Maria Chiras's professional and research interests emerge from her own upbringing and educational experiences as a multilingual student in Quebec. She studied in English, French and Greek during elementary school, in French and English during high school, pursued a bilingual DEC (diploma) in CEGEP, and then studied in English, French and Spanish during her university education.
She has been a teacher in the English Department at Vanier College since January 2003. Her academic and professional contributions at the College include her involvement in curriculum coordination, committee work, and research projects. Maria Chiras is also a former English Department Curriculum Coordinator and a former Provincial Curriculum Coordinator for Quebec English CEGEPs. In 2004, she was one of the founding members of Diversity at Vanier, a College-wide initiative that organized events and conferences as well as produced pedagogical material for the College’s diverse student population. She is currently involved in setting up a Center for Research and Expertise on Diversity Education at Vanier College.
Her doctoral research focuses on issues that pertain to students with complex and diverse education and linguistic backgrounds. Her research interests include multilingual and translingual theories, discourse studies, writing studies and new literacies. Currently, she has been pursuing doctoral research on student language and writing education in higher education at McGill University, Faculty of Education in the Department of Integrated Studies in Education. Her current research focuses on the role of multilingualism in students’ experiences with language education and writing and the implications of these experiences for student persistence in Quebec CEGEPs, in particular, the interaction between cultural identity, language and writing in Quebec.