Profile: Ariana Mangual Figueroa

Associate Professor

Dr. Ariana Mangual Figueroa is an Associate Professor in the Graduate School of Education at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey. Her work draws from the fields of language socialization and linguistic anthropology to examine language use and learning in Latino communities living in the United States. Her research documents the everyday experiences of children and families as they participate in learning activities across multiple settings including homes, schools, and communities. She is particularly interested in the ways in which an individual’s linguistic and cultural development is shaped by citizenship status and educational policies and the ways in which this becomes evident in daily, routine interactions. Her most recent longitudinal ethnographic study focusing on the way in which legal citizenship status shapes the participation of Latina girls inside and outside of school was supported by a 2013-14 National Academy of Education/Spencer Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship and by a 2018-19 inaugural Rutgers University Latino Studies Initiative Grant. She is currently a co-Principal Investigator of a longitudinal, multi-sited research project entitled Putting Immigration and Education in Conversation Everyday (PIECE) that examines the ways in which immigration policy shapes educational practices in six school districts across the United States. This work has involved extensive collaboration with the Southern Poverty Law Center and received funding from the Spencer Foundation and the W.T. Grant Foundation. Since 2017, she has served as an Associate Editor of Anthropology & Education Quarterly.


Dr. Mangual Figueroa has focused her work on the ways in which discourses of citizenship circulate across home and school settings in mixed-status communities with articles published in Anthropology & Education Quarterly and Language Policy, the ethics of conducting ethnographic research in mixed-status homes discussed in a 2014 article titled “Citizenship, beneficence, and informed consent: The ethics of working in mixed-status families,” and the ways in which children choose to disclose or disguise their citizenship status with her recent 2017 publication appearing in the American Educational Research Journal. She brings this research to bear on the lives of teachers and students by organizing conferences and participating in professional development workshops for K-16 educators in the tri-state area working to advocate for the undocumented students that they serve. 


Dr. Mangual Figueroa believes in modeling many of the practices that her doctoral and master’s students will utilize in their careers. A cornerstone of her teaching and thinking about teaching is the belief that teachers and their pupils co-construct linguistic and academic knowledge. She believes this to be true of the university classroom as well as the primary and secondary classrooms, and she works to develop approaches to teaching that helps prepare students to be thoughtful and dynamic researchers and educators. Her pedagogy is informed by her experiences teaching in a variety of contexts. Ariana began teaching during her undergraduate studies at Brown University, where she taught Spanish language and literature to inner-city youth of color in Massachusetts and English to immigrant families at a family literacy program in Rhode Island. After graduating from college, Ariana taught English as a Second Language (ESL) and Spanish in a public high school in the Bronx for two years. After a year in Spain, where she taught English to adults, Ariana returned to New York and taught ESL and Spanish at a K-8 dual language school in Brooklyn. Prior to joining the faculty at Rutgers, she worked at the University of Pittsburgh as a Lecturer in the Graduate School of Education and as a Research Associate at the Institute for Learning in the Learning Research and Development Center (LRDC). In 2018, she was awarded the Rutgers GSE Alumni Association Faculty Research Award.


Dr. Mangual Figueroa received her PhD in Language, Literacy, and Culture, from the University of California, Berkeley, and holds a Masters Ed. in Bilingual Education, from the Bank Street College of Education, in New York City. Prior to obtaining her PhD, she taught English as a Second Language and Spanish in public schools in the Bronx and Brooklyn. 


Professional Affiliations:

American Educational Research Association
American Anthropological Association

Recent Grants:

2018-2019 Latino Studies Research Initiative

¿Fuiste nacida aquí o fuiste nacida en tu país? ("Were you born here or were you born in your country?"): Immigrant Girls' Expressions of Citizenship and Belonging.

2017-2018 Spencer Foundation and W.T. Grant Foundation Officer's Grants

Putting Immigration and Education in Conversation Everyday (PIECE)

2016-2017 Rutgers Research Council Grant

The Everyday Schooling Experiences of Latina Immigrant Girls

2013-2014 National Academy of Education/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellow

Citizenship, Socialization, and Schooling in the Lives of Mixed-Status Mexican Families

2014 The American Anthropological Association Committee on Ethics, Small Grants Program

Beneficience and Informed Consent: Lessons from an Ethnographic Study of Citizenship and Language Socialization 


2010, Ph.D. in Language, Literacy, and Culture, University of California, Berkeley

"Language Socialization Experiences of Mixed-Status Mexican Families Living in the New Latino Diaspora" (Patricia Baquedano-López (Chair), Graduate School of Education; Bruce Fuller, Graduate School of Education; William F. Hanks, Department of Anthropology)

2003, Ms.Ed. in Bilingual Education, Bank Street College of Education

2003, Granted New York State Provisional Certification, K-6 teacher with bilingual extension

2003, Granted New York State Permanent Certification, PreK-6 teacher

2001, B.A. in Educational Studies, Brown University

Expertise & Research Interest

Language Socialization
Citizenship and Schooling
The New Latino Diaspora

Research Work With Students

Dr. Mangual Figueroa's early research includes: qualitative research regarding Mexican-American families preschool socialization in California’s Bay Area , an ethnographic study of learning in a Northern California bilingual preschool and after-school program, and an ethnographic study of a mixed-status, emerging Latino community in Southwestern Pennsylvania. The results of this work can be found in Developmental Psychology, the edited volume entitled Vygotsky in 21st century society: Advances in cultural historical theory and praxis with non-dominant communities, and Anthropology & Education Quarterly, among other journals and books.


More recently, she conducted ethnographic fieldwork for a study of citizenship and schooling in a mixed-status Latino community in New York City. This project was funded by the National Academy of Education/Spencer Foundation, The Rutgers Research Council, and the Rutgers Latino Studies Initiative. The first publication issuing from this project can be found in the American Educational Research Journal. Dr. Mangual Figueroa is currently working on a book manuscript issuing from this longitudinal study.


Dr. Mangual Figueroa is currently a co-Principal Investigator of a longitudinal, multi-sited research project entitled Putting Immigration and Education in Conversation Everyday (PIECE) that examines the ways in which immigration policy shapes educational practices in six school districts across the United States. This work has involved extensive collaboration with the Southern Poverty Law Center and has received funding from the Spencer Foundation and the W.T. Grant Foundation and initial findings are forthcoming.

Recent & Selected Publications

Articles in Refereed Journals

O’Connor, B. & Mangual Figueroa, A. (2017). A Time to Keep Silence and a Time to Speak. Anthropology & Education Quarterly 48(4), 411-419. Special Issue: Educational Anthropologists Respond to the 2016 Presidential Election.    

Mangual Figueroa, A.. (2017). Speech or silence: Undocumented students’ decisions to reveal their citizenship status in school. American Educational Research Journal 54(3), 485-523.

Byrnes, M.M. & Mangual Figueroa, A. (2017). “Dice que es Bajo” (She says he’s low): Negotiating Breaches of Literacy Learner Identity in Two Mexican Families. Linguistics & Education 38, 68-78.

Mangual Figueroa, A. (2016). Citizenship, beneficence, and informed consent: The ethics of working in mixed-status families. International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education 29(10), 66-85.

Mangual Figueroa, A. (2015). Out of the Shadows: Testimonio as Civic Participation. Journal of Latinos and Education 14(4), 244-260.

Mangual Figueroa, A., Suh, S., & Byrnes, M.M. (2015). Co-constructing beliefs about parental involvement: Rehearsals and reflections in a family literacy program. Linguistics & Education 31, 44-58.

Bridges, M., Cohen, S. R., Scott, L., Fuller, B., Anguiano, R., Mangual Figueroa, A. & Livas-Dlott, A. (2015). Home activities of Mexican American children: Structuring early socialization and cognitive engagement. Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology 21(2), 181-190.

Mangual Figueroa, A., Baquedano-López, P., & Leyva-Cutler, B. (2014). La Cosecha/The Harvest: Sustainable Models for School-Community Engagement at a Bilingual Program. Bilingual Research Journal, 31(7), 43-63.

Mangual Figueroa, A. (2013). "Hay que hablar": Testimonio in the everyday lives of migrant mothers. Language & Communication, 33, 559-572.

Mangual Figueroa, A. (2013). Citizenship and language education policy in an emerging Latino community in the United States. Language Policy 12, 333-354.

Mangual Figueroa, A. (2012). "I have papers so I can go anywhere!": Everyday talk about citizenship in a mixed-status Mexican family." Journal of Language, Identity, & Education, 11(5), 291-311.

Mangual Figueroa, A. (2011). Citizenship and Education in the Homework Completion Routine. Anthropology & Education Quarterly, 4(3), 263-280.

Livas-Dlott, A., Fuller, B., Stein, G.S., Bridges, M., Mangual Figueroa, A., & Mireles, L. (2010). Commands, competence, and cariño: Maternal socialization practices in Mexican American families. Developmental Psychology, 46(3), 566-578.

Invited and Refereed Book Chapters

Mangual Figueroa, A. and Baquedano-López, P. (in press). Language Socialization and Schooling. In P. Duff (Ed.). Volume 8: Language Socialization. Encyclopedia of Language Education, 3rd edition. New York: Springer.

Mangual Figueroa, A. (2018). Topography of trámites: Mixed-status families map of the New Latino Diaspora. In S. Salas, P.R. Portes (Eds.), Latinization of American society: Perspectives on national and regional transformation (141-160). New York: State University of New York Press.

Mangual Figueroa, A. (2017). Ethnography and Language Education. In K. King and Y-J. Lai (Eds.). Volume 10: Research Methods. Encyclopedia of Language Education, 3rd edition (269-282). New York: Springer.

Mangual Figueroa, A. (2014). Finding a place: Migration and education in mixed-status families. In P.R. Portes., S. Salas,. P. Mellom (Eds.), U.S. Latinos and education policy: Research-based directions for change (pp. 149-172). New York, NY: Routledge.

Mangual Figueroa, A. (2014). La carta de responsabilidad: The problem of departure. In D. Paris & M.T. Winn (Eds.). Humanizing research: Decolonizing qualitative inquiry with youth and communities (pp. 129-146). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

Chapters in Books or Monographs

Mangual Figueroa, A. (2014). The Fourteenth Amendment. In A. Ochoa O'Leary (Ed.), Undocumented Immigrants in the United States: An Encyclopedia of their Experience (pp. 274-276). Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO.

Baquedano-López, P. & Mangual Figueroa, A. (2011). Language Socialization and Immigration. In A. Duranti, E. Ochs, & B.B.Schieffelin (Eds.), Handbook of Language Socialization (pp. 536-563). Malden, Mass.: Wiley-Blackwell.

Baquedano-López, P. & Mangual Figueroa, A., Hernandez, S.J. (2011). An integrated approach to the study of transitions as learning activity Two cases from Spanish immersion classrooms. In P. Portes& S. Salas (Eds.), Vygotsky in 21st century society: Advances in cultural historical theory and praxis with non-dominant communities (pp. 180-198). New York, NY: Peter Lang Publishing, Inc.

Heiner, B.T. & Mangual, A. (2002). The Repressive Social Function of Schools in Racialized Communities. In J. James (Ed.), States of Confinement: Policing, Detention, and Prisons (2nd ed., pp. 222-229). New York, NY: Palgrave.

Professional Journals and Textbooks (Non-refereed)

Leiva, C. & Mangual, A. (2012). Desde las entrañas del monstruo: educadores en Nueva York luchando contra el neoliberalismo y el racismo. Docencia, 47, 90-98.

Bill, V. L., Jamar, I., Smith, M.S., Campo, S., Hughes, E. & Goldman, P., Mangual Figueroa, A. (with Vennebush, P. & Badertscher, E.).(2009). AccountableLearning supplemental curricula: TeachMathAlgebra I teacher materials. Pittsburgh, PA: University of Pittsburgh.

Bill, V. L., Jamar, I., Smith, M.S., Campo, S., Hughes, E. & Metz, M.L. (with Vennebush, P., Badertscher, E., & Mangual Figueroa, A.).(2009). AccountableLearning supplemental curricula: LearnMathAlgebra I student materials. Pittsburgh, PA: University of Pittsburgh.

Book Reviews

Mangual Figueroa, A. (2009) [Review of the book Bilingual Education an Introductory Reader]. Language Policy, 8(3), 307-309.

Honors & Awards


Graduate School of Education Alumni Association Faculty Research Award

American Anthropological Association, Council on Anthropology and Education Presidential Fellow
American Educational Research Association Early Career Mentoring Program
American Educational Research Association Minority Dissertation Fellowship