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History Student Honored as Real Triumphs Graduate

A history scholar and performing artist, Claudia Suarez deeply appreciates how the arts reflect and are impacted by society. Drawing upon her personal experience as a ballet dancer who sought political asylum at 16 in the U.S. from her native Venezuela, she is conducting research on the use of art and artists by governments, particularly repressive ones, to fulfill their needs.

After high school, Claudia pursued dance full time while studying at Broward College, where she was awarded an AA degree. She transferred to FIU, entered the History BA/MA program after one semester and worked as a history writing tutor. All the while, she continued to dance, teach dance and work for arts-related organizations. At FIU, Claudia’s intelligence, dedication, and professionalism quickly became apparent.

Claudia has been lauded by faculty as an extremely strong historian with the traditional strengths of a scholar and deep introspection that draws from her experiences as an asylum seeker and dancer. Most recently, she wrote and presented her work on the Soviet Union’s ballet dancers who defected to the West, exploring how Soviet and western dance companies met the needs of the dancers as well as what the dancers meant to the country’s image abroad. She will continue this research when she pursues her Ph.D. in the future.

Todd Ellenberg
Assistant Director of Communications and Marketing

Steven J. Green School of International & Public Affairs

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