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Staff Spotlight-Jessie English

Established in 2006, The Latino Migration Project is a collaborative program of the Institute for the Study of the Americas and the Center for Global Initiatives at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

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” I am so thrilled to be working on this project that brings these diverse voices into the historical record and will provide contemporary access to them for research and learning.”

Earlier, we had the pleasure of sitting down with Jessicalee White, who works with Building Integrated Communities as a Researcher and Program Coordinator. Today, we chat with Jessie English, the new Bilingual Documentation Archivist for the Latino Migration Project. Jessie took some time out of her new job to tell us a little more about herself and her future hopes, which include (but are not limited to) imagining creative solutions to discover relevant oral histories for international research, as well as outside-of-the-office hopes of becoming a cyclist to work. Learn more about Jessie below, and we hope you will enjoy!

Q: Jessie, thank you so much for joining us today! Tell us a little about what brought you here. 

A: I came to UNC to be the bilingual documentation archivist (BDA) for the Latino Migration Project because it is pretty much my dream job! This position brings together my background in Spanish and digital humanities with my professional ambition of developing open access bilingual research resources. I am so thrilled to be working on this project that brings these diverse voices into the historical record and will provide contemporary access to them for research and learning.

Q: We’re thrilled you’re here! What are you looking forward to the most as a bilingual archivist? 

A: I am most looking forward to three years from now when we can share the finished New Roots/Nuevas Raíces Oral History Project with the world! Oral histories are a captivating mode of storytelling and important historical documents that illustrate the political, social and daily struggles and triumphs of everyday people; however, they can difficult and cumbersome to navigate. I look forward to imagining creative solutions to discover relevant oral histories for international research, as well as describing them in ways that are accessible to the general Spanish- and English-speaking public. And to make it all very pretty.

Q: We look forward to that too! When you’re not in the office, what do you enjoy doing?

A: Hiking and camping are two of my most favorite things and I am so happy to live in such a beautiful state to explore. I spend a lot of time wandering the campuses, libraries and parks in the triangle. I also like to cook delicious vegetables, read novels, and am trying to convince myself to be a bicycle commuter.

All of those things sound wonderful. Thank you again, Jessie!

Jessie English earned an MLIS from the University of Illinois where she completed an independent study to digitally preserve the community memory of the Cuban National Literacy Campaign. For the project she conducted oral history interviews with former literacy teachers, scanned newspaper clippings from 1961, and described and arranged this data for preservation at the Cuban National Literacy Campaign Museum. She has worked in public libraries to improve services for Latinos in the South as a librarian and former president of REFORMA Southeast. She has a BA in Spanish from Berea College.