Dr. Andrea Vargas Cencich

Assistant Professor

Department of Humanities

Dr. Andrea Cencich's academic background is in the areas of education, multiculturalism in law and justice, and human rights violations in Latin America. In regard to the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, she focuses on the relationship between second language acquisition and native language proficiency, as well as the distance between the first language and the target language.


Dr. Cencich also specializes in teaching Spanish for law enforcement officers and other legal and public safety personnel. She teaches this subject matter both as an academic course at PennWest California and also as a professional course to members of the Pennsylvania State Police, local law enforcement agencies and correctional officers.  She has provided pro bono services to non-governmental organizations involving genocide and other international crimes, and she has worked on the development of procedures to assist individuals who seek writs of habeas corpus in state and federal courts on claims of factual innocence. She is a member of the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences, and her published scholarship involves Limited English Proficiency as relates to victims, witnesses, and suspects in the criminal justice system.


Prior to coming to PennWest California, Dr. Cencich taught Spanish at Washington and Jefferson College and headed the Spanish Language program with the Center for Talented Youth Online at Johns Hopkins University. Before that, she taught Art and Spanish language to diplomats and their families while living at The Hague in the Netherlands.

  • B.P.S. (equiv): University of Technology of Chile
  • B.A.: PennWest California
  • Certificate: Forensic Science and Law, Duquesne University School of Law
  • M.S.Ed.: Duquesne University
  • Ph.D.: Aston University, United Kingdom

Email: cencich_a@pennwest.edu

Phone: 724-938-5664

Office: Vulcan Hall 104