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One of 10 Latinx professors at Elon, Vanessa Bravo is a member of a population that’s often underrepresented in academia. Bravo, associate professor and department chair of strategic communications, is an impassioned member of the Latinx community on campus.

Bravo recently released her first book, “Latin American Diasporas in Public Diplomacy,” in July 2021, along with co-author Maria De Moya. According to publisher Palgrave Macmillan, the book “explains and illustrates, through case studies, the different strategic roles that diaspora groups play in modern public diplomacy efforts.”

Though Bravo has written articles in the past that have undergone rigorous peer review, this is her first time writing a book. 

Bravo and De Moya co-wrote the introduction and conclusion as well as a chapter about the Cuban diaspora. Bravo wrote about diasporas from El Salvador and Colombia on her own.

“We have nine other external chapters,” Bravo said. “They’re from universities around the country — around the world, really. There are authors from Mexico, Argentina, Chile, Venezuela, and Brazil along with the United States, of course.”

Junior sociology major Brian Aimerich identifies as Latinx and says that in his experience, Elon does try to create a welcoming environment for Latinx students. Aimerich and Bravo have both expressed gratitude for the efforts that the university has made, but they also said there is room for improvement.

“The surrounding area is not super welcoming, and the demographics at Elon don’t help. The university’s programs with El Centro are helpful, but it’s uncommon that they’re promoted to all students. As much as Elon is trying to help diversity, there’s more they could be doing,” Aimerich said.

Bravo is one of 10 Latinx professors at Elon, who account for only 2% of the teaching faculty population. 

“We are very few, but we are present,” Bravo said. “The Latinx community at Elon is very engaged, is very involved, and is very proud to be part of this university, but I think the university needs to keep working hard in terms of representation.” 

The United States average is disputed, but 2021 studies from the National Center for Education Statistics suggest that roughly 9% of professors nationwide identify as Latinx, with a third of those professors identifying as female.

“We need to do better in the long term, but especially in the short term we need to be doing better. The demographics in our country are changing, and my community is still having babies even though some communities are not doing so,” Bravo said.

Bravo believes that the ideal course of action is to attract more Latinx students, but that can’t be done without more representation. 

“The Latinx community at Elon is very tight and active, but I think we can still do a better job with faculty and staff,” Bravo said. “Elon does a good job with this, but I do not think the numbers are where they should be.”