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 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.
Ren Harman is the Project Manager for VT Stories. He is also a Ph.D. candidate in the School of Education where his research focuses on youth in Appalachia, oral history, and the history of American schooling.
Tarryn A. Abrahams is a Graduate Assistant for VT Stories and the Center for Rhetoric in Society. She is a Ph.D. candidate 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 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.
Jenny Nehrt is a Graduate Assistant for VT Stories. She is a second year master’s student in the History program at Virginia Tech.
Jessica Craig is an intern with VT Stories. She is a senior honors student studying Professional and Technical Writing and Literature and Language: Pre-Law.
Jessie Rogers is an intern with VT Stories. She is a junior studying Literature and Language and Language Sciences.
Ashley Stant is an intern with VT Stories. She is a senior studying Professional and Technical Writing.
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.
David Cline is an Assistant Professor in the History Department. His research focuses on 20th century U.S. social movements, oral history, and public history.
Quinn Warnick is the senior director of academic innovation and user experience in TLOS, Virginia Tech’s learning technologies group.
Laura Sands (founding member)
David Cline (founding member)
Quinn Warnick (founding member)
Shelli Fowler (founding member)
Katrina Powell (coordinator)
2015 Work Team
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