My Voice, My Story

Understanding the Untold Lived Experiences of Graduate & Professional Students

The primary objective of this theatrical piece is to stimulate discussion and allow for greater understanding of the stories of the lived experiences of graduate and professional students that frequently go untold. Listening to the stories of the eight characters portrayed in this video provides an opportunity for learning and discussion about:

  • Listening for understanding, especially when we think we are different from one another
  • Experiences of exclusion and inclusion in the learning and research environment
  • Respect for our mutual similarities and differences
  • Experiencing empathy for and identification with all of the characters  
  • Seeing the commonality of our human experience that flows underneath all the stories
  • Recognizing instances of unconscious bias


How long is a My Voice, My Story Session?

  • 100 Minutes: 10 minutes for opening and introductions; 20 minutes for the video; 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 for the MVMS facilitation team to schedule and plan the delivery of a MVMS sessions
  • 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 the demographic composition of the group
  • Consider how MVMS sessions could become part of your graduate field’s or department’s regular cycle of professional development programming for various audiences
  • 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


Please contact Graduate School Associate Dean for Inclusion & Student Engagement Sara Xayarath Hernández ( and CU-CIRTL 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, CU CIRTL, 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 CU-CIRTL. 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.