STEP Digital Stories: DaVonti’ Haynes and Matthew Fry

If you missed it, read this introduction by Vicki Pitstick, the Program Manager for the Second Year Transformational Experience Program (STEP).

The first two STEP students we’re featuring are DaVonti’ Haynes and Matthew Fry. Watch their stories on education and travel abroad, and then read some of their thoughts about STEP and digital storytelling below!

What do you want people to know about your story?

DaVonti’: I would like for people to gain a better understanding of just how complex inner-city and Appalachian school districts are.

Matt: The thing I want people to take from my story is how great traveling is. Many can perceive it as scary or unnecessary, but it can really make a huge difference. By taking a trip I was able to learn so much more about another part of the world and understand how people of a different culture live. I was also able to learn a lot about myself, which might be the most important part of the trip.

Why did you choose to report out in this way?

DaVonti’: I was inspired to report back this way because I knew that my experience was an on-going experience (outside of STEP) and I wanted to do something that I could continue to update and potentially add to a portfolio.

Matt: I chose to report back this way because I knew it was the easiest way to share my experience with the rest of the STEP community. My advisor had brought up the idea of us all making videos last year and I really like the idea. When the idea of a digital story was brought up I jumped on board because I knew that I could tell so many more people with a short video than a poster presentation.

What was the most challenging part of the workshop? Or the most rewarding to get through?

DaVonti’: I think the most challenging part of the workshop is deciding which parts of your experience to include in your story; because you have so many things you want to add, it’s hard to decide what to delete.

Matt: I think the most challenging part of the process was putting it all together at the end. It was a long process writing and editing the script for the story, but once I had that the task of putting it together proved to be harder. Finding the right music and pictures for the story was a very delicate process, and it didn’t help that I’m not the most tech savvy person. It was definitely worth it though. Seeing the finished process and receiving praise from my peers made me glad that I had decided to do the workshop.

What would you say to students about digital storytelling who are still deciding on how to report out their STEP experience?

DaVonti’: I would highly recommend every STEP student to report back via digital storytelling because it is a fun and easy way to reflect back on your experience, especially if your experience is on-going; as you could continue to add to it.

Matt: Digital storytelling, in my opinion, is the best way to report back about your experience. Instead of presenting at poster forum where there is only one chance for someone to learn about what you did, you now have a short video you can show anytime. You can keep it on your phone and show anyone with questions about what you did, plus it can be posted online so anyone can learn about your experience from the convenience of a computer or phone.

DaVonti' Haynes

DaVonti’ is a 3rd year student in Public Affairs and hails from Cleveland, OH.




Matt Fry

Matt is a 3rd year pre-med studying Microbiology, and he is originally from Springboro, OH. 

Vicki Pitstick: Introducing Digital Stories with STEP

STEP Group Fall 2014

A partnership between the Office of Academic Affairs and the Office of Student Life, the Second-Year Transformational Experience Program (STEP) at Ohio State focuses on both student engagement and student development in an effort to enhance second-year success. Building upon key components of second-year success, students live on campus, participate in key co-curricular programs and activities, learn through peer interaction, and are guided through interaction with faculty mentors, who they meet with weekly, to assist them in enhancing their personal, academic and professional goals.

Students also have the opportunity to engage in a transformational experience at the conclusion of their year in STEP in one of six core areas (internships, leadership, study abroad, service-learning, undergraduate research, or artistic and creative endeavors). As a result, students gain greater self-awareness, explore educational interests and further develop career goals and aspirations.

At the conclusion of their experience, STEP students are then asked to report back in some way:  through a presentation at the STEP Expo or a research forum; through a performance; or via another creative route.  After attending a conference session about digital stories and creating one myself in an OSU workshop this past summer, I felt that giving a student the opportunity to “report back” about an experience via a digital story was a perfect vehicle.  Digital stories encourage people to think about how something has improved or changed them, or TRANSFORMED them, exactly what STEP is all about!

In October, 8 STEP students participated in a weekend-long workshop and created digital stories about their STEP Experiences – reflecting on what they experienced, how they felt about the experiences, and what they gained from them.  It has been amazing to see the transformations that have materialized for these students depicted on-screen via images taken by them, or of their own choosing, and narrated in their own voices.  Their digital stories are thoughtful, heartwarming, and inspirational – we could not have asked for better outcomes for our STEP students!

These 8 students are now preparing to assist other STEP students in creating their own digital stories in workshops.  They look forward to the opportunity to help others find their voices and share their journeys.

Over the next several weeks, we will be sharing digital stories and thoughts on the digital storytelling workshop from various STEP students. -Ed


Vicki Pitstick is the Program Manager for the Second-Year Transformational Experience Program at Ohio State. She was also a participant in the Summer 2014 Faculty/Staff Digital Storytelling Workshop.