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Valeria, UIC MA in Teaching of Spanish, 2015

I moved to the US from Ecuador when I was ten years old. My mother tongue is Spanish from Ecuador. This is Spanish with Kichwa words intertwined. I learned English in school in an ESL program in a northwest suburb of Chicago. Like many newcomer students, for me school wasn’t just about learning English to understand the material. Learning English meant that I could bridge the language gaps for my family as we made the US our new home.

I learned Italian in middle school and high school.

At UIC, I loved learning from Inma Taboada and Kim Potowski while working on my MA in the Teaching of Spanish. Learning English and living in Chicago definitely inspired me to become a teacher and continue my education. I recently defended my dissertation and have earned my Ed.D from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. My research was on adolescent newcomer students and translanguaging. 

I am currently living and working in Switzerland, and I am learning German.  I work for an EdTech company as an academic content writer. I am responsible for educational content development. I create, collaborate, and write EFL/ESL academic content for printed materials and e-learning.

Through my research I have learned about the important relationship between literacy and language. As a teacher I have made it my goal to remember and understand the importance of biliteracy and bilingualism and to teach my students that there is power in both.