Top 100 Women of Impact: Dr. Victoria DeFrancesco Soto

Dr. Victoria DeFrancesco Soto

Dean, Clinton School of Public Service

About me: I am the dean of the Clinton School of Public Service at the University of Arkansas and a political analyst for MSNBC, NBC News and Telemundo. I am the first Latina dean at a presidential institution and was named one of the top 12 scholars in the country by Diverse magazine. I previously taught at Northwestern University and Rutgers and received my Ph.D. in political science from Duke University. 

An award-winning professor, I am deeply passionate about the intersection of curricular and community-based learning and cultivating dynamic classroom environments that are responsive to our real-world context. 

I am of Italian-Jewish-Mexican heritage and am excited to call The Natural State home together with my husband Neftali Garcia and our children.

Lives/Works in: Little Rock

Best Career Advice: Ask for what you want. Don’t beat around the bush, don’t assume, don’t think “it” will eventually happen. If we don’t make clear what we want to ourselves and others, then we won’t get it. Make the ask.

Call to Action: Serve! Everyone can be a public service leader, regardless of what sector or industry you’re in. We often associate public service with elected officials or folks in nonprofits. But in addition to these roles, anyone can bring a public service lens — whether that’s in business, medicine, the arts, you name it. There is an opportunity to bring your skills and talent to a wider community. Find what that public service lens is for you.

What Keeps Me Motivated: My passion for educating the next generation of leaders. There will always be problems and issues for societies and communities to face, but if we train and educate our next generation, we will always be able to find the solution and not just survive, but thrive.

A Women’s Foundation of Arkansas Initiative

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