Edmundo M. Aguilar
I come from a background where my (im)migrant mother dedicated herself tirelessly to ensure her children could have a brighter future, prioritizing education above all else. I carry forward her spirit of perseverance and dedication by nurturing the skills and confidence my students need for success and fulfillment. As education researcher and author Lisa Delpit suggests, we cannot treat our students like other people’s children — their struggles are ours to bear. Through my own journey, I've learned that effective teaching means understanding and respecting students' diverse cultural perspectives, backgrounds and lived experiences.
For me, the classroom holds a special significance as a space for transformative learning. I design course activities that encourage students to engage in dialogue, applying what they've learned from theory, literature, film, and poetry. Equally important is their ability to critically examine and reflect on their own worldviews and the world around them. Drawing from the principles of Culturally Responsive Teaching (Ladson-Billings, 1994), I believe educators should leverage the cultural capital present in these spaces to fully engage their students. By doing so, we can address how factors like race, class, gender, power, and privilege shape students' lived experiences. This approach empowers students to critically analyze their own realities and recognize how education not only benefits their communities but also enables them to actively participate in our democratic society.
My journey includes earning a Ph.D. in the Cultural Studies and Social Thought in Education program at Washington State University. My dissertation project involved creating a documentary rooted in decolonial Chicana Feminism titled, "Between Worlds: A Personal Journey of Self-Reflection on the Path of Conocimiento." Prior to joining the University of Washington, I was honored with the 2019/2020 Eastern Washington University College of Social Sciences Teaching Excellence Award.