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Manuel G. Avilés-Santiago is an associate professor of Communication and Culture in the College of Integrative Sciences and Arts, and director of the Office for Veteran and Military Engagement. He is the author of the book "Puerto Rican Soldiers and Second-Class Citizenship: Representations in Media" (2014), which explores the cultural history of Puerto Rican soldiers and veterans in the media.
Born and raised near the Ramey Air Force Base in Aguadilla, Puerto Rico, he grew up listening to stories from the battlefield from family and friends. That motivated Avilés-Santiago to work as a research assistant for the World War II Latino and Latina Oral History Project (known today as Voces Oral History Project) to collect the unheard voices of Latino and Latina veterans from WWII, Korea, and Vietnam. Since his arrival at ASU, he has been active in research efforts toward bridging academia and society with the emerging field of Veteran Studies. He was part of grant-seeking efforts for projects on parenting resilience among Latino and Latina veterans, and peace studies, and memorialization.
Avilés-Santiago is now in the process of implementing a certificate in Veteran Studies that came as a result of a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). The certificate—titled Veterans, Society, and Service—will familiarize certificate holders with the ability to critically analyze and engage the often troublingly shallow understanding between military and civilian cultures.
Nancy Dallett is the associate director of the Office for Veteran and Military Academic Engagement. Dallett is a public historian and has produced projects on public memory and conducted oral histories for 30 years. She is interested in research and public programming to address the military/civilian gap, the nature of national service and its foundational values, and transitioning among military, civilian, and academic cultures.
As associate director she has engaged with faculty and students in the arts and humanities across the university to create opportunities for listening, learning, and connection with veterans through their creative and non-fiction writing, film, and music. She is part of a national network of academics creating the new field of veteran studies. Dallett developed curriculum and wrote a successful proposal to the National Endowment for the Humanities for $100,000 to seed a new Certificate in the Study of Veterans, Society and Service at ASU. She works to support research and teaching and service to understand the all-volunteer force and especially post 9-11 consequences and costs.
Her previous national and international practice include museum exhibits, radio documentaries, historic preservation, cultural heritage tourism, and collaborative public arts. Previously Assistant Director of ASU's Public History Program, she was principal investigator for one million dollars of sponsored projects for 20 National Parks Service projects including administrative histories, historic resource studies, cultural landscape studies, and museum planning and design. Previous projects about military history include research and development of the AZ 9-11 Memorial, and exhibit plan for the Visitor Center at the Fort Union National Monument in Las Vegas, New Mexico, and the Guantánamo Public Memory Project.