Texas A&M University - Corpus Christi

Dr. Laura Muñoz

An Outstanding Islander

Outline photo of Dr. Laura Muñoz

Recovering the Latino Past

For Dr. Laura Muñoz, recovering the Latino past is the motivating factor in her historical work. Muñoz attended five public elementary schools as a result of the court-ordered desegregation plan that emerged from the federal lawsuit Cisneros v. Corpus Christi Independent School District (1970). This legacy drives her passion for educational history and reform, and she is especially interested in the history of Mexican-American schoolteachers and their work in the public schools. An assistant professor of history who teaches women’s and Chicana/o history, Muñoz is one of only 20 researchers from across the nation to be awarded the 2011-2012 National Academy of Education/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship to complete her research manuscript, “Educated Citizens: Mexican Americans and the Making of Arizona, 1870-1940.” In 2010, she received the Teaching Excellence Award from The Texas A&M University System. That same year, she served on the high school curriculum review committee that revised the Texas Social Studies Standards. Muñoz started several campus programs including the “Latinas and College: Our First Year Experiences,” a symposium through the Women’s Center for Education and Service; “The Ancient Mediterranean: Exploring Cultures, Traditions, and Empires” week-long lecture series sponsored by the College of Liberal Arts’ Historical Forum Endowment; and the “Texas Women Speaking” history lecture and poster session. For “Texas Women Speaking,” her students interview women in the region, transcribe their interviews and create posters to tell the history of their lives. To date, Muñoz has donated 36 audio files and transcripts to the Special Collections & Archives Department. She serves as a mentor for University McNair Scholars Program and is a past sponsor of Hispanics for the Advancement of Community and Educational Readiness (HACER). She was honored with the International Students Association’s 2010 Educator of the Year Award. Munoz, who came to the Island University in fall 2006, obtained her Ph.D. from Arizona State University in 2007, where her dissertation, titled “Desert Dreams: Mexican American Education in Arizona, 1870-1930,” won the 2007 Claude A. Eggertsen Prize from the History of Education Society.

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