Judith Mansilla

Degree: Ph.D. in History

College/School: Steven J. Green School of International and Public Affairs

Judith Mansilla’s humble beginnings in Lima, Peru, gave no indication that she would become the first woman in her family to achieve a doctorate  – or go on to produce groundbreaking research on the devastating earthquake that shook her hometown in the late 1600s.

But for Judith, whose father died when she was two, no obstacle would prevent her from becoming a tenacious historical researcher who, in addition to finishing her doctorate in half the time of most Ph.D. students in history, also earned her U.S. citizenship while pursuing her studies.

As an undergraduate in Peru, she spent hours poring over difficult 16th and 17th century handwritten manuscripts. She went on to complete her master’s in history and entered FIU’s Ph.D. program in 2012.

Since then, Judith has published six articles and book chapters in a field where few doctoral candidates complete even one before graduating. She has presented her research at 16 international conferences, from Argentina to Germany, and amassed a number of awards and fellowships, including the prestigious History Project Research Award from Harvard University’s Joint Center for History and Economics.

After graduation, Judith will continue her research as a post-doctoral fellow in the Department of History. She sees her greatest accomplishments as working hard, demonstrating her abilities and achieving success in her program.