Newark, Del. (January 10, 2023) — Kierstin Giunco, Doctoral Student at Boston College, is one of 30 literacy leaders named to the International Literacy Association’s (ILA) 2023 30 Under 30 list. This year’s global list celebrates rising leaders and visionaries in the literacy field from 15 countries who are working to advance literacy practices and create more equitable learning environments across the globe.

The 27-year-old of Boston, MA, was recognized for her work as a teacher-researcher supporting sixth-grade students as they explored meaningful questions about current events, their communities, and their lives. When her Mission Grammar School students read, wrote, and discussed different texts about Black Lives Matter, environmental justice, animal abuse, and other self-selected topics as part of an advocacy unit, they did more than write an essay at the end. Students developed their own way to communicate their messages—by creating a website, participating in a podcast, and leading a virtual showcase for more than 100 members of the community. “The advocacy unit opened space for students to connect and deepen their preexisting dispositions toward social justice and civic engagement in authentic ways that expanded beyond the classroom,” says Giunco. She uses that experience and others in her current doctoral work when collaborating with teachers to leverage critical literacy practices that advance antiracist teaching in their classrooms.

Giunco joins a growing cohort of education leaders. Past honorees include Akash Patel, Spanish teacher and founder of Happy World Foundation; Allister Chang, founder of Civic Suds; and Shiza Shahid, cofounder of the Malala Fund.

“Improving the quality of literacy learning across the globe requires collaboration among sectors and among a vast range of professionals, which is one of the many reasons we look forward to sharing the stories of our 30 Under 30 honorees,” says Nicola Wedderburn, ILA’s interim executive director. “With each list of emerging leaders, we see educators, administrators, authors, technology experts, nonprofit leaders, business leaders and advocates of all kinds who are invested in our mission of literacy for all. Together, they are working toward a more hopeful future and a literacy landscape where equitable learning opportunities are a reality in every corner of the world.”

ILA’s 30 Under 30 honorees are featured in the January/February/March 2023 issue of Literacy Today, ILA’s member magazine, which published today. To view the Literacy Today feature and read more about the honorees’ accomplishments, visit

About the International Literacy Association

The International Literacy Association (ILA) is a professional membership organization of literacy educators, researchers and experts spanning 112 countries. For more than 65 years, ILA has set the standard for how literacy is defined, taught and evaluated, connecting research and practice to improve the quality of literacy learning across the globe. Through its Standards for the Preparation of Literacy Professionals, ILA provides an evidence-based benchmark for the development and evaluation of literacy professional preparation programs. ILA collaborates with partners across the world to develop, gather and disseminate high-quality resources, which include three peer-reviewed and edited journals—The Reading TeacherJournal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy and Reading Research Quarterly. Learn more at