Quisieron enterrarnos, pero se les olvido que somos semillas.
Growing up, I never learned Spanish. In American culture this is unremarkable, except for one fact, my grandfather, who helped raise me, spoke Spanish fluently and even translated for the migrant farmworkers in the rural town where I grew up.
A few years ago, I read that the primary reason that government agencies have difficulty finding native speakers of various “in-demand” foreign languages is not that Americans failed to learn them but because immigrants often fail to retain their native language. Similarly, I was a young woman of Mexican ancestry without the benefit of her mother tongue.
In college, I was introduced to the wonderful writing of the feminist poet and scholar Gloria Anzaldúa. Her work, Borderlands / La Frontera: The New Mestiza resonated with me in a way that few texts have before or since. My tongue was not in need of 'taming', but discovering Anzaldua's work led me to other excellent writers on the topic and a recognition that cultural difference is never simple.
My own commitment to diversity in teaching stems from these experiences as a young woman, and as a budding scholar whose tendrils sought something I could not yet articulate as I read the canonical texts that often lacked people who shared my experiences.
Diversity informs every aspect of my scholarly growth, in teaching, research, and service. My fierce commitment to inclusive teaching has led me to pursue additional training in teaching developmental English and learning more about resiliency through trauma-informed practice. As an instructor of literature and writing, I strive to make my curricula exemplary of the full range of my students’ experiences with language, (dis)ability, race, gender, and other aspects of their identity. Because my commitment to inclusive teaching is paramount, I actively attend workshops and training hosted by internal and external entities to improve my teaching strategies. I will continue to elevate my teaching practice through local-to-global conferences on andragogy and training and workshops to enhance my capabilities.
The humanities offer myriad opportunities for us to grow in our understanding of many experiences outside of our own. My graduate research focused on representations of gender and difference in Salinger’s short stories but also on the ways in which Salinger tried to minimize difference through continued references to tactility in his fiction. My passion for research that develops new avenues for the understanding of texts is informed by my commitment to diversity. Other research interests also focus on the impact of gender in learning and assessment and in writing and composition strategies. In addition to my own disciplinary research, I have a dedicated interest in the study of higher education institutions and their policies and hope to inform policies and procedures that will make institutions more representative and increase the feelings of belonging for students, faculty, and staff.
My service also reflects my deep commitment to enhancing diversity, equity, and inclusion. In graduate school, I served as a member of the University’s Equity and Diversity Committee. In the workplace, in healthcare, governance, and cybersecurity, I have seen the positive aspects of working with diverse people and points of view. My volunteer service in working with low-income populations, and my dedication to improving all the communities of which I am a part, lead me to work with diverse groups at all levels to enhance the experience in the University and beyond.