I am a Professor of Hispanic linguistics in the Department of Hispanic and Italian Studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago. I am also a faculty affiliate in the Latin American and Latino Studies Program, the Department of Curriculum and Instruction, and in the Social Justice Initiative

Since 2009 I've served as Editor of the journal Spanish in Context.


Most broadly, I am interested in the promotion of minority languages and multilingualism (see my TEDx talk), particularly via elementary schooling. My work focuses on Spanish in the United States, including factors that influence intergenerational language transmission, connections between language and identity, and heritage language education. Some of my recent research topics include:

* Language development in dual immersion schools
* Mexican and Puerto Rican Spanish in Chicago, and the language and identity of mixed “Mexi-Rican” individuals
* Teaching heritage languages, particularly Spanish in the U.S.
* Spanish use in Chicago quinceañera celebrations
* The use of “Spanglish” in commercially published greeting cards

Here is a list of my invited (non-conference) presentations and some of my current research projects.

Interview by the UNAM

Una discusión interesante con la doctora Erika Ederly de la Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México en Chicago.



BBC Mundo, "¿Habas Español?"*

Me entrevistó Inma Gil Rosendo para BBC/Mundo.



KUNR interview

I was interviewed by KUNR radio at the University of Nevada Reno about dual language education. Published June 11, 2019.

“We have to be careful to not let the white family interest trump the interest and needs of our English-language learning Latino children,” Potowski said. “These programs--most of them--were created for empowerment and to close the academic achievement gaps and the English-language learning issues of our ELL children. It’s very important to keep in mind as we create and implement these programs.”