Dr. Appel has been an educator for 12 years, first as a K-12 ESL teacher and now as a professor of Latinx and Latin American literature. Through the co-formation of her research and teaching, she examines how literature and other forms of media work as a space of pedagogical thinking and practice for human rights and social justice. She also writes a blog series for Interfolio called "Scholar at Large" that explores how to approach a career in the humanities in academia and beyond.
I hold a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature with a minor in Latin American Studies, an M.S.T. in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages, and a B.A. in Mythology and Folklore.
As an academic, I study how literature and other forms of media work as a space of pedagogical thinking and practice for human rights and social justice. I am fascinated with how students have been pivotal cultural figures of social change and the impetus for critical, feminist, and decolonial pedagogies across the Americas. (As the great Chilean folklorist and composer Violeta Parra wrote, “¡Que vivan los estudiantes, jardín de las alegrías!” or loosely translated, “Long live our students, nursery of our joys!”) I put these interests into practice by approaching the classroom as a collaborative pedagogical space between teachers and learners. To borrow from the words of Gloria Anzaldúa: learning occurs in our processes of crossing, in our travesías. The study of literature and culture helps us develop “a tolerance for contradictions, a tolerance for ambiguity.”
During my career as an educator, I have taught courses on composition, Video Games as Literature, Literature of Migration, Exploration, and Exile, Literature of the Americas, and creative writing for incarcerated women. I’ve also enjoyed supporting and training teachers with the Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth, Teach for America: Philadelphia, and at the Bronx Expeditionary Learning High School (Bronx Collegiate Academy). When I am not being a professional nerd, I make time for singing, hiking, playing tabletop and video games, and hanging out with my beloved old-man cat.