UHV Spanish professor receives national research fellowship

A University of Houston-Victoria faculty member recently received a prestigious John W. Kluge Center fellowship at the U.S. Library of Congress, allowing him to have better access to original sources for his research about the Spanish language in the Caribbean.

Armando Chavez-Rivera, a UHV associate professor of Spanish and director of the university’s Spanish program, will begin his 11-month fellowship in Washington, D.C., the first week of August. He will receive funds for his research and will have special research privileges at the Library of Congress.

Chavez-Rivera was one of 11 scholars awarded Kluge Center fellowships this year. He will be in Washington, D.C., during much of the 2018-2019 school year.

Armando Chavez-Rivera
Armando Chavez-Rivera

“This is such a wonderful opportunity, and I am excited to receive this honor,” Chavez-Rivera said. “I’ve been working on this research book for a year, and this will give me access and time to gather the information I need. I’ll have access to the documents, my own space to work and funding to support my research.”

The John W. Kluge Center at the Library of Congress was established in 2000 and offers fellowships of up to 11 months. Fellowships are awarded for humanistic and social science research that makes use of the library’s large and varied collections, especially interdisciplinary, cross-cultural or multilingual research.

Chavez-Rivera’s research focuses on the history of the Spanish language in the Caribbean region and how it has changed through the centuries from when the area was colonized by Europeans and eventually the U.S. He will examine original documents, such as letters and shipping correspondence, to track how the language has shifted through time.

“Working with original sources can take a long time because it can be hard to decipher the text on old paper and materials,” he said. “A transcription can take weeks, or even months, so having this fellowship will be a big advantage for me. I’ve been to the Library of Congress in the past, so I know exactly which documents I need to study. I just needed the time and resources to do it. This fellowship will give me that.”

In addition to enhancing his research, the fellowship will allow Chavez-Rivera to make connections with others in his field. He also will be required to make a presentation about his research at the end of his fellowship.

Armando Chavez-Rivera
Jeffrey Di Leo

“Dr. Chavez-Rivera is an outstanding member of UHV’s faculty, and this fellowship is an exciting opportunity for him to continue his research,” said Jeffrey Di Leo, dean of the UHV School of Arts & Sciences. “We are proud to see him achieve this success, and I am sure his research will prove enlightening for the academic community.”

Chavez-Rivera has been awarded other fellowships in the past, including the Short Term Research Fellowship through the New York Public Library; the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Research Fellowship Endowment; and the Alfred A. and Blanche W. Knopf Fellowship through the University of Texas at Austin; and the Fellowship MUTIS of the Organization of Ibero-American States and the Secretary of Education of Argentina.

The University of Houston-Victoria, located in the heart of the Coastal Bend region since 1973 in Victoria, Texas, offers courses leading to more than 80 academic programs in the schools of Arts & Sciences; Business Administration; and Education, Health Professions & Human Development. UHV provides face-to-face classes at its Victoria campus, as well as an instructional site in Katy, Texas, and online classes that students can take from anywhere. UHV supports the American Association of State Colleges and Universities Opportunities for All initiative to increase awareness about state colleges and universities and the important role they have in providing a high-quality and accessible education to an increasingly diverse student population, as well as contributing to regional and state economic development.