“I’ve realized this job offers a very special connection to my own roots. The perspectives of minority groups can easily be neglected in historical narratives, so preserving the oral histories of Latino people who made a journey similar to my own is very rewarding.”
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.
Today we are delighted to feature our newest staff member, Maria Silvia Ramirez, who works as an Archival Assistant. Maria took some time out of her day to tell us more about herself, her role with the Latino Migration Project, and where we can find her when she’s not in class or working (hint, it involves making something warm!).
Q: Maria, thank you so much for joining us today! Tell us a little more about yourself.
A: I was born in 1988 in Caracas, Venezuela. We moved to Ft.lauderdale, Florida in 1997 when I was 9-years-old. I was fortunate to be so young when we arrived. I feel that at that age, it’s much easier to adapt to a new culture and language. After graduating from the University of Florida with a B.A in German Studies, I wasn’t sure which direction my career should take. Eventually I decided that Librarianship was the right fit for me – I love organizing information and am passionate about helping communities. The SILS program here at UNC has been really great and I’m very happy to call North Carolina my new home!
Q: Well we’re certainly glad you’re here! Tell us what brought you to the Latino Migration Project.
A: I was lucky to come across a job posting in the SILS [School of Information and Library Science] listserv. At first I didn’t know much about the organization, but I knew I could use my Spanish language skills in this position. I’ve since realized this job offers a very special connection to my own roots. The perspectives of minority groups can easily be neglected in historical narratives, so preserving the oral histories of latino people who made a journey similar to my own is very rewarding.
Q: We look forward to the great work you will do with New Roots/Nuevas Raíces and more! Tell us what you’re looking forward to the most.
A: I look forward to working with such a wonderful group of people to enhance access to these important stories. I have listened to many of the recorded interviews as part of my daily tasks and I’m truly humbled by the difficulties many of the interviewees face. I am proud to be part of an organization that actively seeks these narratives out and I’ll do my best to help the team make a great website that both scholars and the general public will be able to easily access.
Q: When you’re not in class studying Information and Library Science or working with us here, where can we find you?
Maria studying in Europe.
A: I’m a bit of a homebody. I recently started learning to crochet and have been obsessed with making blankets. It’s a good thing winter is coming. I also love to draw, read, and watch the news. I live in Carrboro which has these great coffee shops I enjoy spending time at.
Wow, we’ll know who to come to once the snow gets here! Thank you SO much for your time, Maria! We look forward to a great year!
Maria Silvia Ramirez was born in Caracas, Venezuela and immigrated to the United States with her family when she was 9-years-old. Adjusting to a different culture and learning to speak a new language instilled a deep fascination for languages and understanding other cultures that later led to a Bachelor of Arts in German from the University of Florida and a study abroad experience in Europe. Maria currently works for the Latino Migration Project as an Archival Assistant and is also earning a Master’s degree in Library and Information Science from UNC.
About New Roots/Nuevas Raíces
New Roots / Nuevas Raíces Latino Oral Histories document demographic transformations in the North Carolina by collecting extraordinary stories of Latin American migration, settlement, and integration throughout the state. Learn more here.