MA candidate in European Studies (2018); BA in Foreign Affairs (2017)
Aurora Lofton was a transfer student from Northern Virginia Community College to UVA in 2015. She recently received her B.A in Foreign Affairs, and has transitioned into the European Studies program this year.
Most recently, during J-Term 2018, Aurora was able to continue interning and directly supporting the work of Dr. Barbara Harrell-Bond at the RIghts in Exile Programme, in Oxford, England. Her work included assisting refugees in their asylum claim process, compleing research on current and changing refugess policies, and helping the organization identify country-of-origin experts for Nigeria, Iran and Egypt. This most recent trip was partly funded by UVA's Center for Global Inquiry and Innovation.
B.A University of Virginia (2017)
- Refugee Policy
- Humanitarian Accessibility
- History and Colloquial Impact of Imperialism in Refugee Studies
Honors and Awards
- Northern Virginia Community College Positive Community Impact Award 2013-2014 and 2014-2015;
- Northern Virginia Community College Campus Activities Award 2013-2014
- Northern Virginia Community College SEAL Award Recipient 2014
- Stephanie Jean-Charles Global Community Service Travel Award 2016
- Center of Global Health Scholar 2016
- Quandt International Research Fund Scholar 2017
Andrea was recently awarded a 2017 LCLAA Latina Gender Equity Fellowship. Congratulations Andrea!!
BA candidate in Latin American Studies (2018), MA candidate in European Studies (2019)
Andrea Villena is a fourth-year majoring in Spanish and minoring in Latin American Studies as well as a first year in the accelerated master's program of European Studies. Originally from Peru, she moved to Atlanta, Georgia at the age of eight. The idea of inequality and race has always fascinated her as her peers have faced many controversial issues while growing up. The current immigration system that exists within the United States has caused this burning passion inside of her to rise to the surface. This past summer she had the opportunity of interning at an Immigration Law Firm. It was through this environment that her views and future research plans in Spain began to take shape.
Most recently, during J-Term 2018, Andrea participated in a course on "Gender-Based Violence" where she was able to explore how the intersectionality of race, gender, and economic status affects the violence that occurs in everyday life. After taking this course, Andea hopes to further study policies set in place for survivors of sexual assault and well as examine why people of color who are part of the LGBTQ community are at higher risk.
Honors and Awards
Andrea's awards from the Hispanic Scholarship Fund and VALHEN have all contributed to her ability to pursue higher education..
In the fall of 2017, she participated in the HSF Media and Entertainment Summit in Los Angeles, California. The Media and Entertainment Summit gives the best and brightest HSF Scholars an inside track to career success in media and entertainment-related fields, through a combination of mentoring, professional insights, and career guidance. She will be networking with prominent members of the media and interacting with students from other universities.
She has also served as a sales consultant and as a human resources talent scout.
Andrea's ability to speak Spanish has helped her to explore and get a first-hand experience of what it is like to be part of marginalized community without a voice. She hopes that through her MA thesis in European Studies that she will be able to shed light on the racial inequalities, the gender gap, and the human trafficking that exists in current-day Spain.