¿Y este No Era el Sueño Americano?: Displaced Puerto Rican Mothers' Agency, Resiliency, and Resistance Post-Hurricane Maria
Astrid Morales

About the research


NAEd/Spencer Dissertation Research Development Award

Award Year



University of Colorado Boulder

Primary Discipline

As a result of the devastating effects of Hurricane María, an estimated 160,000 Puerto Ricans have been displaced. This dissertation study aims to create and explore a learning space?culture circles?that engages displaced Puerto Rican mothers in a critical cycle of problem-posing, dialogue, and problem-solving (Freire, 1973; Souto-Manning, 2010) in relation to the challenges their children face in the receiving mainland U.S. school system, as well as the families' efforts to survive in the receiving community. Informed by findings from a pilot study conducted in a mainland U.S. receiving school district, this study will draw on video recordings from culture circles and weekly audio reflections collected from displaced Puerto Rican mothers of children enrolled in Denver schools since their displacement. The goal is to capture portraits of participating mothers' agency, resistance, and resiliency as they navigate the mainland U.S. school system and receiving community through small, daily acts as well as more public ones. Findings would contribute toward a more nuanced understanding of the relocation processes of displaced Puerto Rican families in other states, the relocation processes of other displaced/immigrant/refugee populations, and the role of schools and other informal learning spaces in supporting these populations. Moreover, findings will also inform a reframing of theoretical stances used to interpret the experiences of immigrants/refugees/displaced persons by highlighting acts of agency and resiliency that resist oppressive conditions through a critical inquiry model, contributing to our understandings about the cultural and socioemotional dimensions of relocation.
About Astrid Morales
Astrid N. Sambolín Morales is a PhD candidate at the University of Colorado Boulder's School of Education. She received her M.A. in English Education from the University of Puerto Rico Mayagüez campus and taught writing and ESL classes at several higher education institutions on the island before beginning her doctoral studies. During her time as a graduate student in the Equity, Bilingualism, and Biliteracy program at CU, she has taught several courses addressing policies affecting the academic achievement and schooling experiences of children from minoritized backgrounds. Astrid is also affiliated with the BUENO Center for Multicultural Education, having taught classes for their Master's program in Educational Equity and Cultural Diversity with a Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CLD) Endorsement in Bilingual Education. She also worked as a research assistant for the Office of English Language Acquisition National Professional Development Grant awarded to BUENO. Her research with Puerto Rican communities, which incorporates education policy, bilingual education, critical theories of race, critical pedagogy, and disaster research, was funded by several grants from different institutions/organizations, including the University of Colorado Natural Hazards Center, the Center to Advance Research and Teaching in the Social Sciences (CARTSS), the BUENO Center for Multicultural Education, and the URBAN Research Network.

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