New faculty spotlight: Andrea Peña-Vasquez

February 3, 2023

"Andrea Peña-Vasquez headshot"Dr. Andrea Peña-Vasquez is GSPIA’s newest incoming Assistant Professor with a special focus on immigration/migration. Her research focuses broadly on topics of migration and citizenship in Western Europe and Sub-Saharan Africa, and she is especially interested in the intersection between race, legal status, and governance.   

Peña-Vasquez’s curiosity about immigration and migration stems from her family history.  

“My parents and I emigrated from Colombia to the U.S. when I was 2 years old and I grew up in an immigrant neighborhood in Paterson, New Jersey,” she said. “As I began to study political science and sociology, I became interested in how the state and other structural factors shape the inclusion and exclusion of newcomers.” 

Peña-Vasquez received her Ph.D. in political science from the University of Notre Dame and a B.A. in political science and sociology from the University of Florida. She has been a postdoctoral fellow at Hamilton College as well as a visiting researcher at the Juan March Institute at Carlos III University of Madrid and the Autonomous University of Barcelona.  

She is currently working on a book project that explores how municipal policymaking affects the access to residence permits among African immigrants in Spain. Her work has been supported by the J. William Fulbright Foundation and has been featured in The Washington Post’s Monkey Cage and Politics, Groups, and Identities. 

Peña-Vasquez will begin teaching classes at GSPIA in Fall 2024. 

“I’m excited to work with students and scholars who are conscious of the real-world implications of their work and seek to effect positive change beyond the classroom,” she said. 

Fun fact: Peña-Vasquez enjoys watching reality TV, reading fiction, and finding the best spots to drink coffee and eat tiramisu.