María Luisa Parra, PhD

Senior Preceptor in Romance Languages and Literatures, Harvard University
María Luisa Parra has a BA in psychology and a PhD in Hispanic linguistics. She has fifteen years of experience in the fields of second language acquisition and child bilingual development. She has taught Spanish language and culture at Boston University and at the department of Romance Languages and Literatures (RLL) at Harvard, where she is currently Senior Preceptor and course head for multiple courses. She is pioneering Spanish courses for Latino students and is the coordinator of the RLL's initiative on the teaching of Spanish as heritage language. She also has broad experience working closely with immigrant families and children. She was coordinator of the home-school connection program at the Eliot-Pearson Department of Child Development at Tufts University, where she studied the various ways in which parents and teachers supported transitions, school adaptation, and academic success. In 2008 she continued and expanded her work as a postdoctoral fellow at Stanford University's School of Education, working with Mexican and African American children attending East Palo Alto public schools. Based on an ecological theoretical model, Parra's work focuses on how parents and teachers impact bilingual development through daily interactions. A native Spanish speaker from Mexico City and a mother of two bilingual and bicultural teenage boys, Parra has always been fascinated by the complexities and joys of bilingual development. She enjoys working with parents, teachers, and pediatricians in training who seek to understand and enhance the road to multilingualism. She is the founder and director of the Multilingual Family Resource Center.


  • PhD El Colegio de Mexico