Beyond the Classroom : Dr. Flor Madero

ASU professor is humbled to be a part of the Ram Fam

By Aubree Bailey
On February 8, 2018

Photo by Kaitlin Trujillo
Dr. Flor Madero is one of the leading sex trafficing researchers in Texas.

Dr. Flor Madero is among the many members of faculty and staff at ASU who also call the school their alma mater.

"I did my bachelor’s and master’s here at ASU. Then my Ph.D. I got from the University of Texas at Austin in communication studies," Madero said. "I always knew that I would do something in communications, but I figured I would do something more like public relations. I specialized in PR while at ASU, but life took me a different way ,and now I’m a professor."

In between obtaining her multiple degrees, Madero worked for Goodfellow AirForce Base and the state of Texas, and eventually wound up back at ASU.

"I was working at Goodfellow Air Force Base in their employee relations office before moving on to working for the state in the Department of Human Services before coming here as an academic advisor in 2001."

Although Madero calls San Angelo home, her family moved here from Acuna, Mexico around thirty years ago.

"At that time, my dad was working oilfield in this area. It was time for my oldest and only brother to go to college. They found ASU and really liked it, and as they looked to the future, rather than sending the four of us off to college, they thought ‘let’s just move so they can all go to college."’

Madero cherishes her family’s decision and the opportunities she has at ASU: "I find it very humbling because this is coming full circle. My parents moved here because of their belief in education, and they found value at ASU, and now I have the privilege of working here and giving back and helping others with their education."

In addition to teaching, Madero also conducts research.

"I’m doing research on human sex trafficking, particularly here in Texas. It’s such a large problem that a lot of people see as a foreign problem, but it’s my goal to bring more light to what’s happening around us here."

Madero says her research largely involves collecting narratives.

"One of the tools we have in communication for research is narratives, which are stories: people’s stories. This has involved me going to Houston, where I have worked with their human trafficking unit. I have gone undercover on operations with them and interviewed some of the victims on the field as they’re arrested. You get to see both sides: the law enforcement’s side with the efforts they’re making to combat this and the victim’s."

Madero presents her findings at conferences and symposiums.

She was asked by the Commissioner for Texas Health and Human Services to present to the lead district attorneys in Austin.

When she isn’t teaching or presenting, Madero spends time with her spouse and children, who also have ties to ASU. "I met my husband here at ASU; we’ve been together since college, and we have three children. Our oldest is a student here. He just started this summer."

Madero also has several hobbies and interests she enjoys: "I like traveling; I actually do enjoy working out and jogging; and I try to hit concerts as much as possible. I am working on my meditation practice, to be able to be more centered and more in tune with myself. It’s good for balance."

Madero tells students to cherish their time and opportunities here, even when it gets challenging: "Enjoy this moment and enjoy this space. You will never get this time back. I know it gets frustrating, and you get tired, and you feel like college will never end, but it will."

She also adds that succeeding in higher education is more than just obtaining a diploma: "If you come to college and if you do the right things and you check the boxes, you will leave with a degree, but you are not guaranteed an education. An education is intentional."

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