Skip over navigation

Lassen Fellowships in Latin American Studies

The Program in Latin American Studies (PLAS) Lassen Fellowships in Latin American Studies provide outstanding first-year graduate students with full tuition, a 12–month graduate stipend, and research funds to support fieldwork in the region during their first year at Princeton. Each spring, PLAS asks departments to nominate the most promising entering graduate students for this fellowship.

Nominations are evaluated for evidence of strong commitment to the study of Latin America, guided by a departmental assessment of each candidate’s overall potential for success. Lassen Fellows are appointed by the Program in Latin American Studies and the fellowships are administered by the Graduate School.


Daniela Barba Sánchez (Politics)


Barba Sánchez earned the B.A. in international relations at El Colegio de México, and an M.A. in comparative politics from New York University. Previously, she worked as an adviser to the Mexican Minister of Communications and Transport, as a researcher at GESOC (a watchdog organization), and at Mexico’s Instituto Federal Electoral, where she contributed to the design of a civic education program targeting marginalized communities. At the International Initiative for Impact Evaluation (3ie) she coauthored a systematic review of studies looking at the effect of informational interventions on electoral accountability. Her research interests include government responsiveness, accountability, and political behavior in developing countries, with a regional focus in Latin America.

Andres Lajous Loaeza (Sociology)

Andrés Lajous earned his master’s in city planning at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and B.A. in political science and international relations at CIDE, Mexico City. Before coming to Princeton, Andrés worked as a journalist and editor in Mexico City. Previously, he participated actively in Mexican politics through a short-lived political party. His main areas of interest are political sociology and urban studies. He is particularly interested in state-formation, institutions and institutional capacity, violence, and Latin America. 

Jessica Mack (History)

Jessica Mack earned the B.A. in history from Wesleyan University and has studied at the Universidad de Chile and the Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia in Mexico. Her research interests include public historical memory and its intersections with civil society movements and democratic citizenship. Prior to beginning graduate studies, Mack worked at the Social Science Research Council on a program that supports research related to drug policy, citizen security, and democratic governance throughout Latin America. She has previously worked as a consultant in capacity building for civil society organizations in Mexico City. 

William Heath Pearson (Anthropology)

Pearson earned the B.A. in communication studies from Huntington College and an M.Div. from Princeton Seminary. During his Ph.D., he plans to undertake comparative, ethnographic research in two sites: the U.S. and Brazil. His primary interests were formed through extensive research in race and incarceration, and a variety of personal experiences. The ways in which persons, families, and neighborhoods are reconstituted by the State’s policing and imprisoning of non-white citizens; and how emotions work to shape the surfaces of individual and collective bodies, will be key focal points in his ethnographic research which will be undertaken with professional US-Brazilian photographer, Jeremiah Wilson.