Generous donors helped sociology graduate student Jimiliz Valiente-Neighbours fulfill her dreams while preserving a piece of history that would have been lost forever.
Donor gifts supported both the UC President’s Dissertation Year Fellowship and the Eugene Cota-Robles Fellowship, which funded Valiente- Neighbours’s dissertation writing and travel to the Philippines.
There, she interviewed former soldiers, many of them in their 90s, who fought alongside Americans against the Japanese during WWII.
The men shared stories about saluting the same flag and even marching side-by-side during the infamous Bataan Death March of 1942.
The stories of those Filipino men and their loyalty to the U.S. will live on as part of Valiente-Neighbours’s doctoral dissertation in the Sociology Department at UC Santa Cruz.
“I want to tell these veterans’ stories so other people will know about their lives,” said Valiente- Neighbours, who was born in Dagupan City in the Philippines. “But I could not have embarked on research about this important part of our history without the help of donors who make graduate research possible.”