Leading experts from academia, journalism, and the worlds of policy and advocacy come to CLALS as Research Fellows to advance scholarship and contribute to public debate. Fellows carry out research independently and participate in Center-sponsored initiatives, bringing their expertise to bear on a wide range of issues in Latin American and Latino Studies.

In addition, doctoral candidates planning to undertake research in Washington D.C. related to Latin American or Latino studies are welcome to apply to affiliate with the Center as Research Fellows. The Center cannot provide stipend support, but students accepted to the program receive access to work space at CLALS, the library, and other research infrastructure at American University.

Program Description

Research Fellow Application

Current Fellows

Fulton Armstrong

December 2012 - Present
Fulton T. Armstrong directs the Center's blog, AULABLOG; contributes to the Cuba Initiative; and collaborates on in-depth examinations of security programs in Central America. He is currently collaborating with CLALS Fellows and staff to provide technical and capacity-building support to researchers at Universidad del Oriente (UNIVO). Before joining the Center, he followed Latin American affairs for almost 30 years in a number of U.S. government positions. He served as a senior professional staff member responsible for Latin America on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee from July 2008 to October 2011, where he also worked closely with the committee's investigations team. Prior to that, he served in the Executive Branch in a series of policy and analytical positions. Among other senior positions, he was National Intelligence Officer for Latin America - the U.S. Intelligence Community's most senior analyst - in 2000-2004, and for six months he was the chief of staff of the DCI Crime and Narcotics Center. He served two terms as the Director for Inter-American Affairs at the National Security Council (1995-97 and 1998-99), between which he was Deputy NIO for Latin America. From 1980-84 he worked for U.S. Representative Jim Leach (R-Iowa). He has spent 12 years studying and working in Europe, Asia, and Latin America. He speaks Spanish and Chinese.

Email: fultona@american.edu

Aaron Bell

March 2019 - Present
Prof. Bell received his PhD in History from American University and a BA in History from Syracuse University. His dissertation considered how transnational processes shaped domestic dynamics in El Salvador and the United States in the opening years of El Salvador’s civil war. His research interests include U.S.-Latin American relations, immigration, and transnational conservative politics. Aaron has taught History and American Studies at American University and Trinity Washington University, and he is currently a Lecturer in the Advanced Academic Program at Johns Hopkins University. Prof. Bell recently carried out fieldwork in North and South Carolina as part of the Center’s yearlong study on the impacts of Central American migration on U.S communities. He also manages the Center's work providing expert assistance to law firms and non-profit legal service providers representing Central American children and families seeking asylum in the United States.

Email: aaron.bell@american.edu

Michael Danielson

August 2012 - Present
Michael S. Danielson is Visiting Faculty at the University of California Washington Program (UCDC) and Research Fellow at CLALS. He is currently collaborating with CLALS Fellows and staff to provide technical and capacity-building support to researchers at Universidad del Oriente (UNIVO). Since receiving his Ph.D. in political science from American University, he has taught Latin American politics and international affairs at George Washington University and the NYU and Pepperdine University programs in Washington, DC. His book, Emigrants Get Political: Mexican Migrants Engage Their Home Towns (2018), was published by Oxford University Press. His research has been published in numerous peer reviewed and policy-oriented venues and he received Fulbright, National Science Foundation, and Gill Family Foundation grants to fund his dissertation survey and field research. He also holds an MA in International Policy Studies from the Monterey Institute of International Studies (now the Middlebury Institute of International Studies) and Spanish and Philosophy degrees from Santa Clara University. As a practitioner, he has consulted for the Jesuit Conference of Canada and the United States and the Kino Border Initiative and previously served as a policy analyst for the Children's Defense Fund and the Center on Policy Initiatives.

Read his report for the Kino Border Initiative, "Documented Failures: The Consequences of Immigration Policy on the U.S.-Mexico Border"

Emailmichaeld@american.edu

Luiza Duarte

September 2020 - Present
Luiza Duarte is a journalist, producer, and political scientist based in New York. She is currently a Research Fellow at the Wilson Center, Brazil Institute, as well as at CLALS. She is collaborating with CLALS staff to research China's efforts to shape perceptions of its role in Latin America.

Duarte has been in the broadcast media industry for 14 years, working in several aspects of production, behind and in front of the cameras, writing print and web articles, and creating multimedia content for traditional and social media platforms. She is the former US correspondent for CNN Brasil. Previously, she worked as the Hong Kong-based Asia correspondent for GloboNews, the main Brazilian pay-TV all-news channel, part of Globo Group, the largest commercial TV network in South America. She covered the Umbrella Movement, Hangzhou G20 Summit, the North Korea–United States Singapore Summit, the civil movement in Hong Kong in 2014 and 2019, and many other events in the region. Her research interests include international relations, diplomacy, US-China-Brazil relations, media, cultural policies, environmental policies and national memory. She received her Ph.D. in Political Science from Sorbonne Nouvelle University – Institute of Latin American Studies (IHEAL). Duarte received her master's from the Panthéon-Assas University French Institute of Press and her bachelor's from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro School of Communication.

Email: lduarte@american.edu

Steven Dudley

September 2010 - Present
Steven Dudley is a Senior Research Fellow for American University who specializes in organized crime and citizen security issues. In addition to managing InSight Crime, which is co-sponsored by CLALS, Dudley is a principal investigator on the Center's project to study transnational criminal networks in Latin America and the Caribbean. He has contributed to a variety of Center projects including the Elites & Power and the Religion & Violence projects.

Dudley is the former Bureau Chief of the Miami Herald in the Andean Region and the author of Walking Ghosts: Murder and Guerrilla Politics in Colombia (Routledge, 2004). Dudley has also reported from Haiti, Brazil, Nicaragua, Cuba, and Miami for National Public Radio and The Washington Post, among others. Dudley has a BA in Latin American History from Cornell University and an MA in Latin American Studies from the University of Texas at Austin. He was awarded the Knight Fellowship at Stanford University in 2007, is a member of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, and was a fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars during the 2012-2013 academic year.

Specializations:

  • Breaking down security issues on-the-ground in conflict situations
  • Studying trends and tendencies of organized crime
  • Analyzing political crises
  • Reporting on corporate social responsibility, environmental subjects, human rights issues
  • Investigating international and local justice systems

Email: sdudley@insightcrime.org 

Sol Espinoza

November 2020 - Present
Sol Espinoza completed a Ph.D. in Sociology from Johns Hopkins University. She received a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Social Welfare from the University of California at Berkeley and a joint master’s degree in Public Affairs and Urban Regional Planning from the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University. She has lectured at the University of Maryland and served as a Visiting Assistant Professor at the Catholic University of America. She served as a Senior Researcher at the Joint Economic Committee of the United States Congress, where she conducted research on economic inequality, the labor market, work-family policy, gun violence, and the 2020 Census.

Sol has more than 20 years of professional experience in the public and nonprofit sectors, including work in local government, at the U.S. Census Bureau, and at the Pew Research Center. Her research fields of interest include ethnicity and immigration, labor and employment, entrepreneurship, social inequality (gender-race-class), family and marriage, geographic disparities, and the intersection of the economy, society, and public policy.

Email: sespinoza@american.edu

Luciana Gandini

September 2020 - Present 
Luciana Gandini is a Research Fellow at CLALS, a Non-resident Fellow at the Migration Policy Institute and a full-time tenured researcher at the Legal Research Institute at UNAM in the area of Sociology of Law. She is a member of the National System of Researchers (SNI, CONACYT), level II. She coordinates the University Seminar on Studies on Internal Displacement, Migration, Exile and Repatriation (SUDIMER) at UNAM, which promotes research on migration and human mobilities at UNAM. She is a co-author of Caravanas (UNAM, 2020), which was a co-recipient of the 2020 William M. Leogrande Award. In 2018, she received the award "Reconocimiento Distinción Universidad Nacional Jóvenes Investigadores 2018" by UNAM.

Her project, Emerging challenges on immigration policy: the case of Migrant Protection Protocols and other Latin American forced immigrants, aims to identify some of the main public policy challenges on both, human mobility and international protection in the Latin American region and particularly Mexico in a context where the increase on the mobility of people in need of international protection contrasts with the tendency of governments to impose limits on the right of asylum. Additionally, in recent months she has been researching the impacts of the COVID-19 sanitary crisis on the inclusion and effective access and exercise of socio-economic rights of Venezuelan and Central American displaced populations in Latin America and how this situation generates and even more complex scenario and demands reshaping immigration policies through the enforcement of international protection principles. 

Luciana is interested in topics related to international migration, development and human rights; (in)voluntary migration and forced migration; Venezuelan exodus and Central American migrant caravans; impacts of COVID-19 on migrant and refugee population; return and skill migration; and qualitative and quantitative social research methods.

Email: lgandini@american.edu

Jorge Alberto Órtiz Almanza

September 2022 - Present
From Mexico City, Jorge is enrolled in a Ph.D. program in Political and Social Sciences at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM). He teaches Mexican Foreign Policy at UNAM and Anahuac University. As a Fulbright-García Robles grant recipient in the Mexican Visiting Scholar program, he is carrying out doctoral research at American University to complete a dissertation on U.S. foreign policy towards China and Cuba from a comparative perspective.

Email: jortiz@colmex.mx

Lucas Damasceno Pereira

September 2022 - Present
Lucas Damasceno Pereira is a political scientist and law student at the University of São Paulo. He has experience analyzing international networks and transnational circulation of urban security models mostly focused on the agency of international actors. He is currently working with Democracy and electoral integrity in the Electoral Observatory of the Americas, a partnership between the University of São Paulo and the Organization of American States (OAS), and is also a volunteer in Electoral Transparency Brazil responsible for observation of voting abroad. Lucas is an experienced observer and regional coordinator in Electoral Observation Missions deployed by the OAS.

Email: lucas.damasceno.pereira@usp.br

Arturo Porzecanski

August 2021 - Present
Dr. Porzecanski, who recently retired from a professorship in international economics at American University (2005-2021), previously taught at Columbia University, New York University, and Williams College. He is an expert in international finance, emerging markets and Latin American economics and politics. Prior to entering academia, he spent most of his professional career working as an international economist on Wall Street.

Dr. Porzecanski was chief economist for emerging markets at ABN AMRO Bank (2000-2005); chief economist for the Americas at ING Bank (1994-2000); chief emerging-markets economist at Kidder, Peabody & Co. (1992-1993); chief economist at Republic National Bank of New York (1989-1992); senior economist at J.P. Morgan Bank (1977-1989); research economist at the Center for Latin American Monetary Studies in Mexico City (1975-1976); and visiting economist at the International Monetary Fund (1973).

Porzecanski carries out and publishes research in international finance; provides consulting services to legal and financial firms, as well as to U.S. government agencies and multilateral institutions; serves on the board of directors of the Tinker Foundation; is a Senior Advisor to the non-profit Emerging Markets Investors Alliance; and is a Dispute Resolution Arbitrator for the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority. In mid-2020, he was appointed by the White House to the President’s Advisory Commission on Hispanic Prosperity, and in mid-2021 he was named a Global Fellow of The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. 

Email: aporzeca@american.edu

Ricardo Torres

August 2021 - Present
Ricardo Torres holds a Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Havana. He was a professor at the Centro de Estudios de la Economía Cubana (CEEC) at the University of Havana for more than 15 years. He has been a visiting researcher at Harvard University (2011), Ohio State University (2012), Columbia University (2013), American University (2015), Universidad de La República (Uruguay, 2016, 2018), the Finnish Central Bank and Paris 3 Sorbonne Nouvelle (2019). He has participated in conferences and courses in universities and research centers in several countries in Latin America, Europe, Asia and the United States, and has published several articles in international journals and books. He was the chief editor of the series Miradas a la Economía Cubana (Views on the Cuban Economy), and a columnist at Progreso Semanal/Progreso Weekly. He is also part of the Editorial Board of the journals Cuban Studies and the International Journal of Cuban Studies. He develops his research around economic development, system reform and industrial policies. 

Email: rtorres@american.edu