VCs Phi Theta Kappa wins regional award for Hispanic Oral History Project

L to R: Julian Cavazos, Karen Hagen, Laura Banda, Jose Aguirre

Poster to be featured at International Convention

What does it mean to be Hispanic?

Some of VC’s Phi Theta Kappa honor society students have been asking this question since last July. Headed by VC history professor and PTK consultant Karen Hagan, PTK students chose to conduct their Hispanic Oral History project out of a curiosity about the Hispanic community and a desire to give Hispanics a chance to speak about their own unique culture.

Over the past year, the team working on this project—including students Laura Banda and Jose Aguirre, along with advisor Hagan—have been meeting with volunteers to record their stories.

“We start each interview by gathering some basic biographical information about the person and then the students developed a few more specific questions about cultural features such as food and family traditions,” said Hagan. “Then we move on to the listening exercise where we get to hear their life story.”

“Some of our volunteers have deep roots and extended families and have even come back to help us complete their stories,” added Hagan.

To date, approximately 35 people have been interviewed for the project that the VC/UHV Library will ultimately keep as a series of mp3 format recordings included in its Regional History Center for future generations. Further, Hagan indicated that the project will conclude with a short book that analyzes the stories collected throughout the course of this on-going project.

Most recently, Aguirre created a questionnaire to give fellow students the opportunity to express what they think of when they hear the word “Hispanic.” 

The anonymous answers Aguirre collected in response to his questions make up an honest and descriptive “word cloud” that serves as a centerpiece for an accompanying poster that describes the Hispanic Oral History Project. These defining words include such Hispanic descriptors as “migrants,” “bilingual,” and “Catholic.”

The poster also features a number of the project’s quotes, along with a short description, some local statistics and the students’ findings as a result of their study so far.

The project, which was entered into regional PTK competition earlier this year, was recently recognized with a regional award and has now been translated into the accompanying poster. Designed by the PTK Hispanic Oral History team and created by VC Marketing Assistant Julian Cavazos, the poster was sent along with VC’s PTK representatives to the International PTK Conference in Seattle, Washington April 7 – 9.


posted on Friday, April 8, 2011 by Katy Long


Published: Friday, 08 April 2011

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