Angie Zapata

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Assistant Professor of Literacy Education, University of Missouri Columbia, Missouri


Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction, 2015


Since I began teaching in a bilingual setting in Houston, Texas in 1997, I have had a passion and curiosity for language and literacy studies (LLS). How children leverage their lives, languages, and literacies for Language Arts learning, personal enrichment, and identity development fascinated me and awakened me to the promise and potential of the Latino children’s picturebook to mediate that work.  Completing my masters in LLS refined my practice, produced more questions, and connected me with the amazing LLS faculty.  After returning to the classroom where I served as an undergraduate instructor, cooperating teacher, and research participant with LLS faculty for five years, I returned to LLS to complete my doctorate and to become a Heart of Texas Writing Project Consultant.

Why Language and Literacy Studies?

I returned to LLS for my doctorate because in addition to learning so much and to feeling inspired and motivated as a teacher researcher, I appreciated the kindness and joy I experienced in my coursework and collaborations with faculty. The faculty exuded a genuine delight and commitment to teaching and research, and I very much wanted to be a part of that.  It was only over time that I also realized the tremendous leadership and scholarship our faculty brought and continue to give to the field of LLS and appreciated their sensitivities to equity, diversity, and social justice. I feel so lucky to have found both an intellectual and a personal home in LLS.

Life after UT:

Since graduation, it has been a generative time for me, both personally and professionally.  I left Texas (which had been my home for over 30 years) and moved to Columbia, Missouri where I was offered a job in Literacy Education at the University of Missouri.  I have been busy teaching, writing, and building a new network of educators to learn with and from (in addition to raising three pugs and remodeling a home). I’ve recently presented and published my work on Latino children’s literature and postmodern picturebooks. Currently, I am wrapping up a multi-site study of classrooms producing multilingual and multimodal texts to make for a better world and completing a book with two teachers in Austin on writing across languages. It’s been busy, but I have no doubt that I am prepared because of the tremendous experiences I had with the faculty in LLS.

Advice for Current Students:

Seek out multiple opportunities to collaborate with faculty in both teaching and research capacities.  In addition to offering incredible coursework and research and teaching experiences, the faculty provides critical mentoring experiences that you will rely on as you step into your future faculty position.

Find fellow graduate student buddies to support you along the way. They are essential during and after your program.

Write, read, write, read, share, talk, repeat. Developing habits of reading, discussing and sharing drafts now will only serve your work as a writer and teacher educator in the future.