Meet the Story+ Summer Research Teams

June 16, 2017

What does it take to create compelling stories about complex historical, cultural and social realities? This summer, the Franklin Humanities Institute and Bass Connections launched Story+, a six-week program for students interested in bringing academic research to life through dynamic storytelling.

Based in a collaborative space at FHI, undergraduates and their graduate student mentors are working in small teams to produce compelling narratives for faculty and nonprofit sponsors. Versatile Humanists at Duke supports the grad student mentors. In the program’s inaugural year, there are five research teams.

A Pope Wrote a Dictionary: You Figure Out How

This Story+ team is researching how the ninth-century patriarch Photios put together an ancient Greek dictionary. Professor Joshua Sosin is the team’s sponsor.

Graduate Mentors

Three Classical Studies doctoral students lead this team.

Alex Fowler loves epic poetry. His research focuses on the late antique poet Nonnus of Panopolis. Alex’s hobbies include composing poetry, playing and collecting retro video games, listening to classical music and reading everything in sight.

Clinton Kinkade is interested in Greek tragedy. He enjoys hiking, baking and cooking, and is the proud owner of a fine cat, Beauregard. He’s a fan of Orson Welles’ storytelling skills, especially in his Mercury Theater on the Air radio series.

Tori Lee’s research focuses on Latin poetry and its translation and reception in modern English literature. She enjoys crossword puzzles, watching food documentaries, cooking and doing yoga and Pilates.

Team Members

Inessa Chandra is pursuing majors in Evolutionary Anthropology and Biology, along with a minor in Classical Civilizations. Inessa is interested in forensic anthropology and bioarcheology, and will be going to field school in Peru later this summer. In her spare time, she enjoys writing, reading and painting with acrylics.

Lucian Li is a History and Computer Science major who enjoys cooking, reading (especially fantasy and alternate history) and playing strategy computer games. He loves watching foreign language films, because they give him insight into differences in humor between cultural backgrounds.

Hunter McGhee is majoring in Political Science and History, with a minor in Classical Civilization. Hunter’s hobbies include collecting coins, reading nonfiction and watching C-SPAN. His favorite story is Thucydides’ History of the Peloponnesian War, and he also loves ’70s and ’80s sitcoms like Golden Girls and Sanford and Son.

Race and Ethnicity in Advertising

This team is creating digital resources and stories featuring the archived materials in the John W. Hartman Center for Sales, Advertising & Marketing History, part of Duke’s David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library. Jacqueline Reid Wachholz of the Hartman Center is the team’s sponsor.

Graduate Mentor

English doctoral student Meghan O’Neil enjoys running, hiking, reading, public radio, documentary film and dogs. She has a flat-coated retriever named Gracie Lou, who is six years old, blind and amazing. Her favorite kinds of stories are nature writing, science fiction and stories involving animals.

Team Members

English major Lizzie Butcher is pursuing a minor in Visual & Media Studies and a certificate in Markets & Management. Appropriately for this Story+ team, her favorite TV show is Mad Men! Lizzie enjoys art, tennis, reading and writing.

Jessica Chen studies Art History and Economics. In her spare time, she enjoys playing the flute, reading, writing and cooking. One of her favorite stories is Tom Stoppard’s play Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead.

Cyan DeVeaux is a Computer Science and Visual & Media Studies double major. Cyan enjoys playing tennis, and has two cats, Cutie and Angel. She loves animation as a form of storytelling, especially anything from Disney Pixar and Steven Universe.

RTI International 60th Anniversary Commemoration

This team is creating 60 mini stories about RTI International’s contributions to the Research Triangle Park over the past six decades. Jacqueline Olich of RTI International is the team’s sponsor.

Graduate Mentor

Philosophy doctoral student Adela Deanova is writing a dissertation on how hypotheses became a part of the scientific method in the 1660s and 1700s. She has a strong background in the digital humanities, having served as a project manager for Project Vox and a Bass Online Teaching Fellow at the Center for Instructional Technology.

Team Members

Lola Telo, a History major and Psychology minor, is pursuing a certificate in Markets & Management. In her nonacademic life, she’s a fan of RuPaul’s Drag Race and cuban coffee.

Claire Xiao is a double major in History and Statistical Science. She plays a mean game of table tennis!

Suckers and Swindlers in American History

This team is creating a companion website for Ed Balleisen’s new book, Fraud: An American History from Barnum to Madoff. Professor Balleisen is the team’s sponsor.

Graduate Mentor

History doctoral student Ashton Merck studies law and regulation in the context of international trade. When she’s not reading the Federal Register, she enjoys science fiction and comic books. She’s interested in telling stories through web-based communications.

Team Members

Avery Boltwood plans to major in either Political Science or Linguistics. He enjoys writing poems and likes thinking about how film scores are a form of thematic storytelling.

Claire Chen is a Public Policy major and Chinese Literature minor who plays softball and enjoys comics and all types of games. She doesn’t have any pets, but really wants a French bulldog. Claire enjoys thinking about cultural representations in media, and how it reflects political and social attitudes of the time.

Political Science and History major Elle Eshleman is interested in American institutions. She is a member of the Duke Debate and Moot Court teams, and is involved with SuWA (Supporting Women's Action) at the Kenan Institute for Ethics. She loves podcasts, especially This American Life, The Hidden Brain, Serial and S-Town.

Talking Wages: The Impact of Fight for 15 on the Political Discourse of Minimum Wage Fights

This team is developing an analytical framework for assessing the different political discourses in state minimum wage fights. Allan Freyer of the NC Justice Center is the sponsor.

Graduate Mentor

Sociology doctoral student Felicia Arriaga studies “crimmigration”—the criminalization of immigration policy and procedure. She is also the operations manager at the Southern Vision Alliance. Felicia hails from Hendersonville, North Carolina.

Team Members

Annie Lo is a Political Science major interested in civil rights and social justice. In her spare time, Annie enjoys reading, music and film, and her favorite storyteller is avant-garde performance artist/musician Laurie Anderson.

Mitchell Ochse​ is majoring in Economics and Public Policy Studies. Right now his favorite mode of storytelling is podcasting: he’s a fan of the Planet Money and Radiolab Podcast. He also retains a love for the classic novel To Kill a Mockingbird​.

Public Policy major David Pfeiffer hails from London. He’s minoring in History. In his spare time, David sings a cappella and does musical theater. His favorite story is Wild Swans by Jung Chang.

Special Event

On Tuesday, June 20, the Franklin Humanities Institute welcomes actor and playwright Mike Wiley for Breach of Peace, a one-hour documentary theater piece based on true accounts of surviving participants of the Freedom Rides as well as many other individuals involved in the early struggle for African-American equality. Open to the public, this performance is part of the Story+ summer programming. The performance starts at 11:00; afterward there will be a Q&A followed by lunch. RSVP to Sarah Rogers.

Photos by Eric Barstow, Franklin Humanities Institute, created for a Facebook series. Follow @fhi.duke for updates.