What was Midwestern life like in the past? What is life like in the Midwest now?

Department of English students involved in The Midwestern Stories Project, an immersive learning experience, are researching the answers to these questions.

The Midwestern Stories Project spans two semesters. This semester, students are reading novels to see how authors represent Midwestern life in the past. They are also collecting stories of life experiences from real Midwesterners, such as interviewing their own family members—making this project a personal and impactful one.

“This is going to enhance and enrich their understanding of their own familial history, their community’s history, and ultimately, who they are as a Midwesterner,” said Dr. Andrea Wolfe, an assistant teaching professor of English.

Students are compiling these stories into a podcast series that will be available on Spotify and the Minnetrista Cultural Center website once completed.

“The thing that I’ve taken away the most from this is just new perspective,” said Garrett Riley, an English education major. “My experience is not everybody’s experience in the Midwest, and getting new voices on gender, sexuality, and race has been a really eye-opening experience.”

English literature major Sarah Marrow said the project has helped her develop marketable skills.

“I’ve had to write a podcast episode and write more conversationally,” she said. “That will put forward towards my professional career in the future.”

Next semester, students will look at the current representation of the present Midwest and create an exhibit for Minnetrista – an experience that preserves the history and tells a compelling story about the Midwest.

Project Participants

  • Emily Alker
  • Elizabeth Bogle
  • Becca Clanton
  • Kaitlyn Cullen
  • Shelby Good
  • Jessica Harrison
  • Kaila Henkin
  • Ryan Hugo
  • Justin Linville
  • Mia Marrero
  • Sarah Morrow
  • Lily O’Keefe
  • Jevon Osborne
  • Alison Perry
  • Maddie Ramsell
  • Ryan Rice
  • Garrett Riley
  • Evan Schoettle
  • Whitney Shelton
  • William Spencer
  • Julie Steele
  • Seth Wood

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