United States Air Force Academy

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Dr. Sara Castro

Assistant Professor of History

Department of History

Official Photo of Dr. Sara Castro
Contact Information

(719) 333-0865



Sara Bush Castro joined the History Department at the U.S. Air Force Academy as an assistant professor in 2019. She teaches global and East Asian History. Prior to coming to USAFA, Dr. Castro served as a teaching assistant professor in the Curriculum on Peace, War, and Defense at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill specializing in global security and intelligence history. Castro earned a doctorate in history from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and a Master’s degree from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy. A short career as an intelligence analyst for the federal government stoked Dr. Castro’s research interest in national security history. Dr. Castro’s current research focuses on the history of U.S.-China relations through the lens of intelligence collection and analysis. The manuscript of her forthcoming book focuses on interactions between U.S. intelligence officials and the later top Communist leaders of China during and right after World War II and how these interactions translated into both U.S. policy toward China and norms for intelligence operations. Her new research project focuses on U.S. intelligence on China’s nuclearization in the late 20th century.


Ph.D., History (Dr. Michael Tsin, mentor), University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina (2016)

Master of Arts, Law and Diplomacy, The Fletcher School, Tufts University, Medford, Massachusetts (2004)

Bachelor of Arts, History and Bachelor of Arts Religious Studies (Minor in Chinese, Summa Cum Laude), Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona (2000)

Professional Experience

Assistant Professor, Department of History, U.S. Air Force Academy (2019-present)

Teaching Assistant Professor, Curriculum in Peace, War, and Defense, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina (2016-2019)

Assistant Director, Triangle Institute of Security Studies Intelligence Community Center of Academic Excellence, Chapel Hill, North Carolina (2016-2019)

Intelligence Analyst, United States Government, Washington, D.C. (2003-2009)

Program Assistant, National Committee on U.S.-China Relations, New York City, New York (2001-2002)

Honors & Awards

Wilson Center China Fellow (2020-2021)

Foreign Language Area Studies (FLAS) Fellowship in Chinese, 2011-2012

Phillips Ambassador Graduate Fellowship, 2011

Boren Scholarship, China, 1997-1998

Research and Scholarly Interests


U.S.-China relations

National security and intelligence history

Cold War history