Introducing the 2023-2024 Public Humanities Fellows

Meet the early-career humanists seeking to make the humanities a resource for all Washingtonians.

  • October 10, 2023
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  • News & Notes
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  • By Humanities Washington staff

Humanities Washington is delighted to announce the 2023-2024 cohort of Public Humanities Fellows!

This year’s projects include a digital hub that shares the traditional stories of immigrant and refugee language learners collected through local workshops; a story map that shows how groups of incarcerated people stayed connected to their communities; and neighborhood conversations in the Yakima Valley on topics including poetry, quinceañeras, and Spanish-language radio. 

Humanities Washington’s Public Humanities Fellowship program supports early-career scholars and professionals who wish to design and implement innovative projects for underserved communities. 

Seeking to make the humanities a resource for all Washingtonians, the Public Humanities Fellows program is the first paid public humanities fellowship of its kind in Washington State, either inside or outside of academia. In addition to receiving a stipend and project funding, fellows form a learning community with one another, getting hands-on training and building skills, networks, and connections. With a focus on community outreach and inventive program design, their projects will be planned and presented from October 2023 to May 2024. 

Meet the 2023-2024 cohort of Public Humanities Fellows:  


Yesenia Navarrete Hunter  

Yesenia Navarrete Hunter (she/her/ella) is an artist, musician, and scholar. She is an Assistant Professor of History at Heritage University in Washington State. Yesenia was born in Mexico and came to the U.S. as a child. She is the daughter of Guadalupe Marquez and Alberto Marquez, now of Wapato, Washington, where she grew up as a migrant farm worker. Her current book, called “Entangled Histories of Land and Labor,” centers on the braided histories of immigrants and Native Americans in the Pacific Northwest. By looking at movement, migration, and material practices, she looks at how groups made places of belonging and crafted opportunities for new relationships. 

Seeking to bring diverse communities together to learn more about how groups shape place and build communities, Yesenia will produce a series of events titled, “We Are Neighbors / Somos Vecinos.” Creating cross-cultural dialogue among the diverse communities in the Yakima Valley, these events will invite neighbors of all backgrounds to attend and participate. Event topics include “Quinceañera Dreamscapes and Desires,” “Songs over Sagebrush: Place-making and Poetry on the Yakama Reservation,” and “Que Cora La Voz: Spanish Radio in the Yakima Valley.” 

Taiko Aoki-Marcial and Cristina Sánchez-Martín  

Taiko Aoki-Marcial (she/her/ella) is a PhD candidate in English Language and Rhetoric at the University of Washington. She received her B.A. in communications from the University of Washington and attended the Universidad Complutense de Madrid where she earned an M.A. in social communications. In addition to her current work at the university, she teaches and consults on curriculum development for local nonprofits working with adult immigrant and refugee learners, and is editorial assistant for National Council of Teachers of English book series, Studies in Writing and Rhetoric 

Cristina Sánchez-Martín (she/her/ella) is an assistant professor of English at the University of Washington, Seattle. Her work is situated in applied linguistics, and recognizes that English language and literacy education exists in a complicated multilingual world shaped by inequitable conditions. Through expansive and decolonial orientations to language education, she aims to create, cultivate, and support opportunities, spaces, and systems that challenge such inequities alongside other activists and teacher-scholars. 

Taiko and Cristina will create a digital project that collects and shares traditional stories from immigrant and refugee language learners in the Seattle area. This project will help participants develop, record, and transcribe traditional stories in original languages, and then the fellows will create translated texts and recordings of these stories in English. Together, these two aspects of the project will support the goals of community members to improve their language abilities while also creating a cultural and linguistic public digital archive. 

Drew Gamboa 

Drew Gamboa (he/him/they) is a graduate student at Washington State University (WSU), pursuing a PhD in history. Over the past few years, Drew has been involved with heritage and advocacy projects pertaining to Mexican American and rural communities of the Pacific Northwest. Drew is currently involved with a community-based queer archiving initiative at WSU, collaborating with archival professionals and community coordinators to conduct oral history interviews and engage community voices into archiving practices.  

Drew will create a digital story map that shares how people retain community connection inside and outside of incarceration. The project will focus on the experiences of two Mexican American groups that organized themselves at Walla Walla State Penitentiary and McNeil Island Federal Penitentiary in the late-1960s to mid-1970s. In addition to the story map, this project will include an open-source website that shares the types of partnerships, systems of support, and contributions people incarcerated have had in the state of Washington, with a particular focus on people from immigrant, Mexican American, and Mexican communities. 

 

 

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