Dr. Gabriela C. Zapata


Project Co-Director

Dr. Gabriela C. Zapata is an ADVANCE Administrative Fellow in the Office for Diversity and Associate Professor in the Department of Hispanic Studies at Texas A&M University. Throughout her career, she has been involved in the development and implementation of inclusive, research-guided methodologies and open educational resources for the teaching of Spanish as a second and heritage language. Dr. Zapata has been part of several interdisciplinary collaborative projects that have had the objective of serving Hispanic/Latinx communities in South Texas and the Salinas Valley in California. She has worked as an ACTFL teacher mentor and is the current Chair of its Spanish for Heritage Learners Special Interest Group. Dr. Zapata is also a faculty mentor in the FIRST initiative for first generation students in the College of Liberal Arts and a CIMER Entering Mentoring Trained Facilitator.

Dr. María Irene Moyna


Project Co-Director

Dr. María Irene Moyna was born in Montevideo, Uruguay, where she completed her undergraduate degree, and she came to the US to do an MA and PhD at the University of Florida. She has been at Texas A&M since 2006. Dr. Moyna is the author or coeditor of four scholarly books, and over 30 articles and chapters; she was the Associate Editor of the Chicago Spanish Dictionary in 2002 and 2012. She teaches Hispanic linguistics and Spanish language, especially courses for heritage learners. Although Dr. Moyna isn’t a first generation student, none of her four grandparents attended college, and one of her grandmothers was forced to drop out of school in the fourth grade. What fuels her enthusiasm for this project is the hope that it may inspire others to follow in the footsteps of the brave Aggies portrayed here. She wishes to honor the ingenuity, resilience, and talent of their families, whose sacrifices have supported these achievements.

Dr. Nancy Plankey-Videla


Project Co-Director

Born in Chile and raised in central Mexico, Dr. Plankey-Videla’s research seeks to understand how structural inequality shapes opportunities and barriers for women workers in Latin America and Latinx immigrants in the U.S. Her work links power shifts in the global economy with organizational changes within firms and labor resistance. More recently, her work with the Latinx immigrant community in Texas has led to research on the racialization of day laborers, the effects of deportation threat on families and communities, and the social integration of deportees and returnees in Mexico. She is associate professor of sociology and coordinator of the Latino/a and Mexican American Studies Program (LMAS).

Víctor de la Parra Echeverría


Student Collaborator

Victor is a junior Mechanical Engineer Honors Student at Texas A&M University. He was born and raised in Torreon, Coahuila, Mexico. He is currently an international student getting immersed in a totally new culture and experience. After graduation, Victor plans to work in the automobile or aerospace industry. His main goal is to invent something to change the way we live for the greater good and leave his mark in history. 

Aimar Díaz


Student Collaborator

Aimar recently graduated from Texas A&M University with degrees in International Studies (Politics and Diplomacy track) and Spanish, and a minor in Latinx and Mexican-American Studies. Originally from Venezuela, Aimar grew up in both Corpus Christi and Katy, Texas. She now teaches 1st grade Dual Language in Tulsa, Oklahoma, as part of the Teach for America, program.  

Gabriela Lozano


Student Collaborator

Gabriela is a junior and a first-generation student at Texas A&M from Laredo, Texas. She is a double major in International Studies (Politics and Diplomacy) and Sociology with a minor in Hispanic Studies for Community Engagement. Gabriela has plans to complete a MS in Justice, Law, and Criminology. After completing her masters, she hopes to work in the Federal Bureau of Investigations.

Jorge Tolentino


Student Collaborator

Jorge is an Industrial Systems and Engineering senior at Texas A&M University. He was born and raised in Queretaro, Mexico, but enjoys all that Texas has to offer. After graduation, he plans on pursuing a Master’s Degree in Finance to assist businesses and individuals to overcome financial challenges.