The Catholic University of America

Dr. Maria Sophia Aguirre

Associate Professor, Department of Business and Economics

Dr. Aguirre is an associate professor of Economics in the Department of Business and Economics.  She earned a Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Notre Dame and joined the CUA faculty in 1993. Professor Aguirre's professional background also includes degrees in accounting and banking finance, earned in Argentina. She earned her undergraduate degrees, CPA and MBA in Argentina as well.  Dr. Aguirre was mentored and encouraged by Dr. Ralph McInery, a professor at the University of Notre Dame, Dr. Gary Becker, a professor at the University of Chicago and Nobel Prize winner in Economics, Dr. Amartya Sen, a professor at Harvard University and Nobel Prize winner in Economics, and Dr. Ingrid Merkel, a professor at the Catholic University of America.

Dr. Aguirre's specialization is in international finance and economic development. She has researched and published in the areas of exchange rates and economic integration, as well as on theories of population, resources, and family as it relates to economic development. Her work has been published in numerous Economic journals, and she is the author of Determinants of Economic Growth, Population and the Family: The Case of Guatemala.   Recognizing her contributions to the field, she has received a Citation of Excellence for her paper published in Journal of Economic Studies, 25:6, 1998, ANBAR Electronic Intelligence, 1999 and has been selected for inclusion in Who's Who Among America's Teachers, March 1996 and 2006, Who’s Who in Social Sciences Higher Education, April 2004, and awarded the Magister en Gestion Educativa Award, awarded by the Iberoamericano Counsel.

Dr. Aguirre has participated and lectured in several conferences at both the national and international level.  Since ICPD '94, she has actively participated in UN Conference.  She has also testified in front of Congresses around the world on issues related to population, family and health both nationally and internationally and advised several US Congressmen and other countries' Permanent Missions to the UN and UN Delegates on economic aspects of UN Documents. Dr. Aguirre was a presidential appointee to the US Advisory Commission on Foreign Diplomacy, 2003-2008.

In 1994 Dr. Aguirre helped launch the Program for Academic and Leadership Skills (PALS) in D.C., an inner-city academic program that provides a venue for young women from the area to achieve personal growth and academic excellence.  Today, 97% of its students who otherwise would be at high risk, graduate from high school and go onto college, 75% increase their GPA by one full letter grade,
and 50% increase it by more than one full letter grade.  90% of parents with girls enrolled in the program state that their daughters have become more goal oriented since beginning PALS, 96.7% say communication with their daughters have improved, and 96.8% cite a remarkable improvement in their child’s academic focus.

In 2008, she also helped launch the Foundation for Social and Cultural Advancement (SCA), an institution that partners with local organizations around the world to fund educational programs that enable girls and women to advance their social, cultural, and economic potential within their communities.  In a little over a year, SCA has reached seven countries in Central Europe and Africa, is working with 10 programs and has reached over 1,750 young women.

In her free time, Dr. Aguirre reads, plays tennis, and engages in civil society.