Assistant Professor

Office location:

Freiburger Residence Hall


Phone: +1 561-237-7630

Professional profile

Alessandra Rosa was born and raised in Puerto Rico. She graduated with a B.A. from the University of Massachusetts (UMass)-Amherst in Interpersonal and Multicultural Communications, with minors in Psychology and Spanish Literature. Subsequently, she completed a postgraduate degree at the Universidad de Valladolid (UVa), Spain in Economy and Marketing, followed by a Master’s degree at Florida International University (FIU) in Advertising and Public Relations.

As she began her doctoral studies at FIU, she focused her attention on Puerto Rican issues and later joined the Puerto Rican non-profit organization called Mentes Puertorriqueñas en Acción (MPA). In 2011, she was the director of the summer program, Programa de Apoderamiento y Retención de Agentes de Cambio (PARACa). In 2015, she completed her Ph.D. in Sociocultural Anthropology, while also teaching different sociology and anthropology courses. Her area of expertise is in social movements, education, discourses with a focus on student activism and Internet activism. The topic of her dissertation was “Resistance Performances: (re)Constructing Spaces of Resistance and Contention in the 2010-2011 University of Puerto Rico Student Movement”


B.A., University of Massachusetts-Amherst
Postgraduate Degree, Universidad de Valladolid, Spain
M.S., Florida International University
M.A., Florida International University
Ph.D., Florida International University

Teaching philosophy

Alessandra’s teaching, research, and service all illustrate her commitment to diversity and equity. She brings into her classes her multi-disciplinary knowledge of teaching and her personal experiences. Her background reflects the diversity of her skills and is representative of the international focus and plurality of students in the classroom.

Her teaching is guided by the pedagogical principles of developing critical thinking, honing skills for effective and powerful communication, and sustaining intellectual contributions to social engagement and global cultural awareness. She facilitates independent thought by organizing her lectures, activities, and class discussions around a central open-ended question that does not lend itself to an easy answer. By engaging critical thinking in this way, students are compelled to further analyze the themes touched on in class and also their own perspectives, which are reflected in their written assignments. Students quickly develop an acute awareness of and engagement with different types of ideologies, social structures, and cultures.

Along with independent and critical thought, she places a strong emphasis on written and oral communication skills that take into account different student strengths and resources. She encourages her students to develop academic writing and accountability by using “free writing”, creative writing, and journals, which encourages them to be self-directed and provides opportunities for sharing their ideas. Students go on to pursue a wide-range of careers after university, and her pedagogical goals of critical thinking, effective oral and written communication, and strategies for connecting the abstract to the concrete provide a firm foundation for students to understand and engage in the complex world around them.

Teaching specialties

Cultural Anthropology
Gender Studies
Latin America & Caribbean studies

Areas of scholarship

  • Social movements
    • Student activism
    • Internet activism
    • Activist research
    • Strategies of resistance
  • Education
    • Higher education
  • Communications
    • Mass media
    • Social media
    • Discourse
  • Latin America & Caribbean studies
  • Puerto Rican studies
  • Public sphere/spaces
  • National identity
  • Gender studies
    • Women studies
  • Research methods
    • Qualitative methods

Awards and honors

  • “Alex Stepick” Award for Best Dissertation of the Year, Spring 2015
  • Nominated by dissertation committee for the “Worlds Ahead Graduate”, Spring 2015
  • “Women Who Lead Ambassador” from Florida International University, Spring 2015
  • Morris and Anita Broad Research Fellowship Award, 2014-2015
  • Dissertation Year Fellowship (DYF) from Florida International University, Summer & Fall 2014
  • Featured as Distinguished Alumni in “El Bisonte” newspaper, Guaynabo, PR 2007
  • Keynote Speaker at the Commonwealth College Celebration of Excellence, University of Massachusetts-Amherst, MA Spring 2004
  • Honor Roll from the Athletic Council, University of Massachusetts-Amherst, MA Spring 2002
  • Alumni Association “Leaders in the Making” Scholarship, University of Massachusetts-Amherst, MA
  • Member of the Commonwealth College at University of Massachusetts-Amherst, MA Spring 2001-Spring 2004
  • Dean’s List at University of Massachusetts-Amherst, MA Fall 2000 – Spring 2004
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