Research and Project Assistants have included:

  • Violeta A. Donawa, Michigan State University
  • Sam Gannon, Vanderbilt University
  • TaCara Harris, Vanderbilt University
  • Amber M. Henry, Rutgers University
  • Jennifer A. Krause, Vanderbilt University
  • Brianna Merrill, Vanderbilt University
  • Elise Michael, Vanderbilt University
  • Katie M. Willison, Vanderbilt University
  • Katie Zien, Northwestern University
  • Aiesha Beech, University of Panama
  • Haleigh Sherbak, Vanderbilt University.

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Prof. Forte's students (University of Panama):

  • Maely Urena
  • Irlanda Yanguez
  • Lizyenhy Linales (cousin of Maely)
  • Yaromar Hernandez

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K-12 Students

VfOA photo

Oral History and Student Competition at Instituton Episcopal San Cristóbal
Following a VFOA Oral History Workshop in February, teachers from the Instituton Episcopal San Cristobal's English Department collaborated with VFOA in the creation of a student competition for Black History Month, where students interviewed members of the West Indian-Panamanian community and prepared group presentations on their interpretations of the interviews. After the April 9-18 interview sessions, twenty-nine 12th grade students submitted their presentations to a panel of judges, who determined the contest winners. VFOA awarded special prizes to the top three winning teams, and formally acknowledged all of the student participants and teachers, as well as the director and sub-director, at the school's annual Black History Month celebration on May 30th. Participating students said the competition gave them an opportunity to learn about West Indian history through real people instead of books, and that the VFOA project inspired them to want to learn more and they hope to one day be interviewed themselves about how life was when they were younger.

1st Place (tie): 2nd Place (tie): 3rd Place:
Yizeika Charris
Ana Gabriela Chavez
Betzaida Montero
Daphne Macias
Jose Vergara
Efrain Cheung
Milka Arosemena
Philippe Hines

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Prof. Felicia Morgan's students:

  • Yizeika Charris and Jose Vergara - 1st prize
  • Sonia Yau Zhang and Deryn Smith
  • Alexandra Payares, Veronica Rodriguez and Ana Isabel Saavedra
  • Franky Tsang

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Prof. Mayra Rios' students:

  • Nilka Arrosemena, Efrain Cheung, Philippe Hines - 2nd prize
  • Betzaida Montero, Daphne Macias, Ana Gabriela Chavez - 1st prize (tied)
  • David Gomez, Stefanie Arosemena, Delia Zuniga
  • Diana Espinosa, Carolina Guilbauth, David Joseph
  • Jorge Alexander, Andres Culiolis, Jorge Gutierrez
  • Sonia Velasquez and Aileen Alegria
  • Sary Osorio and Karen Waldemen

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Prof. Agnes Bryan students:

  • Dora Ferrabone
  • Stephan Fernandez

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University of Panama - English Department

VfOA photo

From May 26-29, 2008 VFOA joined forces with the University of Panama's English department on three initiatives, all linked to the celebration of Black History Month. On May 26th, a group of students and teachers were welcomed by Director Ifeoma Nwankwo and the VFOA team—including U.S. team members Tracy Childress and Destiny Birdsong, for an Oral History Workshop geared toward demonstrating the importance of West Indian oral history in university classrooms. Participants were presented with informative handouts about the effective integration of oral history in the classroom and creative activities focused on Black history worldwide. With these materials at hand, they were prompted to paraphrase a VFOA interview and subsequently give a group presentation on an activity using the interview information. On May 28th, an essay contest was carried out in the same department, with the participation of students, professors, and judges. Participants were asked to write an essay about "Someone who has influenced them positively in their English learning process." The top three essays from each class were recognized, and information was collected about the West Indian "someones" referenced in the essays. Further VFOA-U of Panama collaboration occurred in the form of a curriculum development workshop. Held on May 29th, this workshop welcomed over 50 teachers and students and yielded sample lesson plans focused on the integration of VFOA interview materials into the English curriculum.

Essay Contest, English Department, University of Panama

1st Year Students: 2nd Year Students: 3rd Year Students:
Patsy Espinoza
Dona White
Suhairah Sadiq
José A. Rodríguez
Kevin Fragueiro
José López
Mitzy Gómez
Maricarmen Lanuza
Shiara Ocaña