Panel Session 1:  1:00 pm – 2:00 pm

Panel Session Participants



Lisa Bedore, Professor of Communication Sciences and Disorders at UT

Dr. Lisa Bedore is a  professor in the Communication Sciences and Disorders Department at UT Austin.  She has worked with bilingual Spanish speaking children for over 30 years.  In her research she helps to find ways to determine if children have language learning problems and how to improve the language learning skills of children.

Rajka Smiljanic, Professor of Linguistics, UT at Austin

Dr. Rajka Smiljanic is the Principal Investigator of the UTsoundLab and the director of the Phonetics Lab. She is an Associate Professor of Linguistics at the University of Texas at Austin. Her work is concentrated in the areas of experimental phonetics, cross-language and second language speech production and perception, clear speech, intelligibility, and prosody. She received a bachelor’s degree in English and Russian Languages and Literatures at the University of Zagreb, Croatia, and her MA and PhD from the Linguistics Department at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. After receiving her doctorate, she worked as a Research Associate and Lecturer in the Linguistics Department at Northwestern University. She also taught in the Communications Disorders and Sciences Department at Rush University.

Patricia Nuñez is President of AAABE (Austin Area Association of Bilingual Education), member of AFT ELL Educator Cadre at American Federation of Teachers, and a specialist in bilingual education and curriculum development.  Patricia Nuñez  currently serves at Becker Elementary in the Austin Independent School District.


Dr. Hernández, Assistant Professor of Bilingual Education, St. Edward’s University

Dr. Hernández is Assistant Professor of Bilingual Education at St. Edward’s University in Austin, TX. Prior to receiving her Doctorate in Education from the University of Southern California (USC), Dr. Hernández taught for over seven years in self-contained bilingual elementary classrooms in urban and rural communities in California. These included Los Angeles Unified School District, where she taught at one of the nations largest elementary schools in the country and in Ventura, CA where she served a largely farm-working student population.

Dr. Hernández also coordinated the César Chavez Dual Language School in Santa Barbara and served as Director of Elementary Education at California Lutheran University. Before joining the St. Edward’s University faculty as Assistant Professor of Bilingual Education, she mentored bilingual novice teachers at UT San Antonio through the Academy for Teaching Excellence and taught introductory linguistics for education students at the University of Texas at Austin.  Dr. Hernández has co-authored peer reviewed journal articles and book chapters.

Guest Moderator: Katie McKay


Katie McKay, Bilingual Educator and Language Arts Teacher

Katie McKay is a bilingual National Board certified teacher with 14 years’ experience educating K-8 ELLs abroad and in public, Title I and charter schools in Virginia and Texas.  She has worked teaching English Immersion and Dual Language classes, as an ELL Coordinator, and as a consultant training teachers in Writing Workshop for ELLs.  Katie served on the National Writing Project’s ELL Leadership Team, assessing the needs of teachers of ELLs nationwide and designing conferences and resources to meet those needs. Katie has published articles and presented at conferences around the country on her work integrating social justice and technology into units of study with Multilingual students.  She currently writes about her practice, consults in Austin area school districts, and serves as co-director of the Heart of Texas Writing Project at UT Austin.