October 15, 2018

Research on Hurricane Devastation in Puerto Rico Leads to Grant Funding for Associate Professors Audeliz Matias and Sheila Aird

The Oral History Association Funds “An Oral History of Hurricane Irma and Maria: A Social, Cultural, and Environmental Crisis in P.R and U.S.V.I.”

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Associate Professor Audeliz Matias and Daniel Horowitz Garcia, chair of the Oral History Association’s Emerging Crisis Oral History Research Fund Committee, at the award ceremony.

The Oral History Association, through its Emerging Crisis Oral History Research Fund, has awarded a grant to SUNY Empire State College Associate Professors Audeliz Matias and Sheila Aird for their project, “An Oral History of Hurricane Irma and Maria: A Social, Cultural, and Environmental Crisis in P.R. (Puerto Rico) and U.S.V.I. (U.S. Virgin Islands).”

“Congratulations to Audi and Sheila for securing this research grant,” said Officer in Charge Mitchell S. Nesler. “Research is critical to understanding the impact of disasters on a personal and individual level. Thanks to Shelia, Audi and many others, research data will better inform future recovery and rebuilding efforts and help people to better cope.”

“Our project seeks to document the impact of Hurricanes Irma and Maria in Puerto Rico and Saint Thomas, a U.S. Virgin Island, through a social, cultural and environmental lens, by conducting firsthand interviews. The interdisciplinary approach using oral history and science is a unique approach key to this project,” said Matias.

“The grant will help with the first step toward making this oral history collection possible and allow us to document the aftermath of one of the most devastating hurricanes in history,” said Aird.

Matias and Aird have collaborated successfully in the past to create interactive digital learning environments and this project builds upon their common interest of documenting and preserving an important part of Caribbean history utilizing oral history.

The association presented Matias and Aird with the award on Thursday, Oct. 11, as part of its annual conference, held this year at Concordia University, Montreal, Canada.

About the Oral History Association Awards’ Emerging Crisis Oral History Research Fund

The research fund supports projects that conduct oral history research in situations of crisis in the U.S. and internationally.

The research fund supports projects that "… address current crisis situations, in both the United States and internationally, including wars, natural disasters, political and economic/ethnic repression, or other current events of crisis proportions."

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