Dr. Victoria M. DeFrancesco Soto

Dr. Victoria M. DeFrancesco Soto

Victoria is a political scientist that got the political nerd bug in middle school student council. Today she hangs her hat at the LBJ School of Public Affairs and engages in political wonkiness on MSNBC, NBCNews.com, and Telemundo among others.

Victoria believes the classroom stretches far beyond campus. She is passionate about translating social science research into a more relatable and engaging form for a wide variety of audiences. Victoria brings an interdisciplinary lens to the understanding of American politics and policy. She makes sense of the policies and people that shape our fascinating yet frequently fascinating political landscape.

Victoria’s areas of expertise include immigration, Latinos, women and politics, political psychology, and campaigns and elections. In looking at immigration, she takes a broad historical perspective to understand current policy debates. When looking at diverse groups within the electorate, Victoria focuses on how women, Latinos, and other minorities influence policies. Underlying all of her policy interests and research agenda is the intersection between campaigns, elections, and policies—in other words how the political horse race shapes every aspect of our day-to-day life through policy outputs.

Victoria is a contributor to MSNBC and NBCNews.com as well as a regular political analyst for Telemundo. She has previously provided on-air analysis for CNN, Fox, PBS, Univision, NPR and has appeared on HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher. Most recently Victoria was a featured expert in the PBS documentary of the Civil Rights Trailblazer, Willie Velasquez in, Your Vote is Your Voice. Victoria is also published in both academic and popular outlets such as POLITICO, Talking Points Memo, and Perspectives on Politics.

Victoria is a Lecturer at the University of Texas’ LBJ School of Public Affairs where she was selected as one of the University’s Game Changing faculty. She is also a faculty affiliate of the Department of Mexican-American and Latino Studies and the Center for Mexican American Studies. Named one of the top 12 scholars in the country by Diverse magazine Victoria previously taught at Northwestern University and Rutgers. Victoria holds an honorary Doctoral degree from Northeastern Illinois University where she was privileged to serve as commencement speaker.

Beyond her classroom and media analysis work, Victoria strives to further bridge academic insights with on-the-ground realities through her public speaking. Some of her featured speaking engagements include Harvard’s Latino Law, Policy, and Business Conference, Chicago’s Standard Club Lecture Series, the Board of Hispanic Caucus Chairs, and the U.S. State Department’s Public Diplomacy Program where Victoria spoke across the United Kingdom about the American electoral system.

Victoria received her Ph.D. from Duke University and did her undergrad work at the University of Arizona. She’s a diehard Arizona Wildcats basketball fan and when she’s not political sciencing Victoria is hanging out with her family in beautiful Austin, Texas and perfecting her green chile and cheese tamale recipe.