Click on a staff member's name below to read their profile.
Director, AU Madrid Center
Francisco (Paco) Gómez Santiago studied Art History at the Complutense University of Madrid. He completed his graduate studies in Paris. His academic interest and focus is in Medieval Art.
He started his collaboration with American University's Madrid Program in 1999 as a professor. Since that year, he has taught classes for the AU Madrid program in different areas including Art History, History, Security Issues, Spanish Culture, and Mediterranean Cultures. Some of his most successful classes have been about the paintings within the Prado Museum located in Madrid.
He also taught for other universities with programs in Madrid such as the University of Southern California, College for International Studies in Madrid, Endicott College, John Carroll University, University of Kent, and the University of Alcalá de Henares.
One of his passions is to travel and in the last 15 years he has traversed Spain and the Mediterranean region with our AU Abroad students, visiting the most incredible places like Rome, Florence, Athens, Barcelona, Granada, and Istanbul.
Paco has been the Director of the AU Center in Madrid since January 2014.
Program Coordinator, AU Madrid Center
Elena Domínguez Lugo began working with the AU Madrid Programs in August 2008. Her job as Program Coordinator entails helping with the general administration of the program as well as coordinating housing for students in Madrid. In addition to this role, she also teaches Spanish classes.
Elena studied Philosophy while she was in college. One of her favorite philosophic quotes is from Socrates: "I know that I know nothing." She lived for a short period of time in both Dublin, Ireland and Casablanca, Morocco. After a few years working as a high school philosophy teacher and training coordinator at several companies in Madrid, she obtained a Specialist Certificate in Teaching Spanish to Foreigners and a Postgraduate degree in Policies and Cultural Management Studies at the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya. Her next challenges are moving forward with her interests and studies in anthropology and fashion design.
One of her great passions is travel and learning about new cultures and new people. Working at the AU Madrid Center is perfect for that. She enjoys meeting new people and experiencing new cultures with each new group of students who arrive in Madrid every six months.
Professor and Social Media Manager, AU Madrid Center
Enrique Menéndez has been involved with AU Madrid since 2008 in several capacities. He teaches Spanish Language, and Spanish-Latin American Literature & Cinema. He also guides the seminar's walking tours and is a Community Manager. He studied Spanish and Literary Theory and Comparative Literature at Universidad Complutense de Madrid. He is currently studying Philosophy at Universidad Autónoma de Madrid.
Enrique's professional career has mainly revolved around literature, Spanish as a foreign language, and social issues. He is a board member and head of literacy programs at ASILIM, an NGO focused on the linguistic integration of migrants and refugees in Madrid. He has been assistant editor of CAST's online edition of El Lazarillo de Tormes. He has recently worked as a member of the Complutense team at the LUCIDE project, an international EU-funded project aimed at the study of multilingualism in urban communities.
Passionate about arts, humanities and science, Enrique believes that, in a world where knowledge grows exponentially and divergently, one of the challenges of the century will be making meaningful sense of it. Experiencing first-hand how other peoples live is, therefore, more necessary than ever in becoming active and self-aware citizens. Enrique spent time in Reykjavik, Iceland, as student and assistant to the Department of Spanish and Romance Languages. An experience that, today, he still rejoices in through the eyes of the students that join the AU Madrid programs.
Professor, AU Madrid Center
Javier holds a BA in Sociology from the Universidad Complutense of Madrid, a MA in Social Sciences from Juan March Institute of Madrid, an MSc in Social Policy and Planning from the London School of Economics, and a PhD in Political Science from the Universidad Autónoma of Madrid. His main areas of interest are centered in the comparative analysis of public policies within the European region, with a special focus in the study of immigration, welfare regimes, healthcare, and urban policies.
Javier teaches the Mediterranean Seminar in the Fall together with Paco, and a course on immigration in Spain in the Spring semester.
Professor, AU Madrid Center
Prof. Espinosa earned a BA in Art History and an MA in Contemporary Art History at the Universidad Complutense of Madrid. She has taught at the undergraduate level at American University, Syracuse University, and USAC (University Study Abroad Consortium) since 2005. For American University she teaches art history courses, Mediterranean Art in the fall semester and Art History in spring.
Assistant Program Coordinator, AU Madrid Center
Azahara joined the AU Madrid Programs as a Spanish teacher in 2013 and currently works as an assistant coordinator on general administration of programs, trips and cultural activities. She has a degree in Pedagogy and a Specialist Certificate in Teaching Spanish to Foreigners from Universidad Complutense de Madrid. Recently, she finished a degree in Primary Education at the International University of La Rioja.
In her free time, Azahara continues her commitment to education by working with several NGOs aimed at helping socially disadvantaged primary and secondary school students. She also finds time for her other passions: music, literature and traveling; which in her opinion, are aesthetic and experiential paths towards the acquisition of a broader sensitivity, a wiser social perspective and a deeper self-awareness.
Assistant Director, AU Abroad
Brita works in the AU Abroad office on AU's campus in DC and she is one of the advisors for students before, during, and after their study abroad experiences in Spain. She manages the stateside operations of the AU Madrid program.
Brita's first international experience was during her junior year of high school when she traveled to Finland as a Rotary foreign exchange student. At the ripe age of 16, she spent a full year attending a Finnish high school and living with Finnish homestay families. She continued her international pursuit at American University and earned a BA in Spanish Language and Latin American Studies in 2003. During college she spend two semesters abroad in Spain and Chile. Her part-time work during her senior year in the AU Abroad office further sparked her interest in international education. Brita joined AU Abroad as a Study Abroad Advisor in July of 2003, completed her master's in International Education at AU in December of 2008, and become Assistant Director in September 2014. Since her Fall 2001 semester abroad in Madrid, Brita has enthusiastically returned to Spain multiple times where she loves to explore new areas of the city and eat delicious Spanish cuisine.
Study Abroad Advisor
Mathew Stifter is one of the study abroad advisors for the AU Abroad Center in Madrid, Spain. He earned his MA in International Training and Education from American University in 2018. Matthew also attended AU’s School of International Service and graduated with his BA in International Studies. As an undergraduate student, Matthew studied abroad in Berlin, Germany. Studying abroad not only improved his German language ability, but also allowed him to achieve new insights into who he was and how he related to the world. He can be your resource for LGBTQ life in Madrid, the quirkiness of language in Brussels, or where to visit the giraffes near Nairobi!