bergadDr. Laird W. Bergad
Executive Director

Dr. Laird Bergad is a Distinguished Professor in the PhD program in History at the Graduate Center and the Department of Latin American and Puerto Rican Studies at Lehman College of the City University of New York. He is the founder and Executive Director of CLACLS. His previously published books include Coffee and the Growth of Agrarian Capitalism in Nineteenth-Century Puerto Rico; Cuban Rural Society in the Nineteenth Century: The Social and Economic History of Monoculture in Matanzas; The Cuban Slave Market, 1790-1880; The Demographic and Economic History of Slavery in Minas Gerais, Brazil, 1720-1888; The Comparative Histories of Slavery in Brazil, Cuba, and the United States; and Hispanics in the United States: A Demographic, Social, and Economic History, 1980-2005. Laird is fluent in Portuguese, Spanish and English.
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Phone: 212-817-8465

TeresitaLevyDr. Teresita Levy
Associate Director

Dr. Teresita Levy is an Associate Professor at Lehman College, Department of Latin American, Latino and Puerto Rican Studies, and the Associate Director at CLACLS. Teresita has expertise in agrarian and economic history in the Spanish Caribbean, with a particular focus on the tobacco economy in Puerto Rico. Her book, Puerto Ricans in the Empire: Tobacco Growers and U.S. Colonialism, was published by Rutgers University Press in 2014. Teresita has extensive experience conducting qualitative research in Spanish and English, including moderating focus groups and in-depth interviews, and in-home visits. Teresita is fluent in Spanish and English.

Phone: 212 – 817 – 8441

lawrenceLawrence Capello
Director of Quantitative Research

Lawrence Cappello is the Director of Quantitative Research at CLACLS, and a lecturer of United States history at CUNY Queens College. He received his PhD from the CUNY Graduate Center in 2016.  His work centers on social, cultural, and political history, particularly the history of privacy in the United States.

Phone: 212 – 817 – 8466
E-Mail: lcapello@gc.cuny.ed



karen_websiteKaren Okigbo
Administrative Director

Karen Okigbo is a Research Associate at CLACLS. She is also a Ph.D. Candidate in the Sociology Program at the Graduate Center, CUNY. At CLACLS, Karen has authored reports on topics ranging from childhood poverty trends in New York City to the impact of Latino citizenship status. Her academic research focuses on immigration, race, ethnicity, and education. Karen has a B.A. in Politics from Princeton University. She also holds an M.S. in Sociology from North Dakota State University as well as an M.S. in Social Policy from the University of Pennsylvania.

Phone: 212 – 817 – 8434


sebastianSebastián Villamizar-Santamaría
Research Associate, Website Developer

Sebastián Villamizar-Santamaría is a PhD student in Sociology at the CUNY Graduate Center. He holds degrees in sociology and geography from institutions in his native Colombia. He is interested in spatial inequalities in cities—segregation, gentrification and transport—as well as in environmental and food issues. He joined CLACLS in the Fall of 2015, and has written reports on childhood poverty trends in the United States as well as on obesity and inequality.

Phone: 212 – 817 – 8438


rafael_staffRafael Portela
Research Associate

Rafael Portela did a Master’s Thesis on the history of the fishermen on the nineteenth century Bahia and is currently a PhD candidate in the History Program at the Graduate Center, CUNY. His academic research focuses on the elites and the economic crisis in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries in Latin America.

Phone: 212 – 817 – 8466