María Elena Bessignano provides administrative support to Institute directors.

Prior to joining the Keough School, Bessignano worked for several years as a Program Coordinator for the Inter-University Program for Latino Research and as an Administrative Assistant for the Institute for Latino Studies at Notre Dame. Before coming to Notre Dame, Bessignano worked for seven years as an accounting assistant for Costa Cruise Lines in Mexico City.

Bessignano earned a BS in organizational management from Bethel College. A native of Mexico, she is fluent in Spanish. She also volunteers for the Program Excellence Committee Board at Saint Joseph High School in South Bend.