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About Luis E. Poza

I was born in Costa Rica and grew up bouncing around Central and South America (as well as a couple years in Portugal) as the son of Cuban exiles in the U.S. Foreign Service. Through my friendships, schooling and travels, I learned a lot about openness to multiple perspectives and how experience and community shape our language, our beliefs and our practices. Growing up this way also taught me a lot about privilege, power and inequality.
These early notions were refined when I moved to the U.S. at age 16 and then when I completed a BA in Latin American Studies at Yale University. Again, I had to reflect on my own privilege of class, color, education and gender identity, and decided to try my hand as a classroom teacher believing schools to be a viable locus for change.
My years teaching in the San Francisco Bay Area and Harlem, New York alternately exhausted and inspired me. I strove for equitable, high achieving classrooms that operated democratically and empowered students, but never quite felt that my classrooms got far enough. I took my curiosity and frustration to Stanford's Graduate School of Education to study ideologies about language, learning and teaching, and completed my PhD in 2014. I look forward to further work in the service of diverse and historically marginalized students and their families as part of the CU Denver faculty.
My research interests are language ideologies and language practices in multilingual schooling contexts, bilingual education and education for social justice.


Present Assistant Professor, School of Education and Human Development at the University of Colorado Denver
Present Member, Committee of Latin@ Faculty and Staff, School of Education and Human Development at the University of Colorado Denver
Present Reviewer, Bilingual Research Journal, School of Education and Human Development at the University of Colorado Denver
Present Treasurer/Secretary, Second Language Research special interest group, American Educational Research Association

Curriculum Vitae

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Honors and Awards

  • 2015 President’s Teaching and Learning Collaborative, University of Colorado
  • 2015 Center for Faculty Development Grant, CU Denver Center for Faculty Development
  • 2015 Outstanding Dissertation Award; Bilingual Education Special Interest Group, American Educational Research Association (AERA)
  • 2014 Young Upwardly Mobile Professors (YUMPS), CU Denver Center for Faculty Development
  • 2012-2014 Dissertation Fellowship, Vice Provost for Graduate Education: Diversifying Academia Recruiting Excellence (DARE)
  • 2011 Dissertation Research Award, Diversity Dissertation Research Opportunity Fund
  • 2009-2012 Graduate Fellowship, Center for Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity, Stanford University


2014 PhD, Stanford University ‐ Race, Inequality, and Language in Education, Sociology of Education
2007 MA, Columbia University ‐ Climate and Society
2005 San Jose State University ‐ Elementary Education
2004 BA, Yale University ‐ Latin American Studies (with distinction)

Contact Information

University of Colorado Denver
School of Education and Human Development
P.O. BOX 173364
Campus Box 106
Denver, CO 80217-3364