Hispanic Heritage Month: Faculty Spotlight

Photo of Associate Professor Guadalupe Correa-Cabrera

As we close out Hispanic Heritage Month, the College of Education and Human Development’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion (ODI) wants to honor the contributions of faculty members of Hispanic/Latinx heritage.

ODI recently sat down and interviewed Associate Professor Dr. Guadalupe Correa-Cabrera. Dr. Correa-Cabrera is a migrant and border scholar in the Schar School of Policy and Government. Correa-Cabrera was born and raised in Mexico, near Mexico City. She was inspired and influenced by her parents, both of whom pursued graduate degrees.

Correa-Cabrera: "I define myself as Mexican because I was born and raised in Mexico and what it means to be Mexican… I mean it’s a lot of things. We have in Mexico, a particular history, we have a particular culture. That you know manifests itself in having certain type of food, listening to certain songs, and we become excited when we remember our history, periods of time that have made us who we are but, at the same time, Mexico is a very diverse country. I was born in the State of Mexico, I was raised, most of my life in Mexico City. I studied in the United States for my doctorate and I have lived in the United States for the past 20 years. So that has also helped me to value the place where I come from—my country, my traditions, my food, my songs, my language."

When asked how her culture influenced her work, there was no hesitation in her responses. The very nature of her work is so interwoven in her personal experiences, painting a beautiful picture of how pride in heritage and her quest for shedding light on powerful issues was so impactful to her work. During her interview there was an energy that radiated as she shared with great passion the work that she does.

Correa-Cabrera: "Totally it has impacted my work completely. My areas of expertise are immigration in the United States, global migration, migration from the northern triangle to the U.S.-Mexico border. I consider myself as a border scholar. Always thinking about myself as somebody who is in the middle of the United States and Mexico, in this “third country” that is the U.S.-Mexico border, so my area of expertise is the U.S.-Mexico border and Mexico border relations and Mexican relations in general. The border is more than that, there were moments of fear, there were moments of anxiety, moments of sadness when you see a number of events taking place.


Border communities are in solidarity with the world in many ways. The border is a beautiful place. The border is a place of beautiful people; there in solidarity with those who need them the most. So, of the border communities, they are the ones that pay the highest price but do it very gladly. Though it's been an amazing journey along the border, an amazing journey to study immigration, and an amazing journey also because I understand it. I am Mexican and I am an American citizen now.”

When given the opportunity to reflect on their development Dr. Correa-Cabrera offered the following advice:

Correa-Cabrera: “To be more open, because I suffered a lot for not being open. It took me a while to adapt to new realities, the complexity of the culture in a third country—I talk about the borderlands as a third country—being more open about what this society lives through. Because you come from your own background, from your own traditions, from your own culture, from your own country, and you go somewhere else, and it takes time to adapt because you're closed [off], because you think that the place where you are from has taught you everything and you feel like a stranger at the beginning, so if I had advice to give myself when I was younger, I would say, just open your eyes, this is going to be fantastic.”

As the interview came to a close, one final question was asked—what advice would you give students and faculty of Hispanic/Latinx heritage?

Correa-Cabrera: “Compared to what previous generations had, we have a lot of opportunities. Even though we are underrepresented in many ways, even though there are some limitations of the system that put us in disadvantage, this is a time of opportunities, and we know the power we have. And we know that if we got here, it’s because we work harder than anybody else. It’s been difficult for Latinos in the United States to make a way in this society. Now, we are very powerful and we just have to understand that and we’ll fight for our rights, and this is the time to do it, and now there is more openness for inclusiveness, for diversity. You know different historical processes have happened very recently that have led to greater paths for diversity and inclusion that have happened in this country. So what I would tell everybody is we have to stop being fearful, we have to fight for our rights and now our voice matters more now than any other time.”

To learn more about Correa-Cabrera, please visit here and be sure to support her book publications.

Dr. Correa-Cabrera (Ph.D. in Political Science, The New School for Social Research) is an Associate Professor at the Schar School of Policy and Government, George Mason University. Her areas of expertise are Mexico-U.S. relations, organized crime, immigration/migration, border security, social movements and human trafficking. She was the Principal Investigator of a research grant to study organized crime and trafficking in persons in Central America and along Mexico’s eastern migration routes, supported by the Department of State’s Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons.