Professor Greta Friedemann-Sánchez grew up in Colombia, where her father was an artist and her mother an anthropologist. They also owned a small hobby farm about two hours north of Bogotá. Friedemann-Sánchez followed in her mother’s footsteps, attending the Universidad de los Andes to study anthropology. She later came to the University of Minnesota on a MacArthur fellowship through the Interdisciplinary Center for the Study of Global Change (ICGC). She earned a masters in public affairs and later a Ph.D. in anthropology. And, like so many who come to Minnesota from elsewhere, she stayed.
Now, Friedemann-Sánchez holds a faculty appointment in the Humphrey School of Public Affairs, and is affiliate faculty in the ICGC, as well as the Department of Gender, Women and Sexuality Studies. She has two research projects currently underway, one evaluating the implementation of Colombia’s intimate partner violence laws, and the other focusing on the health and financial outcomes of parents of children with Type I diabetes. She has published extensively and participated in numerous other scholarly activities. Friedemann-Sánchez is highly regarded for her teaching as well, having received the Council of Graduate Students’ Outstanding Faculty Award and the Humphrey School’s Instructor of the Year Award.
In addition to her research and teaching activities, Friedemann-Sánchez served on the Faculty Senate from 2013-2015, and is now the vice chair of the Faculty Consultative Committee (FCC), the Faculty Senate’s steering body. “When issues come up,” she says, “I can’t stay in my office. I feel a commitment and a responsibility towards my colleagues, students, and the institution, as well as to the state of Minnesota and to the public good.” Loyalty has always been a driving force in her life, she adds; she cares about the University and feels compelled to give back. During her time in the Faculty Senate, Friedemann-Sánchez contributed to conversations about the Institutional Review Board (IRB) and informed consent, which were partly responsible for new IRB procedures regarding patients with fluctuating capacity to give consent. In the FCC, she has enjoyed working on initiatives to improve student mental health and reduce sexual misconduct.
Outside of her professional life, Friedemann-Sánchez enjoys cooking and gardening (in lieu of grass at her home, she has an extensive perennial garden), and knitting. She uses only wool yarn, and still has all of the clothing she has knit for herself. She’s been knitting since she was a child in Colombia, a skill that lends itself quite well to her current domicile. “Minnesota is a great place to live for a knitter,” she laughs.
Greta Friedemann-Sánchez is an associate professor in the Humphrey School of Public Affairs.