The Stanford Storytelling Project is an arts program at Stanford University that explores how we live in and through stories and how we can use them to change our lives. Our mission is to promote the transformative nature of traditional and modern oral storytelling, from Lakota tales to Radiolab, and empower students to create and perform their own stories. The project sponsors courses, workshops, live events, and grants.
In 2012, we created a new radio show, State of the Human, which brings together stories that deepen our understanding of single, common human experiences—fighting, giving, lying, forgiveness—all drawn from the experiences and research of the Stanford community. Tune in every Wednesday at 5pm on 90.1 KZSU or download our podcast on iTunes.
Jonah has taught literature, creative writing, and media studies at Stanford since 2002. He has published fiction, essays, and literary criticism, and holds a PhD in English from Brown University and an MFA in Creative Writing from Hollins University. He is currently trying to write three books at the same time. It's slow going.
Rachel graduated Stanford in 2011 with an M.A. in English Literature. She loves stories that validate unusual or under-explored perspectives. When she's not working for SSP, she's usually freelancing, trying to figure out how to make the news more fun (without sacrificing clarity and complexity), and creating immersive theatre events. Or she's hanging out at her co-op. Probably in the kitchen.
Andrew is the author of three books, including the PEN USA Literary Award-winning A Meal Observed, and dozens of articles for national publications including National Geographic, The Atlantic and The Wall Street Journal, among others. His subjects range widely, from a frozen gully in the Scottish highlands, to the ship’s bar of a German freighter, to the pastry kitchen of a Parisian restaurant. He has worked on numerous film and projects, including productions for Lucasfilm and National Geographic Television. and teaches at Stanford through the Department of Biology and the Program in Writing and Rhetoric, and co-directs The Senior Reflection, a creative capstone course series for scientists in the arts.
BLOG AND WEBSITE EDITOR
Will graduated from Stanford in 2009 with a degree in Film Studies. He is one of the only people on staff who has listened to every single story the project has produced, and much of this listening occurred while he was working at a farm in Texas and at a nursery in North Carolina. He is now happily back in California, where he helps coordinate True Story Podcast, alongside a number of other projects.
Dan teaches Improvisation in the Drama Department, the Graduate School of Business and at the d.school. In 2009, Dan was named Stanford Teacher of the Year by the Student's Association. At the GSB he co-teaches (with Professor Deb Gruenfeld), "Acting With Power" which explores the use of status behaviors to increase organizational effectiveness. Beyond Stanford, Dan has lead similar workshops for various groups, including the High Performance Leadership program at IMD Business School in Switzerland. Dan has also partnered with Stanford Professor Carol Dweck to create interactive workshops on her breakthrough research on Mindset.
Lizzie graduated from Stanford in 2013 with a B.A. in Comparative Literature. A defiantly proud New Jersey native, she currently lives in San Francisco. She has worked at the Institute for Diversity in the Arts for the past two years. Lizzie spends the rest of her time writing songs about nature and playing a small harp named Oscar.
Nina is a junior at Stanford who likes collecting: names, words that have lost their meaning, and conversations where people give more than they expected. She is prone to making ethical generalizations from specific situations and then back-peddling wildly. When she was younger, she thought she wanted to be a rabbi. Today, she wants to look at history and ethics through stories.
Eileen is a freshman at Stanford University, hoping to major in psychology, and completely addicted to NPR. When she’s not working, studying or tutoring, she spends her time running, drinking tea, and generally pining for her adorable Great Dane, Winston, and her illegal pet bunny, Cheerio.
Jackson is a freshman at Stanford, born and raised in Los Angeles. He is a big fan of Emily Dickinson, Kurt Vonnegut, Walt Whitman, John Keats, the International Space Station, fog, apple cider, hot showers, whistling, trees, myths, slow-motion video, Carl Sagan, board games, dancing badly, and radio drama. He is consistently astounded by the beauty of colors. Someday, he will ride his bike across the country with a microphone.
Alec arrived at Stanford in the autumn of 2013 and promptly found himself singing and acting in a musical set on a moving bus. He’s still a little bit confused about that. Alec is pretty sure that his hometown of Seattle is the best place in the world, but he’s keeping an open mind. After all, he has been known to call Luna Lovegood his patron saint.
Lora is a freshman at Stanford from Evanston, Illinois. She might study Classics but really doesn’t know. She likes sketch comedy and Shakespeare and discovering connections between them. Since volunteering at weekly “Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me” tapings in Chicago, she’s wanted to explore what goes into seamless radio programs behind the scenes.
SENIOR PRODUCER & PROJECT ADMINISTRATOR
Natacha is a MLA student at Stanford. In her civilian life she is an Emmy award-winning producer of documentaries. Her video work has appeared at the MoMA, the Whitney Museum of American Art, as well as on National Geographic, NBC, and Link TV.
SENIOR PRODUCER & SOUND ENGINEER
Charlie spends his time trying to figure out what's true, and how to tell people about it without being didactic or boring. Or to phrase that more affirmatively: to tell people what's true while being compelling and conversational. Lately he's been caught up in Oakland, researching a book about the city, and translating what he learns into radio pieces along the way. He's just figured out what's obvious. Now he's after what's surprising. He contributes semi-regularly to KALW's CrossCurrents and his work has appeared on Marketplace as well as in the East Bay Express. In his free time you can find him behind a basketball, over a chess set, or somewhere in the midst of drums.
Austin Smith grew up on a family dairy farm in Illinois. His first full-length collection of poems, Almanac, was published by Princeton University Press in September. He lives in a cabin near the booming metropolis of La Honda and is currently a Wallace Stegner Fellow in fiction.
Christy studied writing at the Salt Institute of Documentary Studies and loves doing research, shaping things and digging stuff up. Recently she has been experimenting with fiction. She likes the words of children and strangers and keeps a blog of this wisdom. Luckily for her, most of the people on the planet fall into this category, so she's rarely bored.
John has taught writing at Stanford since 2005. He received his MFA from the University of Michigan and has been a resident fellow at the University of Wisconsin, Yaddo, the Headlands Center for the Arts, and the Helene Wurlitzer Foundation. Currently he lives in San Francisco and is completing a collection of short stories about Korean exiles in Asia and the West.
Bonnie was a founding producer of the Storytelling Project and graduated in 2008 with a BA in History. She has an MFA in Experience Design from Konstfack University in Sweden, and currently lives in her native Seattle with her husband and their young daughter. Lately she's interested in using storytelling as a tool for celebration and meaning-making in end-of-life care settings.
Victoria Hurst is a senior at Stanford majoring in English and minoring in Education. She is very interested in how people interpret the Bible and how it is used in literature. She grew up on an island, but wants to travel the world.
Miles is a recovering computer science major at Stanford. He is often found skateboarding wildly through campus or fidgeting with a microphone to capture a compelling sound. He once found a grey M&M when he was young but threw it away thinking it had gone bad.
Kate is a freshman at Stanford who wants to study too many things. Her love of interdisciplinary connections goes back to high school when she founded an educational YouTube channel about the science and math in great works of art. Before coming to college, she owned a cupcake truck back in Connecticut. When not in school, Kate loves traveling the world with her camera and restoring manual typewriters.
Justine is a freshman at Stanford who hopes to double major in Film Studies and Environmental Anthropology. She’s a lifelong nomad, never staying in one country for more than four years. Russia, Namibia, Maryland, Mexico, Paraguay, Japan, Egypt, and now California. The places she’s lived, the people she’s met -- their stories are her story. Travel, people, stories, appalachian throwback music, and tea are a few of her favorite things.
Mischa is an insatiably curious psychology major at Stanford. She finds human beings to be fascinating, but perplexing. She likes trying to figure them out and encouraging them to better understand themselves through stories. Prior to returning to Stanford in 2013, Mischa worked as a children's book designer at HarperCollins Publishers, travelled the world as a professional masochist, and acquired a feline sidekick named Kahimi.
Austin is a Junior from beautiful Santa Rosa, California and is majoring in Creative Writing. When he isn't playing the beautiful game for the Stanford Men's Soccer team, Austin is jammin away on his mandolin, making music videos with friends, or relaxin under a tree. Always up for an impromptu conversation or storytelling exchange, if you see Austin out and about, make sure to give him a shout. He's the one with the freckles.
Sophia is a senior majoring in History with a minor in Arabic. She has recently spent a lot of time singing, and though still madly obsessed with musicals, has decided to take a break to explore other things, like storytelling. She loves learning languages and reading sci-fi, and though she hails from good 'ol Indiana she is started to feel like a true west coast girl.
Tina is a sophomore, majoring in Science, Technology, and Society. She spends her time writing poetry for the Spoken Word Collective, making, scavenging, singing, & breathing music for KZSU radio and Talisman A Capella, and drinking tea. She is currently studying abroad at Oxford University.
Faradia is a senior at Stanford, majoring in Human Biology and minoring in French. She became involved with The Stanord Storytelling Project as a story editor while studying abroad in Paris. Originally from Miami, Florida she's a fan of humidity and telling a good story.
Killeen graduated from Stanford in 2008 with a degree in English Literature. After two years of working to communicate differing perspectives graphically through her research at the Spatial History Lab at Stanford and orally with the Storytelling Project, she relocated to Portland, Oregon for an MFA in Applied Craft and Design at the Pacific Northwest College of Art (PNCA). She's eager to continue exploring how stories build community.
Liz is the author of two collections of poetry: Approaching Ice (Persea, 2010) and Interpretive Work (Arktoi Books, 2008). The founder of Broadsided Press, her poems have appeared in The Atlantic Monthly, Poetry, Field, and elsewhere. A former Wallace Stegner Fellow at Stanford, she works as a naturalist and web designer. Her favorite animal today? The rhinoceros auklet. Visit her websites: Ebradfield.com, Broadsided, & Pelagic Design.
Xandra worked with the Storytelling Project for nearly three years from 2010-2013. She was an actress who simply picked up a microphone to interview her dad, and she ended up as a Senior Radio Producer and the Events Director for the project. Xandra graduated from Stanford with a Master's degree in Journalism and a Bachelor's degree with Honors in Theater & Performance Studies. Since leaving Stanford, she has taken up a new job as an Intern at StoryCorps, the largest oral history project in the world.
Azmaan is a senior at Stanford majoring in Computer Science with a concentration in "Human Computer Interaction". Coming from Sri Lanka, he's glad the internet enabled him to enjoy great American radio shows like This American Life and Radio Lab. If he's not buried under work load, he's probably trying to get better at tennis.
Hannah studied neurobiology and philosophy at Stanford before getting her masters in science writing at MIT. Her radio work has appeared on KUOW Presents, and her writing on Inside NOVA and Scope Magazine. She harbors a mild obsession with the brain activity of cephalopods.
Noah is a PhD student in Management Science and Engineering. He studies Decision and Risk analysis, and likes making hip hop. You can find his music at soundcloud.com/nburbank and at noahburbank.com. He loves post- producing audio.
Matt received his PhD in Biophysics from Stanford in 2010. He is a contributor to the NPR program Snap Judgment, and a producer with the Storytelling Project. At Stanford he divided his time between a basement research lab (where he studies gene regulation) and the basement of KZSU (where he has produced audio essays about scientific fraud, superheroes, unicycles, the San Francisco dump, and sperm banks).
Dan Hirsch graduated from Stanford in 2009 with a BA in American Studies. His work has appeared in the North Bay Bohemian, the Santa Cruz Weekly, the SFGate.com and on the airwaves of WLEZ Jackson, Mississippi. He lives in San Francisco and works for a Bay Area tech company you might know.