Graduate Students


Diana Velasco is a first year M.A. student in International Studies with El Instituto. She received her B.A. in both Political Science and Human Rights here at UConn. She has worked extensively with the undocumented community in Connecticut as well as facilitating UConn's first Human Rights Symposium. Her research focuses on Latin American migration, undocumented communities in the US, and trauma epidemic at the US- Mexico border.
Juan Sebastián Macías Díaz (He/Him/El) is a first-year student pursuing a Master of Arts in Latino and Latin American Studies through El Instituto. Juan received his B.A. in History from the Universidad de los Andes (Bogotá, Colombia). He is interested in the interplay between colonialism, information networks, popular politics, and race and indigeneity during the Age of Revolutions.

Ruth Edwards Ruth Edwards has a B.A. in Puerto Rican and Latino Studies from Brooklyn College, and is now a first-year student in El Instituto’s MA program in Latinx and Latin American Studies. Her interests include Black and Latinx small business formation and entrepreneurship, with a specific focus on the ethics and practices of care among BIPoC small business owners/managers and how the work of care links entrepreneurs with clients, workers and suppliers.

Zoé González-Lanza (she/her/ella) is a first year graduate pursuing an M.A. in Latina/o & Latin American Studies at El Instituto: Institute of Latina/o, Caribbean, and Latin American Studies. She graduated from the University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras Campus (UPRRP), with a bachelor's degree in Secondary Education and a concentration in History. She is a middle school social studies teacher and gender and family historian of the later nineteenth and early twentieth-century Puerto Rico. At El Instituto, she aims to develop historical research that studies the intersections of race and gender in Puerto Rico's marriage institution; particularly how the laws of coverture affected Puerto Ricans' citizenship and rights in the territory during 1899-1936. Other areas of interest are women's agencies in regarding and resignifying the state and hegemonic institutions in Latin America and the Caribbean. Zoe


Sarah Ramirez Sarah Ramirez (she/her) is a first year student pursuing a Master of Arts in Latino and Latin American Studies at El Instituto with a certificate in Feminist Studies. Sarah graduated with a B.A. in Law, Economics, & Public Policy and American & Ethnic Studies and minored in Human Rights and Diversity Studies at the University of Washington-Bothell. She was her university's first McNair Scholar, and her research interests include art as abolition and resistance, the relationship between religion and neo-colonialism, and problematizing global citizenship and international education.

Melissa Echevarría-Valentín (she/her/ella) is a first year student pursuing a M.A. in Latina/o and Latin American Studies. She received her B.A. in Hispanic Studies and a curricular sequence in Cultural Studies of Women and Gender at University of Puerto Rico Mayagüez. Before coming to UConn, she worked as a Spanish teacher in Puerto Rico. Her research interests are in the representation and contribution of women in Caribbean culture and music. Her many other interests include writing, linguistics, Puerto Rican and Hispanoamerican literature and the preservation of collective memory through story and novels.


headshot  Maria Hernandez is a first-year student pursuing a Master of Arts in Latino and Latin American Studies through El Instituto. Maria received her B.A. in Political Science and Latin American and Caribbean Studies at Lehman College. Her research interests are in immigrant health, food insecurity, chronic diseases, and health outcomes.
Alonso Velasquez is a first-year graduate student pursuing a Master of Arts in Latina/o/x and Latin American Studies in El Instituto. Alonso received his B.A. majoring in Journalism and minoring in political science from Central Connecticut State University. He is interested in researching the political participation and involvement of indigenous communities in Peru, his birth country.  


GRAD Daniela Itzel Domínguez Tavares  Daniela Itzel Domínguez Tavares is a second year student pursuing a Master of Arts in Latino and Latin American Studies.  I received my B.A. in History from the Autonomous University of Aguascalientes, Mexico. I have worked as a newspaper columnist and history teacher. I have published historical fiction and articles related to women and migrants and some critical reviews. In 2017 I received a grant to develop a research project (PECDA). My research interests are: Mexico, populism, bilateral relations between the United States and Mexico and Cold War.
Liliana Oliveira (she/her/Ella) is a first year student pursuing a M.A at El Instituto as well a graduate certificate in Feminist Studies. Liliana graduated from UConn with a B.A in History and minors in Political Science and Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies. Her research interests are on the portrayals of gender and sexuality of Latinx characters in U.S. media. 
Caesar Valentin is a first year joint  M.A., M.P.A. student. Caesar Graduated from UConn with a B.A. in Political Science and Philosophy with a minor in Human Rights. Caesar is interested in Political Theory and Public Administration Ethics.