Justice in Mexico's Staff

Meet our team

Committed to excellence in research, impartial analysis, and professional quality of service, the expert staff of Justice in Mexico benefits from extensive training in the fields of academia, law, and public policy. Our team is bi-lingual and has over two decades of experience working in Mexico and the U.S.-Mexico border region. Based at the University of San Diego, we also draw tremendous support from our academic colleagues, student interns, and volunteers who contribute to the work of building Justice in Mexico.

Dr. David Shirk


Dr. Shirk is Director of Justice in Mexico, Associate Professor and Director of the M.A. program in Political Science and International Relations at the University of San Diego. He is also a Global Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars Mexico Institute. Dr. Shirk conducts research and publishes on topics related to Mexican politics and U-S.-Mexican relations. He frequently serves as policy advisor, consultant, and expert witness on matters concerning crime and violence, judicial reform, and human rights issues in Mexico. In 2016, Dr. Shirk received USD's prestigious International Impact Award for his contributions to USD’s international education goals to promote global education and understanding.

Janice Deaton

Training Coordinator

Ms. Deaton has served as Training Director for Justice in Mexico since 2013. She has previously worked to advance oral advocacy skills and advanced litigation techniques in Mexico and other Latin American countries with various organizations, including the National Institute for Trial Advocacy and Acceso Capacitación (Cal Western School of Law) since 2006. In addition to her work with Justice in Mexico, Ms. Deaton works in private practice as a criminal defense attorney, handling cases including immigration violations and narcotics trafficking. In 2016, Janice Deaton received the distinguished Author E. Hughes Career Achievement Award from the Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies for her exceptional legal representation and advocacy for the underserved communities within the region.

Laura Calderón

Program Director

Laura Calderón is Program Director for Justice in Mexico and also responsible for maintaining the Memoria database - a database that seeks to identify, report and geolocate victims of violence and organized crime in Mexico. She received her B.A. in International Relations from the University of San Diego (2015) and her M.A. program in International Relations at the same university in 2018. Her research focuses in political violence and organized crime violence in Mexico.

Ashley Ahrens-Víquez

Outreach Coordinator

Ashley Ahrens-Víquez graduated from the University of San Diego in 2017 with a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations. As Outreach Coordinator, Ashley is responsible for media outreach, event coordination, and reporting. She is especially fond of creating graphics and video content for Justice in Mexico's various projects and editing the blog posts for the Justice in Mexico Monitor. She is passionate about international human rights and U.S.-Latin American foreign policy.

Mauricio Villaseñor Herrera

Operations Coordinator

Mauricio Villaseñor Herrera graduated from the University of California, San Diego in 2015 with a Bachelors of Arts in International Studies and Italian Studies. As an intern for the Justice in Mexico during Fall 2016, he was responsible for reporting on the current public security situation in Michoacán. Focusing on arrests, organized crime, public security, and politics, he gained a special interest in social justice; on a local and international level. Mauricio hopes to further explore this field at the graduate level.

Vivian Mateos Zúñiga

Program Associate for Outreach and Promotion

Vivian Mateos Zúñiga currently serves as the Program Associate for Outreach and Promotion at Justice in Mexico. Her current research seeks to understand patterns of illicit cross-border drug flows between the United States and Mexico. Her findings have been presented at several conferences, including the Western Social Science Association and the International Studies Association-West Conference. Vivian graduated magna cum laude with her Bachelor's degree in Political Science and a minor in Latin American Studies from the University of San Diego, where she was a recipient of the Faculty Award for Outstanding Achievement in Political Science and the Excellence in Latin American Studies Award.

Kassandra Solis-Corrales

Program Assistant for Operations and Transactions

Alessandra Brizuela

Spring 2023 Intern

Alessandra Brizuela is a third year student at the University of San Diego majoring in International Relations with a minor in Environmental Studies and Policy.