I received my M.A. in Hispanic Literature from the University of Arizona and then worked as a Spanish language coordinator and instructor at the University of Michigan for ten years. In December of 2015 I fulfill my lifelong dream of completing my Ph.D. from UC Berkeley in the Language, Literacy, and Culture Division of the Graduate School of Education. My research interests include second language acquisition theory; the intersections of language, power, and identity; and cultural studies, which I apply to explore the relationships between multilingualism/multiculturalism and globalization, particularly in the context of teaching Spanish in the U.S.
Through my studies, travels, work, and research I have a unique understanding of and appreciation for the diversity of Latino cultures, dialects, histories, and literatures. Through my own formal studies I developed a strong foundation in language, literature, and culture, and this understanding was expanded through my study abroad experiences in Mexico as well as Costa Rica. As an instructor, I taught intermediate level Spanish and culture courses first in Santander, Spain, and then in Salamanca. More recently, as a researcher I participated in a long-term impact evaluation study of an innovative secondary-level curriculum in rural villages across Honduras. For the past several summers I have also worked with Voces y manos, which provides scholarships to local youth in Rabinal, Guatemala. In addition to travels through Argentina, Perú, Chile, Cuba, and Colombia, for example, all of these experiences have helped me to contextualize and to understand the social, political, and economic realities and lived experiences of those that I have been fortunate to meet and to work with.
I have taught all levels of the Spanish language, Latino cultures, and Latino literature curricula in diverse institutional contexts where I have been a member of diverse learning and teaching communities. As a language and culture teacher, I have come to believe that together both language and culture reflect ways of understanding and being in the world. Both are involved in meaning-making processes that construct identities, worldviews, and ultimately understandings of difference. Both are also connected to larger power structures that create and (re)produce representations of Otherness. To learn about these processes requires engaging with diversity. In my teaching, research, and service, I am committed to supporting this critical process for learners in the classroom, on campus, and in the community as I myself continue to engage in it.