From Off-Your-Shelf Summer Reading to Audio Shelfie Sharing

Wondering what Trin students are up to this summer—especially while doing much of their work and research remotely? We asked Esther Appiah ’21, and Max Norteman ’23 to share a little about their experience taking a Public Humanities Collaborative (PHC) course, which is funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and taken through The Center for Hartford Engagement & Research (aka CHER) at Trinity College. For those who are unfamiliar, PHC courses at Trin are summer research opportunities that bring together students, faculty, and individuals and organizations in the local Hartford area to work on public humanities projects—the study of how people interpret stories of shared human experiences.

Esther and Max applied for the ten-week research experience and were matched with a faculty member already working with a research topic that both Bants were interested in—in this case, podcasting and storytelling. Dr. Mary Mahoney, Trin’s Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in Digital Humanities (who also happens to be an alumna of the class of 2009), was the perfect match for Esther and Max because of the love for reading and fostering empathetic communities that all three of these Bants share.

Here is what Esther and Max had to say about their current project, Audio Shelfie, and their request for the Trin community to participate in their research:

Audio Shelfie is a storytelling project by Dr. Mahoney designed to foster empathy by posing questions about specific readings and then collecting stories from participants about what that reading experience helped them understand about themselves. It is an in-depth dive or self-reflection. We believe talking about books and reading experiences helps us to connect with others by fostering a sense of community. And we want YOU, in our Trinity community to participate in this project! We are looking to collect submissions through the start of August 2020. If you are looking to learn more about Audio Shelfie, check out our past interviews on Instagram @audioshelfie. Click here to listen to a sample Audio Shelfie, and then submit your own story here!

What topics are being collected?

We’re currently taking submissions for these specific questions for our listening guide. Listening guides will be available on our site shortly.

  • What are some readings that helped you understand ‘Black Lives Matter’? What did they teach you about yourself?
  • What book or writer had the greatest influence on your relationship with food? What did this help you understand about heritage and culture?

If you’re available and would rather submit a “Shelfie” via Instagram interview, reach out to Max and Esther via email: [ x]

2 thoughts on “From Off-Your-Shelf Summer Reading to Audio Shelfie Sharing

  1. I wanted to respond to the question concerning what was the book about food which spoke to me the most. I was scrolling through Instagram when I saw the post about the question and I couldn’t help but replying because this is a subject that has consumed my personal life as well as career path. I have always been a short male raised in a affluent family and community, where food was abundant in all the worst forms, and as a result I have struggled with obesity and poor eating habits by whole life. One of the books which really opened me up to the fact that not all calories are created equal is the book Good Calories Bad Calories by Gary Taubes. Much of the blame concerning the obesity epidemic has been put on overall fat consumption over the last decades, when really the blame should be put in simple carbohydrates and overall food proportion sizes. This book explains this phenomenon much better than I ever could and it changed how I viewed what food I should eat. I also wanted to add another book called Deep Nutrition by Catherine Shanahan which touches on how food interacts with our genetics in live time to influence chronic disease risk. I was a biology major at Trinity when I attended and I was always frustrated that there was no curriculum on anything related to food and health, only on topics such as biochemistry, plants and the human body. I recently graduated from the Tufts Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, and am about to start a position as a Health Scientist Specialist at the Department of Veteran Affairs. I don’t mean to toot my own horn, but more advocate that even if a students coursework and classes offered to them aren’t exactly in the field that they are passionate about, a degree from Trinity definitely enables the pursuit of advanced degrees which individuals may have more interest in.

    1. Hi Graham, thanks for reaching out and sharing this story. Would you be willing to follow the process in the blog post and submit an Audio Shelfie about this? That way the students can actually use your story for their research? You could also reach Max or Esther via email, which is also posted in the above story. Thanks again for sharing!

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