EL PASO, Texas — Manuela Alejandra Gomez, professor of philosophy at El Paso Community College, has been announced as the 2022 Piper Professor for the State of Texas.
The Minnie Stevens Piper Foundation honors ten faculty for their superior education and extraordinary academic achievement and dedication to teaching.
Gomez has been teaching philosophy on both sides of the border for 17 years.
She told ABC-7 that with this realization her work asserts itself a little more.
“So for me, just making sure my work was validated and legitimized was a big struggle, but luckily the product of my work spoke for itself,” she said.
The professor said it is important that she makes a difference in the lives of her students.
She said that being from the frontier, she wants her students to see themselves reflected in her and to know that they can transform their communities too.
She understands that the field of philosophy is one of the most underrepresented fields for minorities, like her.
“We think about these men, but we never really focus on who the women are. There are women philosophers who are just as worthy.
She reminds her students daily in class to keep moving forward.
“There are a lot of ups and downs and the key here will be perseverance and it will be about making sure it’s okay to understand that there are incredible challenges and obstacles ahead of us but we have to continue,” she said.
Gomez’s dream is to one day have a border philosophy on the US-Mexico border to ensure that the border philosophy is recognized.
“I want to make philosophy accessible at all levels. I don’t want there to be just one or two courses at university. It’s something that should be available to everyone,” Gomez said.
Gomez said she draws inspiration from her parents, her husband, her friends and her two Chihuahuas.
Through the Minnie Stevens Piper Foundation, she will receive an official certificate of achievement, a gold lapel pin and an honorarium of $5,000.