Oftentimes, the pursuit of a graduate degree is viewed solely as a private investment, when in fact, the contributions of graduate students matter a great deal to the university, field of study, and communities where they live and work.
In 2016, the Office of Graduate Fellowships and Awards (OGFA) and Tell Your Story Tallahassee Grad Edition (Scotty Pham, Senior Exercise Physiology) under the direction of Dr. Adrienne Stephenson, initiated the “Celebrating You” campaign to highlight the achievements of graduate students that were recipients of national and prestigious external fellowships and awards. Fellowship recipients were surveyed and asked to share in 6 words, a reflection about why pursuing a graduate degree was important to them. These 6 word statements served as attention grabbers and were shared through the Office of Graduate Fellowships and Awards webpage and social media platforms (Twitter and Facebook) to draw readers in to the larger narratives about the importance and impact of master’s and doctoral education. The narratives have also been tagged with the hashtag #GradImpact in support of the work that the Council of Graduate Schools (CGS) is doing to promote this important work.
Capturing and sharing the graduate school experience through storytelling has proven to be a strong platform to advocate for graduate education. Overtime, the “Celebrating You” campaign evolved into the Digital Narratives Project, a larger platform to give voice to the research and work in action of graduate students. Each narrative born digital (e-story, videography, photography, and podcast (audio files) is an oral history of graduate education that adds to the rich memoir of FSU. The establishment of a collection for The Graduate School preserves this history as permanent record in the university’s digital repository. “You Innovate and Contribute. We Share and Preserve.”