Student Staff

Gabriel Franco (BA '21) is an undergraduate student at Columbia University majoring in Latin American & Caribbean studies, as well as political science. His main area of focus is public security in Brazil, especially regarding state and police violence, drug policy, media and political discourse on crime, as well as dynamics of urban violence and criminality as they relate to "war on drugs" rhetoric. Gabriel is also interested in Brazilian post-abolition studies, critical race theory, urban inequality studies, and contemporary history. Apart from working as a student assistant at the Lemann Center for Brazilian Studies (LCBS/ILAS), Gabriel is also a research assistant in the Geographies of Injustice project of Columbia's Center for the Study of Social Difference. He recently returned to campus after an exchange semester at PUC-Rio, where he assisted fellow researchers in Geographies of Injustice with a project on oral history and music in favelas.

Gabriel has previously interned with the Columbia Global Center in Rio, where he conducted research on Brazilian studies at Columbia during the Brazilian military dictatorship (1964-1980). He has also worked as a volunteer legal assistant at The Nature Conservancy in Washington, D.C., as well as a research assistant at ILAS. On campus, he has served for three years on the executive board of the Brazilian Society at Columbia (BRS), as freshman representative, treasurer, and eventually vice-president of the BRS. He has also written several opinion pieces for the Columbia Daily Spectator. Gabriel was born and raised in São Paulo, Brazil.

Jalileh Garcia is originally from Siguatepeque, Honduras. Currently, she is an undergraduate student majoring in Human Rights with a specialization in Latin American Cultures. Jalileh has been involved in various student organizations on campus including Alianza and the Baha’i Club. She has also served as a Staff Writer for RightsViews at Columbia. Outside of campus, she covers Honduras for Central American News, a regional newsletter meant to highlight the isthmus’ issues. 

In the past, she has interned for Catholic Charities Immigration Legal Services in Boston and for the Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL), an organization that works on the defense and promotion of human rights in the Americas through the different mechanisms of the Inter-American Human Rights System. 

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.

Mónica Trigos is an MPA 2021 candidate at the School of International Affairs (SIPA) of Columbia University. She has a BA in International Relations from the Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México in Mexico City. She also has studies in Public Policy, Public Diplomacy and Immigration and Refugee’s Policy. She worked in the private sector in the Global Corporate Affairs Coordination of ​​Grupo Bimbo. In the public sector, she served as Deputy Director in the Office of the President of Mexico. She has also worked on public policy projects on transparency and community engagement of USAID and education policy with the initiative Méxicos Posibles. In 2016 she became a Youth Associate of the Mexican Council on Foreign Relations (COMEXI) and in 2020 she became part of the youth board of directors. She is Co-Founder and Deputy Director of “Sin Palabras”, a multicultural artist collective dedicated to giving theater and art workshops to immigrants and refugees as a psychosocial, integration and empowerment process. She also serves as the Regional Focal Point of North America and as the Shaping Narratives Thematic Lead in the Migration Working Group of the United Nations Major Group for Children and Youth (UNMGCY), official space of the General Assembly for the participation of children and youth in the UN. This summer she worked as an intern at Al Otro Lado a bi-national, social justice legal services organization serving deportees, migrants, and refugees in Tijuana. Also, she did research for the Central America Research Initiative on root causes of migration for the U.S NGO Kids in Need of Defense (KIND) and Columbia University. Currently, she is the Program Assistant of the Center for Mexican Studies and the Secretary of External Affairs of the Mexican Students Association at Columbia University.

Hailing from Brazil, Eduarda Zoghbi is a political scientist working towards her Master’s in Public Administration at Columbia University, where she is concentrating in Energy and Environment. Before graduate school, she worked as a climate change consultant at the Inter-American Development Bank in Brazil, where she was responsible for working with the Brazilian government to manage sustainable infrastructure projects in the areas of green finance, forestry and agriculture. In recognition of her efforts to raise awareness to climate change in Brazilian and Kenyan schools through the youth-led NGO Engajamundo, Eduarda was awarded the Environmental Education “30 Under 30” prize. In addition to her studies, she is the co-founder of The Pursuit, a global platform for women changer makers to share their professional experiences and inspiring stories through the podcast “Women Pursuing Change”.