Samuel Proctor Oral History Program Staff



Dr. Paul Ortíz, Program Director @

Dr. Paul Ortíz has been the director of the Samuel Proctor Oral History Association since the fall semester, 2008. Under his leadership, SPOHP has received three national academic awards and has raised more than one million dollars in grants and contracts. During this time, SPOHP’s social justice research methodologies have been emulated by scholars and oral history programs throughout the world. SPOHP undergraduates and graduate students have embarked on dozens of major oral history field work trips in the United States, and students have presented their research at academic conferences, community organizing workshops, and public history panels. SPOHP alumni have become professors at institutions such as Emory University, Texas A & M, and the University of Kentucky while former undergraduates have matriculated to elite law schools including Duke, Georgetown, and Howard universities.

His publications include Emancipation Betrayed (University of California Press), a history of the Black Freedom struggle in Florida, and Remembering Jim Crow: African Americans Tell About Life in the Jim Crow South (New Press), which went into its fourth printing in 2014. He was president of the Oral History Association for the 2014-2015 term, and has previously served as vice-president as well as chair of the nominating committee for the OHA.

Professor Ortíz is currently the faculty adviser for UF chapter of the Dream Defenders, Students for a Democratic Society, Venezuelan Students Association and CHISPAS. He was awarded the 2013 César E. Chávez Action and Commitment Award by the Florida Education Association, AFL-CIO. The Samuel Proctor Oral History Program received the Oral History Association’s 2013 Stetson Kennedy Vox Populi Award for outstanding achievement in using oral history to create a more humane and just world. He was the recipient of the Rosa Parks Quiet Courage Award in 2014 for contributions to civil rights and social justice. He is membership chair for the United Faculty of Florida University of Florida union chapter.

Paul serves on the international editorial boards for Kalfou: A Journal of Comparative and Relational Ethnic Studies as well as for Palgrave Studies in Oral History, Palgrave Macmillan Books. He has served as a Post-Doctoral Faculty Mentor for the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation as well as for the Ford Foundation Fellowship Program.

Professor Ortíz received his Ph.D. in history from Duke University in 2000.  He earned his Bachelor’s degree from the Evergreen State College in 1990 in History and Political Economy after transferring from Olympic Community College. For Dr. Ortíz’s full biography, please see Dr. Paul Ortíz – Director 2008-present.


Dr. Ryan Morini, SPOHP Associate Program Director @

Dr. Ryan Morini began his work with SPOHP in 2010 as a graduate research coordinator for the African American History Project (AAHP). He received his PhD in Cultural Anthropology from UF in May 2014. His dissertation research focused on the politics of heritage management among the Duckwater and Ely Shoshone Tribes in central Nevada, and he continues to do heritage and social memory research with Nevada Shoshone communities. His research has been supported by the Sven and Astrid Liljeblad Fund, the Jacobs Fund, the Southwest Oral History Association, the UF Center for the Humanities and the Public Sphere, and the Great Basin National Heritage Area Partnership. He was a 2013 recipient of the UF College of Liberal Arts and Sciences O. Ruth McQuown Scholarship Award.

His current Nevada research is historic ethnography of cultural and social dimensions of Shoshone land use and ownership in the 19th and early 20th centuries–or, in a different turn of phrase, a heritage ethnography of Newe survivance. A significant focus of the project will also be the re-examination of the field notes of anthropologist Julian Steward, whose work with Western Shoshones has long been canonical not only for students of the Great Basin, but social scientists throughout the world. This project is intended to demonstrate the ways in which Western Shoshone culture, rather than being a remnant from a prior era or a hindrance in “adapting” to the colonized landscape, is in fact a resource that Shoshones throughout the years have used in diverse ways to empower their communities and build up opportunities for future generations.

Ryan has also continued working with AAHP; in addition to continued interviewing efforts in Alachua, Marion, Levy, Hamilton, and Gadsden counties, among others, he is helping to coordinate the upload of 500 AAHP transcripts and audio to the UF Digital Collections by the close of 2018 so that they will be more readily available to the general public. In addition to this work with AAHP, Ryan is the lead coordinator of the SPOHP Podcasting Working Group, and is heavily involved with course development at SPOHP. He is co-teaching the spring 2018 internship with visiting scholar Jeff Pufahl, and SPOHP’s Black and Latinx History of the Gator Nation course with Juanita Duque and Juliette Barbera.



Tamarra Jenkins, Office Manager @

Tamarra Jenkins has been the Office Manager for the Proctor Program since 2010. In her capacity as Office Manager she oversees all HR, fiscal and C&G matters. She has assisted with the creation and submission of numerous grants to major funding organizations, including the Florida Humanities Council, U.S. National Park Services and the National Endowment for the Humanities. She works directly under the Director of SPOHP and closely with all Proctor Program staff and students to ensure their academic and professional needs are met. Her credentials for the current position she holds has been cultivated through her 9 years of service at UF; starting as a student assistant with the UF International Center to several years as a program assistant in the College of Engineering. Over this time she has obtained PRO3 Series certificates in HR/Payroll Management, Fiscal Management and Business Communication. 

With the accounting knowledge she possesses, Ms. Jenkins has been appointed to the Oral History Associations 2015-2016 Finance Committee and will collaborate with other business professionals to review current OHA practices and recommend ways they can be tailored to enhance efficiency. She is currently a participant of the University’s Employee Education Program, enrolled ¾ time at Santa Fe College, pursuing a Bachelor of Applied Science degree in Business Administration Management. All of Tamarra’s free time, is used to support her children’s academic and athletic endeavors.

In 2016, Ms. Jenkins won the University of Florida Superior Staff Accomplishment Award.

Tamarra manages the schedules of approximately 50 students, staff, visiting faculty in order to maximize SPOHP’s ability to serve the UF campus and broader communities. Tamarra manages SPOHP’s budget, a large amount of contract invoices as well as SPOHP’s ongoing development and fundraising that sustain our ability to provide educational services to faculty, students and staff at UF including vital experiential field work opportunities. Tamarra provides guidance to graduate students, undergraduates as well as to visiting faculty, volunteers, and members of the public who rely on SPOHP to fulfill UF’s goals in teaching, service and research.

For any matters concerning the Proctor Program, you can contact Ms. Jenkins via phone at 352-392-7168 or email:



Deborah Hendrix, Digital Humanities Production Coordinator @

Deborah Hendrix is SPOHP’s Digital Humanities Coordinator, where she serves as Archivist and Videographer, and has worked with the program since 2000. Born on St. Simons Island, Georgia, Deborah graduated Glynn Academy High School in 1972 and attended Brunswick Junior College, where she received an A.S. degree in Marine Biology and Medical Technology. Deborah worked as invertebrate technician with Dr. Eugene Keferl, also tagged loggerhead turtles on Jekyll Island with Dr. Archie Carr. Deborah worked in hospital laboratories as a medical technician in Brunswick, GA, Houston, TX, and Gainesville, before returning to school to get a graphic design degree from Santa Fe Community College in 2000.

In 2006, Deborah received a B.A. in History and a minor in Anthropology at the University of Florida. Deborah has studied film and video editing since 1990, and attended a one-month immersive film school at Maine Media Workshops in Rockport, Maine, in July/August of 2010.

In 2016, Deborah won the University of Florida Superior Staff Accomplishment Award.

Currently, Deborah is SPOHP’s expert on digital processing and archival methods and our main connection to digital archivists at Smathers Libraries. In this capacity, Deborah is responsible for managing SPOHP’s 7,500+ collection of oral history interviews and making these ultimately accessible to students, scholars and members of the general public. Deborah answers questions from scholars from across the world who have queries about UF’s Oral History holdings. Deborah’s expertise in digital humanities is sought out by organizations across the country and she has served on several national Oral History Association committees.


Ann Smith, Veterans History Project Coordinator @
Smith-Resume, 2014

Ann Smith joined SPOHP in 1998 after retiring from a distinguished career in Nursing Education and administration in Acute Care hospitals. She is the Coordinator of the Veterans’ History Project Coordinator and facilitates the interviewing of World War II veterans. So far, the project has conducted over 274 interviews.

Ann works on all levels of interview processing for the VHP project, including interviewing, transcribing, audit editing, indexing, and supervising volunteer workers on the project. Her work was recently featured in Gainesville Sun, “Retired? Hardly. Woman immersed in collecting stories of local WWII Vets.”

Ann began at SPOHP transcribing interviews with the Seminole tribe, as well as St. Johns River Water Management District and Florida Judges Project. She also coordinates work for the University of Florida College of Nursing (UFCN) Project. Ann also chairs the Oral History Program at the Matheson Museum in Gainesville and supervises an oral history transcription program at the Alachua County Womens’ Prison.

As a former board member, she is a member of the Collections Committee of the Matheson Museum and serves as a citizen member of the Florida Bar Grievance Committee of the Eighth Judicial Circuit.  She is a member of the Writers Alliance of Gainesville.

In Fall 2015, Ann presented at the annual Oral History Association conference in Tampa, FL on the panel, “Veterans of WWII Tell Their Stories,” using oral histories from the Veterans History Project.



Raja Rahim, African American History Project Coordinator @

Raja Rahim serves as a Coordinator of the African American History Project, and began working at SPOHP in Spring 2016. She is a doctoral student in the Department of History at the University of Florida. As an American historian, her research focuses on the participation of African Americans in the development of American sports culture.

A native of Richmond, Virginia, she arrived to U.F. via North Carolina. She received a M.A. in History from North Carolina Central University in Durham, North Carolina in May of 2015. She also received a B.A. in History from NCCU in 2012.

Her current research explores the coaching career of John B. McLendon and the origins of black basketball in North Carolina during the era of segregation. In addition, she is currently researching the life and athletic career of Ronald Coleman and the history of athletic integration at the University of Florida in the late 1960s.



Patrick Daglaris, Poarch Creek Project Coordinator @

Patrick Daglaris is the coordinator of the Poarch Creek Project and the Tidewater Main Street Development Project. Patrick received a BA in History from the University of Florida in 2015, and is currently working on a Master’s of Science in Information at Florida State University.

Patrick joined SPOHP as an intern in the spring of 2014, working on the Andersonville Prisoners of War, Black Pittsburgh, World War II, and Panama Canal collections. After his second semester interning at SPOHP in the fall of 2014, he was hired to coordinate the Poarch Creek Project, organizing and transcribing archival audio records within the Hugo Rozelle Collection. He has worked on several fieldwork trips, including the Appalachian Social Change research trip in February 2015, and the Mississippi Freedom Project’s annual research trip in the summer of 2015, as well as coordinated the Annual Poarch Creek and Virginia Fieldwork in Folklore student research trips.

He is interested in supporting the curation and access of oral history and digital collections and maintains SPOHP’s collections on the University of Florida Digital Collections website. In fall 2015, Patrick presented at the annual Oral History Association conference in Tampa, FL on the panel, “Standing with Elders: Fieldwork in the South,” using oral histories from the Virginia Tidewater Main Street Project.



Sandra Romero, Historically Black Colleges and Universities Project Coordinator @

Sandra Romero received her Bachelor’s Degree in Classical Studies in Fall 2016. Sandra began working with SPOHP as a transcriber for oral histories in Fall 2015. In 2016, she founded the HBCU Project which documents the legacies and importance of Historically Black Colleges and Universities through the interviews of alumni and current students. She is also a leading transcriptionist for the African-American History Project. Sandra has recently joined the Poarch Creek Project, transcribing archival audio records within the Hugo Rozelle Collection. She has worked on the Annual Virginia Fieldwork in Folklore Trip and also was the leading coordinator for the Melrose “Back in the Day” trip this year. Sandra hopes expand her project on a high school level and also hopes to receive her Master’s in the next few years.


Jennifer Romero, AAHP Archivist / Video Technician @

Jennifer Romero is a third year Telecommunications-Production major. Having worked at SPOHP for three years, Jennifer has transcribed and audit-edited many transcripts for the African American Project. She has also co-founded the Melrose project, which entails monthly trips to Melrose, Florida to document the history of the town and its people.

Due to her love for film and television, Jennifer aids Deborah Hendrix with audio and video recording for the program. Her most notable work has been the Washington D.C. trip of January 2017, where she filmed footage for both the Presidential inauguration and the Women’s March on Washington.


Holland Hall, Florida Queer History Project Coordinator @

Holland Hall graduated from the University of Floridal magna cum laude in Spring 2016 with a bachelor’s of arts in History. After graduating, she began working at the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program at the University of Florida. Holland co-founded the program’s Florida Queer History Project in June 2016, and served as the research coordinator for the program’s Women’s March on Washington Experiential Learning Fieldwork Trip in collaboration with the UF Center for Gender, Sexualities, and Women’s Studies Research. Holland is currently pursuing an M.Ed./ Ed.S. degree in Mental Health Counseling at the University of Florida, and is a Digital and Public Humanities intern at the George A. Smather’s Libraries at UF.



George Topalidis, Florida Judges Project Staff @

George Topalidis is a P.h.D student in the Sociology, Criminal Justice and Law Department at the University of Florida. George is working on the Florida Judges Project which focuses on interviewing retiring judges from the three districts of Florida.
His research interests include immigrant identity and immigrant memory. The subject area of his research is early 20th-century emigration of Ottoman Greeks from the Ottoman Empire to the United States. George established the Ottoman Greeks of the United States Project (OGUS) at the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program in the Spring of 2016 and is collecting data to expand the project’s capabilities. He recently published an Op-Ed in the Gainesville Sun which was based on a podcast he composed in December of 2016. The podcast is entitled, The Acropolis and the Madonna: A Case Study of Refugee Deportation from the United States. This summer George is going to present a portion of his work entitled Escaping from the Ottoman Empire: Refugee Narratives as Recalled by their Descendants at St. George Greek Orthodox Church in Hollywood, Florida. He will also conduct interviews with descendants of Ottoman Greek immigrants in Ohio and Southern California.


Patrick Russell

Patrick Russell, South Florida Veterans History Project @

Patrick Russell, Esq. is a Senior Attorney with The Florida Bar, and an oral historian and director for the Making History Project. The Making History Project is non-profit organization that Patrick started in 2014 to preserve the memories and stories of Veterans through video oral history interviews. The research interest for this project probes whether and to what extent combat related trauma affected World War II Veterans. The goal of this research is to ultimately compare and contrast World War II Veteran experiences with Veterans of other wars to gauge differences and similarities.  Current public outcomes for the project include dissemination of the oral history interviews with the archives of the U.S. Library of Congress, National World War II Museum, and of course with the University of Florida Samuel Proctor Oral History Program.

Patrick became interested in World War II at an early age upon learning his grandfather was a World War II Veteran.  Patrick’s main research interests for World War II in addition to combat trauma include D-Day, the Eastern Front, and genocide.  To that end, Patrick has traveled to numerous battlefields and museums throughout the world including England, France, Belgium, Germany, Poland, Italy and Russia. In addition, Patrick Russell has presented at the 2015 Oral History Association Conference (“War and Peace: WWII Trauma 70-Years Later) and the 2014 Midwest World History Association Conference (“HungerKrieg: The War of the Calorie During World War II”).

Patrick embraces technology and intends to curate his oral history interviews online at his project website and make them searchable with OHMS.  Patrick Russell obtained his undergraduate degree in Political Science with a minor in History from Marquette University in 1990 and a law degree from the University of Miami in 1993.

Venetia Ponds, African American History Project Coordinator @

Venetia Ponds received her B.A. in Anthropology at the University of Washington where she specialized in the Anthropology of Globalization: The study of today’s increasingly interconnected and multicultural world, focusing on both contemporary and historical patterns of global exchange. Her M.A. which focused on perceptions of race and racism within the U.S. society and how media provides a distorted reality of social equality and mobility that intensify beliefs that race (as a significant feature of identity) and racism are things of the past was acquired from the Anthropology department at UF.

Congruent with her pursuit of a PhD, Venetia teaches a course in Visual Ethnography.  Her dissertation’s overarching interest is in the effects of the transformative property of social movement/social justice volunteerism. Venetia’s grounding in anthropology provides ideal tools for making sense of the human condition as how this transformative experience impacts the life-courses of the volunteers can only be told by them.  Most precisely, her dissertation uses the narratives of the white volunteers of the Civil Rights Movement to uncover lasting personal effects of social justice volunteerism.

As a visual anthropologist her interest lies in the relationship of media to audience. Therefore her dissertation includes an educational documentary on the meaning that social justice work has on its participants.

Currently Venetia is a Research Assistant at the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program.


Oliver Telusma, Mississippi Freedom Project Coordinator @

Oliver Telusma is a fourth-year political science major at the University of Florida. Oliver Joined SPOHP in spring of 2016 as a volunteer to finish the Panama Canal Museum project, and was brought on as a Project Coordinator in May of 2016. His interest in studying and bringing reform to power structures in order to help disadvantaged and disenfranchised communities has not only led him to further commit his time to SPOHP but has also inspired his spoken word as well as led him to become a fellow for Young People For (YP4), an initiative under the People for an American Way Foundation.

As a future attorney, educator and public servant, it is important to take the time to honor the bastions of the struggle, and the people who have bought my goals closer into reach.

Kendra Blandon, Latinx Diaspora Project Coordinator @

Kendra Blandon is an undergraduate student majoring in Religion and International Studies with a focus on Latin America and the Caribbean. She began working for SPOHP in Fall 2016 as a transcriber and translator for LDAP. Kendra collected oral histories at the 2017 D.C. Pride March and at various events and protests around the March for Florida Queer History and served as a research panelist. Kendra is currently working on a large community mural project to showcase the intersectionality of faith, immigrant narratives, and Gainesville history. 

As an intern in fall 2017, Kendra interviewed undocumented and DACAmented students in Florida and aided in the creation of UndocuPeers, a training presentation for UF faculty and staff on DACA. Kendra also serves as the Executive Director for Hispanic Heritage Month and hopes to attend law school to pursue a career in refugee law. 



Aliya Miranda, Digital Productions and Outreach Coordinator @

Aliya Miranda is a Gainesville native and a Telecommunications – Production major with UF’s College of Journalism and Communications. In the summer of 2016, she volunteered as a transcriber for the Florida Queer History Project before being hired on as a student assistant. In an attempt to bring the stories that fascinated her in SPOHP’s vast collection of interviews directly to the public, she helped coordinate SPOHP’s Podcasting Working Group. As a result, she currently produces the SPOHP podcast series Safe Spaces which explores the safe spaces marginalized groups create for themselves and the lengths certain communities go to preserve them. She is also the producer of the SPOHP Radio Hour for WUBA 88.1 FM. Two of the podcast pieces she produced have been featured on the Oxford University Press Blog following fieldwork at the Women’s March on Washington and DC Pride Weekend 2017. She has been invited to speak at a panel about podcasting in oral history at the 2017 OHA Conference in Minneapolis, MN in October.

Aliya also manages SPOHP’s website, creates promotional materials for the program such as fliers, posters and web banners and produces SPOHP’s monthly newsletters. She has coordinated fundraising initiatives such as the SPOHP: 50 Years, 50 Faces campaign. Following fieldwork at the 2017 Presidential Inauguration/ Women’s March on Washington in DC, as well as DC Pride Weekend 2017, she moderated several panels during which she also presented audio vignettes she produced highlighting interviews collected on these trips. Having always admired the power of storytelling, she hopes to sharpen her production skills with the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program while providing a voice for marginalized groups.


Ryan Thompson, Graduate Internship Coordinator @

After graduating in 2009 with a BA in American Studies at his hometown New College of Florida, Ryan lived in the venerable Gulf Coast city of New Orleans before coming to UF in 2015 as a graduate student in the Department of History. He arrived at SPOHP as a Graduate Assistant in Spring 2017 as co-coordinator of that semester’s undergraduate internship. He completed an MA in the summer of 2017, writing about the history of barbiturate drugs. The topics he had focused on while in the history department, especially changing attitudes toward death and dying, moved him to switch course vocationally, and he is now a student in FSU’s Master of Social Work program and splits his time between Gainesville and Tallahassee. His focus on medically-related topics and his background in oral history led him to partner with the UF College of Medicine’s Geriatrics Clerkship for 4th year students, where as of August 2017 he has helped medical students learn about oral history in collaboration with SPOHP, interview an older adult, and present on what the experience meant for their education as future clinicians. He also led SPOHP’s workshop with the Baker County Coalition of Communities for Environmental Justice in May 2017.

Outside of school, Ryan loves to be out in what’s left of wild Florida, its springs and swamps and other places of flourishing but threatened flora and fauna. Coming to SPOHP has been a poignant journey for him, as he was first recommended to the program by a dear mentor, the late UF professor of history Alan Petigny. He’s grateful to all of those who tell their stories and allow others the privilege of practicing the endangered skill of listening.


Anupa Kotipoyna, Trinidad Study Abroad Coordinator @

Anupa Kotipoyina graduated from the University of Florida in Spring 2017 with a bachelor’s degree and received the Michael Hauptman Medal for an outstanding senior majoring in history. She first joined SPOHP in Fall 2015 as an intern and joined the SPOHP staff in Fall 2016 as a student assistant. She has participated in the 2016 Mississippi Freedom Project and Women’s March on Washington fieldwork trips as well as assisted with a range of projects, including the African American History Project, Poarch Creek Project, and Latinx Diaspora in the Americas Project. In addition to transcribing and audit-editing for various projects at SPOHP, Anupa assists with grant writing and podcast production. She also collects stories from Indian immigrants about their diverse experiences in the United States and other countries.


Robert Baez, Florida Queer History Project Coordinator @

Robert Baez is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Sociology and Criminology & Law at the University of Florida. Robert completed his B.A. degree in Public Communication at Florida Atlantic University, where he focused on community organizing and social movements. He received his M.A. degree in Women’s Studies from the Center for Gender, Sexualities, and Women’s Studies Research at the University of Florida. Robert’s research interests focus generally on the intersection between gender, sexuality, and race.

Robert first started at SPOHP as a volunteer in January 2017 when he conducted interviews at the Women’s March on Washington and the presidential inauguration. Since then, he organized a research trip to Washington, D.C. for the Equality March for Unity and Pride (June 2017), and has been brought on as a Project Coordinator for the Florida Queer History Project. His work has been featured on the Oxford University Press Blog.

Brenda Stroud, Confederate Monuments of America Project Coordinator @

Brenda Stroud is the coordinator of the Federal Judges Project and the Confederate Monuments of America Project. She is an undergraduate student in the Honors History Department at the University of Florida with a focus on Southern History. Her study interests are in political history and social justice specific to the American South. Her current archival research includes radical figures of the Reconstruction era and segregationists of the Civil Rights era both inside the history of North Carolina. Her research specific to the national Confederate monument controversy led to the development of the Confederate Monuments of America Project, and as its Coordinator she leads fieldwork teams to Confederate monument protest events in Gainesville, Florida, and the surrounding areas.

Brenda is a Florida native from Jacksonville. She began working with SPOHP in September 2016 as a visiting student from Santa Fe College. She traveled as a fieldwork representative with the Mississippi Freedom Project to Tallahassee, Florida, Montgomery, Alabama, and to the Mississippi Delta. She was an intern at SPOHP in the spring of 2018 focusing on Latino and African American History. Brenda works with the Women’s March on Washington Project as a research coordinator and collaborator for the production, Voices of the March. From her fieldwork trips to D.C. for both the Women’s March on Washington and the Equality March for Unity and Pride, Brenda has presented on several panel discussions.

Juliette Barbera, African American History Project Graduate Student Assistant @

Juliette Barbera is a jointly-appointed graduate assistant with the African American Studies Program and the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program. They are a doctoral student, whose research takes on an anti-racist research approach to crime and crime policy by studying crime and crime politics from an institutional perspective, opposed to the traditional behavioral perspectives. Specifically, how the emergence and development of political institutions determine what policy platforms are made available; that is, in respect to crime policies, how does the structure of American political institutional limit policies toward racial justice. Alongside the institutional perspective, Juliette aims to incorporate a people’s perspective on crime policy and politics as to decolonize the narratives on racialized policy as a socially- necessary consequence resulting from individual behaviors.

The interest in institutional perspectives informs their work at SPOHP. As a research assistant for the African American History Project, in addition to assisting in collections processing for the unveiling of the AAHP symposium for spring 2019, they have also taken a lead in aiding AAHP in its documentation of the Black experience at UF. Through the documentation of these experiences, they are interested in understanding how the historical institutional development of universities may promote or limit the institutionalization of Black spaces within white-serving institutions. That is, how the presence or absence of platforms that are institutionalized on campuses informs how inclusion and diversity are understood and practiced through the units, the policies, and the spaces that exist. These perspectives intend to highlight a broader introspection on how institutional structures impact the institutionalization, or lack thereof, for racial equity. Due to the often-dominant amnesia or obscuration of historical institutional marginalization, and its continued perpetuation, Juliette was the first member of SPOHP to propose a documentary about the Institute of Black Culture (IBC), that is inclusive to the context of its founding and its subsequent development, a suggestion which has now become incorporated into the Black and Latinx course of spring 2018 that she is co-teaching and co-developing.

Nicole Yapp, Mississippi Freedom Project and Art of Aging Co-Cooridinator,  @

Nicole Yapp is a recent graduate of the University of Florida with a BA in History, African American Studies and International Studies. She has been awarded President’s Honor Roll, Dean’s List, and was a University Scholars (2017). Nicole joined SPOHP in 2017 as a researcher for the Mississippi Freedom Project. After participating in that trip, she volunteered with SPOHP before being brought on as a student assistant. Her interest in social justice and civil rights is what fuels her work with SPOHP. She completed her thesis titled Labor Exploitation, Racism and Oppression: Convict Labor in Florida From 1960 to 2010. She aspires to be a public service attorney who specializes in civil and human rights litigation.

Grace Chun, Poarch Creek Project Archivist @

Grace Chun is a fourth year psychology student at the University of Florida. Grace first joined SPOHP in Fall 2017 as an intern working on the Voices of Dreamers Project interviewing undocumented students at UF and UCF. She joined the SPOHP staff in Spring 2018 as a student assistant continuing to work on the Voices of Dreamers Project to present at the Southern Oral History Conference in April as well as assisting in the Poarch Creek Project. Working with undocumented students through SPOHP as well as newcomers in Gainesville through the non-profit Welcoming Gainesville and Alachua County has cultivated her interests in the movement of people and their stories.

She also works as the Education Coordinator at the Center for Undergraduate Research as well as a senior intern for Cru.

Juanita Duque, Latinx Diaspora in the Americas Project Coordinator @

Juanita Duque was born in Bogotá, Colombia. She began working at SPOHP in 2017 after obtaining her M.A. from the Center of Latin American Studies at the University of Florida. Her research interests are centered on issues of power asymmetries, socio-political and environmental justice, as well as degrowth. At SPOHP, Juanita serves as Coordinator of the Latinx Diaspora in the Americas Project.


Austyn Szempruch, Poarch Creek Transcriptionist @

Austyn Szempruch is a recent graduate from the University of Florida. In spring of 2016, he graduated with honors with a degree in History. Austyn joined SPOHP in the spring of 2014 as an intern, working on the Virginia Tidewater, Black Pittsburgh, and Panama Canal collections.

After three semesters of interning and graduation, he was hired as an assistant for the Poarch Creek Project, transcribing and creating audio logs of recordings. Austyn has also been a part of SPOHP’s fieldwork trips, being a part of one of the Virginia Fieldwork in Folklore research trips in 2014 and the Appalachian Social Change research trip in 2015.

Austyn is pursuing further education at the University of Florida in 2017 as well.

 Jeffrey Hartmann, Graduate Student Coordinator @

Jeffrey Hartmann serves as a graduate student coordinator for SPOHP, primarily focusing on the African American History Project. He is also involved in several other projects at SPOHP. He is a doctoral student in the Department of History at the University of Florida. As an historian of the twentieth-century United States, his research focuses on grassroots political activism and the history of
capitalism, mainly in the New South.

Prior to arriving at UF, he earned a B.A. in History from Florida State University where he also worked as an archival assistant at the State Library and Archives of Florida in Tallahassee. He began work at SPOHP in the fall of 2017.

Dr. Elaine Sponholtz, Digital Productions and Archival Management Coordinator @

Dr. Elaine Sponholtz is an artist-scholar, whose research is concerned with the intersection of storytelling, social memory, and creative uses of technology. Dr. Sponholtz holds a B.A. in Communication Design. After working as a designer, she returned to academia to earn a MLIS, as well as a Master’s in Digital Arts and Sciences. Her thesis project, an original play set in 19 th century Florida, was the first to be performed in the immersive REVE Theater at Digital World’s Institute. A member of the Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society, she has received a FLAS Fellowship to study Czech culture in Prague, and UF Graduate School’s Doctoral Research Travel Grant to conduct dissertation research in Europe. In 2017 she graduated with a doctorate in Mass Communications from the College of Journalism and Communications at the University of Florida. Her research and creative projects involving storytelling and media design have been presented internationally. A Florida native, she has been affiliated with SPOHP since 2012 as an oral history interviewer, media creator, and technologist.

Dr. Francesc Morales, Digital Humanities Coordinator,

Dr. Francesc Morales received his PhD in Romance Languages-Spanish from the University of Florida in May 2018. His dissertation research focused on the nationalism in Spain through the profession of archeology, and he continues to do politics and cultural research within European and American contexts. He has been a graduate assistant at UF since 2010, with the support of the Department of Spanish and Portuguese Studies, and the UF Libraries. He also has a certificate in Latin American Studies, and an MA in Spanish, both from UF. He also earned degrees in History and Digital Humanities from two different universities in Spain.

At the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program, Francesc is involved in the project History of Jewish Community in El Salvador, as part of a larger project known as Latina/o Diaspora in the Americas Project. This work consists in digital production coupled with transcription and translation of Spanish-language materials along with conducting oral history interviews on Hispanic history.


For additional information, contact SPOHP, call the offices at (352) 392-7168, and connect with us online today. For inquiries related to web content, e-mail Aliya Miranda at