Meet Our Researchers: Andrea Martires Abelenda

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Andrea was born and raised in Uruguay, South America, where she lived until she started college in the USA. She has a Master’s degree in International Studies from the University of Denver, with a field in International Political Economy and a specialization in Conflict & Development. She also has a certificate in International Law and Human Rights from the Sturm College of Law. During her time at DU she worked at the Internationalization Office as an International Student Administrative Assistant, as a Research Assistant at the Human Trafficking Center, and as a Spanish Language Tutor at the Center for World Languages and Cultures.

Prior to starting graduate school, she furthered her education in Switzerland for 6 months and obtained her Bachelor of Science degree in Kansas with a dual major in Sociology and Psychology, a concentration in Criminal Justice, and a minor in International Studies. She has lived and studied in 3 different continents, speaks 5 languages, and has travelled to more than 25 countries. Some of her professional experiences include interning for the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives, working at Cessna Aircraft Company, volunteering with the Red Cross in Disaster Relief, interning with the United Nations, and working for an international company that helps youth around the globe to come to the U.S. to study. In her free time, she loves to dance, exercise, travel, and meet people from different cultures.

Andrea became involved with the fight against Wage Theft in the Spring of 2017 as part of her Qualitative Research Methodologies class with Professor Galemba – time when she conducted a research project on the subject and volunteered (helping with wage theft cases) with the Direct Action Team (DAT) at El Centro Humanitario. Her involvement with DAT, as part of the research she carried, led her to become involved in the finalization of the DU Just Wages Project. She currently helps as a Surveyor of day laborers at street corners, as a Know Your Rights Advocate, and as a Research Assistant to the overall project.

She is very grateful for this eye-opening and humbling experience, and hopes that her contributions to the project have tangible positive results for the immigrant and day laborer community that experiences wage theft not only in Denver, but also across the country and globe.


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