Virtual Oral Histories

In this uncertain time, it is more important than ever that we make sure the voices of those who aren’t always seen are heard. Jami Harvey, a psychology major at the University of Utah, found innovative ways to make sure that these stories were preserved for generations to come.

In the summer of 2020, Harvey along with fellow student Oralia Aguilar worked with UROP (Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program) to record the oral histories of Navajo and undocumented Latinx populations in Salt Lake City. Their project was inspired by the reports they had been hearing on the news and the media in general. They were both saddened by the number of COVID-19 cases devastating these communities and the stigmas that were being spread.

Many of these rumors blamed the rise in cases in these communities on the fact that they don’t have running water in their homes, ergo they must not be washing their hands. However, this couldn’t be farther from the truth.

While they would’ve liked to meet in person, Harvey and Aguilar utilized Zoom to conduct each interview. Harvey conducted interviews with individuals from Navajo populations and Aguilar interviewed individuals from Latinx communities. As Harvey said, “Simply put, oral history is the study and collection of historical information, and we knew this would be the best way to capture those voices.”

More articles like this in ‘Student Innovation @ the U!’

Find this article and a lot more in the 2021 “Student Innovation @ the U” report. The publication is presented by the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute to celebrate student innovators, change-makers, and entrepreneurs.

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About the Author:

Celine Cavanaugh Celine is an Entertainment Arts & Engineering major in her senior year. When she isn’t working or doing schoolwork, she likes to go horseback riding, play video games/board games, and create projects for her portfolio. Find here on LinkedIn here and ArtStation here.

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