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My Voice, My Story

Understanding the Untold Lived Experiences of Graduate & Professional Students

My Voice, My Story sessions pair video monologues constructed from real experiences of graduate students with facilitated discussions. The primary objectives of My Voice, My Story are to utilize the power of narratives to achieve greater understanding of the stories on the lived of experiences of graduate and professional students that frequently go untold, and to develop and share strategies on how to create more inclusive and supportive research and learning environments.

Listening to the stories of the characters portrayed in the My Voice, My Story monologues provides participants with opportunities for learning through:

  • Listening for understanding, especially when we think we are different from one another
  • Developing awareness and understanding of experiences of exclusion and inclusion in the learning and research environment
  • Establishing respect for our mutual similarities and differences
  • Experiencing empathy for and identification with all of the characters portrayed in the video monologues  
  • Seeing the commonality of our human experience that flows underneath all the stories
  • Recognizing instances of unconscious bias
  • Contributing to the development of strategies on how one can contribute to improving the organizational climate for all its members

How long is a My Voice, My Story Session?

  • 100 Minutes: 10 minutes for opening and introductions; 20 minutes for videos; 1 hour for facilitated dialogue; 10 minutes for closing
  • 2 Hours: Plan to add an additional 20 minutes if you would like to include time for networking and/or a meal as part of a session

Target Audiences

  • Graduate and Professional Students
  • Faculty
  • Staff who work with Graduate and Professional Students

Strategies for Successful My Voice, My Story (MVMS) Sessions

  • Limit the audience size to no more than 35 participants
  • Work in advance with the MVMS facilitation team to schedule and plan the delivery of a MVMS session
  • Schedule the session during a time of day when a meal can be provided as well
  • Utilize a room with a set up that will help support easy engagement in large and small group discussions; avoid rooms with fixed sitting such as auditoriums
  • For student sessions, partner with at least one other graduate field to allow for a more blended audience as it relates to academic and research experiences as well as to the demographic composition of the group
  • Consider how MVMS sessions could become part of the regular cycle of professional development programming for specific audiences within your graduate field, department, or college
  • Explore with the facilitation team how individual monologues from MVMS can be used in place of case studies for other programs such as mentor training

Contact

Please contact Graduate School Associate Dean for Inclusion & Student Engagement Sara Xayarath Hernández and CIRTL at Cornell Executive Director Colleen McLinn with questions about this opportunity.

This project was developed with the Cornell Interactive Theatre Ensemble through a collaboration of the Graduate School, CIRTL at Cornell, College of Engineering, School of Computer & Information Science, College of Veterinary Medicine, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, and the College of Human Ecology.

The ongoing advancement of this initiative is co-sponsored by the Graduate School Office of Inclusion & Student Engagement and CIRTL at Cornell. It is also supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 1647094 (AGEP CIRTL), and by the ETS/CGS Award for Innovation in Promoting Success in Graduate Education. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.