Student Staff

Camila Hidalgo is a first year Graduate Student at Columbia University pursuing a Masters in International Affairs and specializing in International Security Policy

Originally from Quito Ecuador, Camila studied Communications and Public Relations and spent most of her undergraduate career advocating for a Bioethical relationship between international pharmaceuticals and the Indigenous Communities of the Ecuadorean Amazon. 

After interning in Lobbying in Brussels, and representing her country as part the Ecuadorean delegation in the Japanese “Ship for World Youth Leaders” scholarship program, Camila cultivated a special interest in International Security through her global lens, and is passionate about reforming the way security is approached in Latin America. 

This year, we welcome Camila Hidalgo as the new Program Assistant for the Institute of Latin American Studies.

*In her spare time, you can catch Camila in Washington Square Park reading magical realism novels and matcha latte sipping

Pilar is an undergraduate student majoring in Sustainable Development.

Her main area of focus is the renewable energy sector.

Apart from working as a student assistant at ILAS, Pilar has been a research assistant at the Earth Institute at Columbia University. Her interest in Earth Sciences started years ago when she realized the importance of developing sustainable ways for human development.  

She promotes the importance of making decisions that support sustainability in different ways. Pilar enjoys doing research at Columbia because she desires to innovate and expand sustainable development to other countries in Latin America, such as Mexico.

She wants to contribute to preventing Global warming from being the next world crisis.

Outside the classroom, she enjoys dancing ballet. Such passion intertwined with the ongoing crisis we live in and led her to create an online dance school platform to share her love for dance and wellbeing. 

Camila Braga (CC’24) is an undergraduate student in Columbia College studying Political Science and Latin American and Caribbean Studies. She works at ILAS as an administrative assistant. 

Born and raised in Recife, Brazil, Camila is really passionate about her country’s culture and history.  In her spare time, she loves dancing (especially Frevo), going to cafes, and dreaming about the next Brazilian Carnaval she will attend.

Astrid (CC'23) is an undergraduate student double majoring in Human Rights and Latin American & Caribbean Studies.

Astrid is from Minnesota and is the daughter of a Venezuelan family, having spent much of her childhood around the United States and in Maracaibo, Venezuela. She is passionate about issues of Venezuelan migration and advocating for their recognition as refugees and integration into host societies.

This summer, Astrid has been working with Servicio Jesuita a Migrantes on research work relating to the integration of migration into the rewrite of Chile’s Constitution, the International Rescue Committee with their Unaccompanied Child Migrant Program, and VIANYC a NYC-based NGO for the Venezuelan migrant community in New York.

On campus, Astrid is also involved in the Undergraduate and Multicultural Recruitment Committees and Columbia Admissions, her acapella group, Catholic Ministry, Cine Club at ILAS, doing research on Latin America, and as a Matriculate Advisor.

In her free time, Astrid loves her cafecito and finding all the best places around New York to get her daily sip, taking walks and running through Central Park, and discovering new hole-in-the-wall restaurants wherever she is.

Romina is a doctoral student in International and Comparative Education, politics concentration, at Teachers College, Columbia University. Originally from Mexico, her current research centers on Mexican indigenous peoples. Her academic background is a combination of linguistics and international politics. Romina has worked for several international cultural associations and diplomatic bodies, focusing mainly on educational and linguistic services. She was also briefly a high school teacher in the French system, and has worked as non-academic staff for SUNY, CUNY and Columbia University. She speaks seven languages fluently, and three more at the intermediate level. She is the current coordinator of the K-12 Outreach Program at the Institute of Latin American Studies at Columbia University.

Daniel is a 2nd year Master of International Affairs student at SIPA originally from Boston, Massachusetts. At SIPA, Daniel focuses on economic and political development in Latin America and international conflict resolution. This summer, he worked as a sustainable development consultant at Ipsos working on multinational studies in consortium with World Bank, UN, and private sector stakeholders. Before SIPA, Daniel was living in Santiago de Cali, Colombia where he was a Fulbright Fellow at the National University of Colombia where he taught English, worked with the Rockefeller Foundation's 100 Resilient Cities program, and supported a non-profit organization called ColVenz which worked with recently arrived Venezuelen migrants in Cali.

Andrea is a senior at Barnard College majoring in Sociology with a minor in Spanish & Latin American Cultures, and is currently pursuing another minor in Science & Public Policy. This will be Andrea’s second year as the ILAS social media assistant.

Andrea was born in Florida to a Venezuelan family and moved to Panama when she was 10, where she still lives and calls home.

She spent her summer as a sales intern at Tiktok where she worked on applying her sociological research skills and interests through a business lens. During her junior year, she helped conduct a survey for a local immigrant rights organization, and she hopes to continue developing her research skills in her senior year.

In her free time, you can find Andrea watching pigeons in Riverside Park, biking on the Hudson River Greenway, or eating some homemade popcorn.

Ana Oropeza is an undergraduate student in the School of General Studies majoring in Film and Media Studies. Prior to coming to Columbia, Ana earned an Associate's Degree in Theater from Borough of Manhattan Community College, where she focused on theater management and set design.

Originally from Mexico, she began her journey in the arts as a dancer at one of the branches of the Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes in her hometown Torreon Coahuila, Mexico. There she mastered different disciplines, including ballet, jazz, and contemporary dance. Once in New York City, Ana was a regular dancer at Broadway Dance Center, where she expanded her knowledge in dance by taking tap and theater dance lessons. 

At ILAS, Ana works as a Program Assistant in the Center for Mexican and Central American Studies. Additionally, Ana coordinates the now ILAS Cine Club activities and workshops and works side by side with ILAS and other CU offices to enhance the outreach of the Center's programs and offerings.

This year Ana became part of the General Board of the Mexican Students Association at Columbia University and serves as the association's Secretary of Community Engagement.

Paloma Ricaño is a first year Graduate Student pursuing a Master of Public Administration at SIPA, concentrating in Economic and Political Development. 

Born and raised in Mexico, Paloma holds a BA in International Relations. 

She worked in a financial inclusion program in the Dominican Republic, which made her decide I wanted to pursue a career in policy. After that, she worked for the Mexican government on education, security and social development projects. Her last job before coming to SIPA was in Innovations for Poverty Action’s office in Mexico. 

Paloma's interests range from poverty, citizen security and intersectional feminism. 

Outside of work, she enjoy long walks, reading novels and short stories (last one was Hurricane Season by Fernanda Melchor), going to the beach (especially to Dominican beaches) and eating tacos. 

Ana Cardenas is an undergraduate student at Columbia University majoring in Sustainable Development.

Ana is interested in the circular economy, issues of equity, and climate change adaptation. She discovered her calling for sustainability during the Amazon wildfires in 2019, and since then, has been determined to support regenerative and fair development in Latin America. Ana works at the Center for Mexico and Central America (CeMeCA) as a program assistant.

Additionally, Ana works for the Department of Sustainability and Climate Action at Barnard College. She is the student assistant for the circular campus initiative, a holistic framework based on circular economy principles designed to reduce waste, emissions, and costs, transform consumption patterns on campus, and increase access affordability for students.

Ellen is currently in the joint MA program in International and World History. Before coming to Columbia, Ellen spent the last year out of school working in DC for the Department of Homeland Security as a FOIA analyst, hoping to glean insight into document management and transparency within the US government. After a year of working, she decided to return to school to further investigate her research interests. Ellen graduated with Highest Honors from American University in 2020 where she studied International Relations with a regional focus on Latin America. Her undergraduate thesis, titled “Covert Action in Latin America: Congressional Involvement in Chile and Guatemala—Oversight or Something Else?” focused on the effects of changing human rights norms on covert action in US Foreign Policy during the Cold War. In her time at Columbia, Ellen hopes to continue to study democracy, norms, and regime change in Cuba and beyond. She is also especially interested in the impacts of record keeping and information access as a means of power and coercion in the context of governance. When she’s not studying, Ellen enjoys making coffee, running, and baking.

At ILAS, Ellen is the Program Assistant for the Cuba Program.