Faculty Spotlight: Dr. Gabriela Marin Thornton

Dr. Gabriela Marin Thornton Dr. Gabriela Thornton earned her master’s degree and PhD in international studies at the University of Miami, Coral Gables. She joined the Bush School as a lecturer in 2007 and was promoted to senior lecturer in 2011. She teaches classes on international politics in theory and practice, the European Union, NATO and European security, and democratization processes.

“European security is strongly linked to NATO since most EU member states are NATO members at the same time," Thornton says. "With respect to my democratization class, a majority of the newest members of the EU underwent a process of democratization after the fall of the Berlin wall. My class looks at democratization processes in Eastern Europe and elsewhere in the world from a comparative perspective and examines EU and US efforts to promote democracy around the world."

Asked about current trends in her field, Dr. Thornton notes that challenges for the European Union created by the ongoing economic and financial crisis are a major focus of research.

With respect to her teaching philosophy, Thornton says, “Given the fact that the Bush School is a school of public policy, my teaching philosophy builds on my firm belief that our students are best served by seminars that constantly strive to dissolve boundaries between various theories and real events on the ground. Another important part of my teaching philosophy is my belief that learning is an interactive process. Learning does not exclusively belong to students, but to me too. Students learn from me, and I learn from them. My experience at the University of Miami taught me that high levels of interaction between students and professors are indeed conducive to learning.”

Dr. Thornton says that the Capstone projects are an element of the Bush School she particularly values. She worked on several Capstone projects focusing on NATO, Ukraine, and energy resources in the Caucuses; and she notes that her Capstones benefited from collaboration with Ambassador Roman Popadiuk, the director of the Bush Library Foundation.

Dr. Gabriela Marin Thornton is an instructional associate professor of international affairs at the Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University. She received both her MA (international studies, 2002) and PhD (international studies, 2006) from the University of Miami. She teaches classes on international politics in theory and practice, the European Union, NATO and European security, and democratization processes . Dr. Thornton’s work has been published in such peer-reviewed venues as International Politics, European Perspectives in Politics and Society, Oxford Bibliographies, and Republic of Letters Publishing. Her research focuses on international relations, transatlantic security, the European Union, and Romani issues. She has published opinion pieces in The Conversation US, The Washington Post, and The Diplomatic Courier, and has given invited lectures and roundtable presentations in Sweden, Japan, Norway, Netherlands, Germany, Italy, and Romania.

Dr. Thornton represents the Bush School in the Texas A&M Faculty Senate and was named president of Texas A&M University Women’s Faculty Network in the fall of 2015. From April 2007 to December 2007, Dr. Thornton was Faculty Coordinator at the EU Center of Excellence at Texas A&M University. In fall 2012, Dr. Thornton received the Association of Former Students College Teaching Award. In June 2014, she was invited to attend the prestigious Norwegian Nobel Institute Visiting Fellow Program.