About Us

Initiated in 2015 by the President’s Office and managed by faculty and staff in History, English, TLOS, VT Libraries, and the Alumni Association, the VT Stories Oral History Project collects and examines stories, memories, tall tales, tragedies, and triumphs of all members of the Hokie community to help us know our shared history and to make sense of it. At the heart of the project is Hokies interviewing Hokies—largely student-staffed and trained by oral historians, interviewers engage with VT Alumni to learn their history and to make mentoring connections that go beyond the student experience. As we seek to understand why Virginia Tech is top rated in its success in engaging alumni, we highlight the exciting, memorable, historic moments in Hokie lives that have forged strong and enduring connections. VT Stories transcends disciplinary boundaries and therefore is an example of Virginia Tech’s Beyond Boundaries
visioning initiative. In particular, we see our inter- and transdisciplinary project as intersecting with several Destination Areas, cultivating a VT-shaped learner by providing students with experiential learning across disciplines.

The VT Stories Team
Picture of Ren Harman conducting an interviewPicture of Shannon Larkin and Jessie Rogers working on a transcript
Picture of Ashley Stant showing Tim and Laura Sands the websitePicture of Tarryn Abrahams and Katrina Powell reading over various documents
Our team of
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researchers
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Hokies

The heart of this project is located in the graduate and undergraduate students conducting interviews, training other interviewers, and developing web content. With a project manager who coordinates these efforts, work teams of interviewers and web content developers work together to conduct 1-2 hour interviews, transcribe the interviews, collect photographs and memorabilia, create edited sound cloud files, develop summaries about the interviewees, upload the content to the web, and conduct research about the Hokie experience, including mentoring, at Virginia Tech. A new pathways course, “New Media Storytelling,” will be offered for the first time in Spring 2017 for students interested in becoming involved in the project and learning how to conduct interviews, use professional quality equipment, and create dynamic web content for projects like VT Stories. In addition, we coordinate with VT Libraries to create a multi-modal archive of detailed, long interviews (and corresponding transcripts), together with short, edited versions in multi-media. This all results in a dynamic, interactive repository used by variety of audiences from researcher to enthusiast and from first-year student to Old Guard alumni.

Our Team

Ren Harman

Ren Harman

Ren Harman is the Project Manager for VT Stories. An alumnus of Virginia Tech, he manages the day-to-day operations including: managing undergraduate and graduate interns, corresponding with interviewees and scheduling interviews, conducting interviews, coordinating VT Stories across campus, and supervising the development of stories.

Tarryn Abrahams

Tarryn Abrahams

Tarryn A. Abrahams is a Graduate Assistant for VT Stories and the Center for Rhetoric in Society. She is a Ph.D. student in the Science, Technology and Society Department where her research centers around vaccination and health beliefs, biopolitics, and constructions of the body and health.

Adrienne Serra

Adrienne Serra

Adrienne Serra is the Technical Archivist for Special Collections in Newman Library. She coordinates digitization projects for special collections, including the management of equipment, training, workflows, technical and descriptive standards, as well as online access and exhibits to share these collections.

Grace Baggett

Grace Baggett is an undergraduate intern with VT Stories. She is a junior studying Literature and Language.

Katrina Powell

Katrina Powell

Katrina Powell is a Professor of English and Director of the Center for Rhetoric in Society. Her research focuses on displacement narratives, human rights rhetorics, identity and self-representation and performative autobiography.

Quinn Warnick

Quinn Warnick

Quinn Warnick is the senior director of academic innovation and user experience in TLOS, Virginia Tech’s learning technologies group.

David Cline

David Cline

David Cline is an Associate Professor in the Department of History at San Diego State University and a founding member of VT Stories. His research focuses on 20th century U.S. social movements, oral history, and public history.

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Advisory Board

Laura Sands (founding member)
David Cline (founding member)
Quinn Warnick (founding member)
Shelli Fowler (founding member)
Katrina Powell (coordinator)

Ren Harman
Mark Barrow
Greg Fansler
Tamara Kennelly
Cheryl Peterson
Aaron Purcell

2015-2016 Work Team

Jenny Nehrt, graduate intern
Jessica Craig, undergraduate intern
Jessie Rogers, undergraduate intern
Ashley Stant, undergraduate intern
Shannon Larkin, undergraduate intern
Andrew Kulak, website designer
Leslie McCrae, web content developer and public relations designer
Carmen Bolt, interviewer
Jenny Nehrt, interviewer
Shelby Ward, interviewer
Claire Gogan, interviewer
David Cline, interviewer
Ren Harman, interviewer
AnnRea Fowler, interviewer