’s lifelong love of the Spanish language and 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 that address social inequality and sustainable development policy. He spent the summer of 2017 in the CLAS program in São Paulo, Brazil learning Portuguese and researching international trade.

Concentration: Development

Research Area – Substantive: Illicit economies, citizen security and development, social assistance programs, human rights, international trade

Research Area – Geographic: Brazil and the Southern Cone, Colombia, Mexico

Kenia Saba, MA'19

Kristen Blosser (JD/MA'19)

Laura Cossette, MA'19

​Luis Daniel González Chavez, MA'18

Photo of Luis Daniel ChavezHometown: Bogota, Colombia.

BIO: Luis  studied Political Science and Latin American Studies at UNC Chapel Hill. He won the 2015 Halpern Award from the Institute for the Study of the Americas at UNC, which allowed him to study in Uruguay for a year.

Concentration: Conflict Resolution and Human Rights,Certificate: Refugees and Humanitarian Emergencies

Research Area - Susbtantive: Guerrilla movements in Colombia, with a focus mainly on the history of the armed conflict.


Marielle Septien, MA'17

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.

Mary Kathleen Burke

Photo of Mary Kathleen BurkeBIO: 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 development and sustainability.  Spending a semester in Mendoza, Argentina accentuated her interest in Latin American financial markets, governments, and culture.  As a Wallenberg International Fellow, Kathleen spent the summer in Stockholm, Sweden immersed in a healthcare company and working alongside investment professionals to research new market challenges facing Scandinavia.  This experience provided her with a deeper understanding of how social policy can impact business environments globally.  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 business solutions.

Concentration: Political Economy and International Business Diplomacy

Research area — Substantive: Commodities, International trade, Policy

Naomi Glassman, MA'17

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 – Substantive: Transitional justice; rule of law.

Nicholas Ebert, MA'18

Patrick Kim, MA'19

BIO: Patrick is a commissioned officer and graduate of the United States Military Academy.  In 2012, the Army selected Patrick to serve as a foreign area officer, regionally focused on Latin America.  Patrick has most recently served at the U.S. Embassy in Montevideo, Uruguay, where he liaised between the embassy’s Office of Security Cooperation and the Escuela Nacional de de Operaciones de Paz del Uruguay.  As a security practitioner, his interests are related to drug and human trafficking, violence reduction, and defense institution building.  After completing his graduate studies, Patrick will seek a military posting in Latin America.

Concentration: Security Studies

Research Area – Substantive: Immigration, Organized Crime, and CT/CN.

Research Area - Geographic: Northern Triangle, Mexico.

Priscila Vivar, MA'17

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.

Rachel martin, MA'17

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.

Sabrina fantoni, MA'17

Bio: Sabrina Fantoni was 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

Sara Rockefeller, MA'18

Sarah White, MA'18

Photo of Sarah WhiteBIO: Sarah graduated from Wake Forest University in May of 2017 with a B.A. in Political Science and Spanish, and a minor in Latin American Studies. She has worked and studied in Santiago, Chile twice, through both Georgetown and Wake Forest.  She has always been interested in migration, but her experiences in South America have led her to more deeply engage with the international response to it. Most recently, she has held an investigative research position at the Museum of Memory and Human Rights in Santiago.  After completing the M.A. in Latin American Studies, she would like to pursue a career in migration policy analysis or diplomacy. 

Concentration: Conflict Resolution and Human Rights

Research Area - Substantive: Migration policy and post-conflict diplomacy as they relate to Latin America 


Sawyer Thomas, MA'18

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.

Concentration: Undecided 

Tiffany Wilt, MA'18

Photo of Tiffany WiltHometown: Rockville, Maryland

Bio: After growing up in the DMV, Tiffany saw firsthand the ways in which Latin American and American cultures mix in the United States. She started learning Spanish in Elementary school and continued to improve her skills throughout her academic career. During her Bachelor’s program she discovered her passion for anthropology and began to study the culture of Latin American migration. After graduating from CLAS, Tiffany plans on working for an NGO or similar organization that works to improve policies that affect Latinos in the United States. Long term she hopes to improve her Spanish speaking skills and eventually become a political interpreter. 

Concentration: Development 

Research Area – Substantive: Migration, Gender, Indigenous Rights, Sustainability, Economic Inequality

Research Area – Geographic: Central America

Tipa Attasivanon, MA'19

Photo of Tipa AttasivanonHometown: Bangkok, Thailand

BIO:  Tipa is from Thailand. She received a full scholarship from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Thailand to pursue her degrees abroad. Prior to Georgetown, Tipa was the first Thai student to obtaim an undergraduate degree in International Relations from La Universidad Iberoamericana in Mexico City. Due to her passion for the Latin American region, its people, language and culture, in 2017 Tipa participated in AIESEC Global Volunteer program in Bogota, Colombia where she taught English classes to the Colombian youth for two months and then studied Intensive Portuguese course at Pontifícia Universidade Católica in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil for five months. Moreover, during the past school breaks, Tipa has interned at the Royal Thai Embassy in Mexico City and visited many countries in Latin America. Right after her graduation from CLAS, Tipa will be working as a career diplomat at the Ministry. She hopes to be involved in the policy-making process for Thailand-Latin America relations. 

Concentration: Government 

Research Area – Geographic: The Pacific Alliance


Xiaoyue Chen, MA'18

Photo of Xiaoyue ChenHometown: Ningbo, China

Bio: Xiaoyue obtained her bachelor's degree in international trade and a dual degree in Spanish at University of International Business and Economics, China. She spent the summer of 2017 in Santiago, Chile as an exchange student in Universidad Alberto Hurtado as well as an intern in the UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean. She is currently interning at the Inter-American Dialogue, focusing on the relationship between Latin America and other countries in the world, particularly China. 

Concentration: Political Economy

Research Area – Substantive: Economic policy, Foreign investment, International trade

William Schuette, MA'18