With me in her womb, my mother crossed the U.S.-Mexican border in the trunk of a car to unite with my father and brother in the U.S. This family history and life beginning set the tone for my schooling journey of resistance within complexity. I declared a Math major during my first year at Pomona College, but when I realized that I was one of the only women in my first math class, and most yet, of Mexican ancestry, I began to ask questions that my math education did not explore: How can colleges reflect the diversity of the surrounding communities? I shifted my area of focus to the history and policy of education for Mexican Americans. In the process, I nurtured my own identity and re-awakened my voice in a land scarce of cultural diversity. I began to learn more about my heritage and ground my voice through the perspective of my family, hence my research interests.
As a Xicana scholar activist, I examine computer science education, from a sustainable perspective informed by Indigenous peoples. I ask: How may ancestral knowledge systems inform the study of computer science? How might the melding of ancestral knowledge and computer science education lead to new understandings of how to nurture our young people’s positive identity formations and critical consciousness around computer science explorations? Responses to these questions have significant implications for promoting social, economic and environmentally sustainable approaches to living, learning and dying. As digital media inextricably influences our lives, my work disrupts the common assumption that computer science alone could be a solution to most any complex problem in society.
I earned my Doctoral Degree in Education from the University of California Los Angeles, where I conducted research on culturally responsive computer science education with the support of the National Science Foundation. I am the recipient of a grant awarded to a team of educational activists to “Mobilize Ancestral Knowledge, Computer Science and Student Inquiry for Health in the Schooling Community of El Sereno,” funded by UCLA Center X. I have published with Urban Education, Psychnology, Learning, Media and Technology, ACM Inroads, Power and Education, Theory, Culture and Society and SAGE Reference Publications. My book, Ancestral Knowledge Meets Computer Science Education: Environmental Change in Community is currently in press.
I enjoy outdoor activities such as hiking, river tubing and biking with my notech yelhua itauhqui, David, and our four-legged companion, Canela. Names tell stories. My name is Cueponcaxochitl Dianna Moreno Sandoval. Cueponcaxochitl means “blossoming flowers” in Mexicano/Nahuatl. Here is the pronunciation of Cueponcaxochitl. I suspect that my family’s ancestral languages are Cazcan and Mexicano, both languages of Uto-Aztecan origin. Cazcan was killed off to extinction around the 17th century, and Mexicano is endangered. Languages are encoded with a worldview that is intimately connected to social practices and interdependent relationships to community and place. My name and efforts revitalizing Mexicano unearths a dignifying journey towards un mundo donde quepan muchos mundos (a world where many worlds fit).