Student project promotes awareness for migrant farmworkers

Migrant Farmworkers
Emily Findling, Jessica Muniz, and Evert Garcia-Guzman present their project raising awareness about the hardships of children of migrant farmworkers at the PURC Symposium

UNCP undergraduates Emily Findling, Jessica Muniz, and Evert Garcia-Guzman, recently collaborated on a project designed to raise awareness about the hardships of children of migrant farmworkers.

The honors service-learning course projects combined aspects of sociology and literature based around migrant farmworkers.

“Before this class, I didn’t really think about farm working much and how it affected children who I went to school with as a child. I never realized there are all these different factors that contribute to students not being successful in school. It was really eye-opening,” Findling said, a freshman business major. 

Their project researched and explored the ways migrant farmworkers’ children sometimes deprioritize their education in order to travel with their families, according to the harvest season for work, or to eventually drop out to help their family earn an income.

For the 2019 PURC Symposium, the students approached their poster presentation in a unique way, creating a graphic narrative depicting the issues children of migrant farmworkers face to catch people’s attention and raise the awareness of these hardships.

“One of the main issues with farmworkers is the fact that they’re so isolated,” said Muniz, a freshman history student. “Most people don’t know about the issues they’re facing, because they don’t who they are.

“For me, I learned how important it is to spread awareness about the migrant farmworker community so people can start asking deeper questions about their working conditions, their wages, and why they don’t get a chance to earn a degree.”

Their project, led by Professors Michele Fazio and Brooke Kelly, required research on and off campus to interview individuals familiar with the migrant farmworker lifestyle. Initially the students wanted to host an event to bring migrant farmworker families to campus to show the options education can provide. Although, the semester didn’t provide enough time to carry the event through, they would be open to providing help if the idea could be possible in the future.

“Perhaps we could mentor future groups that decide to do a project like this,” Garcia-Guzman, a sophomore studying applied physics.