Board Member

Isa Tenesaca

Isa Tenesaca (she/her) is a historian of Spanish American colonial history who specializes in colonial connections between Asia and the Americas, new readings of conquest era primary sources, and indigenous social movements. 

She is a history lecturer at LaGuardia Community College, where she teaches World History, U.S. History and Latin American History and redirects her students’ research gaze towards the Pacific during the colonial period of the Spanish American continent. Asia and Spanish America were linked through the Manila Galleon trading network as early as 1565, establishing the first wave of globalization. She has been awarded the Fulbright-Hays Fellowship in China and the National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Institute. Her work history extends beyond academia, having worked in environments as diverse as the United Nations, Wall Street firms, and cultural non-profits. She holds a B.A. from Hunter College, CUNY and a M.A. from NYU.  

She has also been at the forefront of social movements focusing on changing the structure of power – has been an activist to stop U.S. intervention in Latin America, has worked to reform the U.S. electoral process by increasing the rights of independent voters, and has advocated for innovative cultural after-school educational opportunities for NYC’s youth.

Isa Tenesaca (aka Cecilia Salvatierra) identifies as indigenous Ecuadorian and often prefers to use her mother’s mother’s Kichwa’s surname, Tenesaca. She is a successful survivor of the NYC public school system and therefore also considers herself a native New Yorker. She lives in Jackson Heights, N.Y. and travels widely.

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