"Maria Carreira is a pioneer in teaching Spanish to Spanish speakers. She has created textbooks and teaching resources, led workshops for teachers of home/heritage languages, and inspired students to maintain a connection to their language and culture." - Kathryn Paul, National Heritage Language Resource Center, Nominator
2014 Hispanic Heritage Month Local Heroes nominee
- Co-Director of National Heritage Language Resource Center; NHLRC's mission is to develop effective pedagogical approaches to teaching heritage language learners by creating a research base and by designing curriculums, developing materials, and teacher education.
- Professor of Spanish at Cal State University, Long Beach; named "Most Valuable Professor" of the College of Liberal Arts in 2002. Also chair of the Standardized Achievement Test (SAT) Spanish committee & co-editor of Hispania, the Journal of the American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese.
- Co-author of five Spanish textbooks, including the widely used Si se puede, written for Spanish heritage speakers and Nexos, a best-selling college-level textbook. Her most recent book takes a look at what it is like to grow up Latino in the United States.Titled Voces: Latino Students on Life in the United States, it focuses on stories of Latino college students.
- Volunteer reviewer for language teaching and academic journals, including Bilingual Research Journal, Foreign Language Annals, International Journal of Bilingualism, Language Culture and Curriculum, and The Heritage Language Journal. Has written on Spanish language acquisition and maintenance as an important step in closing the achievement gap of Latino American students.
- Has led teacher training workshops on teaching Spanish to Spanish speakers and on teaching immigrant languages at numerous local and national institutions including Yale University, Columbia Unitversity, Georgetown, UCLA, among many others.
- Part of a group of employees of the California State University System that successfully fought to tighten protections for whistleblowers in the CSU system. Founded the group "Whistlebusters".