Your browser is unsupported

We recommend using the latest version of IE11, Edge, Chrome, Firefox or Safari.

Photo of Espinel, Claudia

Claudia Espinel

Research Initiatives Manager, Solidarity Economy Research, Policy & Law Project

Pronouns: she/her


Claudia Espinel is a first-year PhD student in the Department of Criminology, Law, and Justice. As a Latina immigrant from Colombia, Claudia's personal experience has ignited her professional and academic fervor for a world where differences are approached as a catalyst for connection and compassion; where community determination takes center stage in the decision-making process; and where the path towards justice is at the core of every organizational strategy. By translating this vision into queries, Claudia has generated professional opportunities founded on systemic change, collaborative networks, and the establishment of learning communities. Over the past 15 years, she has engaged in diverse settings, encompassing corporate, educational, and nonprofit sectors, focusing on global education, diversity, equity, and inclusion, organizational development, and communication.

Her involvement in the nonprofit sector concentrated on aiding organizations striving to change organizational practices and partnership strategies, placing team well-being and mission success at the forefront. In these contexts, she honed her skills in strategic planning, organizational development, curriculum design for adult learners, coaching, and facilitation. In 2021, she started her role as an external advisor for Justice Cream, an entity within Chicago's solidarity economy ecosystem. Subsequently, in 2022, she joined the core team. Within Justice Cream, Claudia has being part of the teams fostering alternative frameworks for organizational structures and partnership cultivation that prioritize community determination and resource regeneration, transitioning away from the labor and programmatic extractive models inherent in capitalism.

In her PhD journey, Claudia will delve into social change perspectives that address the role of cultural and institutional violence in organizational frameworks, as well as the function organizations assume in environments already tainted by inequity and injustice. Employing an adult development approach, Claudia seeks to explore avenues to shift from extractive frameworks to alternative narratives and practices, constructing social agreements for labor and production that nurture and promote the complete growth of humans and nature.