Student documents UNA through film

by Staff Writer Kali Daniel

Grace Oaks, a senior broadcast journalism major and intern at the Center for Women’s Studies, is starting a film project documenting the unique lives of people on campus and placing said documentaries in the Collier Library archives.

“Overcoming Obstacles: The Path to UNA” was a project Oaks decided to take on after hearing the Women’s Center coordinator Emily Kelley speak about an idea she had been longing to see carried out.

“I kind of based it off of NPR’s StoryCorps,” Kelley said.

National Public Radio’s Friday morning segment focuses on an everyday person and claims to uphold a goal “to provide Americans of all backgrounds and beliefs the opportunity to record, share and preserve the stories of our lives.”

“My own personal premise is that every person has their own unique, valuable story, especially students,” Kelley said. “We were brainstorming for (Oaks’) project, and I just threw it out as a suggestion that she really zeroed in on.”

Oaks said she hopes the project will continue after she graduates.

“I know that, as a communications student, I have the capability,” Oaks said. “Not every intern has the communication connection, so I hope that a year from now people will use my project as a building block for their own.”

Oaks plans to interview Anna Lott, professor of English and women’s studies coordinator, who will be retiring at the end of the school year.

“(Lott) has helped out in the English department for years, and I really wanted to cover her story because she was there when she was healthy but also continued teaching despite sickness she later encountered,” Oaks said.

Oaks and Kelley are currently waiting for the certification from the research department to carry out the project, which should be completed by the end of the school year.

“I hope students in any field will continue to conduct interviews, not just in the women’s studies program,” Kelley said. “We’re working on developing a consistent questionnaire for future researchers to use and keep the archive growing in areas such as sociology, psychology, literature and writing.”

Though the project will tell the story of a campus employee, Oaks also hopes to leave a sort of legacy and precedent for future generations.

“There’s so many places on campus to get involved,” Oaks said. “You just have to fully invest all of your time into one thing you love, and, as a senior, I want people to remember me and remember the change that I helped advocate on this campus.”