Mexico Center Visiting Scholars

The Mexico Center offers opportunities for outstanding scholars from Mexico to research and engage in a public dialogue at Rice University and in Houston over the summer semester, through two distinct programs: The Mexico Center Young Visiting Scholars Program and The Puentes Consortium. The Center also hosts interested scholars during the fall or spring semesters.

If you are interested in applying, the 2018 Mexico Center Visiting Scholars Call for Proposals is now available at


Visiting Scholars Program

The Mexico Center Visiting Scholars Program funds an international academic visit for one professor or doctoral student from a university in Mexico, preferably outside of Mexico City proper, to conduct independent research on key Mexican and/or U.S.-Mexico policy issues at the Baker Institute.

David-Perez-thumbDavid Pérez Esparza is the fall 2017 visiting scholar at the Baker Institute Mexico Center. His research interests include examining diverse dimensions of how to reduce violence and crime in the U.S.-Mexico border region. Pérez is co-author of four books on drug policy, organized crime and police reform. At the Baker Institute, Pérez’s research project will focus on the illegal trafficking of guns from the U.S. to Mexico. Pérez holds a B.A. in international relations and master’s in public administration and public policy from Tecnológico de Monterrey, a master’s in political economy and conflict resolution from the University of Essex and a master’s in security and crime science from University College London. He is currently completing his Ph.D. in security and crime science at University College London.



Lourdes Ampudia Rueda was the summer 2017 Mexico Center Young Visiting Scholar. She is a full-time professor at the Universidad Autónoma de Ciudad Juárez (UACJ), where she is also a member of the Research Group on ​​Regional Studies, Economics, Population and Development. Her research focuses on regional labor markets, urban economic structures, and economic and social policies for development. She has a master's degree in regional and urban economics from the Autonomous University of Coahuila’s Center for Economic and Social Research. She is currently a doctoral candidate in urban studies at the UACJ.



Luis-Arriola-thumb.jpgLuis A. Arriola Vega, Ph.D., was the summer 2016 Mexico Center Visiting Scholar. During the academic year, he works as a researcher within the Migration Studies and Trans-border Processes Academic Group at El Colegio de la Frontera Sur, (ECOSUR/ Campeche). His research interests include diverse dimensions of human mobility, as well as border studies. Arriola’s work at the Mexico Center focused on examining the impact of the Comprehensive Program for the Southern Border (Programa Integral de la Frontera Sur, PIFS), an initiative implemented in 2014 to enforce security while simultaneously protecting in-transit migrants in Mexico, with a particular interest on the mid-term public policy implications of this program for both Mexico and the United States. Research on PIFS is framed within a larger study that looks at the diverse and complex vulnerability issues Central American asylum applicants face during and after the process during their stay in southern Mexico.

Arriola’s dissertation work dealt with the history of a frontier community in northern Guatemala, next to Mexico. He has written about the experience of Central American migrants passing through Mexico’s southern border region, security and violence matters at the Guatemala-Mexico border, return migration from the U.S. to Tabasco and Campeche, and the experience of “multi-mobility” among populations of Guatemalan descent in Campeche. Arriola has done field work among rural populations in Guatemala and Mexico and, to a lesser extent, in the U.S. He teaches graduate-level courses on mobility, migration and border issues. He received his Ph.D. in anthropology from the University of Florida and his M.A. in anthropology from the New School for Social Research.

Baker Institute publication: Mexico's Not-So-Comprehensive Southern Border Plan (08/05/2016)

Javier-Martinez-thumb.jpgJavier Martínez-Romero was the summer 2015 Mexico Center Young Scholar. During the academic year, he teaches graduate seminars in the economics of innovation and technology management at the Universidad Autónoma de Ciudad Juárez (UACJ). Martínez-Romero is a member of a border studies research group at UACJ, for which he analyzes the impacts of public policy on science, technology and innovation on Mexico, with an emphasis on the U.S.-Mexico border. His work has been published in Innovation and Development and the International Journal of Technology and Globalisation.

Martínez-Romero has a Ph.D. in administration with concentration in technology management jointly conferred by Univerité du Québec à Montréal, HEC Montréal, McGill University and Concordia University; an M.Sc. in economics and technology management from Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana; and a bachelor’s degree in economics from Universidad Autónoma de Ciudad Juárez.

Baker Institute publications: 

Technology Transfer and Energy Reform in Mexico (04/28/2015)
Innovation as an Imperative for the Mexican Oil Industry Post Energy Reform (04/03/2017)

Puentes Consortium Visiting Scholars

The Mexico Center also receives scholars through The Puentes Consortium, a binational group of universities from the U.S. and Mexico: the University of the Américas–Puebla; the University of Arizona; the University of Monterrey; Rice University; the University of California, San Diego; and the Tecnológico de Monterrey. These universities fund the exchange of faculty members and Ph.D. students (or equivalent) between the members of the consortium.

If you are interested in applying, the 2018 Puentes Consortium Visiting Scholars Call for Proposals is now available at


 Fall 2016 Visiting Scholar

Camelia-Tigau-thumb.jpgCamelia Tigau, Ph.D., was the fall 2016 visiting scholar at the Baker Institute Mexico Center and a researcher at the Center for Research on North America at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Mexico. She is an expert in skilled migration and Mexican diaspora. She is the author of the books "Riesgos de la fuga de cerebros en México: construcción mediática, posturas gubernamentales y expectativas de los migrantes" (“Risks of Brain Drain in Mexico: Media Construction, Governmental Positions and Migrants’ Expectations”, México: CISAN-UNAM, 2013) and "Diplomacia en la era digital. La ayuda alimentaria como maniobra neoliberal" (“Diplomacy in the Digital Era. Food Aid as a Neoliberal Manoeuver”) (Mexico City: CISAN-UNAM/Cenzontle, 2009). At the Mexico Center, Tigau’s research project will be focused on migrant versus native skilled work in the U.S., specifically Mexican professionals in Texas.

Tigau received her doctorate in political and social sciences (2007) and her master’s in communications (2004) from the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Mexico (UNAM). She has studied a diploma specialization course in international journalism given by the Schools of Journalism of Holland and Denmark (1999), and also did postdoctoral research on scientific diplomacy (2007-2009). 

Baker Institute publication: Skilled Mexican Migrants in Texas: What the Numbers Hide (07/12/17)