A Story Untold
By: Skyler J Jones
Dr. Ana Berrios office is simple, with a few photos framed on her wall, a book shelf stacked with social work books, and a Chicano style soldier graphic on her wall behind the chair that is designated for visitors.
No one would suspect that the 61-year-old assistant professor was a lead singer in four bands inPuerto Rico.
Rafaga (1977-1980), Aura (1981-88), Los Dulces Payasos (1986-88) and Banda Criolla (1979-1999) make up the professor’s musical resume. Los Dulces Payasos (the sweet clowns) was so popular it was able to star in its own television show. The kids show ranged on subjects of good manners and health, featuring only authentic Puerto Rican music.
The television show eventually got cancelled in 1987, which prompted Berrios to move her family a husband and two sons, and the band Banda Criolla to the states. Banda Criolla performed at colleges, weddings, and Hispanic festivals in theU.S.
The family band broke up in 1999 and as a result gave Berrios more time to focus on her educational pursuits atSmithCollege. After she earned her degree in social work she began working, at a local high school, inConnecticutas a councilor.
In 2002, she returned toSmithCollegeafter being accepted in the Ph.D. program. This allowed her to pursue her other passion, learning about the stories of other first generation Puerto Rican women who immigrated to theU.S.
“Their stories are not told because we pay too much attention to the immigrations of other Hispanic,” Berrios said.
In her dissertation Berrios clearly defines the difference between first generation Puerto Ricans, who have immigrated toAmerica, in contrast to second generation Puerto Ricans, who have been born and raised inAmerica. It also touches on what the women had to face coming into this country including language barriers and discrimination.
During her Ph.D. process, she met her current husband of 7 years Ronald Blodgett. Blodgett is a retired engineer, and they currently reside inSanford,NC.
“He was sent by God,” said Berrios. “He was very supportive during the whole process.”
Dr. Berrios came to the university in the summer of 2012, but had worked with the university as an adjunct previously. Before she came to university, she was working inFayettevilleas a therapist in VA Medical Center.
There, she helped veterans who were suffering from PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) andVietnamvets who had not received much help or care after the war. This is where Berrios received her soldier graphic, for outstanding work in her field and contribution to mental health.
Dr. Berrios plans on continuing her dissertation topic in the future. She feels as if there are still first generation Puerto Rican women, like herself, who have not had their stories told.
“I would like to continue the study and interview more women to see if the themes are the same, so that I can have more representative data of this population,” she said.
Dr. Ana Berrios
Department of Social Work
Ph.D.SmithCollegeof Social Work
“Puerto Ricans are citizens too and go through acculturation,” Berrios said.