Featured Student Facilitator: Amanda Conklin

Amanda Conklin, STEP Ambassador and recent graduate of the Ohio State University, was our first regular student facilitator. She graduated this past spring in Environmental Engineering and will be missed. Check out the two stories she produced at the end of this post.

I was first introduced to digital storytelling in my high school psychology class.  The challenge was how to tell my story in only a few minutes.  Where do I start? What do I say?  I eventually figured it out and I was quite pleased with my final product.  Storytelling gave me quite a thrill.

I forgot about this experience until I attended a STEP digital storytelling workshop in October 2014.  Here I not only made a digital story, but I was also trained to be a facilitator.  I was immediately attracted to the story circle and the elements of storytelling. I felt this was a great time to not only let my own creativity and storytelling abilities flourish but also to hear other people’s stories and learn a little about these former strangers.

Since then, I have helped facilitate a story circle for a digital storytelling class held on campus and have co-facilitated all the STEP digital storytelling workshops on campus.  Even though these workshops take up a whole weekend, I don’t feel like I am making a sacrifice.  Facilitating is rewarding.  It allows me to utilize my creativity and my often ignored right brain.  But I think the real reward is the people in the workshops.  Especially because STEP projects are transformational, the stories made by my fellow students are very personal and quite amazing.  I feel like every workshop I facilitate, the better the stories and the final videos.  I like the feeling that I help others tell their stories because it’s important that everyone’s voice is heard.

I have probably facilitated my last workshop here on campus but I do not want this to be the end of my storytelling.  I am moving to Guinea on the West coast of Africa.  The people I will be working with usually aren’t given a voice in the Western world.  I would like nothing more than to help share these stories with my friends and family back home.  I think storytelling is powerful and helps connect us as human beings and look past the stereotypes and divisions we make in society.

The following was produced in our Fall 2014 STEP workshop before Amanda’s trip:

This second video was produced in our Spring 2016 workshop, which she also helped facilitate, after her trip:

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