Jennifer Ayala, Ph.D.

Professor, School of Education
Director, The Center for Undocumented Students

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About Dr. Ayala

Jennifer Ayala, Ph.D. is a Professor in the School of Education and director of the Center for Undocumented Students at Saint Peter’s University in Jersey City, New Jersey. Her scholarship focuses on education justice issues using PAR with youth and educators, and is influenced by borderlands theory/mestiza consciousness as defined by the late Gloria Anzaldua. She is also personally and professionally interested in immigrant rights issues.

“There are many reasons why I enjoy being part of the SPU community. Because of its small size and deep connections. It means I can get to know the students, and these connections don’t always simply cease once they graduate. Because of it’s truly diverse student body, which means that students learn from one another as much as, if not more than, what they learn from me. Because of its social justice Jesuit mission. The work beyond the classroom walls, the relationship building and community engagement are tied to the university mission. Though there is always more work to do to live up to this image, it is an important one to struggle towards.”

Career & Accomplishments


  • The Graduate School at CUNY, Ph.D.

  • Montclair State University, B.A.


PAR EntreMundos: A Pedagogy of the Américas.
J. Ayala, J. Cammarota, M. Rivera, L.R. Rodriguez, M. Berta-Avila, M.E. Torre – Peter Lang Publishing, Inc., 2018

Authenticity, aims and authority: Navigating youth participatory action research in the classroom
B.C. Rubin, J. Ayala, M. Zaal – Curriculum Inquiry, 2017

Poetics of Justice: Using Art as Action and Analysis in Participatory Action Research.
J. Ayala, M. Zaal – Networks: An Online Journal for Teacher Research, 2016

PAR Entremundos: A Practitioner’s Guide
J. Cammarota, M. Berta-Avila, J. Ayala, M. Rivera, L. Rodriguez – Growing Critically Conscious Teachers: A social justice curriculum for educators of Latino/a youth, 2016

Creative Expressions of Agency: Contemplating Youth Voice and Adult Roles in Participatory Action Research.
V. Jones, C. Stewart, A. Galletta, J. Ayala – Teachers College Record, 2015

“Why Don’t We Learn Like this in School?” One Participatory Action Research Collective’s Framework for Developing Policy Thinking
M. Zaal, J. Ayala – Journal of Curriculum Theorizing, 2013

Documenting disappearing spaces: Erasure and remembrance in two high school closures.
J Ayala, A Galletta – Peace and Conflict: Journal of Peace Psychology, 2012

Public science and participatory policy development: Reclaiming policy as a democratic project
M. Fine, J. Ayala, M. Zaal – Journal of Education Policy, 2012