I am a catalyst for change. My belief that technology can help solve many global challenges motivates me to reframe how businesses view and develop policies, and undertake research with and for vulnerable peoples.
I challenge people to think differently. It is the most rewarding aspect of being a professor. I combine my background in technology, academia and public health to reframe how businesses develop policies with and for vulnerable peoples.
Immigration, technology and social impact shape my life. Growing up in Silicon Valley with a father rooted in Fairchild Semiconductor, I started my career working with semiconductor companies and international trade policies in Washington DC. While studying for my doctorate, I lived in Argentina, Chile and Mexico where I reconnected with my mother’s family. My first book drew on these experiences in the private sector in articulating a social history as it relates to business investment, politics, and the acquisition of power across cultures. After becoming a full professor, my work shifted to helping refugees. I pursued a Masters degree in human rights law at the University of Cape Town in South Africa, a 2015 WhatsApp text went viral telling black immigrants to stay home or be killed in South Africa, I witnessed the underbelly of social media. And I wanted to be at center of technology and social change. This led to my position at Facebook as a Threat Analyst to identify bad social actors, risks, and unforeseen biases in the platform. My current role at the Public Health Institute involves examining patient privacy issues and cancer surveillance for the State of California.
I am catalyst for social change and I integrate my work into everything I do. I value individual team members’ approaches and I am committed to meaningful work.
Policy Expert: My work at Facebook analyzing social actors and the rippling effects of ambiguous policies in industry and government spaces motivated me to examine the role of technology in patient health data. At the Public Health Institute, I develop research protocols sensitive to patient privacy while simultaneously promoting better health research.
My research and writing are informed by my early career in Government Affairs at National Semiconductor, Texas Instruments and Motorola. I helped develop policies regarding corporate responsibility, international trade, human rights in Latin America, and immigrant and refugee rights in the United States, Latin America, Africa and the Middle East. Based on fieldwork in Africa, I have written and presented about research ethics, developed policies and guidance for compliance with international standards for the responsible conduct of research.
Scholar and Researcher: At Facebook, I developed and lead more than a dozen investigations on topics including human trafficking, war criminals, genocides, narco violence, and endangered animal parts sales. While at the Public Health Institute, I have researched rape among refugees in host countries and the application of natural language processing to cancer health records.
My research has led to two academic books and 20 peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters covering law, history, public health, and refugee studies. I have also given interviews to Al Jazeera, BBC, Le Monde, France24, and NPR about my research.
Advocate: At the International Rescue Committee (IRC), I volunteered with the Anti-Trafficking team and also worked with the Immigration Program assisting with the Central American Minors (CAM) program and Deferred Action Childhood Arrival (DACA) clients. While living in Cape Town, South Africa, I volunteered at the University of Cape Town Refugee Rights Clinic. Since 2015, I have served as an Advisory Board Member at the Adonis Musati Project, a refugee advocacy civil society organization based in Cape Town, South Africa. I was also a Legislative Ambassador for the American Cancer Society (ACS), and advocated for cancer research and for affordable healthcare.
I have a Ph.D. in History and an M.A. in Latin American Studies from Georgetown University. I earned an M Phil in Human Rights Law from the Faculty of Law at the University of Cape Town, South Africa, and a M.Sc. in Comparative Politics at the London School of Economics and Political Science. I have lived in Cape Town (South Africa), Mexico City, Santiago (Chile), Bradford (U.K.), and taught world history at Lincoln University College in Buenos Aires, Argentina. I am a Professor Emeritus at Sonoma State University in California.
If you’re interested in connecting to discuss how companies can better reach vulnerable and
migrant populations domestically and internationally, please contact me.