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West Virginia University Reed College of Media students interviewed formerly incarcerated women, most of whom had suffered from substance use disorder, over the last year. According to Mary Kay McFarland, West Virginia Uncovered Project Coordinator, said the project challenged her students’ perception of people who are different from them, which in turn helped them become empathetic storytellers who can connect their audience with their subjects.
Quotes and Comments
“It was not particularly surprising to find that the story of women's incarceration in West Virginia is often tied up with the story of substance use disorder. In a lot of the interviews students did the women who struggled with substance use disorder had experienced abuse or trauma or had grown up in families where substance use disorder was present or both. Of more than a dozen women interviewed by students, only one had a criminal offense unrelated to addiction.” —Mary Kay McFarland
“One of the best things we can do for students in their college years is to stretch their perception of the world and help them consider how their experiences shape their viewpoint. Most of the students who have met and spoken with the women willing to share their stories have been moved and challenged by what they have heard.” –Mary Kay McFarland, West Virginia Uncovered Project Coordinator
“One of the most valuable pieces of this project for me to see has been the empathy students have gained for those unlike themselves. Ultimately, I hope students will become empathetic storytellers, who can help connect an audience to the women who share their stories with us.” –Mary Kay McFarland
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CONTACT: Erica Lindsay
WVU Reed College of Media
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