University at Albany

Laura V. González-Murphy, Ph.D. ’09 Appointed Director of the NYS Office for New Americans

Laura V. González-Murphy

Rockefeller College alumna Dr. Laura Valeria González-Murphy (Ph.D. ’09) has been appointed director of the New York State Office for New Americans (ONA). In this capacity, Dr. González-Murphy oversees the operation of ONA’s 26 Opportunity Centers across New York State. In its first three years of operation, ONA — established by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo in order to assist newcomers to New York State — has served approximately 80,000 individuals.

“I hope to be able to expand accessibility of our services to all New Americans residing in New York State. By marshaling our state’s resources we can assist New Yorkers, free of charge, to acquire the essential tools they need to become full participants in the civic and economic life of their new home,“ says González-Murphy.

Through a network of neighborhood-based opportunity centers across the state, ONA provides access to English-for-Speakers-of-Other-Languages (ESOL) training, prepares New Americans for the naturalization process, and connects them to business resources to harness their entrepreneurial spirit. “We also work to maximize the number of young people receiving deferred action for childhood arrivals (DACA), reduce exploitation of New Americans by scammers and con artists, and strengthen the connections between New Americans and their communities through civic engagement and other opportunities,” explains the new director. "Since its inception, the ONA team, which is formed by a group of very diligent and committed individuals, has helped solidify ONA as a strong example of state and community partnerships in the provision of services. With this in mind, being the new ONA director is not only a great honor but also a significant responsibility, as the successful provision of our programs can have a significant impact in the lives of thousands of New Americans, who not only have faced difficult times coming to this country, but who also are continuously challenged as they try to improve their lives and that of their children,” adds González-Murphy.

Prior to being named director of ONA, Dr. González-Murphy was an Empire State Fellow at the New York State Department of State where she assisted in the program administration of ONA, helped promote the governor’s anti-human trafficking campaign, and served as the department’s language access coordinator. She has consulted on immigration policy issues for numerous organizations, including the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C. and the Mexican Congress. She was also a research assistant professor at Rockefeller College where she has taught courses on foreign policy, immigration, human rights, and Latin American politics. At Rockefeller, Dr. González-Murphy served as assistant director of The International Context of Immigration: U.S., Mexico, and Beyond, a project which examined the politics of changing immigration policies.

Previously, Laura González-Murphy worked in the administration of Governor Mario M. Cuomo in the New York State Office of Rural Affairs; she frequently served as chair for the Governor’s Coordinating Committee on Farm Worker Services. 

A member of Phi Beta Kappa, Dr. González-Murphy earned her Ph.D. in Comparative Politics and International Relations from the University at Albany. She holds an M.S. in Urban Planning and Environmental Studies from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and a B.S. in Political Science from Elmira College. She is the author of the book Protecting Immigrant Rights in Mexico: Understanding the State-Civil Society Nexus, recently re-published by Routledge (June 2015) due to its success.

Article originally published on November 6, 2015
Contact: Mary Hunt at (518) 442-5264