Emma Ergon, PhD

Cultural and Urban Anthropology, Community Development, HIV Prevention, Maternal and Child Health, Venezuela

I was born in New York City and moved to Caracas, Venezuela with my parents when I was a year old. When I was seven my Greek father (who grew up in Australia) lost his job as an oil tanker Captain in Maracaibo and we returned to live in Astoria, Queens (“Little Athens”). Worried about my penchant for sitting on the stoops of buildings and observing all types of behaviors in the city, my parents sent me to an all-girl school upstate New York where almost all of the teachers were nuns. My school also served as the international home and retirement house for the Religious Order of the Sacred Heart of Mary-affectionaly referred to by the students as the “Cloisters". Oddly enough I loved it as the nuns were way more liberal than my parents. Before I graduated my parents moved to South Florida so that my mother could be closer to her family in Venezuela, and I came with them; a year later I went to the University of South Florida in Tampa where I graduated with a double B.A. in Sociology/International Relations and a M.A. in Sociology and where I worked as a Research Assistant at the Center for Community Development and Analysis and as a Research Associate at the Florida Mental Health Institute. As a single parent/student I have worked full-time on research projects ranging from adolescent acculturation in Miami to children of immigrants in the U.S. to the prevention of HIV transmission from mother to child in Haiti and am currently working as Assistant Director and Project Director at the Stempel College of Public Health at FIU on a HIV prevention research project with migrants in the Everglades.