Dra. Elizabeth Vaquera, Director

Elizabeth Vaquera

Dr. Elizabeth Vaquera joined GW in 2016 as the inaugural Director of the Cisneros Hispanic Leadership Institute and Associate Professor of Sociology and Public Policy and Public Administration. Vaquera's research focuses on vulnerable and diverse groups, particularly Latinos/as and immigrants. Her work has analyzed the character and importance of immigrant status, race, and ethnic identity in outcomes such as education, health, and emotional and social well-being. In her role as Director of the Cisneros Institute, Vaquera translates this work by designing and leading programs for high-achieving Hispanic students at the pre-college and university level. In addition to an extensive body of work published in leading peer-reviewed journals, Vaquera 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. She is also the recipient of several federal grants by the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health. A native of Barcelona, Dr. Elizabeth Vaquera received her doctorate in Sociology from the University of Pennsylvania.

Trey Johnston, Associate Director

Trey Johnston

Trey Johnston joined the Cisneros Institute in 2017 and oversees the implementation of the Institute's strategic plan as the primary liaison to the Cisneros Institute Advisory Council. Johnston also manages the Institute's operations and academic programming for scholar co-horts and partner organizations in DC. Much of his writing and research speaks to representation of Latinos and the ways that language influences identity and emotional well-being, particularly within higher education structures. Johnston received his Masters from the George Washington University and is the recipient of several fellowships, including a Fulbright. Johnston likes to make sure his Brazilian heritage is represented at the Institute through his favourite treats, like brigadeiros and pão de queijo. 

Hector Sanchez Barba, Senior Fellow

Hector Sanchez Barba

Hector Sanchez joined the Cisneros Institute as Senior Fellow in Fall 2018. Throughout his career, Hector has worked in Labor, human and civil rights, education and non-profit organizations and has vast experience in policy, advocacy, organizing, research and community outreach. As Senior Fellow, Hector helps idenitfy issues relevant to the Latino community and strategies for addressing them. He also represents the Institute in a variety of media outlets, commenting on the position of Latinos in the United States. In addition to his extensive experience as an advocate for Latinos, Sanchez holds a Bachelor's and Master's degree in Political Science from the University of Texas at El Paso and has previously been professor of US-Mexico Relations at the Autonomous University of the City of Juarez, Mexico.

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


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.