Elizabeth Vaquera, Director

Elizabeth Vaquera

Elizabeth Vaquera, who received her doctorate in sociology from the University of Pennsylvania, serves as the Director of the Cisneros Hispanic Leadership Institute, as well as associate professor of Sociology and Public Policy and Public Administration. Her research focuses on the wellbeing of vulnerable and diverse groups, and the character and importance of race and ethnic identity in outcomes such as education, health, and emotional and social wellbeing. Her work has been published in leading peer-reviewed journals, and she is the co-author of several books, the most recent of which, Education and Immigration, examines the educational experiences of immigrants and their children living in the U.S. Vaquera is the recipient of several federal grants by the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health.

Polimnia Rossin, Director of External Relations

Polimnia Rossin

Polimnia Rossin comes to the Cisneros Institute from the Embassy of Spain where she worked with the Ambassador and Hispanic Affairs Counselor for Government Relations to forge stronger relationships with the White House, Congress, federal agencies and national Hispanic organizations/associations. Rossin oversees the marketing and communications strategies for the Institute, as well as acting as the primary liaison to the Cisneros Institute Advisory Council. Rossin received her Masters in Publication Design from the University of Baltimore. 


Trey Johnston, Programs Specialist

Trey Johnston

Trey Johnston coordinates academic programming for the Cisneros Institute and partner organizations in DC. He also manages the Institute's operations and works with the Cisneros Institute Advisory Council in the implementation of the Institute's strategic plan. Johnston received his Masters from the George Washington University and incorporates his background in Linguistics and Areas studies in program and course design for the Cisneros Scholars and Caminos al Futuro. 



Cisneros Institute Advisory Council

Emilio Gonzalez    Emilio Gonzalez, Chair


Jeyben Castro    Jeyben Castro


Emil Hill      Emil Hill


Noralisa Leo     Noralisa Leo



 Natalia Olson Urtecho   Natalia Olson Urtecho


Jackie Puente    Jackie Puente


Gloria Rodriguez    Gloria Rodriguez


Maria R    Maria Rodriguez


Hector Sanchez    Hector E. Sánchez Barba


Gil Cisneros, Founder


Gil at Caminos Reception

George Washington University alumnus Gilbert Cisneros, BA ’94, is the president and co-founder of The Gilbert & Jacki Cisneros Foundation, which works to cultivate a community that supports Hispanic student education. At GW, he has demonstrated a deep commitment to the university through service and philanthropy. In 2015, he and his wife Jacki donated an extraordinary gift to create the GW Cisneros Hispanic Leadership Institute. Their largesse also led to the establishment of the Cisneros Scholarship Fund to benefit undergraduate students, as well as support for the Yellow Ribbon Scholarship for military veterans. An avid GW basketball fan, Gil Cisneros created the first Buff and Blue Challenge, encouraging GW supporters to join him in the Making History: The Campaign for GW, by supporting GW student-athletes.

Gil Cisneros is co-chair of the Making History: The Campaign for GW and a member of the campaign’s Steering Committee. He also serves the university as a member of the Columbian College National Council for Arts and Sciences and the GW Athletics Board.