Introducing Celia Zamora (Episode 62)

“I myself am a heritage speaker. I was born in Venezuela. I moved to Miami, Florida when I was six years old... For me, advocacy was really looking at my husband, my family, my friends, my community, my students and saying, “What can I do to help you?” And that led me to create, even before I knew what the term heritage speaker was in early 2000s, I created my first heritage speaker class in Miami, Florida.”

Celia Chomón Zamora’s Bio

Celia Chomon Zamora, Ph.D.

Director, Professional Learning and Certification


Celia Chomón Zamora, Ph.D. currently serves as the Director of the Professional Learning and Certification Department at ACTFL, where she focuses on supporting language educators and language learning across the globe, as well as developing the training and calibration of instructors evaluating ACTFL’s human-rated language assessments. In her role, she facilitates the creation of professional development resources, collaborates and actively engages with stakeholders, and actively advocates for teachers. Dr. Zamora joined ACTFL in 2017 as a consultant and in 2019 as the Senior Manager of Quality Assurance and Certifications.

Prior to joining ACTFL, Dr. Zamora served as an educator, researcher, and advocate for over 15 years. She taught English, Spanish, and Japanese in various settings: public and private K-12 schools, private universities, and minority-serving community colleges. Apart from her role as an instructor, she also served as the Assistant Director of the Spanish Language Program at Georgetown University, as well as the Department Chair of the Modern Languages program at a private school in Virginia. As an advocate, Dr. Zamora has always sought opportunities to assist the Hispanic community in her hometown of Miami, Florida. She created and implemented an English as a Second Language curriculum at various local libraries pro bono for immigrants in Miami, developed and executed one of the first Heritage Spanish Language programs at her local high school for the underserved Hispanic community. During her tenure at Georgetown University, she created and served as director of a graduate student mentorship program to assist fellow graduate students in understanding graduation requirements, teaching them how to network, aiding them in creating resumes, and finding side work to add to their resumes. She has actively served in various support and volunteer leadership roles, such as in Amnesty International, the American Association for Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese (AATSP), the “Gay and Straight” Alliance, and is an advocate for the Joint National Committee for Languages (JNCL). She is currently working on amplifying the outreach to MSIs and HBUCs.

Dr. Zamora received her B.A. in English and Japanese Studies, as well as her M.A. in Linguistics from Florida International University. She earned her doctorate in Spanish Applied Linguistics from Georgetown University, where she was awarded the prestigious Harold N. Glassman Distinguished Dissertation award in the social sciences. She was recognized as the Hispanic Scholarship Fund’s Scholar of the Year and NECTFL Mead Fellow. She is an avid life-long learner and supporter of Heritage, Indigenous, and Less Commonly Taught languages.


  • Zamora, C. (2022). The Secret is in the Processing: Categorizing how heritage learners of Spanish process. Outcomes of University Spanish Heritage Language Instruction in the United States.
  • Zamora, C., & Finnegan, A. (2022). Does um, the medium, uh, matter? Measuring Fluency through filled pauses in Face-to-Face and Teletandem communicative groups. The ESPecialist43(1).
  • Leow, R. & Zamora, C. (2017). Intentional and Incidental learning. In S. Loewen and M. Sato (Eds.) The Routledge Handbook of Instructed Second Language Acquisition.
  • Zamora, C. (2013). Annotated Bibliography of Materials for Heritage Spanish Language Learners.

In progress

  • Zamora, C., & Malone, M. (in progress). La evaluación en el aula de español. Manual para la Formación de Profesores de Español.
  • Zamora, C. and Caras, A. (in progress). Task-based syllabus design for heritage Spanish language courses: From needs-analysis to assessment.

My LinkedIn Profile:

Wonderful resources for Heritage Language Learrners: (become a member!)


Resources and Professional Development:

White papers/research:


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