What is scholarly digital storytelling?
Student produce digital stories based on academic research and engage in scholarly communication beyond the classroom.

Explore student stories:

A Walk in Their Shoes: Stories of George Mason University First Generation College Students

Beth Dalbec, PhD Student, Higher Education Program, George Mason University

The goal of this film is to raise awareness about issues related to First Generation Students (FGSs) so Mason can support them in thriving. This short documentary film features some barriers FGSs face when attending college, as well as some distinguishing qualities FGSs embody that contribute to their pathway to success. Statistics are interspersed with personal stories from Mason FGSs. I envision this to be the start to a larger collection of Mason FGS stories. It can also be used as a template for other institutions wanting to illuminate FGS stories.


Advocate to Advisor Summary

Lindsey Conner, MAIS, Higher Education, George Mason University

For parents and family members, sending a student off to college can be challenging. This is especially true for those family members of students with intellectual or developmental disabilities (IDD). To help ease this transition and guide families through this experience, I have developed a scholarly digital story which focuses on the experiences of family members who have sent their student to participate in the Mason LIFE program. This program, at George Mason University, offers a four-year curriculum to students with IDD to help them develop the necessary skills to maintain employment and live independently. For these students to be successful, it is important that family members also make a shift from their role as an advocate to becoming an advisor for their student. This film serves to explain that transition, ease anxieties, and offer advice to family members who are about to send their student off to the Mason LIFE program or something similar to the Mason LIFE program.


D.I.Y.: An Interactive Digital Story Exploring Open World Games

Elizabeth Caravella, PhD, Writing & Rhetoric, George Mason University

D.I.Y. is an interactive story built to explore how open world video games tell stories. Exploring some of the key elements that help define games as “open world,” as well as describing a brief history of some ways games tell stories, in its current state this project demos a much larger examination of the contradictions present within the realm of open world games. Noting how these games present an illusion of choice masked by procedurally and emergent game play mechanics, the form of this story illustrates how ultimately, most of the choices in an open world boil down to a “build your own adventure” type execution, where even though players are not forced through the game’s events or objectives in the same order each time, ultimately these games end up sharing some key elements and approaches that help them stitch a narrative together, despite the fact that players can always choose to bypass the plot completely in favor of exploring the massive worlds made available to them.


Modernizing Higher Education at Mason

Leticia Guzman, PhD, Higher Education, George Mason University

This digital story provides to administration, faculty, and students at George Mason University insight into the school’s Active Learning Classrooms (ALCs) within the broader context of changing pedagogy in higher education today. Specifically, the video focuses on how ALCs are being used, how Mason can work to get more ALCs, and how to make the best use of = current ALCs on campus.



Welcome to Huntley

Todi Carnes, MA, History and Art History, George Mason University

If you’ve never heard of Historic Huntley, it’s the “small house with a big view.” Located on a hillside above Hybla Valley, Virginia, it has commanding views of the Valley below, home to George Washington’s Mount Vernon. Two park areas comprising significant natural resources within the Valley, afford the viewshed incomparable beauty in the form of an expansive tree canopy. “Welcome to Huntley” will explore Huntley’s viewshed and show you Mount Vernon as you never imagined it — an expansive estate thousands of acres in size.


Holistic College Application Review

Matthew Boyce, PhD Student, Higher Education Program, George Mason University

This digital story provides a greater look into holistic application review through the lens of actual admissions professionals providing their review live on camera. The audience is meant to be students and families who are intending to apply to college or going through the process currently.


Finding Kate

Sara Collini, PhD student, History, George Mason University

This project explores the life of an enslaved woman at Mount Vernon known as Kate at Muddy Hole. In 1794, she solicited George Washington through her husband, Will, for payment for her skills as a midwife. Not much documentary evidence exists for this event or for Kate\’s life. The story presents the available evidence, as well as the historical contexts of 18th-century slavery and midwifery, in order to place Kate in time. This project also explores the historian\’s quest to uncover voices and to weave together history with fragmentary evidence.

In Defense of the Revolution: Memory of the American Revolution in the Antebellum South

Andrew Salamone, PhD student, History, George Mason University

This podcast presents listeners with a picture of the changing political and economic environment in the antebellum United States. It shows how citizens in Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi sought to understand these changes through the lens of the nation’s revolutionary past. Particular attention is devoted to exploring how citizens in these three states celebrated Independence Day and the rhetoric they used in describing the North’s perceived abandonment of revolutionary ideals while defending their own adherence to Jeffersonian principles such as economic self-sufficiency and virtue. The goals are to reinforce the concept of contingency in history, show the ways in which the politics of memory can be used to drive events, and contextualize debates over slavery and the role of the federal government through the words of southern citizens in the decades before secession.


Resistance: The Sophie Scholl Story

Brittany Kent, MA, History, George Mason University

Sophie Scholl, a member of the White Rose group, resisted the Nazi regime for moral and ideological reasons, specifically in relation to the failures of World War II and the restrictions on personal rights. On February 22nd, 1943, the Gestapo arrested Sophie and tried her for high treason in the Volksgerichtshof (Nazi People’s Court). She was sentenced to execution by guillotine. The purpose of using Sophie Scholl as a microhistory is to understand resistance efforts under the life of National Socialism. What I hope to convey to my audience by examining Sophie is not only her life and the efforts she made but an understanding of the more complex and complicated mindset of the German people during Hitler’s regime and a further analysis of Nazi Germany as a whole. The general public interested in the historical era of Nazi Germany, World War II, German political and social history of the 1940s, and resistance efforts to totalitarian regimes. The video is geared towards a museum setting.