EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – One of the most prestigious, state-wide awards for teaching excellence at the college level, the Piper Professor for the State of Texas has been granted to Manuela Alejandra Gomez in its 2022 edition.

She is an award-winning professor, journalist, and author who has been widely cited, quoted, and interviewed for her expertise on U.S.-Mexico border education and politics in the international and national media. She specializes in philosophical pedagogy, ethics, feminism, and Latin American philosophy. Gomez has over 17 years of teaching experience and is a doctoral candidate in Teaching, Learning, and Culture at the University of Texas at El Paso.

She is the author of the book Rediscovering the Philosophical Importance of Jose Ingenieros – A Bridge between Two Worlds. This work connects Latin American philosophy and pragmatism. She also published an Open Educational Resource (OER) Ethics textbook, which is freely available for low-income college students. Additionally, she has published multiple academic articles and book reviews throughout the years.

“Being selected as one of the best professors in the state of Texas is a huge honor to me because there are not many women in philosophy, much less women from the U.S.-Mexico border. As a philosophy professor at EPCC, the same institution where I first learned English as a second language decades ago, I get to encourage my students to be critical, to seek justice, and to discover the power of putting philosophy into action to improve our community. Most of my academic research and philosophical pedagogy focus on creating a representation of diverse voices in philosophy and including those who have been neglected. Through the years, I have found that philosophy is a dynamic tool for healing and transformation,”

Manuela Alejandra Gomez

Gomez has received numerous teaching and mentorship awards and has reached important academic milestones. In 2017, she won a competitive educator scholarship to attend Yale University, where she learned about multiculturalism in education. In 2018, and again in 2020, she won the EPCC Inspirational Award.

In 2022, Gomez was appointed to the American Philosophical Association (APA) Committee on Hispanic and Latinx Philosophy until 2025. The committee is charged with nationally assessing and reporting on unfair or discriminatory practices affecting Hispanic or Latinx philosophers in their professional work. The committee is also concerned with teaching and research and promoting cultural diversity.

In her nomination for the Piper Professor Award, Rocio Fierro, a former EPCC philosophy student of Gomez and former EPCC Student Government President said:

“Representation and visibility are critical for students to see themselves accomplishing their own goals. As a Mexican American woman, teaching philosophy, Professor Gomez embodies the hope, resilience, hard work, and excellence that is deserving of this award.”

Gomez will be honored at this year’s EPCC faculty recognition dinner. Through the Minnie Stevens Piper Foundation, she will receive an official certificate of merit, a gold pin, and a $5,000 honorarium. For more information about the Piper Professor visit comptroller.texas.gov

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