Get To Know Andrea, Zoobean Book Curator
Andrea Mates isn't just a heavy-hitting academic; she’s a knitting and crocheting, sourdough bread–baking power lifter, whose fitness goal this summer is to bench press 135 lbs., squat 225 lbs., and deadlift 275 lbs. The linguist, who holds a Ph.D in applied linguistics, and an MA in applied linguistics and TESL from UCLA, likes to be “secretly strong.” Andrea has taught language and gender studies at UCLA, and researched neuroscientific connections with language acquisition, mental illness, and dementia, subjects in which she has conducted extensive ethnographic studies and published numerous scholarly papers.
The multilingual mom—she’s fluent in two Chinese dialects and Russian—is a builder, too: recently she’s constructed an outdoor bench from upcycled fence posts, a TV stand she later repurposed as a kids' stool, and utility garage shelves. Soon Andrea will serve as academic advisor to the innovative nonprofit “Cooking Up Cultures,” which rotates through different sites in Austin, Texas teaching language through cooking classes. She’s gone gluten-free, so taste-testing her myriad kitchen concoctions is often relegated to her husband; she confesses she sometimes longs for thick, crusty pizza and an extra stout beer, a penchant she developed during a summer in England.
Active in and mindful of her faith, Andrea seeks truth and beauty in her everyday path, and strives to manifest those values in all she does; she’s currently developing a women’s mentoring program for her church, and often writes on the intersection of theology and parenting. At Zoobean, she curates books primarily for the under-five set; she delights in the beautiful illustrations she often finds there.
Andrea resides in Austin with husband Nathan, a videogame programmer; and five-year-old daughter and three-year-old son, who are lucky beneficiaries of the many sweater vests, stuffed animals, scarves, hats, mittens she knits and crochets. “I really enjoy making little things for little people.”