Dr. Jacob Aaron Wagoner is a commended educator, LGBTQ+ community, human rights activist, and historical curator who has captivated students and audiences from around the world. Dr. Waggoner is currently a Social Studies teacher and Professor at UTEP, his work mainly examines the intersection of the border, gender, religion, and history.
Dr. Waggoner is originally from Knoxville, Tennessee. In 2007, Dr. Waggoner earned a dual bachelor’s in foreign language and in secondary education from Tennessee Technological University. In 2012, he received his MA in History and a graduate certificate in Women’s and Gender studies from the University of Texas at El Paso. That same year he was nominated Outstanding Graduate Student of History. In 2017, Dr. Waggoner received his Ph.D. in History.
Dr. Waggoner has over more than 10 years of education experience, he has taught a wide variety of grade levels in a wide variety of different countries. For over a year, he worked as an ESL instructor and taught middle school, high school, and adult classes overseas for the Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education in Seoul, South Korea. In 2008, he taught History and English at Colegio Inglés Torreón in Coahuila, Mexico. In 2009, he was nominated teacher of the year by the Colegio Inglés. Two years later, in 2010, Dr. Waggoner worked in Ciudad Juárez as an ESL instructor and taught language at the Instituto Tchnologico de Monterrey. In 2012, Dr. Waggoner began working at UTEP. He worked in the History department as an assistant instructor. Later, in 2014, Dr. Waggoner went to Frankfurt, Germany for four months as part of the program Visiting Scientist B/Orders in Motion. He has taught as an instructor for both the Religious Studies and Women’s and Gender Studies Programs and was the Assistant Director of Graduate School Professional Development and Support at UTEP from 2017 through 2020. Currently, he teaches World History at Silva Health Magnet High School and is co-sponsor of Silva’s Gay-Straight Alliance He continues to write and present his research which analyzes gender, religion, history, and the U.S. and Mexico Border.
Apart from being an educator/world traveler, Dr. Waggoner has been involved in several LGBTQ+ and community organizations. He briefly served on the board of the Metropolitan Community Church as one of the only openly queer people involved. While at UTEP in 2015, Dr. Waggoner was the assistant curator to the “Engendering Community”, an exhibit that focused on the personal experiences of the LGBTQ Borderland community. He was a key contributor to the project, he personally helped curate the main exhibit and led the showing of the project in Ciudad Juárez.
Before its closure in July 2016, Dr. Waggoner was one of the board members of International AIDS Empowerment (aka The Empowerment Center), which was a nonprofit organization that aimed to provide quality care to people living with or affected by AIDS/HIV. He is currently serving as one of the founding co-organizers of the El Paso Alliance for Just Schools, a group that seeks justice for all aspects of education. Dr. Waggoner has and continues to provide several trainings on LGBTQ issues, as well as teaching classes related to gender and sexuality at UTEP.