Core Faculty and Staff

Samuel MartinezSamuel Martinez, Interim Director of El Instituto and Associate Professor, Anthropology

Samuel Martínez is a Cuban-born ethnologist. He is presently on the board of the American Ethnological Society and has served as Chair (2003-04) of the American Anthropological Association’s Committee for Human Rights. He contributed an extensive expert affidavit in support of the landmark case of Yean and Bosico v. Dominican Republic presented before the Inter-American Court of Human Rights in 2005. In his current research and writing, he brings critical scrutiny to the writings of northern human rights monitors, journalists and social scientists about Haitian-ancestry people in the Dominican Republic. He is also doing background research on antislavery narratives of the late 20th & early 21st centuries.

Jorge Agüero, Assistant Professor, Economics

Jorge Agüero received his Ph.D. in Agricultural and Applied Economics (USA) in 2006 and came to UConn in 2013 from the University of California, Riverside, where he was Assistant Professor of Economics. He is a SALDUR Affiliate, University of Cape Town, South Africa, and an Affiliated Researcher, Group of Development Analysis, Peru. Since 2011 he has been Associate Editor of the South African Journal of Economics. In 2014-2015 he was a Visiting Scholar in the Research Department of the Inter-American Development Bank in Washington DC.


asencioMarysol Asencio, Professor, Sociology

Marysol Asencio is a Professor of Sociology and Puerto Rican and Latino Studies at UConn. Prior to joining the faculty of the University of Connecticut, she was a faculty member and co-Director of the Health Promotion Disease Prevention track at the Columbia School of Public Health. She has been involved professionally in Latina/o sexuality and reproductive issues as a researcher, teacher, and community educator/advocate for the last 20 years.


anne gebeleinAnne Gebelein, Associate Director, El Instituto

Anne Gebelein received her doctorate, M. Phil., and Master’s in Hispanic Literatures from Yale University’s Department of Spanish and Portuguese. Prior to coming to UConn, she worked as an educational consultant for the Anti-Defamation League and the Coordinating Council for Children in Crisis, and as a translator in health care and law enforcement settings.


jason irizarryJason Irizarry, Associate Professor, Neag School of Education

Jason Irizarry received his Ed.D from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. Prior to returning to UConn (where he was Assistant Professor from 2006-12), he was Associate Professor of Education and Director of Urban Education at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. He is also Editor of Equity & Excellence in Education.



 Mark Overmyer-Velázquez, Professor of History and Director, Hartford Campus

The graduate and undergraduate courses I teach examine the historical origins of the broad, transnational and interdisciplinary fields of Latin(o) American history, with special emphasis on the history of Greater Mexico (including the Mexico/US border and the Mexican diaspora). Topics analyzed in my courses include economic and political imperialism, human rights, migration, cultural nationalism, political membership, gender relations, race and racism, identity formation, religion, labor, immigration law, and the arts.

daisy-reyesDaisy Verduzco Reyes, Assistant Professor, Sociology

Daisy Reyes received her Ph.D. in Sociology from UC-Irvine with an emphasis on Chicano-Latino Studies. Reyes is interested in how institutions and organizational settings shape the construction of racial, ethnic, and political identities. Reyes is working on a manuscript that examines the ways universities shape Latino student experiences, identities, and political styles.


riosDiana Rios, Associate Professor, Communication

Professor Rios served as director of the Institute for Puerto Rican and Latino Studies (IPRLS) from March 2009 to December 2010 and was associate director of IPRLS during 1997-2003. She is the author of many publications and papers examining mass media processes, audience and content, and aspects of ethnicity, race, culture and gender.


charles_venatorCharles R. Venator Santiago, Associate Professor, Political Science

Charles R. Venator Santiago completed an M.A. in Political Science with a concentration in International Relations and a Ph.D. in Political Theory and Public Law. He teaches courses in Latino/a politics, Latino/as and the law, LatCrit, immigration, Puerto Rican politics, political theory and public law.



Anne Theriault, Administrative Assistant

Anne graduated from Eastern New Mexico State University with a BA in vocational office education. She has worked for the State of Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection, ENMU, the accounting firm of Dan Wade and Associates, and the Bureau of Indian Affairs. She joined the Institute of Puerto Rican and Latino Studies in 2001, after working at the Asian American Studies Institute and UConn Development Office.