CLAS Staff

Michael Albertus, Interim Director and Associate Professor of Political Science

Professor Michael Albertus is leading the Center in 2018–19 in coordinating University interests in research and teaching on Latin America. His main research focus is on the political conditions under which governments implement egalitarian reforms. His first book, Autocracy and Redistribution: The Politics of Land Reform, published by Cambridge University Press, examines why and when land reform programs are implemented. It won the 2016 Luebbert Award for best book published in comparative politics in 2014 or 2015. Other research interests include political regime transitions and stability, politics under dictatorship, clientelism, and civil conflict. Albertus' work has been published in the American Journal of Political Science, British Journal of Political Science, Comparative Political Studies, the Journal of Conflict Resolution, Comparative Politics, International Studies Quarterly, Economics & PoliticsWorld Development, Latin American Research Review, and elsewhere.

Natalie Arsenault, Associate Director

CLAS Associate Director Natalie Arsenault manages the operations of the Center and fosters linkages with academic units on campus, community organizations, and professional associations. She is responsible for the Center's program planning and design, policy-making, budget, and supervision of administrative staff. She is also responsible for managing the Center's external grants and fellowships, including a US Department of Education National Resource Center grant and Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellowships, the Tinker Visiting Professorship, and the Tinker Field Research Grant. Natalie holds an MA in Latin American Studies (with a focus on Brazilian Studies) from the University of Florida, and has spent more than 15 years working in Latin American Studies. She has served as Outreach Chair of the National Consortium of Latin American Studies Programs, and is an active member of the Latin American Studies Association. 


Jamie Gentry, Student Affairs Coordinator | Office Manager

As Student Affairs Coordinator and Office Manager, Jamie Gentry is also responsible for administering and managing the CLAS BA and MA degree programs and courses as well as CLAS's various graduate fellowships. She also provides logistical support for CLAS operations and supports the Associate Director with grant proposal development and reporting requirements. Jamie earned her MA from the Center for Latin American Studies at the University of Chicago, where she wrote her MA thesis on women's grassroots organizations along the US-Mexico border. She received her BA in Spanish, Latin American Studies, and Women's Studies from Kansas State University.

Tania Escobedo, Outreach and Campus Programs Coordinator

As Outreach and Campus Program Coordinator, Tania Escobedo provides logistical and programming support for CLAS events and community engagement. Tania coordinates on-campus seminars, lectures, and conferences as well as public events for broader audiences and outreach programs for educators. Tania earned her BA from UCLA in Gender Studies and Society and Genetics, with a focus on human sexuality and a background in psychology, and is currently pursuing post-baccalaureate certification from Columbia University.