Micaela Smith, PhD is an experienced leader in non-profit and academic program management. Areas of expertise include securing multi-million grant awards and developing research programs that leverage academic, community, and international partnerships to identify sustainable interventions. Efforts include strengthening accessible healthcare for children in the border region, improving Mexico’s rule of law initiatives, and advancing interdisciplinary research in the humanities.

After completing her PhD, Micaela began applying her research and writing skills to grant research and reporting for the Justice in Mexico program at the University of San Diego. She was recruited to manage a $2.35M litigation skill-building program for law faculty and students at the National Autonomous University of Mexico and improve the long-term functioning of Mexico’s criminal justice system. Micaela helped build the organization’s capacity to manage this major program, implemented rigorous impact evaluation measures for international workshops, conferences, and study tours, and served as point of contact, reporting to US Department of State.

At Foundation for the Children of the Californias, Micaela worked with Hospital Infantil de las Californias, a children’s hospital in Tijuana, to secure major gifts and help ensure all patients are provided medical care, regardless of ability to pay. In addition, she led impact reporting and fundraising initiatives, securing over $300,000 in philanthropic gifts to the Hospital.  Micaela also collaborated with binational community partners to improve access to pediatric medical services for marginalized communities within the San Diego-Tijuana border region.

Micaela received her Ph.D. (2012) in American Studies and Ethnicity from the University of Southern California. Her research interests include United States and Latin American structural inequality, race, and social movements.  Micaela completed her dissertation as an 18-month Mellon Dissertation Fellow at the University of the Witwatersrand (Johannesburg, South Africa). She has taught at Northwestern University, the University of Illinois at Chicago, and the University of Southern California.


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