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Faculty and Staff


Emilio Vargas Mena,(Halftime), Faculty Advisor and Professor of the Global Studies I: The Environment and Human Culture (Fall) and Contemporary Indigenous Peoples in Latin America Seminar (Spring). He is an Environmental Sociologist, with expertise in teaching, research and outreach on historical, social, cultural and political dimensions of conservation and management of ecosystems and wildlife in Latin America. Emilio has an MSc in Sociology from the University of Costa Rica.

Jessica Clark, Adjunct Faculty (Part time), Professor of the Writing, Research and Documentation Seminar (Fall) and the Introduction to Social Entrepreneurship Seminar (Spring) and Faculty Advisor. She holds a M.S. in English Literature from the University of Costa Rica and has worked as an advertiser, script writer and speech writer. She's also a published fiction writer.

Lorna Baez, Assistant Director of the Costa Rica Center, Senior Independent Study Coordinator and Faculty, Professor of the Central American and Caribbean Studies Seminar (Fall) and Methods in Research and Experiential Learning I- Introduction to Field Research Methods Seminar (Spring). She also advises senior students, teaches the online Senior Independent Study Seminar (fall) and the online Junior Research Seminar (spring). She has a PhD in Latin American Studies at the Universidad Nacional de Costa Rica. Her research interest revolves around issues of gender, sexuality and migration in Latin America and the Caribbean. Currently, she is exploring issues on street art and popular culture in Latin America and the Caribbean. 

Mihir Kanade, Adjunct Faculty (Part time) and Professor of the Global Studies II: The World Economy and Global Governance Seminar (Spring). He is the Director of the UPEACE Human Rights Centre and is also an Assistant Professor in the Department of International Law and Human Rights at UPEACE. Prior to his pursuit in academia, Mihir practiced for several years as a lawyer in the Supreme Court of India and the Bombay High Court, focusing on issues of fundamental human rights violations. He has served as a legal advisor to many human rights organizations in India and has represented them before different courts and tribunals in criminal, constitutional and labor cases. His principal area of academic research and study is Human Rights and Globalization.

Mia Valdes, Adjunct Faculty (Halftime), Faculty advisor, and Professor of the Writing the College Essay and Globalization in Contemporary World Fiction Seminars (Spring). She holds an M.A. in Latin American Studies from Vanderbilt University and has worked as a reporter and editor in Costa Rica where she has lived for over 25 years.

Sarah Moran, Center Director, Faculty Advisor, and Professor of the Foundation Year Orientation Seminar (fall). Sarah holds a M.S. in Adult Continuing Education from Northern Illinois University and a B.A. from the University of Michigan. She has worked with the Costa Rica Center of LIU Global for over 11 years. Prior to that, she worked for 8 years as Training Director for Peace Corps Costa Rica after several years of experience as a technical and crosscultural trainer. In Chicago, she worked in adult education with institutions of higher education, Chicago City Colleges and Northeastern Illinois University) as well as with community organizations and the union representing the adult educators of City Colleges. Originally from Evanston, IL, she has lived and worked in Costa Rica for over 20 years.

Temporary Spanish Professors: A team of professional Spanish teachers who have extensive experience in teaching Spanish as a second language to U.S. university students provide the Spanish language instruction.


Efrain Masis and Juan Carlos Fernandez, Guards

Gilberth Granados, Messenger and Maintenance. He is part of the administrative team at the Costa Rica Center where he collaborates with daily logistical tasks. He also provides important support for technical needs, such as with the computers, etc.

Laura Moya, Coordinator of Freshman Enrollment. She was born and raised in Costa Rica, but identifies with two different cultures since her mother is from the States and her father is Costa Rican. She attended Lincoln School in San José, Costa Rica for 14 years. She graduated from Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. in May 2010, where she majored in French and minored in English Expository Writing. Upon returning to Costa Rica, she worked in translation prior to LIU Global. She has a strong interest in translation, non-fiction writing, art, and film. Laura is currently pursuing a Master’s Degree in Translation at the Universidad Nacional.

Maria Sandberg, Student Services Coordinator & Field Trip Assistant. Maria was born and raised in Sweden. She holds a B.A in International Relations from Universidad Latina de Costa Rica and a M.A in Human Rights and Peace Education from La Universidad Nacional de Costa Rica. Some of her passions include mediating and photography.

Odali Lara, Responsible for cleaning the center as well as staffs the center on Saturdays. Some of her hobbies include: music, gardening and medicinal plants.

Oscar Ugalde, Administrative Coordinator. Oscar has his PhD in Economics and Business from Universidad Latinoamericana de Ciencia y Tecnología (ULACIT) in Costa Rica, his MA in Development Economics from the Institute of Social Studies Netherlands, and his MBA in Commerce from ULACIT, Costa Rica.