I’m not a native speaker.

Inspired by Gloria Anzaldúa’s Borderlands/ La Frontera

After my first day of first grade I came home with my eyes red, swollen, and stinging from crying. As a six year old, the fear and confusion of trying to understand a language I had never heard before welled up inside my throat. Blubbering as I got off the bus, I told my mother I was not going back. I could not understand my teacher who spoke to me only in Spanish all day. Soy gringa. I am not a native speaker. Continue reading

Learning to Write at the Doctoral Level

I love learning.   I read a lot for work and school; watch documentaries, news clips, TED Talks, and the like for fun; and listen to audiobooks, radio, and podcasts while driving, working out, and cleaning.  One result of ingesting so much information is that I often have myriad ideas banging up against one another in my head.  Though I take in a lot of information on any given day, I find I rarely achieve a deeper sense of learning unless I also make time to write.  Whether that writing takes the form of a twenty-page term paper or a one-line Facebook post, taking time to decide what matters and how to articulate it increases my level of understanding of and connection to the topic foremost in my mind at the moment. Continue reading

Writing Literature Reviews

Recently, I was working on a literature review, and it felt like it was making little progress over a long time. Writing lit reviews is not new to me; I have done many, in addition to innumerable research papers. Why should it take so much time? I decided to review my process and speak to classmates in the program, both in my cohort and those who are further along than I, to get ideas. Continue reading

On Becoming a Professor

As I enter my second year in the PhD program in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies at the University of Vermont, I find myself standing in front of my own university classroom. My role is to engage my students in content that directly relates to my research interests and work experience.  To do this, I welcome my responsibility to instruct this required English Language Learner (ELL) education course but also to invite these students into meaningful community involvement through service learning.  Yet, the next day I am back to being the student again.  In all of this, I am not alone, neither in my experience nor in my support from the faculty at UVM. This is the story of how I have been encouraged and supported into this position.

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Reviewing as a Graduate Student

Journals, conferences, and other refereed publication and presentation opportunities depend on reviewers to identify quality submissions and provide feedback to authors. Up until now, I have interacted with these systems as a contributing author. However, as I enter the third year of my doctorate program, I have been looking to get involved with the other side of the system. A few months ago,on the advice of colleagues and professors, I volunteered to serve as a graduate student reviewer for submissions to a conference. Recently, I received an email notification with items for review. It was time to get to work. Continue reading