I hold a PhD in Sociology from the Johns Hopkins University, where I was a Fulbright scholar for five years. My main publications are two books: Theories of Local Immigration Policy (Palgrave Macmillan 2017) and Monsanto and Intellectual Property in South America (Palgrave Macmillan 2014). I am also a faculty member of the Global Studies Program at UMBC.
Q: What led you to become a political scientist?
A: My academic trajectory has been interdisciplinary. I majored in economics, wrote a master’s thesis in economic history, pursued doctoral studies in sociology, taught international relations, and finally settled in political science. Politics is essential for the understanding of the most fundamental problem I am interested in: human development, the improvement of living conditions in a society.
Q: What kinds of research questions are most interesting to you?
A: I have a broad interest in human development, especially in reference to Latin America and the Latin American diaspora. I am currently investigating immigration politics and policy in urban spaces, with a focus on Latino communities. How can local governments promote immigration for urban revival? How can local citizens and immigrants work together to improve their social standing in cities? How can cities promote socially-inclusive development in a context of immigration?
Q: What ideas, skills, or experiences do you hope students will come away with after having taken a class with you?
A: The core competence I want students to develop in my classes is critical thinking, the capacity to make judgements based on logic and evidence. I hope they will apply this competence when thinking about politics, globalization, development, immigration and Latin America, which are the topics I cover in my courses.
Q: What can POLI majors do with their degrees?
A: Regardless of the career path they choose (government, non-profit, elections, journalism, diplomacy, academia, etc.), I hope our Political Science majors will apply in their post-UMBC life the principle of inclusive excellence we follow at UMBC. They should not only be their best but also make the best available to others.