Dr. Victoria M. DeFrancesco Soto

Dr. Victoria M. DeFrancesco Soto

Victoria is the Assistant Dean of Civic Engagement at the Lyndon Baines Johnson School of Public Affairs at The University of Texas where she was selected as one of the University’s Game Changing faculty. Named one of the top 12 scholars in the country by Diverse magazine Victoria previously taught at Northwestern University and Rutgers and received her Ph.D. in political science from Duke University where she was a National Science Foundation fellow.

Victoria’s social scientific areas of expertise include immigration, Latinos, women, racial and ethnic minority politics, as well as political psychology.  Underlying all of her research interests is the applicability of high-quality, rigorous research to on-the-ground policy realities.

In her role as Assistant Dean of Civic Engagement Victoria leads efforts to design and implement opportunities for faculty, students and community partners to participate in high-quality civic engagement projects.  In this position Victoria oversees the cultivation of an enriching and dynamic environment that bridges communities and further integrates the policy world with the classroom.

Victoria serves as the Chief Diversity Officer for the LBJ School where she works closely with the University’s leadership to cultivate and expand diversity, equity, and inclusion.  She also serves on the executive committee of the University of Texas’ Center for Mexican American Studies and chairs the campus climate committee for the Provost’s Council on LGBTQ+AEI

Victoria is a contributor to MSNBC and NBCNews.com as well as a 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.  Victoria is also published in both academic and popular outlets such as The Hill, POLITICO and Talking Points Memo.  Through these different outlets, Victoria translates social science research into a more relatable form of information for a wide variety of audiences.

Victoria is passionate about applying her expertise to dynamic “real world” issues outside of the academic setting working with professional organizations, businesses, and advocacy organizations.  Beyond the classroom Victoria is an active public speaker. Some of her featured speaking engagements include Harvard’s Latino Law, Policy, and Business Conference, the U.S. State Department’s Public Diplomacy Program, the YWCA National Conference, and Chicago’s Standard Club Lecture Series.

Victoria is a native of Southern Arizona and is a diehard Arizona Wildcats basketball fan. She is of Italian-Jewish-Mexican heritage and lives in beautiful Austin, Texas with her husband Neftali Garcia and their children.  To learn more about Victoria or contact her visit DrVMDS.com.