ASU professor teaches in the dark as students in Puerto Rico wait for light: Rose Law Group Reporter Hero of the Day

By Johanna Huckeba | State Press

Manuel Aviles-Santiago talks on the phone with his parents in Puerto Rico every day, sometimes twice.

On the day Hurricane Maria hit in September 2017, he made his usual call to his mother before going in to teach his class at ASU.

Then the nightmare began. The phone stopped ringing. Radio silence.

Separated by thousands of miles with no way to communicate, Aviles-Santiago was left to wonder how his family had fared the hurricane that left most of the island without power or shelter. Reports on major cities such as San Juan rolled in, but like many small cities and towns, there was no mention of his hometown, Aguada, located in the western coastal valley.

After two weeks of sleepless nights and constantly scouring the Internet for news, the assistant professor of communication and culture had an idea for his Introduction to Human Communication class.

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