- Ph.D. University of Florida
- MA. University of Miami
- B.S. University of Miami
I am an interdisciplinary researcher, educator, and writer specializing in Ethnic and Latinx Studies, Youth Literature and Media, and Ethnic Studies training and praxis for K-12 practitioners. Before Simmons, I was an Associate Professor of English and Latinx Studies at Lehigh University. I was also the founding director of the Institute on Critical Race and Ethnic Studies where I was also chair of the Education Justice Initiative. My research career began at the historic Center for Puerto Rican Studies (CENTRO), Hunter College, CUNY where I was a research associate and also an adjunct in the Department of Africana, Puerto Rican, and Latino Studies.
Area of Expertise
Youth Literature and Culture, young adult literature, Latinx Studies, Ethnic Studies, children’s literature and media, children’s television, Ethnic Studies implementation in K-12, US Empire and literary history, Puerto Rican literature and history
What I Teach
- Children's Literature and Media
- Youth Literature for Social Justice
- Fantasy and Science Fiction
- The Child and Fiction
- Boston Childhoods
I have worked with communities in Miami, New York City and Bethlehem, PA public schools. I have also enjoyed working with the national organization Teaching for Change in DC to support curriculum and access to diverse youth literature for teachers and teacher educators.
My first book, Side by Side: Puerto Rico, US Empire, and the Roots of American Youth Literature and Culture (University Press of Mississippi, 2021) was featured in REMEZCLA, Bronx Net and The Latinx Project at New York University, My new book project is an edited collection for SUNY Press co-edited with Sonia Alejandra Rodriguez titled Ethnic Studies and Youth Literature: A Critical Reader.
I am also working on tracking book bans and the struggle for Ethnic Studies in K-12 and academia.
- Children's Literature Association Book Award, 2023
- Puerto Rican Studies Association, Dissertation Award, 2012
- National Council for Teachers of English, Cultivating New Voices Among Scholars of Color Fellowship, 2014-2016