Resonate. Educate. Empower.
Dr. Mariana Diaz-Wionczek partners with organizations and businesses who strive to have a positive impact on children’s lives through high-quality media and technology experiences. Her extensive experience, knowledge and expertise in child psychology, cognitive development, bilingual education, and multiculturalism, as well as her adaptability and responsiveness to the fast-changing media environment, help ensure content is on point and resonates with the target audience.
Positive Youth Development
Working to positively impact children and their families by empowering them with knowledge, tools, and skills that fuel their success.
Experiences that Matter
Developing meaningful experiences by incorporating a respectful understanding of cultural differences, socio-emotional and cognitive needs, and the possibilities and constraints of real-world environments.
Taking clients beyond hitting the “check” on diversity and inclusion to develop multicultural content that’s authentic and sensitive.
Offered in English and Spanish
- Media — long and short form TV, digital games, apps
- Multi-platform content development
- Educational and classroom environments
- Culturally and linguistically-targeted curriculum and content
- Cultural responsiveness and accuracy – diversity and inclusion
- International branding
- Concept, production bible, curriculum, storyboard, character design, and prototype review
- Outline and script review
- On-set content supervision and implementation
- Bilingual facilitation of audio and video shoots
- Supervision of Spanish content and delivery during and/or after audio recordings
- Product evaluation
- Curriculum assessment and evaluation
- Character and concept appeal
- Appeal in competitive landscape
Digital Product Development
- Paper testing
- Usability, builds, prototypes, Alpha, Beta
- Scaffolding and tutorials
- Responsive design and user feedback
- Formative research – storybook, rough animation, final animation
- Focus groups
- In-depth interviews
- Survey development
- Data analysis
- Pre-post studies
- Transfer of learning
- Participatory curriculum development and implementation
- Biliteracy/bilingual lesson plans
- Technology in the classroom
- Cultural relevance
- Branded exhibit design
- Educational interactivity
- Activity guides
- Common core and academic standards curriculum development
Mall Entertainment Centers
- Educational overlay
- Interactivity and activity guides
- Community engagement
- Workshops and presentations
- Program implementation
- Professional development
- Participatory and action research
- Subject matter expert liaisoning
- Advisory Board development
- Partnership development
Dr. Diaz-Wionczek is a multiculturalist, media consultant, researcher, and widely published academic. She has given a TEDx talk on ethnic identity, lectured at a variety of colleges and universities, and presented her work at multiple media forums.
As Head of Education Research for Nickelodeon’s Dora the Explorer, Go, Diego, Go! and Dora & Friends, she played a crucial role in the shows’ evolution from merely featuring Latino characters to intentionally teaching Spanish, highlighting dual language competencies, and promoting Latino culture in ways that resonated with everyone. Mariana has a talent for contextualizing her work, adapting research to meet the needs that emerge from fast-evolving media.
Born to a Polish mom and a Mexican-Spaniard dad, Mariana grew up in two of the most cosmopolitan cities of the word – Mexico City and New York City, and considers herself a multiculturalist. She currently lives in Astoria, NY with her two teen sons and Annie-the-dog.
Mariana obtained a B.A. in Psychology from the National Autonomous University of Mexico and a Ph.D. in Psychology from CUNY’s Graduate Center, with a focus on cognition. She received funding for her doctoral studies from Ford MacArthur Foundation and the Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología, CONACYT.
Mariana has been featured discussing formative research and cultural relevance in Dora’s 10th Anniversary documentary, American Latino, Nickelodeon’s sizzle reel, and the Joan Ganz Cooney publications, among others.
Affiliate Faculty at Fordham University, Graduate School of Education
- Contemporary Learning and Interdisciplinary Research Program (CLAIR)
Educational Content Development and Research in Children’s Educational Media
- Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages Program (TESOL)
English as Second Language/Bilingual Curriculum Development
Designing Culturally and Technologically Relevant Instruction
Observing and Documenting Children’s Learning: Reflective and Effective English as a Second Language Practices
Adjunct Professor at NYU
- Psychology Department
Psychological Influence of Children’s Media
Joan Ganz Cooney Center
- Member, Aprendiendo Juntos Council
Guest lecturer and speaker
- Harvard, Georgetown, Rutgers, Florida State, and San Diego universities
- NCA Convention • view PDF
- Montclair Film Festival, Latino Education and Advocacy Days LEAD summit, Ottawa International Animation Festival.
Diaz-Wionczek, M; Akerman,A., Schlemmer, E; Dyte, D. (Under Review) • An experimental evaluation of the math curriculum in Dora the Explorer.
Diaz-Wionczek, M & Cortes C.E. (2016) • Ethnically-Contextualized Formative Research: Lessons from Dora the Explorer.
Carter, J; Diaz-Wionczek, M (2012) • Geographic Education for Preschoolers: The Dora the Explorer Contribution. Research in Geographic Education • view PDF
Akerman, A., Bryant, J.A., & Diaz-Wionczek, M. (2011) • Educational preschool programming in the US: An ecological and evolutionary story. Journal of Children and Media, 5(2), 204-220 • view PDF
Diaz-Wionczek, M; Lovelace, V. Cortés, C; (2010) • Dora the Explorer: America’s Bilingual Role Model. Multilingual Educator. CABE. Conference Ed, 28-31 • view PDF
Diaz-Wionczek, M; Cortés, C; Lovelace, V. (2009) • Dora the Explorer: An insiders’ perspective. Journal of Children and the Media. Volume 3, Issue 2, 204-209 • view PDF
Cortés, C; Diaz-Wionczek, M; Lovelace, V (2009) • Exploring the Media with Dora: A Preschool Introduction to Media Literacy. Journal of Media Literacy. Volume 56, Numbers 1 & 2, 16-18 • view PDF
Diaz-Wionczek, M (2005) • Contributor in Joysmith, C. & Lomas, C (Eds.) Testimony. One wound for Another. Una herida por otra: Testimonios de Latin@s in the U.S. through Cyberspace. UNAM. Pp. 153-154
Mariana has a special talent to keep children front and center when developing educational content and conducting field research. With her breath of knowledge, passion for diversity and inclusion, and impressive research skills, she was an integral part of Dora the Explorer, Go, Diego, Go! and Dora & Friends.
Dr. Diaz-Wionczek brings deep experience in research, child development and multiculturalism to every engagement. This strong expertise is coupled with empathy, sense of humor and creativity. She not only does great work, she inspires great work to be done on behalf of kids, with their needs and passions at the core.
Mariana’s contribution to Sesame Amigos was invaluable. While supervising educational content on set in Mexico City, her understanding of child development, as well as cultural and language nuances, elevated the quality of the videos.