How do you use writing or art in your life?
Lately, writing and art are tied to my children. I encourage my children to be creative, write for fun, communication and to tell their own stories. I co-write with them sometimes and find joy in reading their stories. I love when they make mini children’s books and comics about our family.
What lessons/teachings from your family, home and/or community do you draw on in your teaching and/or scholarship?
I grew up in the Bay Area. My parents are both from Mexico– My mother was a translator for a public school district and my dad was a foreign language teacher. Spanish was in our everyday life. We were always encouraged to use both languages and to maintain the language that tied us to our abuelitas. My parents always encouraged my sisters and I to serve the community, to give back, to use our language and resources as sources of inspiration. I remember traveling to DF when I was six and looking with amazement at the huge, beautiful library at La UNAM. Little did I know that later in life I would be a student at La UNAM studying political science. I have taken on this by encouraging my own children to do the same.
What would you tell your younger self?
I would tell my younger self to ask for more help, ask more questions, find more mentors and when someone offers to help to take it. Also, take time for self-care.
Advice for new scholars and/or teachers:
Be open to work with other scholars not in your field. My recent edited book on Chican@ children’s literature came as a result of venturing out of the school of education into Women Studies and Chican@ Studies. My colegas and I met weekly to discuss the project. We focused on the book but we also just talked about life, academia, struggles, it turned into a support group of chingona scholars at Fresno State.
Something else you want to share?
I have spent most of my academic career at Fresno State but I am looking forward to moving back to my native Northern California. I enjoy mentoring and helping. Reach out to me if you are in the area!