Curriculum Vitae


Ph.D. 2018, The University of Arizona. Major: Socio-Cultural Studies, Immigration, and Education Minor: Middle Eastern Studies

M.A. 2010, The City University of New York. Major: Science Education Minor: Urban Anthropology

B.A. 1999, Lehman College. Major: Cultural Anthropology Minor: Biology


Dissertation Title

Representation of Iranian-American Identity and Finding the Funds of Knowledge in the Resilience of Cultural Heritage: *Dr. Richard Ruiz, Dr. Luis Moll

Research Areas

My main research interest is the connection between culture, identity, and education, especially as it relates to the education of second-generation children in the US. Other areas of interests include how learning takes place in the broader social contexts of household and community life, social justice, and immigration issues.

Current research interests: Funds of Identity, immigration & education, cultural production, second-generation youth, acculturation modeling, and hybridity of identities



2010-2011 AmeriCorps Scholarship

2010-2017 Ora Bretall Endowed Scholarship

2011-2017 Education Graduate College Fellowship

2011-2017 Education Graduate Tuition Scholarship


Professional Development in Education

The University of Arizona, January 2013-May 2013-Proctor for Learning Reading and Culture course Race, Identity & Culture.

  • The course is fundamental for students interested in pursuing the degree in language, literacy, bi-literacy, and multicultural education. I assisted, taught, and prepared course materials.

Sonoran Science Academy, August 2011-2012 –Biology instructor for 9th & 10th grade

  • Develop hands-on STEM activities to augment the school’s curriculum and also taught biology to incoming freshman.

Fenster School, August 2009-August 2011- Biology & Anatomy instructor for 9th, 10th & 12th grade

  • As part of a team of educators tasked in restructuring the academic programs at Fenster School specifically, in the areas of STEM and outdoor educational programs for 9-12 grades.

Columbia Secondary School, August 2007-August 2009- Biology instructor 6th grade

  • Opened in the fall of 2007 as part of a partnership with the NYC Department of Education, the community, and Columbia University. I was part of a team of educators to create a selective secondary school that would provide science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education to students.

Lower East Side Tenement Museum, September 2002-2003- Curriculum developer & Educator

  • Developed and augmented the museum curriculum for the needs of the public, private and school-age students.

Juan Pablo Duarte PS 132, September 1999 to 2002- Elementary School Instructor 5th grade

  • As a fifth-grade teacher, I served as an educational guide to my students, as they build their academic skills in preparation to attend middle school. School subjects introduce more complex topics, such as fraction multiplication, geometry, probability, formal writing, and the use of figurative language.

Wave Hill School, Summer 1999-Science educator

  • The summer program included outdoor exploration, data collection, and hands-on fieldwork. Developed an understanding of some of the pressing issues facing urban woodlands. Participation in real work projects allowed students to contribute to ongoing efforts to help restore ecological balance to Wave Hill’s woodlands.

New York Botanical Garden, September 1997-1998-Science Educator

  • The Green School is a classroom and a laboratory for school groups from New York City. The use inquiry-based education, allow students to explore the scientific wonders of botany, gardening, and ecology.

Research Experience

University of Arizona, Ethnographic Field Work 2016-2017

  • Qualitative research on immigration describes the interplay between the process of building links and relationships at the material and cultural levels from the sending and receiving countries. To reveal these connections, the funds of knowledge and funds of identity approach was used to demonstrate how families reach self-understanding and communicate that understanding to others.

The University of Arizona, Master-IP Program, Research Assistant August 2011-July 2013. Dr. Julia Olsen, Dr. Bruce Johnson

  • I was part of a team of educators who helped the specially designed cohorts at the University of Arizona College of Education’s Master of Arts degree program in science and math education. Math and Science Teacher Education & Retention Industry Partners (MASTER-IP) Program provided an opportunity for classroom math and science teachers to become involved in a new master’s program.

 Lehman College Molecular Biology Laboratory September  1997-1999. Dr. Paul Matthews & Dr. Eleanor Wurtzel

  • Awarded the Minority Biomedical Research Scholarship (MBRS) a minority research grant I worked in the Wurtzel laboratory helping to understand, at the molecular and biochemical level, how plants regulate the biosynthesis and accumulation of provitamin A carotenoids.

Administrative Management Experience

Colloquy Committee Member, 2012-2013

  • Helped organize the event, keynote speakers helped at registration, hosting, and general logistics.

NOAA-CREST, The City College of New York, NY, 2004-2007

  • As an administrative assistant under the NOAA-CREST program, I helped the mission of NOAA-CEST to educate and train a diverse group of students, early career scientists, and engineers to become competent professionals in NOAA.

Field Expeditions Study aboard Programs

School for Field Studies Kenya, Africa Wildlife management.

Archeological field sites, New York.

Research and Reports

Cota, P. C., Yalda Kaveh (2017) Immigration, Identity, Heritage Language Maintenance- Two Case Studies of Iranian-Americans in the Diaspora. Ethnography & Qualitative Research Conference (EQRC). The University of Las Vegas. (Presentation).

Cota, P. C. (2016) A Preliminary study of the Funds of Knowledge & Identity of second-generation Iranian-Americans. Ethnography in Education Research Forum, University of Pennsylvania. (Presentation).

Cota, P. C. (2016, Submitted) The Field of Cultural Production & Media production: Shahs of Sunset and Iranian Americans. Media Culture & Society.

Cota, P.C. (2012) I am Wizard! Finding the Funds of knowledge & Identity with potions and magic: One Iranian-American story. Department of Education Colloquia series, University of Arizona. (Presentation)

Cota, P. C. (2011) Transnational Dual Identity of the Iranian-American Diaspora. Department of Education Colloquia series, University of Arizona. (Presentation)

Olsen, K. L., Canipe, M. M., Cota, P. C, Johnson, J. (2011, submitted) Master-IP Program, A Business/Academic Partnership for Educational Success. Educational Leadership.

Cota, P. C., (2009) Outdoor Inquiry in New York City Morning Side Park as an Extension of Classroom Learning. Masters Thesis, Department of Science Education, The City College of The City University of New York

Cota, P.C., (2007) Ethnographic study of the Perspectives of School Children in a 4th-grade classroom in Washington Heights New York. Masters Thesis, Department of Anthropology, The City College of The City University of New York.

Cota, P. C,. Matthews, P.D. and Wurtzel, E. T. (1999) Development of rice transformation for analysis of maize transgenes. Maize Genetics Conference, March 11-14, 1999, Lake Geneva, WI. (poster)

Mattews, P.D., Cota, P.C. and Wurtzel, E. T. (1999) On Golden Pollen. Maize Genetics Conference, March 11-14, 1999, Lake Geneva, WI. (poster)

Cota, C., Matthews, P.D., and Wurtzel, E. T. (1998) Remediating vitamin A deficiency through biotechnology. National Minority Research Symposium, November 21-24, 1998, New York, NY (poster)

Matthews, P.D., W. Ronelus, C. Cota, M. Cervantes, V. Upasani, and E. T. Wurtzel. (1998) Comparison of maize and rice PSY. 40th Annual Maize Genetics Conference, Lake Geneva, WI. (poster)

Professional Affiliations

American Educational Research Association

American Anthropological Association

Anthropological Education Association

Middle East Studies Association

National Science Teachers Association

National Wildlife Federation

 Professional References

Luis Moll, Ph.D., 520-621-1291,

Anne Betteridge, Ph.D., 520-621-5456,


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