Heather A. Hathaway Miranda, M.A. is an award-winning, international speaker with over 15 years of multidisciplinary experience as a researcher and educator specializing in a range of academic subjects intersecting race, ethnicity, class, gender, and disparity. Her academic pursuits have hurled her through such prestigious institutions as the University of Illinois-both Champaign and Chicago campuses, Michigan State University, Universidad Autónoma de Baja California Sur, Yale University, and Universidad de Guanajuato.

Heather is fierce when it comes to injustice. Her passion is to empower underserved communities of color through education rooted in advocacy efforts to raise consciousness about multi-ethnic issues locally, nationally, and internationally. Examples of this work include volunteering at the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation as well as presenting at an international indigenous development conference in New Zealand (2012) and a Critical Race Theory conference in Colombia (2014). She has traveled to all 50 U.S. states and the capital, 30 Mexican states plus the federal district, and over 30 countries. Additionally, she has taught a variety of subjects at several universities and two high schools with positive evaluations, and has frequently been an invited guest speaker. More recently she served as the keynote speaker for a women’s conference at Michigan State University as well as a featured speaker at Cornell College in Mt. Vernon, Iowa.

Her presentation, curriculum development, and teaching areas include diverse topics such as: Child Development: Family & Community Relations, Health & Nutrition, Creative Activities; Cultural Celebrations: Día de la Raza, Day of the Dead & Hispanic Heritage Month; Domestic Violence; Experiential Learning through Travel; Family & Child Ecology: Ethnic Minority Families in America; History & Culture in Latin America; Marginalized Populations: Migrant Farmworkers, Indigenous Populations, Students of Color; Latina/Latino Studies: Culture & Identity, Gender, History & Immigration Issues; Race, Ethnicity & Diversity in Education: Early Childhood, K-12 & Higher Education; Women’s Empowerment; Servant Leadership; Spanish: Conversation, Grammar, Translation, Interpretation & Workplace Proficiency; and Story-Telling through Photography.

Heather is the longest serving member (8+ years) on the Board of Directors of the University of Illinois Latina/Latino Alumni Association (LLAA). She was a founding Co-Chair of LLAA and served as the Scholarship Chair. Currently, she is the History Committee Chair and the Community Involvement Committee Chair.

She also serves on the Urbana Campus Alumni Advisory Board (CAAB) of the University of Illinois Alumni Association (UIAA). She was inducted into the Golden Key International Honour Society for maintaining a 4.0 during her Ph.D. studies and has served as Chapter President, Service Director, and currently serves as Vice President. She volunteers as a leadership coach through the Illinois Leadership Center, a speaker for the Speakers Bureau of Family Shelter Service, and as a reviewer for the Anhelo Project Dream Scholarship for undocumented students. Her awards include the María Zavala Award (March 2015) in recognition for her service and advocacy to the Latina/o/x community by the Día de la Mujer Conference Committee at Michigan State University. In addition, Heather was recognized as the Hardest Working Teacher at Hales Franciscan High School (2010). Currently, she holds a Dr. Martin Luther King Scholarship at UIC for recognition of her perseverance through adversity and held the Diversifying Faculty in Illinois Fellowship (2011-2015).

Heather defines herself as a bicultural, bilingual Chicana/Latina, a descendent of the Miranda family of Michoacán, México, and is a first-generation college degree recipient in her family. She was recently surprised by the revelation that the Hathaway line has roots back to the Mayflower. Heather finds rich irony in her dueling birthrights and her ceaseless fight for justice on behalf of marginalized communities.

She is presently a PhD student in Educational Policy Studies at UIC and is an activist scholar. She conducts advocacy research on topics such as Latina/Latino student activism in the Midwest (presented in Colombia) and self-determination of the Oglala Lakota Indians (presented in New Zealand). Her definitive hero is her mother, Hope—she grew up financially poor but spiritually and culturally rich as a proud first generation Mexican American woman living along Canal Bank on a dirt road near Chicago with an outhouse and no running water until she was 15 years old.