Kristina I. Medina-Vilariño is originally from Puerto Rico. She generally teaches intermediate and advanced Spanish courses on campus and abroad. Her teaching philosophy has been highly influenced by Paulo Freyre, who stated that, "Only authoritative educators deny solidarity between the act of educating and the one of being educated by a student." Professor Medina-Vilariño fosters a classroom environment of collaborative work and equality, where students share ideas and help each other.  All her students are encouraged to embrace an active role in their learning process, whether in group work, presentations, or open discussions. Her passion for Academic Civic Engagement has been recognized by Minnesota Campus Compact, who granted her the Presidents' Award in 2019.

Professor Medina-Vilariño is the founder and main administrator of Caribbean Studies Network, a digital platform developed through collaborative undergraduate research. Her published work emphasizes theoretical approaches to transitional film and literatures, migration studies, gender and sexuality, national identity, and racial theory. She specializes in contemporary Hispanic Caribbean literatures, film, and cultural studies. Other main areas of her research include Latino/a Studies and Latin American literature and cultures. Dr. Medina-Vilariño has been the recepient of internal and national research grants.She has published poetry and scholarly articles in journals and literary anthologies such as El Sótano 00931, Los rostros de la hidra, and Cinema paraíso and La gran pantalla dominicana: Miradas críticas al cine actual.  Her upcoming book with Isla Negra Editores is tittled Dominicans in Transit (TBP 2020) and she is currently working on a second book project focusing on the impact of Hurricane Maria in the affective and aesthetic expressions of US citizenship and belonging in Puerto Rican arts.