Dr. Cristina Romero-Ivanova (center)
Dr. Cristina Romero-Ivanova (center)
dr cristina romero ivanova and daughters

Greyhound Grad, Assistant Professor at Indiana University Kokomo, Coordinates Service Learning for Students at Kokomo Domestic Violence Shelter and Bridges Outreach

Dr. Cristina Romero-Ivanova graduated from Eastern New Mexico University with distinction, earning a Bachelor of Arts in English with minors in history and secondary education in 2000. She now works as an assistant professor of education at Indiana University Kokomo in the School of Education.

She teaches classes focused on elementary and secondary education, as well as in the programs Transition to Teaching, Freshman Learning Community and Tomorrow's Teachers. She also teaches and does service learning with her students at the Kokomo Domestic Violence Shelter and Bridges Outreach, which provides programming, tutors and mentors for at-risk youth.

Her other responsibilities include presenting at professional conferences, mentoring students, supervising student teachers and conducting research. Her current research is focused on individuals' narratives, specifically women's narratives of silencing. She also conducts tattoo research.

"I have written on women's sacred literacies and am working to ground this theory of women's sacred literacy practices," says Dr. Romero-Ivanova, who was previously an associate instructor at Indiana University Bloomington and a secondary English teacher in Indianapolis Public Schools.

Her current career goal is to receive tenure. "I am also working on getting a book contract to publish my first research on women's experiences with being silenced and their storying of that, their resistance and resilience," she shares.

She says that the biggest highlight of her job is working with students and mentoring them. She also loves working with the community.

dr cristina romero ivanova with family

The assistant professor offers the following advice to students interested in working in her career field: "As a researcher, be dedicated to writing and care about how research impacts those who it needs to impact. As a teacher, be authentic and care about the content and students."

Dr. Romero-Ivanova reflects on why she chose to become a teacher: "My childhood interests involved having my mother take me to schools during summer break, and I would collect textbooks that were discarded. I used these to create lesson plans and teach my stuffed animals. I felt that education/teaching was my calling."

She grew up in Portales and Clovis, New Mexico, and decided to attend ENMU because it was "local and a small campus."

The Greyhound Grad credits her Eastern Experience for providing her with "funds of knowledge for navigating academia, studying and pursuing higher education."

Three ENMU professors who served as her mentors were Dr. Michael Donaghe, Dr. Antony Oldknow and Dr. Michael Shaughnessy. "My professors helped me navigate undergraduate education," she explains. "My friend and mentor, the late Michael Donaghe especially helped me to be able to synthesize poetry. His mentorship enriched my time at ENMU."

dr cristina romero ivanova and grinch costume

She was also was mentored by Dr. Jack Williamson; she had the "wonderful opportunity" to work with him as the editor of the "El Portal" for three semesters.

Her other campus involvement included serving as a grader in the School of Science and serving as a member and officer of the Blue Key Honor Fraternity. She was the recipient of a journalism scholarship and minority scholarship.

Dr. Romero-Ivanova is very involved at her current campus and in her community, too: "I recently was invited to be on a campus panel that advocated for survivors of sexual assault. I am a survivor myself, and so this was an empowering and necessary space and platform to promote advocacy. I also do a great deal of work with our Kokomo Domestic Violence Shelter."

She has two daughters, sixth-grader Emilia, 11, and Madeline, a 19-year-old sophomore at the Indiana University Kokomo School of Education. Her husband works as a police detective. Her mother, brother and aunt live in Portales. She has two cats, Bella and Gabriela. "My children are hoping for a dog soon, but we'll have to see about that," she says.

Her favorite hobby is spending time with her daughters. She also enjoys playing the piano and singing.

When asked about her role models, Dr. Romero-Ivanova shares that "one of the greatest role models in my life is Jesus Christ. His life is what I seek to live. He has also done so much in my life that it is unbelievable. I was raised in poverty in a single-parent household and experienced abuse, but Christ allowed those experiences to strengthen me and has provided opportunity after opportunity in my life."

dr cristina romero ivanova with daughters

The ENMU alumna's awards include the "Virgil Hunt Distinguished Service Award" from Indiana University in 2018 and being named a finalist for the FACET Academy Awards' "Innovative Teaching with Digital Tools" category in 2017.

She has worked extensively on grants, including serving as a grant writer and participant for Google Chrome Pilot for 2019-20. Other grant involvement and fellowships include the Indiana University Kokomo Applied Learning Grants for students from 2016 to the present, Women of Well House, an Indiana University Kokomo grant, in 2019 and the Mosaic Teaching Fellowship at Indiana University from 2019-20.

Her publications include "Three Conceptions of Literacy: Media, Narrative, and Gaming Literacies" in 2019, "Action Research" in 2016 and "Memories as sacred artifacts & remembering as a sacred literacy" in the "Humanities & Social Sciences Review" in 2014.

Want to know some interesting facts about the Greyhound Grad? Dr. Romero-Ivanova shares her favorites:

  • • "Before I started work on my first college degree, I was a student missionary and lived in Crieff, Tayside, Scotland, for eight months as an auxiliary nurse; I am a certified phlebotomist."
  • • "I eloped and married my husband in Rousse, Bulgaria, in 1997."
  • • "I just got my first tattoo summer 2019, which memorializes and symbolizes myself as a survivor of sexual assault and domestic violence."
  • • "I recently in summer 2019 presented research at Queen's University in Belfast, Northern Ireland."
dr cristina romero ivanova with student and mascot