Fulbright recipient Ronald Gomez ’14 enlists education to provide smart solutions for big problems. As a corps member of LMU’s Teach For America, Gomez served for two years as an educator in South Los Angeles. During his residency, he discovered a startling disparity; while 22 percent of public school students are Latino, only 2 percent of public school teachers are Latino males. This problem of a vulnerable demographic not having identifiable role models inspired Gomez to investigate possible reparative strategies for the classroom. His search culminated with an interest in culturally-responsive teaching methods, an interest that blossomed under the guidance of LMU’s professor of education, Marta Baltodano. Through collaboration with Baltodano and his own independent research, Gomez continually reevaluates the structures that reinforce systemic inequalities in America’s under-resourced schools and seeks, through productive conversation and alteration of classroom praxis, to overturn them.
His research turned the heads of the Teach for America foundation, who supported Gomez in administering a professional development workshop on culturally-responsive instruction and reform in the American education system. But Gomez isn’t stopping with Los Angeles, or even the United States. This year, as Fulbright scholar, he will begin teaching English at a university in the Dominican Republic where he hopes to continue the conversation about systemic inequalities on a global level. Along with his instruction duties, Gomez plans to extend his research by finding new ways for education to adapt to its specific racial and cultural audiences, and new solutions to education’s toughest challenges.