Date

1-4-2017 12:00 AM

Major

Chemical Engineering

Department

Chemical Engineering

College

College of Engineering

Project Advisor

Susan Yager

Project Advisor's Department

English

Description

Growing up hearing stories about relatives throughout the United States, Carribbean, South America, and Europe, I was unaware of the uniqueness of my family’s journey over the last several generations. Where did my family come from, how far can I trace it back, what factors led to their convoluted multi-generational immigration and how did my grandfather, Fernando Villa, come to know Fidel Castro? In particular, what circumstances surrounded the move from Cuba to the United States and what was the transition like for a first-generation immigrant family?

Research was designed to focus on historical literature and oral interviews with my 95 year old grandfather, Fernando Villa, who immigrated to the United States in 1955. I also conducted supplementary research through other media formats and interviews with family figures knowledgeable on our family’s history. Discussion focused around three major areas: direct family history, growing up in a Cuban family, and commentary on social and political issues and their effect on Fernando’s immigration to the United States with his family.

The resulting conversations and research revealed many details of the complex Villa family tree, stretching across three continents and involving immigration across the ocean four times. They also exposed the professional reasons, exacerbated by the political climate in Cuba, for my grandfather’s choice to leave Cuba for America.

From the research, I found the cultural history of the Villa family to be deeper and wider than previously thought. The actions of my ancestors were often driven by major world events studied in textbooks at every school, and their stories are personally intertwined with locations and people known around the world.

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Apr 1st, 12:00 AM

France to Haiti to Spain to Cuba to America: Immigration Across Cultures and History

Growing up hearing stories about relatives throughout the United States, Carribbean, South America, and Europe, I was unaware of the uniqueness of my family’s journey over the last several generations. Where did my family come from, how far can I trace it back, what factors led to their convoluted multi-generational immigration and how did my grandfather, Fernando Villa, come to know Fidel Castro? In particular, what circumstances surrounded the move from Cuba to the United States and what was the transition like for a first-generation immigrant family?

Research was designed to focus on historical literature and oral interviews with my 95 year old grandfather, Fernando Villa, who immigrated to the United States in 1955. I also conducted supplementary research through other media formats and interviews with family figures knowledgeable on our family’s history. Discussion focused around three major areas: direct family history, growing up in a Cuban family, and commentary on social and political issues and their effect on Fernando’s immigration to the United States with his family.

The resulting conversations and research revealed many details of the complex Villa family tree, stretching across three continents and involving immigration across the ocean four times. They also exposed the professional reasons, exacerbated by the political climate in Cuba, for my grandfather’s choice to leave Cuba for America.

From the research, I found the cultural history of the Villa family to be deeper and wider than previously thought. The actions of my ancestors were often driven by major world events studied in textbooks at every school, and their stories are personally intertwined with locations and people known around the world.