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SPOHP Alumni

Each year, SPOHP graduates interns, volunteers, staff members and contributing scholars. The work of these outstanding alumni helped to further oral history studies and bring public history to the world during their time with the program.


Jennifer Romero, JBA Archivist and Program Videographer

Image of Jennifer RomeroJennifer Romero graduated from the University of Florida with a Bachelor’s degree in Telecommunications, with emphasis in production, in the Summer of 2019. Having worked at SPOHP for four years, Jennifer has transcribed and audit-edited hundreds of transcripts for the African American History Project, now dubbed the Joel Buchanan Project. She’s also co-founded the Melrose Project, which entails 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 optimization and video recording in order to create and preserve content 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. Jennifer continues working on projects, and has recently been put in charge of a documentary called, “The Odyssey of Oscar Mack.”


Dr. Elaine Sponholtz, Digital Productions and Archival Management Coordinator

Image of Doctor Elaine SponholtzDr. 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.

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.

Ann Smith, Veterans History Project Coordinator

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 facilitated the interviewing of World War II veterans. So far, the project has conducted over 274 interviews.

Ann worked 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 coordinated work for the University of Florida College of Nursing (UFCN) Project. Ann also chaired the Oral History Program at the Matheson Museum in Gainesville and supervised 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. After more than 20 wonderful years of service, she retired from SPOHP duties recently.

Samantha Crisanti, Mississippi Freedom Project and African American History Project

Samantha Crisanti is an undergraduate student, majoring in Political Science and Economics with a minor in Women’s Studies. Sam first joined SPOHP in Summer 2018 as a field researcher for the annual Mississippi Freedom Project trip. Shortly after, she became a SPOHP staff member in Fall Semester 2018 as a student assistant for the African American History Project (AAHP) working predominantly as a transcriber and logistics assistant for the 2019 African American Oral History Symposium. In addition to her work with AAHP, Sam is co-coordinating the 2019 Mississippi Freedom Project trip. Her research interests center on the intersections of race and gender within the juvenile justice system, and the institutional barriers that perpetuate juvenile injustice. Sam plans to attend law school and practice in the field of civil rights. In conjunction with her work at SPOHP, she was the lead undergraduate researcher for the Equal Rights Amendment project at Southern Legal Counsel, a non-profit, civil rights law firm in Gainesville, as well as an advocate for survivors of domestic violence at Peaceful Paths.

Cheyenne Cheng, Art of Aging and Asian American History Project Coordinator

Cheyenne Cheng is a fourth year psychology student at the University of Florida. She first joined SPOHP through the class, “The Black and Latinx History of the Gator Nation” and later came on as a student assistant in Summer 2018. In addition to co-coordinating the Art of Aging and the Asian American History Project, she also works on the Disability History in Florida Project and on the IBC & La Casita Documentaries. Cheyenne’s interests lies in her multi-ethnic roots. As a Chinese-Philipina American, she strives to prioritize the voices of communities less visible.

Juliette Barbera, African American History Project and 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.

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.

Roberto G. Muñoz-Pando, Jews in El Salvador Project and Grace Marketplace Oral History Initiative Researcher

Roberto G. Muñoz-Pando, a native of Puerto Rico, holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from the University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras Campus, as well as a Master’s Degree in Archaeology from the Center of Advanced Studies of Puerto Rico and the Caribbean. As a current UF doctoral student in Anthropology, he is completing a dissertation on “The Anthropological Theory of Value in Puerto Rico during the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries.”  He works as a Researcher at SPOHP on both the Jews in El Salvador Project and the Grace Marketplace Oral History Initiative. Additionally, he has helped with digitalization of materials, has participated in a Porch Creek research trip, and co-lead the fieldwork trip to Virginia as a part of the Fieldwork in Folklore Project. Roberto also works with Graduate Students United as a Release Timer.

Toni-Lee Maitland, Independent Historian and Web Developer

Toni-Lee Maitland is a history graduate from the University of Florida who worked with SPOHP as a transcriber and historian during her undergraduate career. After graduating from UF, she served one year with AmeriCorps as a City Year ELA Interventionist at a local Miami high school. Working with high schoolers on improving their academic and personal achievements led her to become a full-time, middle and high school Social Studies teacher for three years. During this time, Toni-Lee maintained a steady interest in technology and web design, taking a class here and there while she worked. It wasn’t until an unforeseen pause in her teaching career that she decided to pursue web design and development full-time. Now, Toni-Lee works as a web developer at an IT company in South Florida.  She currently has an interest in exploring the experiences that other members of the Black diaspora have had in the technology field, and the challenges they faced getting there. She plans to work on a project exploring this very topic in the coming year.


Nicole Yapp, Mississippi Freedom Project and Art of Aging

Image of Nicole YappNicole 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 entitled “Labor Exploitation, Racism and Oppression: Convict Labor in Florida From 1960 to 2010.” She aspires to be a public service attorney specializing in civil and human rights litigation. Nicole is currently a Cleveland Foundation Public Service Fellow.

Anupa Kotipoyna, Trinidad Study Abroad Coordinator

Image of Anupa KotipoynaAnupa 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.

Raja Rahim, African American History Project Coordinator

Image of Raja RahimRaja 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.

Oliver Telusma, Panama Canal Project Coordinator

Image of Oliver TelusmaOliver Telusma, who graduated with a political science undergrad degree at the University of Florida, 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. Oliver is planning a future as a attorney, educator and public servant, explaining, “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.”

Austyn Szempruch, Poarch Creek Transcriptionist

Austyn Szempruch graduated from the University of Florida in May of 2016. After graduating  with honors with a degree in History, he 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. In August 2018 Austyn began a Master’s degree program in Sports Journalism at University of Florida’s College of Journalism and Communication.

Jefferey Pufahl, Visiting Scholar, 2017-2018

Image of Jeffrey Pufahl

Jeffrey Pufahl,with a professional background in film and theatre directing and producing,  holds an MFA in Theater Performance (University of Cincinnati) and an MFA in Theater Directing (University of Victoria). His work at the University of Florida was focused on creating inter-campus and inter-community partnerships to develop theatre-based programming that addresses social issues and community health. A member of the UF Imagining America cohort, Jeffrey specializes in creating site-specific theater and documentary film.  His research focuses on innovatively applying theatre and video to health, social, and educational content in order to engage audience more effectively.

His projects include Ashley’s Consent, a multi-media, site-specific applied theatre experience educating on sexual assault and consent, and Telling: Gainesville, an original verbatim theatre project connecting the oral histories of Gainesville Veterans with community for the purpose of facilitating dialogue and understanding. ​He built on an existing partnership between SPOHP and the Center for Women’s Studies, to help students translate their interviews from the January 2017 Inauguration and Women’s March on Washington DC into an original theatrical presentation.

Patrick Daglaris, Poarch Creek Project Staff

Imagr of Patrick DaglarisPatrick Daglaris is a graduate of the University of Florida. In spring of 2015, he graduated with a History major and a Jazz Guitar minor.  Patrick joined SPOHP as an intern in the spring of 2014, working on the Andersonville, Black Pittsburgh, Retired Faculty of the University of Florida, and Panama Canal collections. After his second semester interning at SPOHP in the Fall of 2014, he was hired to assist in the Poarch Creek Project, organizing and transcribing Hugh Rozelle’s audio records.

Patrick has worked on several fieldwork trips, including the Virginia Fieldwork in Folklore research trips in October 2014 and October 2015, the Appalachian Social Change research trip in February 2015, and the Mississippi Freedom Project’s annual research trip in the Summer of 2015. Patrick plans to pursue a graduate degree.

In Fall 2015, Patrick presented at the annual OHA conference in Tampa, FL on the panel, “Standing with Elders: Fieldwork in the South,” using oral histories from the Virginia Tidewater Main Street Project. After completing a Master’s degree in Library Science, Patrick went on to work as an academic librarian at Oklahoma State University.

Venetia Ponds, African American History Project Coordinator

Image of Venetia PondsVenetia 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.

Robert Baez, Florida Queer History Project Coordinator

Image of Robert BaezRobert Baez, a Ph.D. student in the Department of Sociology and Criminology & Law at the University of Florida, 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 was brought on as a Project Coordinator for the Florida Queer History Project. His work has been featured on the Oxford University Press Blog.


A.J. Donaldson

Image of A.J. Donaldson
AJ Donaldson

A.J. Donaldson received B.A.s in History and Political Science, and the M.A. in History, from North Carolina Central University. His interests included African American history, the economy and culture of the American South, and Civil Rights in the 20th Century. He also received a certificate in Political Economy from Hong Kong University sponsored by Georgetown University.  He is a Thurgood Marshall Scholar and the recipient of NC Past and Emerging Leaders Award with John Hope Franklin. A.J. is a doctoral student in History at University of Florida. As an AAHP Coordinator at SPOHP, he helped to recruit, conduct, and transcribe interviews for future research on underserved voices.

Anna Jiménez

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Ana Jiménez

Anna Jiménez is a second year law student at the Levin College of Law. As a double Gator, she graduated with a bachelor’s degree in History and a minor in Environmental Sciences. She is pursuing a career in international environmental law and commercial litigation. Anna joined SPOHP’s staff after completing the oral history internship program in Fall 2012. At SPOHP, Anna works in the Veteran’s History Project and transcribes for the Alachua Country African American History Project as well. As a member of the Florida Moot Court Team, Anna will be competing in March 2016 in the 56th annual Jessup International Law Moot Court contest.


Dr. Justin Dunnavant

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Dr. Justin Dunnavant

Dr. Justin Dunnavant is a Ph.D. student studying Archaeology in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Florida. He has worked at SPOHP’s African American History Project (AAHP) since 2012, first as a volunteer and later as a Graduate Coordinator. Justin’s research interests focus generally on the historical archaeology of Africa and the African Diaspora, and more specifically on the archaeology and heritage of Ethiopia. After receiving his B.A.s in History and Anthropology at Howard University in 2009, he completed a Fulbright in Jamaica before continuing his studies at UF. In addition to his academics, Justin is also a founding member of the Society of Black Archaeologists. He has been named a Ford Foundation Predoctoral Fellow for the 2014-2017 academic years.

Michael T. Barry Jr.

Image of Michael T. Barry Jr.
Michael T. Barry

Michael T. Barry Jr. is a doctoral student in history at the University of Florida. He studies modern Muslim and African American history, specifically intellectual history, Malcolm X, the Nation of Islam, and popular culture. He earned his Bachelor’s in History and Africana Studies from the College of the Holy Cross in 2014 and his Master’s in American and Middle Eastern History from Providence College in 2016.

Michael has worked on multiple documentary film and videography projects including works for acclaimed artists Karen Turner and Shirish Korde. He has also worked in a professional capacity with the National Football League, the New England Patriots, the Buffalo Bills, Providence College, the College of the Holy Cross, and Providence Pictures. Michael has produced two of his own documentary films Sincerity: From X to El-Shabazz (2014) and The Universal Soldier: Vietnam (2016). His films have won numerous awards including the Carter G. Woodson Award (2014) and the Best Feature Award at the 2016 Nyack Film Festival.

Dr. Randi Gill-Sadler

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Dr. Randi Gill-Salder

Dr. Randi Gill-Sadler is a Ph.D. Candidate in the English Department and joined SPOHP in Fall 2014 as a Graduate Coordinator. Randi completed her B.A. degree in English at Gardner-Webb University, where she received the Most Outstanding Female Graduate and English Major awards. She received her M.A. degree in English at the University of Florida.

Randi is currently writing her dissertation entitiled “Not Yo’ Daddy’s Empire: African Americans, U.S. Imperialism and Diaspora”  which analyzes the material history and cultural representations of African Americans who participated in U.S. imperial exploits in the 19th and 20th century.

During her time at UF, Randi has taught classes for the University Writing Program and the English Department, including a special topics in American literature course about U.S. imperialism and an upper level Black Cultural Studies course, for which she was recently awarded the English Department Teaching Award for 2014-2015.

Dr. Justin Hosbey

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Dr. Justin Hoseby

Dr. Justin Hosbey is a doctoral candidate in Cultural Anthropology at the University of Florida. He is currently working on his dissertation which is tentatively titled, “Consumption and Conviviality: Delectable Black Death in Post-Katrina New Orleans.” This project uses ethnography and spatial analysis to interrogate the social consequences of the privatization of public schools, highlighting the state’s attempt to fracture Black communities in post-Katrina New Orleans, Louisiana. He has worked as a graduate coordinator for the African American History Project since 2013.

Justin a Ford Foundation Pre-Doctoral Fellow as well as a Florida Educational Fund McKnight Fellow. His dissertation work has been supported by research grants from the Ford Foundation and National Science Foundation (AC-SBE Alliance).

Justin received his B.A. in Anthropology from Georgia State University in 2008 and his M.A. in Applied Anthropology from the University of South Florida in 2011.

Annemarie Nichols

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Annemarie Nichols

Annemarie Nichols graduated from the University of Florida with B.A.s in English and History. She is currently an M.A. student in Oral History at the University of Florida. She has been a researcher and oral historian with the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program since Summer 2014.

Annemarie has done fieldwork with the Mississippi Freedom Project in the summers of 2014 and 2015, Virginia Fieldwork in Folklore Project in Fall 2014, and the Appalachian Change Project in Spring 2015. She was a 2015-2016 University Scholar while writing an undergraduate thesis analyzing white-on-black political and social violence in Jackson County, Florida, from Reconstruction to the Great Depression. During the summer of 2016, she lived in St. Augustine where she helped to coordinate the St. Augustine History Project in conjunction with the Lincolnville Museum and Cultural Center. Thanks to a grant from the UF Historic St. Augustine Inc, the team was able to collect fifty interviews during their time in St. Augustine in order to capture the experiences of African Americans living in St. Augustine before, during, and after the events of the Civil Rights Movement. Currently, Annemarie is crafting an oral history collection surrounding race, place, and belonging in the Florida Panhandle.

Dr. Johanna Mellis

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Johanna Mellis

Johanna Mellis worked as a graduate coordinator at SPOHP from the spring 2016-fall 2016 semesters. Working with Raja Rahim, she started the Sports at UF collection as part of the Fall 2016 internship.

Johanna received her BA in History at the College of Charleston in 2008. She came to UF and received her MA degree in Modern European History in 2012, writing her Master’s thesis on retribution and property restitution at the local level in post-WWII Budapest.

Johanna is completed her PhD in the History department. Her dissertation, “Negotiation Through Sport: Navigating Everyday Life in Socialist Hungary,” is a socio-cultural history of elite sport in Hungary from 1948-1989. Her work examines the ways the sport leadership’s priorities and elite sport policies evolved over time, and how athletes responded by asserting their agency within the sphere of material consumption. Her research underscores the varied nature of the socialist sport systems that existed across the Eastern Bloc countries. She is also interested in how the current political and socio-economic climate in Hungary influences how Hungarians remember their collective and individual experiences about the socialist period. Johanna’s research has been supported by grants from the International Institution of Education (Fulbright), the North American Society for Sport History, and the Olympic Studies Centre in Lausanne, Switzerland.

In addition to her academic interests, Johanna was a college swimmer at the College of Charleston, from 2004-2008. She continues to be involved with swimming at the local level. She was an assistant coach for High Tide Aquatics from 2012-2016, and currently coaches for Gator Swim Club.


Sarah Blanc

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Sarah Blanc

Sarah Blanc became a staff member at SPOHP in fall 20
10 after serving as an intern in 2009. She graduated from UF in 2012 with a B.A. in History and wrote her honors thesis, “Showcase of the Disinherited: Planning the Poor People’s Campaign of 1968,” under the direction of Dr. Paul Ortíz. Sarah managed fundraising and grant initiatives at SPOHP, focusing on fieldwork, student research projects, community outreach, and public programs. She currently works at Santa Fe College as the Coordinator of the Civic Engagement and Service Office.

At SPOHP, Sarah worked as the Mississippi Freedom Project Coordinator. She organized the annual Mississippi Freedom Project research trip from 2011 – 2015, and served as the staff coordinator for the project’s 2013 – 2014 mini-grant with George A. Smathers Libraries. For the 2014 50th Anniversary of Freedom Summer, Sarah edited the oral history volume, “I Never Will Forget,” (PDF) for distribution at schools and reunion celebrations in Mississippi. In 2015, the Mississippi Freedom Project transcription initiative with the Libraries was awarded the Elizabeth Mason Small Projects Award by the Oral History Association.

In addition to MFP, Sarah coordinated the Florida Judges Project and the Retired Faculty of the University of Florida Project. In Spring 2014, she presented with UF African American Studies Librarian Jana Ronan at the Institute on Black Life’s annual conference in Tampa, Florida, with the poster session, “The Freedom Summer Oral History Digitization Project: Making Hidden Collections Visible.” In Fall 2014, Sarah presented at the annual Oral History Association conference in Madison, WI on the panel, “The Civil Rights Act and Freedom Summer at 50: New Evidence, New Interpretations,” highlighting the Mississippi Freedom Project. In Summer 2015, Sarah and MFP staff Diana Dombrowski presented an oral history methodology workshop for teaching fellows at the Mississippi Civil Rights Movement and Labor History Teacher Fellowship Institute in Jackson, Mississippi. In Fall 2015, Sarah presented at the annual OHA conference in Tampa, FL on the panel, “Standing with Elders: Fieldwork in the South,” using oral histories from the Mississippi Freedom Project.

Sarah is also co-founder and Director of Development of the Jasmine Jahanshahi Fire Safety Foundation, which promotes awareness of the increased risk of fire fatalities and lack of enforced fire codes in countries overseas for American students who are studying abroad. She is a member of the Forum on Education Abroad and the Center for Campus Fire Safety.

Diana Dombrowski

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Diana Dombrowski

Diana Dombrowski is an alumna of the University of Florida and worked at SPOHP as a Senior Research Staff member from 2012-2016. She coordinated archival engagement and education, organizing SPOHP’s extensive collection of digitized oral history interviews, broadening public access to archives, and improving collection discoverability. She also managed the website, including content development and design, and coordinated SPOHP’s volunteer program.

Diana earned B.A.s in History and Environmental Science from the University of Florida in 2012 and wrote her honors thesis, “Contributing to World Community: Peace Corps Service in Historical Perspective,” under the direction of Dr. Paul Ortíz. Diana’s research interests include water conflict and management, environmental history, and natural and cultural heritage. She joined SPOHP as a staff member in 2012 as the Coordinator of the Poarch Creek Project with the Poarch Band of Creek Indians, focusing on a legacy collections documenting the tribe’s successful federal recognition petition.

Diana worked as a field researcher for the Mississippi Freedom Project’s annual research trip (2012, 2013, 2014), and as staff on an award-winning mini-grant for the project with George A. Smathers Libraries (2013 – 2014), as well as the Virginia Fieldwork in Folklore research trips (2014, 2015), and Appalachian Social Change research trip (2015). Diana presented at the Oral History Association annual meeting in 2014 on the panel, “Recording Voices and Empowering Communities: Oral History, Community Engagement, and Social Justice,” and at the 2015 annual meeting in Tampa on the panels, “Standing with Elders: Fieldwork in the South,” and “Teaching and Connecting Through Native American Oral History.” She recently wrote for the Oral History Review.

Jennifer Thelusma

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Jennifer Thelusma

Jennifer Thelusma graduated from the University of Florida in 2016 with a Bachelors of Liberal Arts and Sciences and a certificate of Public Affairs. While she was a student at the University of Florida, she double majored in Political Science and History.

Jennifer served as a SPOHP Intern in the Spring of 2014, focusing on Black Pittsburgh and the Mississippi Freedom Project. In Fall of 2014, Jennifer was brought on as SPOHP staff to assist with the digitizing, audio logging, and transcribing of the Hugh Rozelle Collection. She was also among a group of students in SPOHP’s inaugural Virginia Fieldwork in Folklore research trip, where she learned of traditions and experiences of the citizens of Tidewater, Virginia through oral history and storytelling. During the Fall of 2015, Jennifer served as the Haitian Revolution Memories Project Coordinator.

Jennifer was a University Scholar for the 2014-2015 school year and wrote an undergraduate thesis advised by Dr. Paul Ortiz on Florida minority voting rights since the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Her thesis, “Florida Voting Rights: Voter Suppression Done Differently,” received Highest Honors through the History Department.

In the Spring of 2015, Jennifer was confirmed as chairwoman of STAAR, Students Taking Action Against Racism, a student government agency which raises awareness about racial issues on campus through monthly speaker series, campus wide events, and constant discussion. In the Fall of 2015, Jennifer also served as a  political science junior fellow with Dr. Daniel Smith conducting research on voting rights.

In the Spring of 2016, Jennifer left SPOHP to pursue an internship in the Tallahassee office of Florida Senator Dwight Bullard. She then served as a Field Organizer for Alex Barrio’s Florida House District 48 Campaign. Jennifer is pursuing her J.D. at Duke University School of Law.

Richard Brust

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Richard Brust

Richard Brust began working at SPOHP in 2015. He is a Ph.D. student in History, studying under Prof. Elizabeth Dale. Richard received an M.A. from the University of Chicago in 2014, specializing in legal history. His thesis focused on how Supreme Court decisions from the 1930s, 40s and 50s allowed the Civil Rights Movement to form and expand.

Richard comes to the University of Florida after a career as a journalist. He most recently was an editor and writer at the American Bar Association Journal, where he also contributed podcasts with legal experts on the Supreme Court. Among them were interviews with Justice Antonin Scalia. Richard previously worked as an editor and writer in Pennsylvania at the Philadelphia Daily News, the Allentown Morning Call, and the Norristown Times Herald. He has a law degree from Temple University and a bachelors from Brown University.

Richard Lainez

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Richard Lainez

Richard Lainez is a graduate of the University of Florida with a BS in Biology. He began volunteering with SPOHP through the Latino Diaspora in the Americas Project (LDAP) in Fall 2014 and was a coordinator of the project.

Richard was an ambassador for the Institute of Hispanic-Latino Affairs while also holding various Executive Board positions in multiple campus organizations. He seeks to hear stories of others’ journeys through immigration and hopes to one day help those often underrepresented be respected and confident with who they are.

Nasseeka Denis

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Nasseeka Denis

Nasseeka S. Denis graduated in May 2016 with a degree in Anthropology and plans on going to graduate school for a master’s in Family Youth and Community Sciences to later work with families and youth in low-income communities. She began working for SPOHP as a transcriber for World War II and the Vietnam War collections in Fall 2015.

In the past, Nasseeka held two positions for Student Way at UF, a branch of United Way of North Central Florida. Nasseeka currently volunteers with Greenhouse Church Local Outreach, where she is a tutor lead and a mentor.

Jasmine Reynolds

Jasmine Reynolds joined SPOHP as a volunteer in Spring 2013, where she transcribed for the African American History Project. Jasmine served as a SPOHP intern for the Fall 2014 class which focused primarily on WWII veterans. In 2015, she graduated from the University of Florida with her B.A. in Classical Studies and a minor in History. Jasmine, who was born and raised in Gainesville, FL, centered her senior research project specifically on the Gainesville community. The project was titled, “The Social Impact of African-Americans in Politics and Education.”

Jasmine’s interests include reading and informing anyone who will listen of historical facts and events. Jasmine also enjoys advocating for equality and social justice and plans to continue onward in her education by receiving her M.A. and J.D. in the very near future.

Marna Weston

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Marna Weston

Marna Weston coordinates SPOHP’s African-American History Project and is very involved in community efforts to preserve the cultural history of African-Americans in Alachua County. Marna is a graduate student in the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences.


Zubin Kapadia

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Zubin Kapadia

Zubin Kapadia is an alumnus of the University of Florida and began working at SPOHP as intern in the Spring 2015, before becoming a staff member in the summer 2015, and receiving a promotion to Senior Research Staff in the Spring 2016. Zubin graduated with a B.A. in History from UF in 2016.

While at SPOHP, Zubin worked on various projects covering a number of historical topics. Zubin initially was assigned to Addiction History in Florida and Black Pittsburgh later transitioning to the Panama Canal Zone Project and playing an integral role in SPOHP’s 2015 annual field research trip in the Tidewater Area of Virginia. In summer 2015, Zubin coordinated, recorded, and researched the history of Muslim Americans in order to create a digital legacy. Zubin was further tasked with producing newsletters and events to advertise SPOHP’s achievements and successes.

In addition to SPOHP, Zubin spent time leading and volunteering with Project Downtown Gainesville a local Non-Profit Organization dedicated to provide “meals and hand” to underserved, underprivileged, and indigent communities of Gainesville. Prior to SPOHP, Zubin worked as an intern reporter for a small local newspaper, Alachua County Today, reporting on community events and technologies in the greater Alachua County area.

Zubin is now pursuing his J.D. at the prestigious Howard University School of Law.

Maria Fuentes

Maria Fuentes is a graduate of the University of Florida with a BA in History and Political Science. Maria interned with SPOHP in the Fall of 2013 and the Spring of 2014. She focused on Black Pittsburg and the Veterans’ Project. In Fall of 2014, Maria joined the staff to assist on the Hugh Rozelle Collection.  She wrote a thesis on the Civil Rights Movement in Tallahassee. She is currently attending Emory School of Law.

Meagan Frenzer

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Meagan Frenzer

Meagan Frenzer joined SPOHP in Fall 2015 as a Graduate Coordinator. She will be working with undergraduate interns on transcription and methods of oral history. In 2014, Meagan graduated from Auburn University with her B.A. in History. Her research there focused on the cultural reception and memory of the 1919 Black Sox Scandal. Now, Meagan is a History Ph.D. student under advisor Dr. Jeffrey Adler. She is interested in early twentieth century working-class and leisure history. Outside of graduate school, Meagan contributes articles to the National Archives Prologue Blog. She also worked with the National Archives History Office during Summer 2015. Originally from Chicago, Meagan is also an identical triplet.

Chelsea Carnes

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Chelsea Carnes was born and raised in Gainesville. In 2015, she graduated from the University of Florida summa cum laude with a Bachelor’s Degree in History and a Minor in Ethnomusicology. She was recently accepted into the Family, Youth, and Community Sciences Master’s Program at UF. She spent a year directing the Faces of the Homeless Speakers’ Bureau for the National Coalition for the Homeless as an Americorps VISTA representative in 2010. In 2013, she started a non-profit that uses music and performance as a platform to encourage self-esteem in young girls, Gainesville Girls Rock Camp, and still serves as the camp’s Director. Since 2015, she has worked as a community organizer at the non-profit arts center, The Repurpose Project, where she organizes quarterly festivals that raise awareness about environmental issues, develops a volunteer program, and coordinates a weekly workshop series that offers inexpensive community education in the skills of art and building. She has received both the E.T. York Work of Heart Award and the KTK Woman of Inspiration Award for her community work.

While a student at UF, Chelsea completed an internship with SPOHP and participated in both the Mississippi Freedom trip and the Appalachian Change field research trip. She has read papers at both the 2014 National Oral History Association Conference, and the 2015 UF History Department Honors Conference. She completed independent thesis research in 2015, for which she was awarded highest honors. Chelsea has backpacked parts of northern Europe and South America and toured much of North America, performing as a multi-instrumentalist in several bands. She has studied non-violent communication and worked closely on creative team projects that range from producing studio records to serving as a community radio DJ on Grow Radio.

Chelsea began working on the Poarch Creek Project at SPOHP in Spring 2016, developing the oral history archives of the Poarch Creek Indian Nation.


Kyle Bridge

Image of Kyle BridgeKyle Bridge joined SPOHP in 2015 as a graduate coordinator, instructing undergraduate interns in oral history methods and transcribing workflow, and worked for SPOHP in the spring and fall semesters.

Before coming to UF, Kyle received his BA in History from the University of North Florida in 2012, and also received his MA from UNF in 2014. Kyle’s work there centered on US international drug policy, the relationship between drug use prevalence and crime rates in Jacksonville since 1971, and local oral histories of addiction.

At UF, Kyle is a history PhD student under advisor Dr. Joseph Spillane. He is broadly interested in the contested definition of “addiction,” particularly the concept of the “addictive personality.” He has published relevant work in the SAGE Encyclopedia of Pharmacology and Society and Alpata (2015, both forthcoming) and is the Assistant Managing Editor for Points, the official blog of the Alcohol and Drugs History Society.

Ryan Thompson, Graduate Internship Coordinator

Image of Ryan ThompsonRyan Thompson is a doctoral student in history at UF, focusing on environmental history and the history of drugs. After graduating with a B.A. in American Studies at his hometown New College of Florida in 2009, writing a thesis on the persistency of anarchism in the United States, he lived in the great Gulf Coast city of New Orleans before coming to UF in 2015 as a graduate student. In the Crescent City he taught yoga at both a studio and as a volunteer to persons caught up in the penal system. In his own research he wonders about questions like: how did changing environmental attitudes shape attitudes toward death and dying? How has drug production and consumption changed physical landscapes? And what can one family tell us about the continuities between anti-racist and pro-environment ethics in the American South? Outside school, Ryan loves to be out in the “archives” of 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 Ryan, as he was first recommended to the program by a dear mentor, the late UF professor of history Alan Petigny (1965-2013). He’s grateful to all of those who tell their stories and allow others the privilege of practicing the endangered skill of listening.

Dr. Jessica Taylor

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Jessica Taylor

Jessica Taylor was a graduate coordinator at SPOHP starting in Fall 2013, where she taught the internship class and work on transcripts. Jessica graduated from the College of William and Mary in 2009 with a BA in History and Anthropology. After finishing her MA in Comparative History at William and Mary in 2010, she moved to Gainesville to start the PhD program under Drs. Juliana Barr, Jon Sensbach, and Paul Ortíz.

Jessica’s research focuses on early Native American history with a focus on the Chesapeake and material culture. Her interests include historic preservation, community engagement, and ways to engage high school and undergraduate students in history and activism. She was recently awarded the Simons Early American History Department Award in Spring 2014, and the Lillian Gary Taylor Fellowship in American Literature from the University of Virginia and Mellon Fellowship in Spring 2015. Outside of graduate school, Jess works as a park ranger at Guilford Courthouse National Military Park in North Carolina and spends her summers working on oral history projects related to preservation in Florida, Virginia, and Massachusetts. In Summer 2014, Jessica taught as an instructor at the College of William & Mary for the National Institute of American History‘s pre-collegiate program on democracy.

In Fall 2014, she organized the inaugural Virginia Fieldwork in Folklore research trip, leading a team of interns, SPOHP staff and graduate students to eastern Virginia to record oral histories focusing on folklore, traditional crafts, and rural development with residents of Mathews and Middlesex Counties, and will bring a return group to the region in October 2015.  She also coordinated the Appalachian Social Change Project research trip in February 2015 with Lees-McRae College.

In Fall 2014, Jessica presented at the annual Oral History Association conference in Madison, WI on the panel, “Suffering in Silence: Counteracting Myths of Passivity through Narratives of Resistance,” using oral histories with black men and women to discuss the limitations of violence enacted symbolically in white spaces. In Fall 2015, Jessica presented at the annual OHA conference in Tampa, FL on the panel, “Standing with Elders: Fieldwork in the South,” using oral histories from the Appalachian Social Change Project. She accepted a position as an Assistant Professor of Public Histo

Génesis Lara

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Génesis Lara

Génesis Lara is the founding coordinator of the Latina/o Diaspora in the Americas Project. She graduated with high honors from the University of Florida with a degree in history and a minor in Latin American studies in 2014. Her undergraduate thesis, “The Forgotten Revolution: Memory, Politics and the Anti-Colonial Struggle in the Dominican Republic, 1961-1966,” shed light on the importance of this revolution to Latin America and global Cold War politics.

Génesis joined the staff at SPOHP as a transcriber doing Spanish language translation after working as an intern. She was the Executive Director for the 2013 Hispanic Heritage Month, the largest student-run celebration of Hispanic-Latino Culture in the nation. In Spring 2014, Génesis was inducted into the Hispanic-Latino Hall of Fame. 

Génesis presented at the 48th annual Oral History Association Meeting, using her thesis work for SPOHP’s panel “Un-silencing Hispaniola’s Histories: Precedents and Possibilities.” She also presented on a second panel that focused on the Nuestras Historias collection at SPOHP, which features interviews with students, alumni and faculty as they tell the story of Hispanic-Latino community at the University of Florida through the creation of the Institute of Hispanic-Latino cultures and the IHLC’s 20th anniversary celebration at UF. The panel is titled “From Oral History to Community Action: Latino Youth Building Community and Transforming Social Discourses and Institutions.”

Read Génesis’s featured SPOHP biography and explore the Latina/o Diaspora in the Americas Project.

Amelia D’Costa

Image of Amelia D'CostaAmelia D’Costa worked for the African American History Project, and was a field researcher on the 2014 Mississippi Freedom Project trip to Natchez and the Delta. She was a Machen Opportunity Scholar and the recipient of the J.W. Martin and A.M. Phillips Scholarship Fund, graduating in Fall 2014 with a bachelor’s degree.

In December 2015, Amelia will graduate from the masters program of the UF School of Special Education, School Psychology & Early Childhood Studies. She currently teaches third grade with Broward County Public Schools.

Dr. Erin Zavitz

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Erin Zavitz

Dr. Erin Zavitz is an Assistant Professor of History at the University of Montana Western. Erin received a PhD (2015) in history and a Graduate Certificate in Latin American Studies from the University of Florida, MA (2006) in comparative literature and cultural studies from the University of New Mexico, and BA (2002) in history from Earlham College. At Western, she teaches courses on the history of Latin America, the Caribbean, piracy, and slavery. She is also working on developing a methods course for all history majors which will include oral history training.

Erin’s research focuses on 19th and 20th century Haiti, in particular the construction of Haitian national identity and memory of the Haitian Revolution. In 2011, SPOHP provided a scholarship for Erin to conduct Creole-language oral histories in Haiti to include in the SPOHP archive. The interviews became part of her dissertation “Revolutionary Memories: Celebrating and Commemorating the Haitian Revolution, 1804-2004,” which examined—through printed materials, national holiday festivals, and oral traditions—the contested process of remembering Haiti’s founding. Erin is the author of two book chapters: “Revolutionary Commemorations: Jean-Jacques Dessalines and Haitian Independence Day, 1804-1904,” in The Haitian Declaration of Independence (2016) and “Encountering Creole genesis in the Haitian Press: Massillon Coicou’s fin-de-siècle feuilleton ‘La Noire,’” in La Española—Isla de Encuentros (2015). Her research journey to archives and libraries in the United States, Haiti, France, and England has received support from the Conference on Latin American History, the Dan David Foundation, the New York Public Library, and the French Government’s Chateaubriand Social Sciences and Humanities Fellowship.

Matthew Simmons

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Matthew Simmons

Matthew Simmons is a second year PhD student in the History Department at UF who studies early twentieth century radical agrarian social movements. He joined SPOHP in Spring 2014 as a graduate coordinator managing transcription workflow and organizing SPOHP’s public programs.

Matt received a BA in Political Science from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte in 2005 and an MA in History from the University of Tulsa in 2013. His MA thesis interrogated early twentieth century agrarian radicalism in Oklahoma and was entitled “Early Twentieth Century Oklahoma Socialism through the Eyes of Oscar Ameringer.” In between his BA and MA. Matt volunteered with AmeriCorps, taught English overseas with WorldTeach in Chile, and worked in the public service sector as a deputy clerk of court and a veterans education claims examiner.

Matt is also a guest blogger for the Oklahoma Policy Institute where his research focuses on issues of social and economic justice as well as prison reform. He recently had two book reviews published in Alpata and the Madison Historical Review, and was solicited by the American Yawp, an online collaborative American history textbook, for an article on early twentieth century socialism which will be published in 2015.

In Fall 2014, Matt presented at the annual Oral History Association conference in Madison, WI on the panel, “Suffering in Silence: Counteracting Myths of Passivity through Narratives of Resistance,” utilizing oral histories gathered from the farmworker community in Apopka, Florida to discuss the tactics agricultural workers have adopted to overcome economic disparities resulting from unfair wages and poor working conditions.


Dr. Erin Conlin

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Dr. Erin L. Conlin

Dr. Erin L. Conlin earned her PhD from the University of Florida, where she analyzed the evolution of Florida’s modern farm labor regime through a detailed examination of twentieth-century Bahamian migratory farmworkers. She is now an assistant professor specializing in oral, public, and 20th-century U.S. history at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. In this position, she teaches a variety of history courses at the graduate and undergraduate level. Currently, Erin is developing oral history as a pedagogical tool in her undergraduate survey history classes. She uses it to highlight connections between personal and local/national histories, and to demonstrate the diverse ways in which historians gather and marshal evidence to craft effective, analytical arguments. As a member of the Oral History Association Education Committee, Erin hopes to continue developing oral history as pedagogy and reflecting on its efficacy. Erin is also working on developing IUP’s oral history program.

Erin joined SPOHP in Fall 2012 as a graduate coordinator, and then spent a year as a visiting scholar at the Centre for Oral History and Digital Storytelling at Concordia University in Montreal, Canada. As a SPOHP graduate coordinator, she helped organize SPOHP’s public programs and supervised the growing internship program. She also taught an “Introduction to Oral History” course. In both the internship and introductory course, Erin organized community-based oral history projects to encourage students to connect with the broader public.

Erin earned her BA degree from the University of Wisconsin in 2002 and her MA degree from the University of Florida in 2010. For more information about Erin, read her featured SPOHP biography.

Liz Gray

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Liz Gray

Liz Gray graduated from UF in Spring 2014 with a BA in History and the Florida Teaching minor. Liz worked at SPOHP for two years, transcribing oral histories for the African American History Project and the Panama Canal Project.

Liz is currently volunteering at SPOHP and applying to be a secondary history teacher in the Alachua County School District.



Scott Kraff

Image of Scott KraffScott Kraff graduated from UF in 2013 with a BA in History and focus on Latin America and Political Science. He worked at SPOHP for a year as a staff member from 2012-2013, after working for a semester as an intern. Scott transcribed and processed oral histories for the Poarch Creek Project, and coordinated social media for the African American History Project.

Scott is currently attending Georgetown University Law School in Washington, D.C. studying labor law and working with labor unions in D.C.

Sebastian X. Muñoz-Medina

Sebastian X. Muñoz-Medina worked at SPOHP from 2011-2013, working on a research project with the Ronald E. McNair Scholars Program. Through SPOHP, Sebastian worked on the production of the documentary film “Siempre Adelante: A Look at Faith and the Immigrant Struggle.” Sebastian’s research through the McNair program focused on drag king performances in the local troupe, Studs Are In, LLC. Sebastian presented the final research products, A Look at Gender (Oddities) through Drag King Performances in North Central Florida and Studs Are In: An Introspective, in several conferences, including the National Queer People of Color Conference in 2012 and the seventh annual Florida Society of the Social Sciences.

Sebastian graduated from the Student Personnel in Higher Education Graduate Program at the University of Florida (UF), obtaining a Master’s in Education in May 2014. Sebastian holds a BA in Women’s Studies and Gender Research with a minor concentration in Family, Youth, and Community Sciences. Currently, Sebastian X. Muñoz-Medina is the Gender and Sexual Diversity Education and Program Coordinator for the Center for Gender and Student Engagement at Dartmouth College.

Isht Vatsa

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Isht Vatsa

Isht Vatsa graduated from UF in 2013, with BAs in History and Criminology and a minor in Business Administration. He worked at SPOHP for two years, for a semester as an intern in 2011, and as a staff member from 2012-2013, transcribing, conducting oral histories, and developing podcasts. At SPOHP, Isht worked on the Student Action with Farmworkers (SAF) partnership to conduct and transcribe interviews. He also worked with Poarch Creek ProjectCoalition for Immokalee Workers, and African American History Project. Isht coordinated twenty interviews with SAF alumni for the organization’s twentieth anniversary commemorations, contributing to the anniversary pamphlet (PDF). Isht currently attends Boston College Law School in Massachusetts.

Kapri Crowley

Kapri Crowley graduated from UF in 2013, with BAs in Anthropology and History. She worked at SPOHP as a digital apprentice under archivist and technology coordinator Deborah Hendrix from 2012-2013.

Kapri is pursuing an MA in American Studies at Purdue University, where she is completing a degree in American Studies with a focus on Curriculum and Instruction. She was elected to the committee for the  49th Annual American Studies Graduate Symposium (PDF), to take place April 17-18, 2014, working on the theme of American exceptionalism. 

Ross Larkin

Ross Larkin worked as a graduate coordinator at SPOHP through 2013, teaching the intern class and managing transcribing workflow as an M.A. student. Ross graduated from Queen Elizabeth High School in Halifax, Nova Scotia in 2004. He received a BA from Concordia University in Montreal, Canada in 2008, and passed the New York Bar Exam in 2012 after graduating from Hofstra University School of Law,

Ross currently lives in Montreal and works as the Corporate Online Sales Strategist for Jam Industries, Canada’s largest distributor of musical instruments and electronics.

Monica Blair

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Monica Blair

Monica Blair graduated from UF in 2013 with a BA in History and a minor in Anthropology. She interned at SPOHP for one year, conducting and transcribing interviews and creating podcasts. Her senior thesis, “With All Deliberate Delay: School Desegregation in Alachua County, Florida, 1954-1971,” incorporated several SPOHP interviews.

Monica is currently pursuing a MA in American History at the University of Georgia, where she continues to utilize the oral history skills she gained at SPOHP to further her research on school integration and segregation academies in the South.





Dr. Allen Kent

Image of Allen KentDr. Allen Kent earned his PhD in Modern American/African American History at the University of Florida in 2015. His dissertation research focused on the African American Police League in Chicago, founded in 1968, and he worked as the Graduate Coordinator at SPOHP in 2012 after interning in 2011.

At SPOHP, Allen coordinated the internship program, managing workflow and interview processing, and teaching the academic internship class. In Summer 2014, he taught the “Introduction to Oral History” course and organized a project for the students that involved researching the history of UF’s Campus Multi-Faith Cooperative.

Allen currently works as a Staff Historian for SEARCH, Inc., a cultural resource management firm in nearby Newberry, FL, where he uses archival research, analysis of historic maps and photographs, and oral history interviews to contextualize various archaeological and architectural history projects. He received his BA in History from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro in 2007 and MA from the University of Florida in 2010.

Candice Ellis

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Candice Ellis

Candice Ellis graduated from UF in 2012 with an MA in History. She received her BA from UF in History in 2010. Candice worked as a staff member at SPOHP from 2010-2009 after working as an intern in 2009, and attended the Mississippi Freedom Project research trip for three years.

At SPOHP, Candice worked as a transcriber and field researcher. She wrote her master’s thesis on the rise of the UFCW Catfish Worker’s union in the Delta, and coordinated several major research projects, including the Panama Canal initiative and Federal Judges Project.

Candice was the recipient of the 2011 Leland Hawes Prize in Florida History, awarded by the Tampa Bay History Center and the University of South Florida’s Florida Studies Center. She is currently studying for her PhD in History at George Washington University in Washington, D.C.

Chris Duryea

Chris Duryea graduated from UF in 2012 with a B.A. in History and minors in Russian Studies and Education. Chris wrote her History honors thesis using research at SPOHP on resegregation in public schools, based on research she completed at the program. She attended the Mississippi Freedom Project’s annual trip in 2012 to collect oral history interviews with notable civil rights veterans and residents of the Delta.

Chris is ESOL-certified and currently works for the Sylvan Learning Center.

Nailah Summers

Nailah Summers is currently studying history and philosophy at the University of Florida. She attended the Mississippi Freedom Project’s annual research trip in 2011 and 2012.

Nailah currently leads the UF chapter of Dream Defenders, a student-led coalition of black and brown youth in Florida working to create social change through nonviolent civil disobedience, civic engagement, and direct action, on systemic problems like racial profiling and the school-to-prison pipeline. She received her Associate Degree in Philosophy from Miami Dade College.

Caroline Vickers

Caroline Vickers graduated from UF in 2012, earning a BA in History and minor in Leadership Studies. She attended the Mississippi Freedom Project’s annual research trip in 2011 and coordinated the SPOHP public program, “Inside the Activists Studio: A Sit Down with Margaret Block” in February 2012. She completed her history honors thesis on Booker T. Washington’s influence in Southern education under Dr. Paul Ortiz.

Caroline is currently studying law at Howard University in Washington, D.C.

Cecilia-Rose Greco

Cecilia-Rose Greco graduated from UF in 2012 with BAs in History and English.

Following her internship with SPOHP, Cecilia interned at the Czech and Slovak Museum and Library, where she focused on studying political prisoners in Czechoslovakia. She also studied at a workshop from the Huizinga Instituut in Amsterdam on oral history and memory, and interned at the Czech oral history program,

Ayana Flewellen

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Ayana Flewellen

Ayana Flewellen graduated from UF in 2012. She was an intern at SPOHP from 2010-2012 and worked primarily with the African American History Project. Ayana is currently pursuing her MA in African and African Diaspora Studies in combination with a PhD in Anthropology at the University of Texas at Austin.

Keilani Jacquot

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Keilani Jacquot

Keilani Jacquot earned BAs in Anthropology and Spanish from the University of Florida and volunteered with SPOHP on various projects, including conducting and transcribing oral history interviews, engaging with local community organizations, and creating educational materials.  One major project involved updating and creating educational programming for the Pleasant Street Historic Society on the history of the first black neighborhood of Gainesville, Florida, which PSHS now shares with the local community in an effort to foster a deeper knowledge and understanding of an important cultural and historical legacy.  Keilani is currently pursuing opportunities to encourage cultural and historical awareness and understanding.


Nicole Cox

Nicole Cox is finishing her PhD in History at the University of Florida, focusing on environmental history in North Central Florida. She worked as the Graduate Coordinator in 2010 after working as a transcriber and special projects researcher in 2009.

At SPOHP, Nicole created and taught the academic internship class with Jennifer Lyon, worked on interview processing and workflow management, and developed the program’s official Style Guide. She taught UF’s Oral History Seminar in 2012, led oral history workshop sessions, and lectured in the Gainesville community about SPOHP’s mission and the importance of oral history studies.

Nicole was awarded the Florida Historical Quarterly’s Arthur W. Thompson Award for her essay, “Selling Seduction: Women and Feminine Nature in 1920s Florida Advertising,” in 2010. Nicole received her BA and MA in History from the University of South Florida, where she also worked at the university’s oral history program.

Jennifer Lyon

Jennifer Lyon is completing her PhD in American History with a certificate in Museum Studies at the University of Florida. She worked as SPOHP’s Graduate Coordinator from 2009-2010, where she created and taught the academic internship with Nicole Cox.

Jenn interned in Washington, D.C. and then worked as an independent contractor in Brooklyn, New York for the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture. In 2012, she worked for Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello in Charlottesville, Virginia. She currently works remotely for Monticello and at UF as a teaching assistant. Jenn holds a BS in History and Political Science from Kansas State University and an MA in American History from the University of Florida.

Katelyn McKey

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Katelyn McKey

Katelyn McKey graduated from UF with a BS in Journalism in 2011. She was an intern at SPOHP in 2010, and worked as a staff member from 2010 to 2011. At SPOHP, Katelyn worked as the media outreach specialist and wrote articles about SPOHP’s public programs that were published in several newspapers. She also worked with the University of Florida Public Relations office to promote SPOHP’s educational events on the university’s website.

Katelyn is currently studying in the Doctor of Physical Therapy program at the University of Florida. 

Amanda Noll

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Amanda Noll

Amanda Noll has an MA in Public History and Museum Studies from the University of South Carolina. She graduated with honors from Florida State University with a dual BAs in History and International Affairs, and a minor in Museum Studies. She was a researcher at SPOHP for the annual Mississippi Freedom Project trip for three years.

Amanda joined the Lowcountry Digital History Initiative at the College of Charleston as a Project Coordinator in Spring 2014. She has interned with the Museum of London, the US Holocaust Memorial Museum, and Local Projects, a New York-based media design firm. Amanda’s work focuses on public history projects that embrace the digital humanities.

Joshua Moore

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Josh Moore

Joshua Moore is studying at the University of South Florida after completing coursework at the University of Florida in 2011. He was a researcher at SPOHP for the annual Mississippi Freedom Project trip, conducting oral history interviews with iconic civil rights movement veterans, including Lawrence Guyot, a co-founder of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party.

Josh is currently completing a degree in Interdisciplinary Social Sciences at the University of South Florida from his hometown of Spring Hill, Florida.

Breanne Palmer

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Breanne Palmer

Breanne Palmer graduated from UF in 2013 with a BA in Political Science and a minor in African American Studies. At SPOHP, Breanne attended the Mississippi Freedom Project as a researcher in 2011. She was also a member of the Florida CiceronesWRAPSSAVANT Leadership Honorary, and Campus Diplomats.

Breanne is currently studying law at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C.

Julian Ruiz

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Julian Ruiz

Julian Ruiz graduated from the University of Florida in 2012 with a BAin Political Science and minors in both Education and History, and interned at the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program during the Fall and Spring semesters of 2011.

Of the internship, he remembers: “My yearlong internship enhanced the needed research and collaboration skills for graduate school through both archival research and the conducting of historical research, such as gathering archival information to create a more cohesive picture of a historical era. The skills I acquired while at SPOHP, such as collaborating on a team project, have proven to be invaluable during my time at law school since many of my current endeavors are team-based.”

Julian lives in St. Louis, Missouri and attends Washington University School of Law.


Sarah McNamara

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Sarah McNamara

Sarah McNamara graduated from UF in 2010. She worked at SPOHP as an academic intern in 2008 and 2009.

Sarah was awarded of the Leland Hawes Prize in Florida History for her essay, “How to Make an American: The Americanization of Ybor City’s Latin Community.” She was also the recipient of the 2012 Julian Pleasants Award, which brought her back to SPOHP to conduct research on the history of Latina women’s activism in the South.

Sarah is currently studying for her PhD in History at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she is a graduate research assistant at the Southern Oral History Program.

Stacey Nelson

Stacey Nelson graduated from the University of Florida in 2009. She attended the Mississippi Freedom Project research trip, interviewing civil rights veterans and residents of the Delta.

Stacey is a former All-American pitcher for the Florida Gators softball team and is considered one of the best pitchers in NCAA softball history, winning numerous awards including Southeastern Conference Player of the Year (2008-2009). She pitched for the United States women’s national softball team in 2009 and 2010 and attends Loyola Law School in Los Angeles.

Diane Fischler

Diane Fischler worked at SPOHP for nine years (2000-2009) as an editor, historian, and writer, first as a volunteer and eventually a staff member. Diane edited of transcripts, created indexes, and basically worked on all stages editing of written items, including for Dr. Proctor’s and Dr. Pleasants’s books. She also helped to get all the transcripts online for the massive digitizing project of 2005-2006.

One of Diane’s main duties was summarizing the oral histories in the program’s World War II collection. In 2008, she suggested to colleague Deborah Hendrix that they make a documentary based on four of those WWII-related oral histories. These four veterans all gave similar accounts of their experiences as POWs held by the Japanese. The result was a SPOHP-produced documentary titled “I Just Wanted to Live.” Diane wrote the script for the film and narrated it, while Deborah connected the varying POW themes against a backdrop of graphic war footage and photos related to the prisoners’ horrific war experiences.

The documentary is now housed in the educational resources archives of several museums across the country, including the National POW Museum in Andersonville, Georgia; the National World War II Museum in New Orleans; and the National Museum of the Pacific War in Fredericksburg, Texas.

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