I am Assistant Professor at Barry University in the Dept. of English and Foreign Languages. I teach in the First-Year Writing Program and I also serve as the multilingual pedagogy coordinator. My research interests include immigrant literacy, transnationalism, community-based pedagogy, and multilingualism.
These are official descriptors. My CV will expand on each of these components: my academic credentials, my amazing mentors, teaching experiences, as well as research commitments.
Much of my narrative remains untold in official CV lines. The unofficial segments of my professional and personal identity are connected to experiences outside of the US which are often deemed irrelevant. Yet, they are not.
Communist Romania: My journey starts Communist Romania. I grew up in an intellectual prison. Banned books, communication under strict surveillance, readings infused with Marxist ideology, language devoid of meaning, rigid control over media. As I child I remember our TV airing for two hours a day of which one hour and a half was devoted to political news about the Communist Romanian party’s activities.
December 17, 1989. I witnessed the revolution of my people. Between the sound of gun shots outside and the live revolution on TV, I witness change in front of my eyes. Of course, real, deep change especially of political thought and practice was slow. But, as a child, seeing the crumbling of an oppressive system taught me that change is possible.
Multilingualism: My appreciation of languages emerged on borderlands of Romania. Neighboring Serbia and Hungary, and surrounded by other minorities, German, Rroma, and Czechs, etc. I found it normal to hear and use multiple languages.
The most dramatic experience with language was as a teacher of English in a bilingual, German school. Although a public school, it was set up to serve German and Hungarian minorities who had tracks designated specifically for these minorities. Many of my students’s parents worked in Germany while the kids lived with grandparents or close relative. Fresh-out-of-college, I learned to be their counsellor, teacher, and often, it seemed, served as a parent. I call these “kids” (adults now) my golden generation. As a young teacher, surely I made lots of mistakes but I cared genuinely for their well-being and education. More than a decade later, I still get requests to connect with them via social media and even in person.
As a more seasoned teacher, I learned not to make the same mistakes. Now, I make different ones and hopefully, fewer and fewer. Yet, what matters most is that my students know I genuinely care about them and their learning. Any comment, request for revision, praise or sometimes criticism, is offered because I want their best.
Justice: I believe justice must be learned. Even though as children we have at some point said the phrase, “it’s not fair,” it generally meant that we were wronged. Dr. Dan W. Butin uses the phrase “justice-learning” which points to seeing justice for others rather than for the self. From lips of the orphan asking for her right to leave a foster home of abuse and neglect to the losing an African American student shot dead in the streets of Chicago, I came close to in daily, pervasive injustice. I also understand the concerns of migrants and immigrants fleeing their homes due to poverty, oppression, or war. These are real people, and injustice is a real problem. One day at a time, one person at a time, we need to learn to seek justice.