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Faculty for the Migration, Mobility, and Sustainability: Caribbean Studies and Digital Humanities Institute 


Laurie TaylorLaurie N. Taylor is Chair of the Digital Partnerships & Strategies Department in UF’s Libraries. She provides leader leadership for digital partnerships between the Libraries and partners across the university, regionally, nationally, and internationally. She works closely with library colleagues to create and sustain supports for collaborations for building collections, community, and capacity, including for the Digital Library of the Caribbean (dLOC)and LibraryPress@UF. Her work is geared towards enabling a culture of radical collaboration that values and supports diversity, equity, and inclusivity. Website | Twitter: @laurien



Helene Huet

Dr. Hélène Huet is the European Studies Librarian at the University of Florida. She holds a Ph.D in French and Francophone Studies from the Pennsylvania State University. At UF, Hélène oversees many international collections and collaborates on a variety of projects from creating exhibits to organizing conferences. As a digital humanist and the Vice-Chair of the Florida Digital Humanities Consortium (FLDH), a collective of institutions in Florida that seeks to promote an understanding of the humanities in light of digital technologies and research, she is particularly interested in studying how digital tools can help facilitate students and faculty’s research. Finally, as the Chair of the Collection Development Working Group of the Collaborative Initiative for French Language Collections (CIFNAL), she is currently overseeing the creation of a list of French and Francophone Digital Humanities projects. This list showcases the various digital projects on which scholars are working in the US as well as in France and Francophone countries and help foster new collaborations between scholars and institutions. Website. Twitter: @superHH

Paul Ortiz is a first-generation college graduate. He is the director of the award-winning Samuel Proctor Oral History Program and associate professor of history at the University of Florida. Under his leadership, the Proctor Program has become one of the leading university-based social justice research centers in the country garnering three national academic awards in as many years. Paul was the president of the Oral History Association during the 2014-15 term and has served the OHA in many different capacities. Paul’s is the author of Emancipation Betrayed: The Hidden History of Black Organizing and White Violence in Florida from Reconstruction to the Bloody Election of 1920, and co-editor of Remembering Jim Crow: African Americans Tell About Life in the Segregated South which went into its 4th printing in 2015. He is the recipient of numerous book awards including the Lillian Smith Book Prize awarded by the Southern Regional Council and the Harry T. and Harriett V. Moore Book Prize. His most recent book is An African American and LatinX History of the United States.

Leah RosenbergLeah Rosenberg is associate professor of English at the University of Florida. She is the author of Nationalism and the Formation of Caribbean Literature and co-editor with J. Dillon Brown of Beyond Windrush: Rethinking Postwar West Indian Literature. She is co-chair of the dLOC advisory board.‚Äč







In-Person Institute Faculty {Those also Leading Virtual Sessions, Noted (*)}

Miguel AsencioMiguel Asencio is the Director of Digital Library of the Caribbean (dLOC) at Florida International University (FIU). He oversees a cooperative of more than 75 partners within the Caribbean and circum-Caribbean which provides users with access to Caribbean cultural, historical and research materials held in archives, libraries, and private collections which has received over 200 million views since 2006 (http://www.dloc.com). In 2011, he proposed the creation of a collaborative digitization lab at FIU, which was supported by grants and institutional awards in excess of $1 million in funding. He has an MS in Curriculum and Instruction: Learning Technologies from Florida International University and is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Learning Technologies with an interest in digital resources and accessibility for education research using information and communications technology. Miguel is a frequent speaker on topics related to international collaborative projects, partnership development, community engagement, capacity building, digitization of archival and research materials, digital projects, workflow management, classroom technology implementation, collaborative digital resources platforms, and digital imaging quality control assessments and standards implementations.


Perry CollinsPerry Collins is the Scholarly Communications Librarian at the University of Florida George A. Smathers Libraries. In this role, she collaborates with faculty, staff, and students to navigate copyright in research and teaching, including rights issues in digital humanities and digital collections. Perry also co-leads the Libraries’ efforts to promote affordable access to course materials and is enthusiastic about the potential for digital and open pedagogies to enhance student learning while also reducing course costs. Before coming to the University of Florida, Perry held a similar position at Ball State University in Indiana and worked for six years as a program officer at the National Endowment for the Humanities Office of Digital Humanities.





Sharon Wright Austin, PhD, is Director of the African American Studies Program and Associate Professor of Political Science at UF. Her most recent book is, The Caribbeanization of Black Politics: Race, Group Consciousness, and Political Participation in America (SUNY 2018).

Bess de FarberBess de Farber serves as the University of Florida Libraries’ Grants Manager and held the same position at the University of Arizona Libraries. She has provided grantsmanship instruction to hundreds of library staff, nonprofit and academic professionals, artists, and university students in the past 30 years, and has led efforts to secure millions in grant funding for nonprofits and academic libraries. As a Certified Professional Facilitator through the International Association of Facilitators, de Farber created the CoLAB Planning Series® for initiating innovative collaborative partnerships. She is the author of Collaborative Grant-Seeking: A Practical Guide for Librarians (2016), and co-author of Collaborating with Strangers: Facilitating Workshops in Libraries, Classes, and Nonprofits (2017). De Farber holds a Master of Nonprofit Management from Florida Atlantic University and a Bachelor of Music from the University of Southern California.




Schuyler Esprit, PhD, is Program Officer at The University of the West Indies, Open Campus, and director of the Create Caribbean Research Institute at Dominica State College; scholar of Caribbean literature and cultural studies; and DH project and training leader at the K-12 and College levels, including linking US and Dominican students.

Crystal Felima, PhD, is the CLIR Postdoctoral Fellow in Caribbean Studies Data Curation at UF. She consults with researchers and scholars on emerging trends and best practices in DH, data curation, and e-scholarship in Caribbean Studies.*

Mirerza González, PhD, is Director of the English Department and Assistant Dean for Student Affairs in the College of Humanities at the University of Puerto Rico, co-founder of The Diaspora Project, exploring migration, bilingual education, and communication in St. Croix, USVI, with oral histories and other materials presented with DH methods and tools.

Margo GroenewoudMargo Groenewoud PhD is assistant professor at the University of Curaçao Dr. Moises da Costa Gomez and researcher in the NWO project Traveling Caribbean Heritage (2018-2021). As social historian she specializes in the twentieth century Dutch Caribbean, with a particular interest in civil society, social justice, citizenship, cultural heritage, cultural identity, and the decolonization of education. She has been the driving force behind the development of the Dutch Caribbean Digital Platform and of building the open access Dutch Caribbean Heritage Collection within that platform. Withing the Traveling Caribbean Heritage program, one of her research topics is the future of Dugital Humanities in the Dutch Caribbean.* 





Melissa JeromeMelissa Jerome, MS, is Project Manager for the Florida & Puerto Rico Digital Newspaper Project (FPRDNP), responsible for overall project management, including overseeing outreach and publicity efforts for the public and specifically for teachers and classes.





Debbie McCollin, PhD, is Lecturer in the History Department at The University of the West Indies, St. Augustine, Trinidad and Tobago. She has taught a Digital History course since 2012. Her most recent co-edited publications is World War II and the Caribbean (UWI Press 2017).

Brittany MistrettaBrittany Mistretta is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Florida and Florida Museum of Natural History (FLMNH), specializing in archaeology and working towards certificates in Museum Studies and Digital Humanities. Her research focuses on zooarchaeological methods to examine the dynamic relationship between people in the Caribbean and their environments during pre-contact periods. She was recently awarded the FLMNH Bullen Award for Student Excellence in Circum-Caribbean Anthropology Research for her work on Grenada prehistory, Caribbean ritual, and digital exhibit design. She is also part of a collaborative team working with the Mt. Rich Youth Culture and Environmental Development Organization in Grenada to 3D print Amerindian petroglyphs affiliated with Mt. Rich Carib Stone Interpretation Center as mechanisms for sharing local knowledge and providing economic opportunities. 



Mary Risner, EdD, develops and manages initiatives that integrate area studies across the curriculum. She has taught various K–16 levels and corporate environments. Her research focuses on emerging technologies for intercultural competence and foreign language skills for the workplace.*

Nadjah RiosNadjah Ríos Villarini received her doctorate and master’s in Linguistic Anthropology from the University of Texas at Austin. Currently she works as a full professor at the University of Puerto Rico, College of General Studies. Vieques manos al arriba! [Vieques hands up!] is her recent short film that explores the musical traditions of calypso and steel drums in the island municipality of Vieques. The documentary is based on ethnographic interviews with musicians, singers, and bandleaders of Calypso, who trace hypotheses about the arrival of this music to Vieques. She has documented carnivals in Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands.  More recently, she is working with the digital platform Caribbean Diaspora: Panorama of Carnival Practices. This projects is an initiative to document, preserve and provide access to primary and secondary sources related to human mobility and carnival dynamics in the Caribbean. 







Hadassah St. HubertHadassah St. Hubert, Ph.D. is currently the CLIR Postdoctoral Fellow in Data Curation for Latin American and Caribbean Studies with the Digital Library of the Caribbean (dLOC) at Florida International University. She received Ph.D. in History from the University of Miami and her dissertation, Visions of a Modern Nation: Haiti at the World’s fairs, focuses on Haiti's participation in World’s Fairs and Expositions in the twentieth century. Hadassah served as the Assistant Editor for Haiti: An Island Luminous, a digital humanities site dedicated entirely to Haitian history and Haitian studies. An Island Luminous pairs books, manuscripts, newspapers, and photos digitized by libraries and archives in Haiti and the United States with commentary by more than 100 authors at 75 universities around the world.  As a Postdoctoral Fellow with dLOC, she leads programming and digitization efforts in collaboration with dLOC’s partners, such as Diaspora Vibe Cultural Arts Incubator (DVCAI) and L’Institut de Sauvegarde du Patrimoine National (ISPAN) in Haiti. In this cooperative project, she also provides training and expert technical assistance to DVCAI and ISPAN in its digitization efforts. She is the liaison and historian for DVCAI’s Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) grant for African American History and Culture.

Margarita Vargas Betancourt, PhD, is UF’s Latin American & Caribbean Special Collections Librarian, LACCHA’s award-winning webinar series co-organizer, archivist collaborator on Caribbean DH courses, and Director of an ARL Fellow for Digital & Inclusive Excellence.*



This Institute has been made possible in part by the National Endowment for the Humanities: Exploring the human endeavor

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this Institute, do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.


Created in 1965 as an independent federal agency, the National Endowment for the Humanities supports research and learning in history, literature, philosophy, and other areas of the humanities by funding selected, peer-reviewed proposals from around the nation. Additional information about the National Endowment for the Humanities and its grant programs is available at: www.neh.gov.