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about

For years Puerto Ricans have moved to the state of Florida and contributed to its economic and social well-being, as well as the continental United States. The population movement accelerated after Hurricane Maria hit in September 2017. It was a game-changer for the small island. People began arriving in Tampa, Orlando, Ft. Lauderdale, and Miami seeking relief from the destruction of Hurricane Maria and the island’s ongoing financial crisis. In response to these demographic trends, UCF created the Puerto Rico Research Hub with the purpose of investigating, disseminating knowledge, and promoting creative solutions to pressing issues affecting the Puerto Rican population, its diaspora, and surrounding communities.

Mission

The mission of the UCF Puerto Rico Research Hub is to investigate the Puerto Rican population and demographic trends to better inform public policy decisions including housing demands, job creation, health issues, social integration, and education. Additional areas of emphasis include bilingual training, disaster response, and recovery, and partnerships in the community.

Earthquake Outreach

Earthquake Rubble

Based on Puerto Rico’s unpredictable earthquakes that have occurred throughout the last week of December 2019 and entering the new year of 2020, the Puerto Rico Research Hub is aware of the current situation and events the island is experiencing…

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Community

The state of Florida is now home to more than one million Puerto Ricans. One out of every five Latinos in Florida is Puerto Rican, and the Orlando metropolitan area is one of the most concentrated regions with Puerto Rican residents. The estimates of the post-Hurricane Maria migration indicate Florida as the most likely destination for Puerto Ricans leaving the island.

Like other public universities in Florida, UCF welcomed many students relocating from Puerto Rico to Florida. In 2017, the UCF Board of Trustees temporarily extended in-state tuition for these students. The Puerto Rico Research Hub supports UCF’s mission as a Hispanic serving institution by providing a center of intellectual inquiry and programming to enhance the needs of the community, students, and faculty.  Affiliated faculty seek to create and enhance academic courses and curriculum related to Puerto Rican issues. We view the Hub as an essential component of fulfilling our responsibility as a public metropolitan research university.

Partnerships

A key element in our approach is to develop partnerships with academic and community organizations in Florida, Puerto Rico, and the nation.  Partnerships with organizations interested in the economic, environmental, and human well-being of the island, its people, and the Puerto Rican diaspora on the mainland.

Puerto Rico Aerial Shot

UCF Sociology Professor, and founding Director of the Puerto Rico Research Hub, Fernando Rivera, Ph.D., is already leading the way with work in the fields of medical sociology/sociology of health, race, and ethnicity, and the sociology of disasters.  Rivera has been studying the movement of Puerto Ricans to the Central Florida community for over 10 years.  He has studied the differential patterns of health among Puerto Ricans in the United States by analyzing different social indicators such as: perceived discrimination, residential segregation, and socioeconomic status and their impact on Puerto Rican health.

Fernando Rivera, Ph.D.

In the area of race and ethnicity, he has studied racial relations among college students, the process of incorporation of Puerto Ricans to Central Florida, and several aspects of the Puerto Rican diaspora in the US including, health disparities, culture, and discrimination, among others.  For the study of disasters, his work has emphasized on disaster resiliency and the importance of social and economic indicators in promoting resilience to the process of preparedness, mitigation, response, and recovery to disasters.

A native of Puerto Rico, he continues to be involved in issues affecting the Puerto Rican community and he is recognized as one of the leading voices with regards to Puerto Rico in Central Florida.

The Journal of Emergency Management

The Journal of Emergency Management (JEM) Editorial Review Board invites the submission of original research, papers and case studies supporting a special issue titled Analysis of Pre and Post Disaster Management and Recovery in Puerto Rico from Hurricane Maria. The special issue will be led by guest editor, Dr. Fernando I. Rivera, PhD who is joined by special issue consultant Damarys Acevedo-Markey, PE, an environmental engineer with the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), who has been instrumental in USACE’s post-disaster recovery analysis.

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Up Next

Are you a curious middle-schooler? Want to make and create in quarantine? Know someone you think will make a great future engineer? Join the UCF Chapter of Society of Women Engineers for the annual Mystery Design. RSVP by October 17th.