Dr. Tafoya photo
New assistant professor of political science Dr. Gabriela Tafoya was recently one of only 50 scholars invited to present research at the United Nations.
Photo provided by Gabriela Tafoya

Dr. Gabriela Tafoya Joins Political Science Department as Assistant Professor

Ian Snelling

Dr. Gabriela Tafoya, new assistant professor of political science is not only far from home, but she also finds herself at the opposite end of the urban spectrum. She is originally from São Paulo, a beautiful city in Brazil. São Paulo is home to over 12 million citizens, making it the most populous city in Brazil. North Manchester, however, is largely rural, with a population of about six thousand.

Tafoya still has a sense of at home, though. “Manchester is much like my alma mater, SUNY Purchase College,” she said. Just like Manchester, SUNY Purchase College enables its students to develop close intellectual relationships with professors. “I wanted to be part of that same kind of community,” she said.

Upon arriving, Tafoya quickly discovered a home within the faculty. She looks forward to working at a teaching institution and involving her undergraduate students in research. Tafoya graduated from the University of Connecticut in 2019, earning her PhD in political science.

She was recently invited to present her research at the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland. Tafoya is immensely proud of this accomplishment because she was one of 50 scholars to be invited out of over 1,000 candidates. At the conference, she presented her research on the Politics of Conditional Cash Transfer (CCTs) Programs in Latin America. But her most proud accomplishment is, as she said with enjoyment in her voice, “raising three beautiful daughters.”

Tafoya raised these three daughters all with different hobbies and interests, while being married to a firefighter who is currently on the front lines. Her oldest daughter, Melissa, who is 18, just graduated from high school and is currently applying to a variety of colleges while working as an assistant teacher at the Manchester Early Learning Center. Madeline, her middle child at 13 years old, recently started 8th grade and has a knack for soccer. The young teenager also enjoys playing video games on her PC. Her youngest daughter, Maria, is filled with happiness as she plays with Paw Patrol trucks and her tiny stuffed animals. The four-year-old also loves riding her bike around.

When Tafoya was younger, she had a quite different interest than her daughters. “I always enjoyed crafting,” she said. “Growing up, my aunts and grandmother did a lot of sewing to make ends meet and my cousins and I got all the scraps.” Here is where she let her creativity run wild while crafting miscellaneous objects. “Doll clothes, cloth jewelry, headbands, you name it,” she explains.

When she was five or six years old, she developed a short-term interest in crochet. A couple of years ago, this short-term interest made its way back to Tafoya. With crochet hooks at the ready, she accepted crocheting back into her life and has not looked back since. Tafoya enjoys crafting hats, scarves, rugs, pillows and blankets. “But my favorite things to make are crochet toys, little animals, mostly,” she said. This fall, she has one rug, two scarves and a cat on the hook.