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Samuel Proctor Oral History Program Staff

portiz 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). Ryan 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.

He has also been coordinating SPOHP’s podcasting efforts along with the staff and students comprising the Podcasting Working Group. While publishing written documents that cite or quote transcripts is an important form of scholarship, digital humanities media such as podcasts are uniquely situated to share the power of narrators’ recorded voices, and force scholars to make theories and analytical concepts intelligible by communicating them in a conversational manner.

jenkins2 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:

hendrix 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.

dunnavant Justin Dunnavant, African American History Project Coordinator @
Dunnavant-C.V., 2014

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.

IMG_1555 Randi Gill-Sadler, African American History Project Coordinator @

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.

hosbey Justin Hosbey, African American History Project Coordinator @

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.

may 2015 aj donaldson2 A.J. Donaldson, African American History Project Coordinator @

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 currently working on a Ph.D. in History at University of Florida. As an AAHP Coordinator at SPOHP, he helps to recruit, conduct, and transcribe interviews for future research on underserved voices.

image 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.

jimenez Anna Jiménez, Veterans History Project Staff @

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.

IMG_06792 Patrick Daglaris, Poarch Creek Project Staff @

Patrick Daglaris is the coordinator of the Poarch Creek Project and the Annual Virginia Fieldwork in Folklore Trip. 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, 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 archival audio records within the Hugo Rozelle Collection. He has worked on several fieldwork trips, including the Annual Virginia Fieldwork in Folklore trip, the Appalachian Social Change research trip in February 2015, and the Mississippi Freedom Project’s annual research trip in the Summer of 2015.
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.

romero Sandra Romero, Staff @

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.

romero2 Jennifer Romero, Staff @

Jennifer Romero is a first year undergraduate student at the University of Florida. She wishes to graduate with a degree in Telecommunications in Spring of 2019. In Summer 2016, she will be going to Thailand through the GIVE Program as a volunteer, where she will be teaching young children English and aiding an indigenous village.

Jennifer was in the International Baccalaureate program in high school, and has received the Take Stock in Children scholarship.

Holland Hall, Poarch Creek Project Staff @

Holland Hall graduated from the University of FloridHolland Halla 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.

FB_IMG_1466362931447 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, LDAP 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.

headshot Aliya Miranda, Digital Productions 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.

Barry Michael T. Barry Jr., Graduate Assistant  @

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. 

Ryan Thompson, Graduate Internship Coordinator @

Ryan 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.

Anupa Kotipoyna, Staff @

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.

Austyn Szempruch, Poarch Creek Project Staff @

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.

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.

Jefferey Pufahl, Visiting Scholar, 2017 @

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 is 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.

Recent projects include his award winning production of 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 has also developed several applied theatre workshops for teens; topics include stress and coping mechanisms. Jeffrey is also developing a unique theatre program for adolescents and young adults with mental health conditions in collaboration with Chicago’s Second City. â€‹Currently, he is building on an existing partnership between SPOHP and the Center for Women’s Studies, to help students translate their collected research and interviews from the January 2017 Inauguration and Women’s March on Washington DC into an original theater/multi-media presentation.

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




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