Skip to main content Skip to navigation
Washington State University
College of Education

Getting to Know You: Jessica Masterson

#FacultyFriday with Jessica Masterson — October 01, 2021

Faculty role: Assistant professor of Teacher Education

Hometown: Renton, Washington

Why did you choose to do what you do?

I’ve been passionate about making our world a more just and inclusive place since I was little, and teaching was a natural extension of this interest. When I first entered my doctoral program, I was unsure of how educational research would fit into my own personal vision of social change. However, I soon came to realize that research can and should be a critical part of enacting justice across all levels of education. I love that in my role at WSU, I am able to continue teaching while simultaneously conducting research focused on BIPOC students and their literacy experiences.

What has been your favorite thing about WSU, as well as the College of Education?

I feel ridiculously lucky to be surrounded by so many socially-engaged colleagues and students here in the WSU College of Education! I love learning with and from my students, who ask brilliant, vital questions and give me so much hope for the future. Further, I appreciate the multiple opportunities for collaboration with my colleagues.

What makes you an Agent of Change?

I am strongly committed to educational justice, and I seek to use my research and teaching fully in service of this overarching goal. Given the vastly unequal educational outcomes between privileged and oppressed groups of students in the US, this goal necessarily requires our close attention to not only classroom instruction, but also to the unequal sociocultural contexts in which schooling occurs. I try to infuse this broader view into each aspect of my work. My hope is that our future teachers will not only excel at culturally sustaining instruction, but will also see themselves as advocates on behalf of their students, their communities, and their profession.

Sept. 15 – Oct. 15 is Latinx Heritage Month. Why is your heritage so important to you and how do you work, in the United States, to ensure not only celebration, but equity and inclusion? 

As a Latinx scholar and educator, my heritage is at the forefront of everything I do. I read somewhere that folks with PhDs in the United States comprise roughly three percent of the population, and that Latina PhD-holders are two percent of that three percent. This puts into perspective how unique my place within academia is, and I do not take it for granted. My heritage makes me cognizant of clearing the road behind me such that future Latina and Latinx researchers and educators have an easier road to travel.


Food: Pizza! No question. 🙂

Restaurant near WSU Vancouver: The Whole Bowl

Book: Borderlands: La Frontera by Gloria Anzaldúa

Song: Eventually by Tame Impala

Band: Rilo Kiley

Movie: Some Like it Hot

TV show: Succession

Hobby: Running (very slowly)!

Vacation spot (you’ve been to): O`ahu, where I used to teach

Dream vacation spot (somewhere you’d like to go): Aotearoa, aka New Zealand