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,” was taught 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 Cornerstone Alumni.
Ren Harman is the Project Manager for VT Stories. A three time 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.
Jessica Taylor is an Assistant Professor of History at Virginia Tech. Her research focuses on oral history, early American history, and Native American history.
Katrina Powell is a Professor of English and Director of the Center for Refugee, Migrant, and Displacement Studies. Her research focuses on displacement narratives, human rights rhetorics, identity and self-representation and performative autobiography.
Laura Sands (founding member)
David Cline (founding member)
Quinn Warnick (founding member)
Shelli Fowler (founding member)
Greg Fansler (founding member)
Katrina Powell (coordinator)
2015-2021 Work Team
Emily Walters, graduate intern
Shawn de Lopez, undergraduate intern
Rose Johnson, undergraduate intern
Nikhil Melige, undergraduate intern
Kathleen Walker, undergraduate intern
Rachel Beisser, undergraduate intern
Grace Baggett, undergraduate intern
Alana Hassett, undergraduate intern
Hannah Goode, undergraduate intern
Shea Hacker, undergraduate intern
Jayne Ross, undergraduate intern
Jenny Nehrt, graduate intern
Jessica Craig, undergraduate intern
AJ Snow, undergraduate intern
Manisha Sharma, 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