For this summer research program in Puerto Rico, I selected three students to participate. Bios and links to their blogs are below.
Andrea Figueroa is an Anthropology major on the pre-health track at the University of Florida. She has an interest in Medical Anthropology and Public Health and is working towards receiving a minor in Health Disparities and a certificate in Medical Anthropology. Andrea grew up in San Juan Puerto Rico and first moved to Gainesville for her freshman year at UF as part of the class of 2020. During her college career she has been chiefly involved in research, assisting in several qualitative studies under the Pediatric Department. These projects tackled aspects of medical education through an anthropological lens. She has also been involved on campus as the treasure of uFASA (undergraduate Florida Anthropology Student Association) and as a member of the pre-health honor society Alpha Epsilon Delta.
Her background with qualitative research and her upbringing in Puerto Rico helped her cultivate an interest on Puerto Rico’s public health issues in light of Hurricane Maria. She is excited for the opportunity to participate in Dr. Felima’s narrative research in Puerto Rico during the Summer of 2019, where she hopes to gain a better understanding of the local difficulties after the hurricane. She is planning on using the experience to write an undergraduate Honors Thesis, where she would like to highlight the experience of local doctors and how they managed to treat patients without electricity and other basic resources. Upon graduating Andrea plans to attend medical school and will be applying to MD-PhD programs in hopes to continue to pursue both her interests in health and Anthropology.
Fernando Javier Romagosa is a rising senior (class of 2020), majoring in History and a dual minor in Latin American Studies and Anthropology. His academic interests include the construction, contestation, and performance of race and gender in the Americas, as well as the complex human dynamics that arise from centuries of colonial rule. He plans to attend medical school after graduation; although he interested in exploring many opportunities before then. Currently, he is the Assistant Executive Director for the Hispanic-Latinx Student Assembly and the Co-Director of General Body Meetings for the Hispanic Student Association. Fernando is also a member of Lambda Theta Phi Latin Fraternity, Incorporated.
Christian Tirado is a political science and history student at the University of Florida, with a focus in Latino and Latin American development. Son of immigrant parents, a Puerto Rican mother and a Peruvian father, Christian was raised to act principally in service of others, for equality, prosperity and happiness. Christian then led through service as a legislative fellow to Florida State Representative Sean Shaw and as the inaugural executive political director of the Hispanic Student Association. In these roles he sought to improve the standing of marginalized communities through voter registration initiatives, negotiating legal resources for undocumented students and advocating for returning citizens suffrage, affordable housing and a sustainable American foreign policy. Christian is also a member of Lambda Theta Phi Latin Fraternity, Incorporated.
Presently, as student researcher, Christian intends to collect, analyze and share the diverse experiences of Puerto Ricans and other islanders who experienced Hurricane Maria. Chronicling these nuanced stories will complement any proposed solutions to the many issues plaguing the Island, to then uplift it to a dignified social, political and economic existence. Hopefully, his efforts will ease any present and future pain of the Island and her people.