Aug. 16, 2021


Andrea Lara-Garcia (May '21) is one of 13 graduating seniors or recent graduates named 2021 James C. Gaither Junior Fellows. The fellows will work as research assistants with Carnegie Endowment for International Peace senior scholars in fields including democracy, foreign policy, technology, nuclear policy, and area studies. An Honors student, Lara-Garcia graduated from the University of Arizona in May 2021 with a degree in Urban and Regional Development and a minor in Latin American Studies.

Andrea initially chose to attend the University of Arizona because she “knew it was so much more than just world-class academis andabundant research opportunities--Tucson is a vibrant place with a rich history and active community, and there is so much to be learned just from living in this place. Arizona is such a special place; enjoy every minute that you have here!”

For Lara-Garcia, wonder means “asking questions, especially if you know there is no easy answer.” This questioning led her to pursue extensive research experiences during her time as a UArizona student and beyond. As an undergraduate, Andrea researched manufactured housing with a team of scholars and researchers under the supervision of Dr. Mark Kear and Dr. Margaret Wilder in the School of Geography, Development and Environment. Her research centered on identifying sources of vulnerability and resilience in manufactured housing communities in Tucson, which are more commonly referred to as mobile homes or trailers. Most recently, the research team has pivoted to investigate the impact of heat on manufactured housing residents, especially given the impact of climate change on the Sonoran Desert. With the support of the University of Arizona’s Undergraduate Research Opportunities Consortium and the AWARDSS program, she also developed an offshoot project that sought to understand the impact of tax lien sales on gentrification and displacement within the city of Tucson.

In addition, Andrea undertook an honors thesis on the narratives surrounding climate change in Guatemala, which was supervised by Dr. Kevin Anchukaitis also of the School of Geography, Development and Environment.

Following her fellowship year with the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Andrea will commence her doctoral studies in Geography at the University of California, Berkeley. Eventually, she hopes to return to Arizona as a scholar doing public-facing research and working alongside many of the community organizations whom she admires.

Andrea would also like to thank and recognize the UArizona mentors who have supported her throughout her academic career: “Moreover, I’ve been lucky to have UA faculty like Dr. Dereka Rushbrook, Dr. Andrew Huerta, Dr. Jessica Braithwaite, Dr. Karna Walter and graduate students like Joanna Sanchez-Avila, Dugan Meyer, Laura McCann, and Danielle Barefoot as sources of wisdom and support!”

For more details about the Gaither Junior Fellowship, including the University of Arizona nominating process, please contact