The Research Team

Dr. Mary Sefranek is Assistant Professor in the Department of English at the University of Puerto Rico in Mayagüez. Her research interests include the study of multiliteracies and multimodality in English Education. Plainly speaking, she is interested in how teachers might integrate texts that are both culturally relevant to their student populations and that draw upon modes of communication much broader than print-text alone, texts, for example, that include image, sound, movement, and many of the digital technologies that students engage with on an everyday basis outside of the English classroom, but are rarely used as resources within the English classroom. In June of 2007, she was awarded a Faculty of Arts and Sciences seed grant to implement her proposed study “Portraits of San Sebastián: The Production of Digital Bilingual Narratives in the Escuela Nueva Elemental Urbana.” This project was inspired by her year-long observations at the school site in the 2006-2007 academic year and based on the renowned bilingual children’s books Family Portraits by Carmen Lomas Garza and Vejigante Masquerader by Lulu Delacre.

Karrieann Soto Vega is currently a graduate student in the Master’s of English Education program in the Department of English at the University of Puerto Rico’s Mayagüez Campus (RUM). Her research currently focuses on multimodal literacies, and specifically the integration of technology, literature and music in English classrooms, as reflected in her proposed M.A.E.E. thesis, Using Rock Music and Videos as Texts in a Higher Education Composition Course. She completed her undergraduate education at the University of Puerto Rico’s Aguadilla Campus (CORA) and her grade school education in San Sebastián, where she resided as a child and currently serves as Graduate Research Assistant for the UPRM Faculty of Arts and Sciences seed grant-funded project “Portraits of San Sebastián: The Production of Digital Bilingual Narratives in the Escuela Nueva Elemental Urbana”, where her mother is employed as the school’s technology teacher. Ms. Soto Vega has been responsible for digitally recording the year-long process of students’ creation of the digital, bilingual book Digital Novilla/Novilla digital and creating a related documentary film. She also serves as the liaison for the press and other invited guests who will attend the students’ final presentation of this book in May of 2008.

Lady Z. Arce Torres is an undergraduate student at the University of Puerto Rico’s Mayaguez Campus. She is majoring in the Visual Arts with a specialization in digital design and is currently employed as the designer/editor for the Faculty of Arts and Sciences seed grant-funded project “Portraits of San Sebastián: The Production of Digital Bilingual Narratives in the Escuela Nueva Elemental Urbana”. With this project, she has assisted Dr. Mary E. Sefranek design and produce two digital, bilingual books in collaboration with nineteen, sixth grade students and two teachers at the Escuela Nueva Elemental Urbana in San Sebastian, Puerto Rico. The first of these books is titled Our World: Family Traditions and Pastimes/Nuestro mundo: Tradiciones familiares y pasatiempos and the second, Digital Novilla/Novilla digital.

The Teachers

Mrs. Ana Vega is the Technology teacher for all 1st through 6th grade students at the Nueva Elemental Urbana School. She is also the Coordinator of the school’s Computer Club.

Mrs. Isabel Soto teaches English to the 5th and 6th grade students of the Nueva Elemental Urbana School. She is also Coordinator for the graduating classes of 6th graders.

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