I like to play basketball, and I enjoy eating food made with plenty of care and ample love. Also, I'm a PhD student in Rhetoric and Composition at TCU. My scholarly interests center the rhetorical and composing processes of students of color, particularly Latino/a/x students. As a student and then professional, I’ve constantly noticed the disconnect between institutions and ethnic-minority communities. These disconnects can occur at obvious levels, for example, erasing the home language for non-native speakers in extremely efficient and effective methods. At more intricate levels, these institutions hold specific values that require careful extrapolation to identify, which misalign with these same communities. In my graduate studies, I’ve developed vocabulary to identify and conceptualize these disconnects. These disconnects, many times, emerge because of race, class, gender, ability, sexual orientation, or immigration status. With these structural components in mind, I position educational institutions in a larger sociopolitical landscape. At TCU, I continue studying these positions as they relate to bilingual Latinos/as/xs in composition courses. TCU serves as a prime location to conduct this research, and it allowed me to stay “driving-distance” (8 hours) from family. Having attended public institutions from pre-k to a master’s degree, TCU’s private school designation presents opportunities for me to understand institutional dynamics in this environment. Situated in Fort Worth and close to Dallas, TCU serves as a site to understand racial dynamics and impact in a metroplex.
I sought this metroplex exposure to continue growth as a scholar of color. In my previous professional experiences in K-12 and post-secondary settings, I’ve purposely worked at institutions that serve over 90% Latina/o/x students. One of my toughest yet most worthwhile experiences was as a high school English teacher. That position forced me to contemplate my teaching convictions in a grade level with standardized testing. Moreover, I’d notice how bilingual students interacted in my class, yet my assignments seemed to only minimally engage these bilingual capacities. This contemplating led to a chapter publication entitled “Code Switching: Moving Toward Bilingual Critical Literacy” in Decolonizing Rhetoric and Composition Studies. At the moment, I’m working on an essay dealing with the use of narco/corridos in composition courses at the college-level, which I used when I previously taught first-year English courses (comp I and comp II). This connects to my future work in the program because narco/corridos influence composition practices for some Latina/o/x students, particularly Mexican Americans. On a different level, this project feels like I’m reaching closer to my teaching voice.
Service is inherently tied to scholarship. For the second year, I’m co-organizing a STEM event that will expose Latina/o/x high school students with careers in the STEM professions. This year’s focus will be careers in “big data.” The event will take place in Brownsville, Texas (my hometown). However, as a current member of the Fort Worth community, I’m in the process of understanding the dynamics of the area to identify how I can contribute and create a community engagement plan for myself. Long-term, I'd like to continue the aforementioned scholarly and community goals as a professor.