Students

The Kimberly Green Latin American and Caribbean Center at Florida International University attracts a diverse group of highly qualified students. Some students join LACC directly from an undergraduate program and others bring with them years of professional experience.

Select Current Student Profiles

Daniel Balseiro | Fall 2014
Master of Arts in Latin American & Caribbean Studies
Areas of interest: Citizen Security, Transnational Organized Crime, Belize and Central America.

Daniel Balseiro is pursuing a Master of Arts in Latin American and Caribbean Studies at Florida International University. He is studying the recent increase of violence experienced in Belize and the threat to citizen security in the region. His research explores how this increase in violence fits within the context of the Northern Tier or Triangle of Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, including any spillover from Transnational Organized Criminal activity and Civil Wars. Mr. Balseiro is passionate about the welfare and safety of the citizens of the region and his studies analyzes how U.S. policy such as Central American Regional Security Initiative (CARSI) assists in stabilizing the region.

Eric Joyner | Spring 2015
Master of Arts in Latin American & Caribbean Studies
Areas of interest: Brazil, Environment

Eric graduated from the University of Florida in 2007 with a BA in History. An aficionado of Brazilian music, he learned Portuguese and completed a CELTA English teaching course before moving to Brazil to teach English and work as a translator. While there, and between trips that led him across half of South America, he took courses in international relations and history at UNICAMP. He is pursuing a Master’s in Latin American and Caribbean Studies with a particular focus on Brazil, agriculture and environment, and social justice issues. Upon completion of his MA, Eric intends to return to South America to work with international NGOs that focus on conservation and land, and of course, take a bit of time to travel throughout the rest of the continent.

Gianfranco Patuzzo | Fall 2014
Master of Arts in Latin American & Caribbean Studies
Areas of interest: Central America, Security Studies

“Throughout history, pursuit of stable security has been a constant.” Gianfranco holds two BA degrees: one in political science and one in international relations. His MA research focuses on security studies and Central America. While living in Central America, Gianfranco was struck by particular social, economic and political challenges that will now serve as foundational to his program of study at LACC. His ultimate objective is to draw upon his experience abroad and academic training and in order to make a positive impact in the areas of human rights and security in the region.

José Guandique | Fall 2014
Master of Arts in Latin American & Caribbean Studies
Areas of interest: Central America, Security, Diplomacy

José earned his undergraduate degree in Political Science from the University of Central Florida in May 2000. Since 1995 he has served as both an enlistee and officer in the US Army. Over the years, his career has taken him to Asia, the Middle East and Latin America. Prior to joining the MALACS program, José worked as a Foreign Area Officer in training at the US Embassy in Asuncion, Paraguay. His academic interests include transnational security cooperation and diplomacy.

Erie Rodriguez | Spring 2016
Master of Arts in Latin American & Caribbean Studies
Areas of interest: Political Science

Erie is an educator, businessman, athletic coach and musician (drummer). A former member of the U.S. Army, Erie has also been actively engaged at the community level and has made an impact in a variety of areas. In 2007, Erie served on the board of Miami´s Community Relations Department; from 2010-2012 he mentored “at-risk” boys through the “BRIDGE” (Be Responsible Independent Disciplined and Excellent) program, and in 2010, he was granted the Beginning Teacher of the Year Award for Palm Beach County. After earning his MA in Latin American and Caribbean Studies, Erie plans to pursue a Ph.D. in political science. His goal is to teach at the post-secondary level and eventually be elected to the State legislature. He is a proud husband and father of two.

Richard Joya | Spring 2015
Master of Arts in Latin American & Caribbean Studies
Areas of interest: Museum Studies

Richard is a McNair Scholar with broad interdisciplinary interests grounded in Cultural Studies. Prior to joining LACC, Richard volunteered at the Children's Museum of Indianapolis and worked at Conner Prairie. His capstone project was an internship at the Crispus Attucks Museum in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Valentina Pilonieta Vera | Spring 2015
Master of Arts in Latin American & Caribbean Studies
Areas of interest: Venezuela, Caribbean, Anthropology

Valentina received her Bachelor of Arts in Latin American Studies in Latin American Studies and Spanish Literature from the University of Delaware in 2012 with honors (Cum Laude). She was born and raised in Merida, Venezuela. She moved to Newark, Delaware, which she calls her "second home", with her family thirteen years ago. Valentina's academic interests range from Peruvian foodways to Venezuelan history and society. She is on a quest to discover "why we are who we are right now." Upon completion of her M.A. Valentina has gone to work for the Smithsonian Folklife Festival, where she interned while studying at FIU.