PRSA Program

Silberman School of Social Work
2180 Third Avenue (119th Street), NYC
October 28, 2017

In light of the devastation caused by Hurricane Maria to Puerto Rico and the ongoing rebuilding efforts, the Puerto Rican Studies Association (PRSA) and the Center for Puerto Rican Studies (Centro) will bring together thought leaders from Puerto Rico and the Diaspora to examine and gain a broader understanding of the economic, fiscal, and unfolding humanitarian crisis in Puerto Rico.

We invite you to join the conversation either in person at the Silberman School of Social Work in New York City, or virtually on the web via Zoom Video Conferencing.

To view a live stream of the Rebuild Puerto Rico sessions, visit the Zoom Webpage: and enter the Meeting ID number of the session you wish to view. You will find the Meeting ID numbers on the program, under neither the panel titles.

A video with detailed instructions can be found here:

Be advised that the academic sessions will not be livestreamed.



8:30 AM




9:00 AM

PRSA Business Meeting



9:00 AM

Rebuild Puerto Rico Volunteer and Cultural Ambassadors Training



10:30 AM



Masters of Ceremony


* Carlos Vargas-Ramos, Hunter College


* Charles R. Venator-Santiago, University of Connecticut,


William Velez, President of the Puerto Rican Studies Association and Professor Emeritus, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (WI)



10:45 AM

Introductory Remarks: Rebuild Puerto Rico


Edwin Meléndez, Director of the Center for Puerto Rican Studies; Professor of Urban Affairs and Planning, Hunter College, City University of New York (NY)


11:30 AM

Concurrent Panels: Rebuild Puerto Rico Session 1



1  Energy, Room 217

Zoom: Meeting ID 861-821-3465,


Moderator:  Prof.  Jorge E. Gonzalez, Ph.D. FASME, NOAA CREST Professor of Mechanical Engineering, The City College of New York (NY)


Panelist 1  Efraín O'Neill-Carrillo, Ph.D., P.E., Director of the Power Quality & Energy Studies Laboratory, University of Puerto Rico-Mayaguez (PR)


Panelist 2  Gelvin Stevenson, Ph.D, Greentech Investors Forum at Pratt Institute (NY)


Panelist 3 Oscar Meléndez Colón, Business Developer (PR)




2  Health, Room 220

Zoom: Meeting ID 261-582-0062,


Moderator:  Suzanne Gutierrez Teissonniere MD at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center  (NY)




3  Education: Room 326

Zoom: Meeting ID 774-724-4076,


Moderator:  Luis O. Reyes,  At-large member of New York State’s Board of Regents, New York State Education Department (NY)


Panelist 1  Ana María García Blanco, Executive Director of El Instituto Nueva Escuela (PR)


Panelist 2  Angelica Infante-Green, Deputy Commissioner of P-12 Instructional Support Deputy, New York State Education Department (NY)




4  Environment, Room 328

Zoom: Meeting ID 344-331-6152,


Moderator:   Brenda Torres-Barreto , Executive Director of the San Juan Bay National Estuary Program (PR)


Panelist 1  Anamar Carrión-Silva,  Development Director of Para la Naturaleza (PR)


Panelist 2  Ruth Santiago, J.D., L.L.M., Comite Dialogo Ambiental Inc (PR)




5  Food and Agriculture, Room 330

Zoom: Meeting ID 389-192-5806,


Moderator: Ramon Borges-Mendez, Ph.D., Associate Professor and Coordinator of Community Development and Planning, Clark University. Worcester (MA)


Panelist 1 Luis M. Falcón, Dean of the College of Fine Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Massachusetts-Lowell (MA)


Panelist 2 Josiemer Mattei, Assistant Professor of Nutrition, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health (MA)


Panelist 3 Gladys Rodriguez-Parker, Senior District Representative,
Office of Congressman James P. McGovern (MA)


Panelist 4 Katherine Tucker, Professor & Co-Founder of the Zuckerberg College of Health Sciences, University of Massachusetts-Lowell (MA)




6  Nonprofit Sector and Grassroots Advocacy, Room 331

Zoom: Meeting ID 365-337-3150,


Moderator: Betty Medina Lichtenstein, Executive Director of Enlace de Familias Inc., Holyoke (MA)


Panelist 1 Lcda. Ataveyra Medina Hernández, Director of Intergovernmental Affairs, Boys and Girls Clubs of Puerto Rico, Instituto del Desarrollo de la Juventud (PR)


Panelist 2  Federico A. de Jesús, Principal at FDJ Solutions (DC)


Presenter 3 Jaime Farrant, LL.M., Boardmember, National Puerto Rican Agenda, (DC) Doctrine of Force Majeure under Puerto Rico, New York and international law


Panelist 4 Jim Carr, Immediate Past Chair of the Harvard Journal of Hispanic Policy (HJHP), Harvard Kennedy School (MA)

 12:45 PM



1:45 AM

Concurrent Panels: Rebuild Puerto Rico Session 2


1 Economic Development, Room 217

Zoom: Meeting ID 861-821-3465,


Moderator:   José Luis Rodríguez, President and CEO of Caribbean Strategic Partnerships, Inc. (NY, PR)


Panelist 1  Bill Alicea, Urban Visions  


Panelist 2  Ed Salas


Panelist 3 Franklyn Vargas, Popular Community Bank (PR)


Panelist 4 Rosita Rodriguez Popular Community Bank (PR)



2 Diaspora engagement and media, Room 220

Zoom: Meeting ID 261-582-0062,


Moderator Federico Subervi, Ph.D., School of Journalism and Mass Communication, Kent State University, Ohio


Panelist 1 Dr. Harry Franqui-Rivera, Associate Professor of History, Bloomfield College (NJ)


Panelist 2  Marlena Fitzpatrick, Music Journalist, Latino Rebels, Uforia Música, Huffington Post and Enclave Magazine (NY)


Panelist 3  Erika G. Abad, PhD, Professor-in-Residence at University of Nevada (NV)




3 On-site Psychosocial interventions in interdisciplinary teams, Room 326

Zoom: Meeting ID 774-724-4076,


Moderator: Dr. Blanca Ortiz-Torres, Professor in the Department of Psychology; Institute for Psychological Research at University of Puerto Rico-Río Piedras (PR)


Panelist 1 Leonell Torres-Pagán, PhD,Licensed Clinical Psychologist at SR Psychological Services, P.C. (NY)


Panelist 2 Dra. Patricia Noboa - Associate Professor at University of Puerto Rico-Cayey (PR)


Panelist 3 Dr. Domingo Marqués - Associate Professor of Psychotherapy at University Carlos Albizu (PR)


Panelist 4 Francisco Aquino, J.D.; Doctoral Psychology Student at University Carlos Albizu (PR)


Panelist 5  Dr. Yesica I. Nieves Quiñones,  Clinical Psycologist at Gouveneur Health, NYC Health and Hospitals, (NY)




4 Housing, Room 328

Zoom: Meeting ID 344-331-6152,


Moderator: Lymaris Albors, Vice President of Business Development at Acacia Network Inc. (NY)


Panelist 1 Raul Russi, Chief Executive Officer at the Acacia Network, Inc. (NY)


Panelist 2 Enid Rivera, Consultant at the Acacia Network Inc. (NY)




5 Faith Based, Room 330

Zoom: Meeting ID 389-192-5806,


Moderator: Dr. Efraín Agosto, Professor at the New York Theological Seminary (NY)


Panelist 1 Lucila J. Santana, Public Relations Coordinator at the Springfield Public Schools (MA)


Panelist 2 Rev. Dr. Damaris D. Whittaker, United Church of Christ (UCC) minister at Fort Washington Collegiate Church (NY)


Panelist 3 Teresa Delgado, Ph.D., Department Chair and Associate Professor of Theology and Ethics at Iona College,  (NY) A Puerto Rican Decolonial Theology: Prophesy Freedom


Panelist 4 Robert Jay Rivera, Assistant Professor of Theology and Religious Studies at St. John's University (NY)


Panelist 5 Eli Valentín, Pastor of la Iglesia Evangelica Bautista, (NY)




6 Creativity to Reimagine Puerto Rico for Sustainable Prosperity, Room 331

Zoom: Meeting ID 365-337-3150,


Moderator: Dyanis de Jesús, Co-Founder, Puerto Rico Creative Economy Initiative (NY)


Panelist 1 Michelle Pérez Kenderish, Founder, Puerto Rico Diseña and Co-founder ChicaPReneurs (NY, PR)



3:15 PM

Concurrent Panels: Academic Sessions



1. Humanitarian Crisis, Room 217


Presenter 1  Spatial and Socioeconomic Outcomes among Recent Puerto Rican Migrants during La Crisis Boricua: Implications for Island and Stateside Communities, Marie T. Mora, Alberto Dávila, and Havidán Rodríguez, University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, Texas


Presenter 2  Poverty in Puerto Rico, Hector R. Cordero-Guzman, Ph.D., Baruch College, City University of New York


Presenter 3 Title pending Ian J. Seda-Irizarry, John Jay College of Criminal Justice  


Presenter 4 Title Pending Omara Rivera-Vazquez, Ph.D., Department of Public Justice, SUNY- Oswego




2  Economic Crisis and Policy Responses, Room 220


Presenter 1  The Jones Act impact on prices, consumer price index in PR, Dr. Mario Marazzi-‐Santiago, Executive Director, Puerto Rico Institute of Statistics


Presenter 2  Energy Policy for Puerto Rico, Efraín O'Neill-Carrillo, Ph.D., P.E., Universidad de Puerto Rico  


Presenter 3 El cabotaje marítimo en la cadena de suministros agrícola
de Puerto Rico, William Suárez-Gómez y Jorge Ayala-Cruz,∗University of Bradford, UK


Presenter 4 “The Repeal of Section 936 Tax Exemption for U.S. Corporations and its Impact on Puerto Rico's Manufacturing.” Zadia M. Feliciano,  Queens College and Graduate Center, CUNY




3 Fiscal Crisis and the Debt, Room 326


Presenter 1  Economic Crisis,  Juan A. Lara Fontánez, Ph.D.,, Economist, Universidad de Puerto Rico  


Presenter 2  The Challenge of PROMESA to the Puerto Rican People, Edwin Melendez, Hunter College




4  Politics and Government, Room 328


Presenter 1  History of Plebiscites on Puerto Rico’s Status, Charles R. Venator-Santiago, University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT.


Presenter 2 Territories' Pathway to Statehood or Sovereign Free Associated State, Victor Martinez, Hunter College


Presenter 3 The 2016 Elections in Puerto Rico, Carlos Vargas-Ramos, Hunter College


Presenter 4 Contemporary congressional dynamics on Puerto Rico, Dr. José Javier Colón Morera, University of Puerto Rico Rio Piedras


Presenter 5 Identity and Statehood, Amilcar Antonio Barreto, Northeastern University




5 Migration, Room 330


Presenter 1 Puerto Rican Migration and the Economic Crisis, Jennifer Hinojosa, Hunter College, City University of New York


Presenter 2 A New Framework for Understanding Puerto Rican's Migration Patterns and Incorporation, William Vélez,  University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, WI


Presenter 3 Orlando: Case Study of a 21st Century Puerto Rican Diaspora, Patricia Silver,


Presenter 4 Puerto Rican’s as internally displaced persons, Sheila I Vélez Martínez, Jack and Lovell Olender, University of Pittsburgh - School of Law




6 Literature and Humanities, Room 331


Presenter 1  Despierta Boricua, Defiende lo Tuyo! Puerto Rican World Making, Karrieann Soto Vega, Syracuse University


Presenter 2  Historical and Contemporary Traumas: Contesting Jameson's Notion of Utopia in Puerto Rico, Keishla Rivera-Lopez, Rutgers University- Newark


Presenter 3 False Promesa + real Maria = Year of Two Crisis: A Diary of Post-2017 P[erformative] R[e-imaginngs], Ángel L. Matrtínez,


Presenter 4 Pending Title Nelia Olivencia, Director Emerita, Latino Student Programs, UW-Whitewater, WI



4:45 PM

Rebuild PR Protocol and Closing remarks



5:15 PM


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