Faculty Profile Emphasis area: LLC

Alicia Rusoja

Assistant Professor

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Dr. Alicia Rusoja’s interdisciplinary research lies at the intersection of Latinx/Chicanx studies, critical education/critical literacy studies, and university-community/research-practice partnerships. As a Latina immigrant and activist-scholar, she employs participatory and critical community-based qualitative research methodologies to understand the immigrant rights organizing of Latinx immigrant youth, adults and families.

Broadly, her research illuminates the fundamental role that communal education, critical literacy, and critical research practice play in the intersectional, and intergenerational, political mobilization of Latinx immigrant youth and their communities. Relatedly, her work aims to explore how critical qualitative research methodologies, including community-based, participatory and practitioner research, can be tools for resisting colonial logics within the grassroots organizing of Latinx immigrant communities, as well as in community-based research and university-community partnerships, including those related to school-community relationships.

Rusoja’s current participatory action research project, co-led with two Latina first and second generation immigrants, inquires into the impact of COVID-19 on the political organizing, education, grassroots research practice, and broader lives of Latinx immigrants in South Philadelphia over the period of five years (2021-2026). Her recent year-long practitioner inquiry study on the literacy, teaching and learning practices of Latinx immigrants organizing for their rights, theorized a “communal pedagogy of resistance,” which she defines as the inquiry-based intersectional and intermeshing organizing practices that are mobilized intergenerationally and coalitionally by Latinx immigrants in the U.S., in ways that view the literacy, language and cultural practices of Latinx communities as sources and resources of resistance.

Rusoja is committed to research, teaching, service and activism that contribute to ongoing social justice movements by respecting, honoring, learning from, teaching about, and working alongside communities who are directly affected by inequity. She firmly believes these communities are best positioned to understand, produce knowledge about, and lead the challenging of the systemic oppression they experience.

Professional Appointments

2022 – Present
Assistant Professor

School of Education
University of California, Davis

2019 – 2022
Assistant Professor

Justice, Community and Leadership
School of Liberal Arts, Saint Mary’s College of California

2018 – 2019
Visiting Assistant Professor

Justice, Community and Leadership
School of Liberal Arts, Saint Mary’s College of California

Education

Ph.D. University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA Reading/Writing/Literacy, May 2017

M.S.Ed. University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA Reading/Writing/Literacy, May 2011
Specialization: Adult, Family and Community Education

B.A. Brown University, Providence, RI
Latin American Studies & International Relations, May 2006

Bank Street College of Education, New York, NY.
Graduate Coursework, Urban Education Semester Program, Spring 2006

Research and Teaching Interests 

Latinx Youth, Adults and Communities; (Im)migrants; Intersectionality; Participatory Action Research; Practitioner Inquiry; Research Justice; Coloniality-Resisting, Humanizing, and Feminist-of-Color Methodologies; Sociocultural & Critical Perspectives on Literacy and Education; Culturally Sustaining & Responsive Pedagogies; School-Based Criminalization; School-Prison Nexus; Immigrant Rights; School-Community Relationships; School-Community-University / Research-Practice Partnerships.

Courses Taught

EDU100 Introduction to Schools, Winter 2023
EDU 282B Beginning Issues & Practices: Diversity Issues for Educational Leaders, Spring 2023

Scholarly Publications (also published as Alicia Pantoja)

Peer Reviewed Articles

Rusoja, A., Portillo, Y., Vazquez Ponce, O. (in press).“Mi lucha es tu Lucha; Tu lucha es mi lucha”: Latinx immigrant youth organizers transforming the immigrant rights movement through coalitional multimodal literacies. International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education.
[This article was co-authored with two of the research participants who were young Latina immigrant rights organizers at the time of the study and will be published as part of a QSE Special Issue titled “Race(ing) towards Futurity: Black and Latinx Youths’ Multimodal Compositions of Future Selves and Literacies.”]

Rusoja, A. (2022). “Our community is filled with experts:” Intergenerational critical literacies of Latinx immigrants as communal pedagogy of resistance”. Research in the Teaching of English.

The Literacy Futurisms Collective-in-the-Making. (2021). “We believe in collective magic”: Honoring the past to reclaim the future(s) of literacy research. Literacy Research: Theory, Method, and Practice.
[In December 2021, this article won the “More Just World” Award of the Literacy Research: Theory, Method and Practice Journal. In December 2020, it was awarded “Best Paper” at the 70th Literacy Research Association.

This paper was co-authored with the seven other founding members of the Literacy Futurisms Collective-in-the-Making. As co-authors, all of us contributed equally to its conceptualization and writing.]

Flores, T. T., Schwab, E. R., Johnson, W. F., & Rusoja, A. (2020). “Intergenerational literacies: The racial, linguistic, and cultural resources of families in raising young children of color”. Literacy Research: Theory, Method, and Practice, XX, 1–18.

Varela, K. S., King, S., Peguero, A. A., & Rusoja, A. (2020). “School procedural justice and being pushed out: Examining the intersection of sex and race/ethnicity”. Sociological Spectrum, 40(4), 247–268.

Ghiso, M. P., Campano, G., Schwab, E. R., Asaah, D., & Rusoja, A. (2019). “Mentoring in research-practice partnerships: Toward democratizing expertise”. AERA Open, 5(4).

Ghiso, M.P., Campano, G., Player, G.D., Rusoja, A. (2016). “Dialogic teaching and multilingual counterpublics”. L1-Educational Studies in Language and Literature, 16, 1–26.

Pantoja, A. (2013). “Reframing the school-to-prison pipeline: The experiences of Latin@ youth and families”. Association of Mexican American Educators Journal, 7(1), 17–31.

Campano, G., Ghiso, M.P., Yee, M., Pantoja, A. (2013). “Toward community research and coalitional literacy practices for educational justice”. Language Arts, 90(5), 314–326.

Simon, R., Campano, G., Broderick, D., Pantoja, A. (2012). “Practitioner research and literacy studies: Toward more dialogic methodologies”. English Teaching: Practice and Critique, 11(2), 5–24.

Invited Articles

Campano, G., Ghiso, M.P., Rusoja, A., Player, G.D., Schwab, E.R. (2016). “‘Education without boundaries’: Literacy pedagogies and human rights”. Language Arts, 94(1), 43–53.

Rusoja, A. (2015). “A Multimodal review of the 2015 screening scholarship film festival”. American Anthropologist, 117(4), 795–812.

Invited Book Chapters

Player, G.D., Rusoja, A., Portillo, Y., Vazquez, O., Campano, G. (2022). “Centering carework in education: Lessons from Indonesian youth”. In Strickland, M.J., Roy, L. (Eds). Composing Storylines of Possibilities: Immigrant and Refugee Families Navigating School. Information Age Publishing.

King, S., Rusoja, A., Peguero, A. (2018). “The school to prison pipeline”. In Deakin, J., Taylor, E., Kupchik, A. (Eds). The Palgrave International Handbook of School Discipline, Surveillance and Social Control. Palgrave Macmillan.

Pantoja, A., King, S. Peguero, A. (2016). “Have zero-tolerance policies made schools safer?”. In Mallicoat, S.L. (Ed). Crime and Criminal Justice: Concepts and Controversies. Sage Publications.

Ghiso, M.P., Rusoja, A., Schwab, E. (2016). “Collective advocacy in a Latina/o family ESOL class”. In Campano, G., Ghiso, M.P., Welch, B. Partnering with Immigrant Families: Literacy in Action. Teachers College Press.
[In 2018, this book and its featured research was conferred the David H. Russell Research Award for Distinguished Research in the Teaching of English by the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE); in 2016 the book was conferred the Edward B. Fry Award by the Literacy Research Association].

Reports

Pantoja, A., Ravitch, S.M., Rowland, J., Sanchez, R., Tarditi, M. (2012). Action-based evaluation of Fabretto Children’s Foundation’s Sistema de Aprendizaje Tutorial (SAT) program. University of Pennsylvania & Fabretto Children’s Foundation.
[This report was the result of community-based action research in Nicaragua. The report was translated into Spanish, internally published, distributed and discussed in detail with all community stakeholders. Based on findings from our action-based evaluation, additional funding for program improvements was secured by Fabretto Children’s Foundation.]

Fellowships, Grants, Awards & Recognitions

Center for Advancement of Multicultural Perspectives on Social Science, Arts, and Humanities (CAMPSSAH) Faculty Scholar, September 2022
University of California, Davis 

Early Career Scholarship and Service Award, March 2022
Saint Mary’s College of California

Research Justice at the Intersections Fellowship, 2021– 2022
Mills College

More Just World Award: “‘We believe in collective magic’: Re-claiming the future(s) of literacy research,” Dec 2021
Literacy Research: Theory, Method and Practice

Latinx Faculty Mentorship Award Nominee, March 2021
Intercultural Center, Saint Mary’s College of California

Open Textbook Grant ($250), March 2021
Saint Mary’s College of California

Best Virtual Event of the Year: “‘Love in the Time of Corona:’ Organizing, Action & Coalition,” Spring 2021
Afro-Latinx, Latinx, Indigenous Peoples Heritage Symposium
Saint Mary’s College of California

Best Paper: “We believe in collective magic: Re-claiming the future(s) of literacy research,” Dec 2020
Literacy Research Association 70th Annual Conference

Scholars Transitioning into Academic Research Institutions (STAR) Fellowship, 2019 – 2021
Literacy Research Association

School of Liberal Arts (SOLA) Featured Faculty Member, Fall 2019
Saint Mary’s College of California

Br. Manuel Vega Latino Empowerment Mentorship Award Nominee, May 2019
Saint Mary’s College of California

Ralph C. Preston Award for Scholarship and Teaching Contributing to Social Justice and Educational Equity, May 2017
University of Pennsylvania

Dean’s Fellowship, 2012 – 2017
University of Pennsylvania

Fontaine Fellowship, 2012 – 2017
University of Pennsylvania

President Gutmann Leadership Award, Fall 2016
University of Pennsylvania

Ethnicity, Race, Multilingualism Committee Travel Award, Fall 2015
Literacy Research Association

Graduate School of Education Student Government Travel Award, Spring 2015
University of Pennsylvania

Reading/Writing/Literacy Masters Program Award for Exemplary Masters Portfolio, May 2011
University of Pennsylvania

Conference Presentations

Rusoja, A. (September, 2022). “Impact of COVID-19 on the Educational Experiences, Grassroots Research and Community Organizing of Latinx Immigrants in Philadelphia, PA (USA). The Migration Conference. Mohammed V University of Rabat, Morocco.

Rusoja, A., Portillo, Y., (April 2022). “Mi Lucha es Tu Lucha; Tu Lucha es Mi Lucha”: Latinx Immigrant Youth Organizers Facilitating a New Common Sense through Coalitional Multimodal Literacies. Part of Symposium Titled: “‘Freedom Dreaming’: Black and Latinx Youths’ Multimodal Compositions of Future Selves and Literacies.” American Educational Research Association Annual Meeting. San Diego, CA.

Rusoja, A. (December, 2021). Somos nuestras/os mejores defensoras/es: las literacidades críticas y la pedagogía comunal de resistencia de inmigrantes Latines en EEUU. II Seminario Permanente sobre Interseccionalidades Críticas: Lecturas, escrituras, oralidades y memorias subalternas. Centro de Estudios Latinoamericanos de Educación Inclusiva (CELEI). Virtual Platform.

Abril-Gonzales, P., Aguilera, E., Cortez, I.N., Linares, R., Nightengale-Lee, B., Nyachae, T., Rusoja, A., Templeton, T.N. (December 2021). STAR Research Showcase: A Collectivist Approach to Imagining Literacy Futurisms. STAR Fellows Cross-Cohort Research Showcase. Literacy Research Association 71st Annual Conference. Atlanta, GA.

Abril-Gonzales, P., Aguilera, E., Cortez, I.N., Linares, R., Nightengale-Lee, B., Nyachae, T., Rusoja, A., Templeton, T.N. (December 2020). “We Believe In Collective Magic: Re-claiming the Future(s) of Literacy Research”. STAR Fellows Cross-Cohort Research Showcase. Literacy Research Association 70th Annual Conference. Virtual Platform.

Rusoja, A. (September, 2020). Resistiendo la Colonialidad en la Investigación y la Organización Comunitaria de les Inmigrantes Latinx en Estados Unidos. Part of Session 4F: Migraciones, Globalización y Transnacionalismo. The Migration Conference. Virtual.

Rusoja, A. (December 2019). Practitioner Inquiry to Resist Coloniality in Latinx Immigrant Research and Organizing. Part of Symposium Titled: “Practitioner Inquiry as Humanizing Methodology: Multiperspectival Knowledge Production from Marginalized Educational Spaces and Communities.” Literacy Research Association 69th Annual Conference. Tampa, FL.

Rusoja, A. (December 2019).The Racial, Linguistic, and Cultural Resources of Families in Raising Young Children of Color. Discussant. Literacy Research Association 69th Annual Conference. Tampa, FL.

Rusoja, A. (December 2019). Resisting Coloniality?: Building a Research Agenda as an Early Career Literacy Scholar. Part of the STAR Fellows Research Showcase. Literacy Research Association 69th Annual Conference. Tampa, FL.

Rusoja, A. (November, 2018). Intergenerational Critical Literacies as Communal Pedagogy of Resistance. Part of Symposium Titled: “Exploring Activist Literacies Across Contexts: Literacy Practices in Teacher, Student, and Community Organizing” Literacy Research Association 68th Annual Conference. Indian Wells, CA.

Player, G., Rusoja, A., Gill, V. (December, 2017). Building Slow Research Relationships. Part of Roundtable Session with Campano, G. & Ghiso, M.P. Titled: “Research With and For Communities: Co-constructing a Multicultural Community-Based Research Center” Literacy Research Association 67th Annual Conference. Tampa, FL.

Rusoja, A. (December, 2016). Nothing About Us Without Us: Latinx Immigrants Teaching and Learning for Their Rights. Part of Symposium Titled: “Literacy and Racial Violence: Ethnicity, Race and Multilingualism Themed Session.” Literacy Research Association 66th Annual Conference. Nashville, TN.

Rusoja, A., Schwab, E.R. (December, 2016). Coalitional Literacies in a Participatory ESOL Program. Part of Symposium Titled: “Educational Equity and Literacy Practices in the “Transnational Local.” Literacy Research Association 66th Annual Conference. Nashville, TN.

Pantoja, A., Schwab, E.R. (April, 2016). Multilingual Counterpublics: Collective Responses to Precarity in a Latina/o Intergenerational Language and Literacy Inquiry. Part of Structured Poster Session Titled: “Immigrant Families and Literacies: Collaborative Research and Advocacy in a Diverse Faith Community.” American Education Research Association Annual Conference. Washington, D.C.

Rusoja, A. (February, 2016). “We Are Our Own Best Advocates”: Latinx Immigrants Teaching and Learning For Their Rights. 37th Ethnography in Education Research Forum. Philadelphia, PA.

Rusoja, A., Player, G.D. (February, 2016). Practitioner Research as Humanizing and Activist Methodology. Doctoral Weekend Poster Session. University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA.

Campano, G., Ghiso, M.P., Player, G.D., Rusoja, A., Schwab, E.R. (February, 2016). Minoritized Families and Educational Access in a Linguistically and Culturally Diverse Faith Community. 37th Ethnography in Education Research Forum. Philadelphia, PA.

Vagle, M., Coffee, A., Haberi, E., Thomas, D.A., Pantoja, A., Player, G.D., Sinha, K. (December, 2015). Producing a Literacy Voice-Body without Organs: Continuing to (Un)frame Data. Presentation for the Literacy Research Association 65th Annual Conference. Carlsbad, CA.

Campano, G., Pantoja, A., Player, G.D., Schwab, E.R. (December, 2015). Fostering Coalitional Literacies in Out-of-School Spaces. Presentation for the Literacy Research Association 65th Annual Conference. Carlsbad, CA.

Campano, G., Jacobs, K., Yee, M., LeBlanc, R., Ngo, L., Mostafa, K., Low, D., Pantoja, A. (February, 2013). “One World to Encompass Many Worlds”: Coalitional Literacies and Community Partnering. 34th Ethnography in Education Research Forum. Philadelphia, PA.

Ghiso, M.P, Pantoja, A. (November, 2012). “Intergenerational Inquiry into Literacy and Language: Reflections on Co-Creating a Participatory Learning Community.” Part of Symposium Titled: “Coalitional Literacies”: Framing University-School-Community Partnerships.” Literacy Research Association 62nd Annual Conference. San Diego, CA.

Campano, G., Ghiso, M.P., Yee, M. Rusoja, A. (February, 2012). “Undocumented Oppressions: Unpacking an Incident of Truancy Through an Intersectional and Critical Socio-ecological Lens.” Paper Presented at the 33rd Ethnography Forum in Education. Philadelphia, PA.

Campano, G., Ghiso, M. P., Yee, M., Low, D., Pantoja, A., & Magdaluyo, R. (March, 2011). Critical inquiry across classrooms and communities. PennGSE Language and Literacy in Education Proseminar. University of Pennsylvania. Philadelphia, PA.

Invited Conference Presentations

Keynote
“Flip This Notion that Only Academics Can Be Experts”: Latinx Immigrants Teaching & Learning for Their Rights”. Race, Class, Gender in Education Discussion Series. West Chester University. Online Program. (September, 2020).

Keynote
“Somos Nuestras/os Mejores Defensoras/es: Las Literacidades de Inmigrantes Latinas/os en EEUU / We Are Our Own Best Advocates: The Literacy Practices of Latina/o Immigrants in the United States”. II Encuentro de Lectura en la Educación Superior: Literacidad y Vida Cotidiana (2nd Reading in Higher Education Convening: Literacy and Everyday Life).Universidad de Guadalajara. Guadalajara, México. (November, 2017).

Presentation
“We Are Our Own Best Advocates: Latinx Immigrants Teaching and Learning for Their Rights”. Part of Presidential Session “Practitioner Inquiry and Educational Equality/Inequity: The Next Generation”, organized and chaired by Susan L. Lytle and Marilyn Cochran-Smith. American Educational Research Association Annual Meeting, San Antonio, TX. (April, 2017).

Panelist
“Latin@s in the School-to-Prison-Pipeline Panel”. Latino Education Advocacy Days Summit.
University of California, San Bernardino. San Bernardino, CA. (March, 2014).

“Immigration and Education.” Faculty Seminar. Bank Street College of Education. New York, NY. (May, 2006).

Teaching Experience

Doctoral Level

Instructor of Record, Graduate School of Education, University of Pennsylvania EDMC606: Exploring Frameworks on Learners and Learning. (Fall 2017).

Teaching Team Member, Graduate School of Education, University of Pennsylvania EDUC669: Practitioner Inquiry. Co-taught with Dr. Gerald Campano and Grace D. Player. (Spring 2016).

Invited Lectures

Guest Lecturer, College of Education and Social Work, West Chester University Course Title: Educating All Students in a Diversity Society (Summer 2021).“Our Community is Filled with Experts”: Latinx Immigrants Teaching and Learning for Their Rights (for Dr. Kathleen Riley)

Guest Lecturer, Graduate School of Education, University of Pennsylvania EDUC737: Research Seminar on Writing and the Teaching of Writing. (Spring, 2015). Literature Reviews (for Dr. Amy Stornaiuolo).

Guest Lecturer Graduate School of Education, University of Pennsylvania EDUC703: Advanced Qualitative and Case Study Research. (Spring, 2012). Analytical Memos (for Dr. Sharon M. Ravitch).

Masters Level

Instructor of Record, Facultad de Educación, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Santiago, Chile. Introduction to Practitioner Inquiry for Educational Leaders (in Spanish). (January 2018).

Teaching Team Member, Facultad de Educación, Universidad de Guadalajara, Guadalajara, México. Sociocultural Perspectives on Literacy & Practitioner Research Seminar. Co-taught with Dr. Gerald Campano, Dr. Maria Paula Ghiso, Grace D. Player, Emily Schwab and Yared Portillo. (August 2017)

Teaching Team Member, Facultad de Educación, Universidad de Guadalajara, Guadalajara, México. Practitioner Research Seminar. Co-taught with Dr. Gerald Campano, Dr. Maria Paula Ghiso, Grace D. Player and Emily Schwab. (Spring 2017)

Teaching Team Member, Graduate School of Education, University of Pennsylvania EDUC533: Making and Remaking the Elementary School Reading, Writing and Literacy Curriculum. Co-Taught with Dr. Gerald Campano, Grace D. Player and Emily R. Schwab. (Fall 2015).

Teaching Team Member, Graduate School of Education, University of Pennsylvania EDUC635: Assessing Language and Learning Differences. Co-taught with Dr. Gerald Campano, David E. Low and Robert LeBlanc. (Spring 2013).

Teaching Team Member, Graduate School of Education, University of Pennsylvania EDUC533: Making and Remaking the Elementary School Reading, Writing and Literacy Curriculum. Co-Taught with Dr. Gerald Campano and Adrienne Flack. (Fall 2012).

Invited Lectures

Guest Lecturer, West Chester University.
EDR519: Issues of Diversity in Teaching Reading & EDR200: Educational Reading. (Spring 2021).“Our Community is Filled with Experts”: Latinx Immigrants Teaching and Learning for Their Rights. (for Dr. Kathleen Riley and Dr. Kathryn Solic).

Guest Lecturer, Universidad de Antioquia, Medellín, Colombia.
Seminario de Literatura Infantil y Juvenil. (Summer 2020).“‘Somos Nuestrxs Mejores Defensorxs’: Las Literacidades Críticas y la Pedagogía Comunal de Resistencia de Inmigrantes Latinxs en Estados Unidos. (for Dr. Natalia Duque Cardona).

Guest Lecturer, School of Social Work and Social Policy, University of Pennsylvania SWRK798: Immigration: Implications for Policy and Practice. (Spring 2014, Fall 2013 and Fall 2012). U.S. Immigration History (for Professor Fernando Chang-Muy, esq).

Undergraduate Level

Instructor, School of Liberal Arts, Saint Mary’s College of California JCL10: Introduction to Justice, Community and Leadership (Spring 2019, Spring 2020, Spring 2021, Spring 2022).

Instructor, School of Liberal Arts, Saint Mary’s College of California JCL190: Senior Portfolio (Spring 2020, Spring 2021, Spring 2022).

Instructor, Summer Academic Institute for Leaders and Scholars (SAILS), High Potential Program for First-Generation and/or Low-Income Students, Saint Mary’s College of California, JCL10: Introduction to Justice, Community and Leadership (Summer 2019, Summer 2020, Summer 2021).

Instructor, School of Liberal Arts, Saint Mary’s College of California JCL163/Ethnic Studies 163: Immigrant Rights (Spring 2019).

Instructor, School of Liberal Arts, Saint Mary’s College of California JCL196: Senior Capstone (Fall 2018, Fall 2019, Fall 2020, Fall 2021).

Teaching Assistant, Hispanic Studies, Brown University. HS129: From Almodóvar to Tijuana: New Spanish and Mexican Film. Dr. Enric Bou. (Fall 2004).

Invited Lectures

Guest Lecturer, College of Education, University of Maryland
Course Title: Critical Qualitative Inquiry into Black and Brown Youths’ Futures: Epistemologies, Design, and Methods. (Summer 2020). “‘Flip This Notion that Only Academics Can be Experts’: Latinx Immigrants Teaching and Learning for Their Rights”. (for Professor Jennifer Turner).

Community Level

Instructor, PLN9: Forming and Reforming Reading/Writing/Talking Across the Curriculum: Addressing the Needs of English Language Learners. (Summer 2011– Summer 2012).
Penn Literacy Network. Pennsylvania & New York.

Instructor, English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) Participatory Class for Adult Latinx Immigrants. (Spring 2010). Old Pine Community Center, Philadelphia, PA.

Instructor, Life Skills. (Summer 2006). Refugee Resettlement Program, International Institute of Rhode Island, Providence, RI.

Instructor, English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) Participatory Class for Adult Latinx Immigrants. (Fall 2002 – Fall 2005). English For Action, Providence, RI.

Public School K–12 Level

Student Teacher, Amistad Dual Language Elementary School, New York, NY. 3rd Grade Dual Language (Spanish/English) Classroom. (Spring 2006).

Advising Experience

Doctoral Level

Dissertation Committee Member, Natalia Duque Cardona. Thesis title: “La incidencia de la biblioteca en las desigualdades sociales: El caso del Sistema de Bibliotecas Públicas de la ciudad de Medellín a partir del Acuerdo 079 de 2010.” School of Human & Social Sciences, Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Medellín, Colombia. (2019).

Masters Level

Masters Portfolio Advisor, Reading/Writing/Literacy Program, Graduate School of Education, University of Pennsylvania. (Fall 2016 – Summer 2017). 18 advisees total.

Undergraduate Level

Undergraduate Academic Advisor, School of Liberal Arts, Justice, Community and Leadership Program, Saint Mary’s College of California. (Fall 2018 – 2022). 26–36 advisees per year.

Meiklejohn Advisor (Undergraduate Peer Academic Advisor), Brown University, (2003 – 2004). 5 advisees total.

Selected Research Experience 

Co-Principal Investigator, University of California, Davis
Co-Principal Investigators: Olivia Vazquez Ponce (Swarthmore College DACAmented undergraduate) and Yared Portillo (UC Berkeley GSE doctoral student). Project Title: “Understanding through Participatory Action Research the Impact of COVID19 on the Educational Experiences, Grassroots Research and Community Organizing of Latinx Immigrant Communities in Philadelphia, PA”.

This study inquires into the intergenerational impact of COVID-19 on Latinx immigrants’ educational experiences and community organizing practices, as well as on the ways in which our communities have responded, and respond through 2026 to the pandemic, including in terms of their own grassroots action and research.

Dissertation, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA.
Title: “We Are Our Own Best Advocates”: Latinx Immigrants Teaching and Learning for Their Rights.

This practitioner inquiry study examined the literacy, learning and teaching practices of Latinx immigrants’ human rights organizing in the U.S. Informed by theories of de/coloniality, research decolonization, literacy as sociocultural practice, intergenerational learning, women-of-color epistemologies, and popular education, this research involved systematic inquiry into my own and shared organizing practice over one year at a grassroots immigrant-led Latinx organization. A key finding is that Latinx immigrants organize for their rights by intergenerationally mobilizing critical literacies that facilitate what I term a “communal pedagogy of resistance”. Committee: Dr. Gerald Campano (Chair), Dr. Vivian L. Gadsden, Dr. Susan L. Lytle, and Dr. Rob Simon.

Professional Experience in Education

Associate Director January 2018 – August 2018 Inter-American Educational Leadership Network (IAELN)
University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA

Education Director May 2006 – December 2008 English For Action, Providence RI

Affiliations and Service

Interdisciplinary Academic Service

2022 – Member, Editorial Advisory Review Board, Literacy Research: Teaching, Method and Practice (LR:TMP) Journal (Vol. 71 and Vol.72)

2020 – Present Member, J. Michael Parker Award Committee, Literacy Research Association

2019 – Present Reviewer, Literacy Research Association Annual Conference

2018 – Present Reviewer, Research in the Teaching of English

2015 – Present Member, Critical Ethnic Studies Association

2015 – Present Advisory Board Member, Ethnography in Education Research Forum, University of Pennsylvania

2014 – Present Member, American Education Research Association

2012 – Present Member, Literacy Research Association

2014 – 2015 Senior Scholar Roundtable and Data Analysis SessionsCoordinator, 35th Ethnography in Education Research Forum

2011 – 2017 Reviewer, International Journal of Multicultural Education

2010 – 2017 Reviewer, Ethnography in Education Research Forum

At Saint Mary’s College of California

2021 – 2022 Faculty Co-Chair, Afro-Latinx, Latinx, Indigenous Latinx Peoples Subcommittee of the College Committee on Inclusive Excellence, Saint Mary’s College of California

Fall 2021 – 2022 First Year Academic Cohort Advisor, Saint Mary’s College of California

Fall 2021 Search Committee Member, Director of High Potential Program for First Generation and/or Low-Income Students, Saint Mary’s College of California

2020 – 2021 Parliamentarian, Faculty Senate, Saint Mary’s College of California

2019 – 2022 Faculty Mentor, High Potential Program for First Generation and/or Low-Income Students, Saint Mary’s College of California

2019 – 2022 Board Member, Institute for Latino and Latin American Studies (ILaLS), Saint Mary’s College of California

2019 – 2021 Member, Afro-Latinx, Latinx, Indigenous Latinx Peoples Subcommittee of the College Committee on Inclusive Excellence, Saint Mary’s College of California

Community-Based Service

2020 – 2021 Tenants Rights Hotline Volunteer, Causa Justa :: Just Cause

2015 – 2016 Board Chair, English For Action

2009 – 2015 Advisory Board Member, English For Action

2008 – 2012 Language Access Coordinator, Women Expanding Literacy Education Research Network Annual Conference

2008 – 2012 Conference Planning Committee Member, Women Expanding Literacy Education Research Network

2008 – 2012 Board Member, Women Expanding Literacy Education Research Network

2008 – 2009 Board Treasurer, Women Expanding Literacy Education

Community Organizing & Community Related Experience

Tenants Rights Hotline Volunteer 2020 – 2021
Causa Justa::Just Cause, Oakland, CA

Spanish/English Community Interpreter and Translator 2002 – 2020 #ShutDownBerks Campaign (Pennsylvania); United States Human Rights Network (National); Juntos (Pennsylvania); City from Below Conference (Maryland); United States Social Forum (Georgia), Olneyville Neighborhood Association (Rhode Island); Jobs with Justice (Rhode Island); Women Expanding Literacy Education Research Network (Rhode Island); English for Action (Rhode Island).

Immigrant Rights Organizing Intern 2014 – 2016 Juntos, Philadelphia, PA

English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL)
Coordinator & Facilitator 2012 – 2016
Aquinas Center, Philadelphia, PA.

Native Language Literacy Researcher and Program Developer Summer 2006 English For Action, Providence, RI

Community-Based Presentations, Publications & Media

Rusoja, A. (2019, November 14). “What Does It Look Like To…” The Stansbury Forum. https://stansburyforum.com/2019/11/14/what-does-it-look-like-to

Rusoja, A. (2019, November 1). “We Are Our Own Best Advocates: Latinx Immigrants Teaching and Learning for Their Rights.” Intercultural Center’s FAC Chat Fall 2019 Series. Saint Mary’s College of California.

Weissman, S., Santiago, M., Rusoja, A. (2019, September–October). “Talking to Those at the Border: Suzi Weissman Interviews Myrna Santiago and Alicia Rusoja.” https://solidarity-us.org/atc/202/border-interview/)

Weissman, S. (2019, July 23). “Report from the Border”. Jacobin Radio. https://blubrry.com/jacobin/46262096/jacobin-radio-report-from-the-border-uk-politics/
*Guest on podcast episode

Pantoja, A. (Spring, 2009). “Collective Drawings and Problem Trees: Exploring Health Issues using Popular Education Tools”, Rhode Island Adult Education Conference. Providence, RI.
*Workshop facilitator

Pantoja, A, (March, 2009). “Let’s Make the Economy Work for Women.” Women Expanding Literacy Education Research Network (WE LEARN) 7th Annual Conference.
Providence, RI. *Workshop facilitator

Pantoja, A. (2008). Problem Posing and Final Projects in Our Classrooms. The Change Agent Magazine. Boston, MA.

Pantoja, A. (May, 2007). “Popular Education in Latina Literacy Programs.” Women Expanding Literacy Education Research Network (WE LEARN) 6th Annual Conference. Boston, MA. *Presenter

Languages & Skills

Fully Bilingual Spanish/English
Proficient in Microsoft Word, Excel, Powerpoint, Google Drive, Wrike, Zoom. Qualitative Research Data Analysis Software: Atlas ti.

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