Serena Cosgrove

Board member

Serena Cosgrove is a Sociologist committed to the inclusion, participation, and leadership of people on the margins of society. She is a Latin Americanist with a focus on Central America.

Serena lived in Nicaragua, El Salvador, and Guatemala in the 1980s carrying out human rights monitoring and peace education. In the 1990s, Serena received her master’s degree in Social Anthropology and PhD in Sociology from Northeastern University, where she studied the impact of microcredit for marketwomen in the public markets of El Salvador.

In the early 2000s, Serena ran the Knowledge Management program at the AVINA Foundation supporting civil society and private sector leaders committed to the sustainable development of Latin America. Presently, Serena teaches International Studies at Seattle University; she also coordinates SU’s Central America Initiative and is the director of the Latin American & Latinx Studies program there.

Serena’s 2022 books, written and edited with other Central Americanist scholars, include Imagining Central America: Short Histories and Higher Education, State Repression, and Neoliberal Reform in Nicaragua: Reflections from a University under Fire. In 2021, Serena’s co-authored ethnography, Surviving the Americas: Garifuna Persistence from Nicaragua to New York City, was published. Serena is also the author of Leadership from the Margins: Women and Civil Society Organizations in Argentina, Chile, and El Salvador (2010) and the co-author of Understanding Global Poverty: Causes, Solutions, and Capabilities (2017 and 2021).