Sociology instructor receives award for collaborative project in humanities

Jordan Thomas, Staff Reporter

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Jordan Thomas
Jennifer Myhre was awarded a position in the Melon/ACLS Community College faculty fellowship program.

De Anza College sociology instructor and department chair Jennifer Myhre was awarded a position in the Melon/ACLS Community College Faculty Fellowship program for her collaborative project “1500 Stories: Giving Voice to Economic Inequality.”

Myhre is one of 26 faculty members from two-year colleges across the country. Recognized for their unique research endeavors within the humanities and social sciences.

1500 stories is a collaborative art and digital storytelling project that allows individuals to tell their story about economic equality within the entire country.  The title is a play on words to demonstrate inequality in America based on a 1500 story building.

“I had this idea bouncing around in my mind to make documentary films and move toward the arts in general,” Myhre said.

Considering the project’s need for time and funds, Myhre thought to take it on after she retired, but later realized that the Silicon Valley would be a great place to start.

“I haven’t been able to keep up with the stories coming in,” said Myhre.

Myhre said that the fellowship will ensure more time spent analyzing and editing interviews and less time spent teaching during 2020. Myhre received numerous grants to fund different sectors within the project.

Beyond the Silicon Valley, volunteers consist of faculty and students from other states including Wisconsin and New Jersey.

“I really like working within our team. I like the collaboration and teamwork we have,” said Shivangi Sharma, 20, global studies major.

Sharma, a student at De Anza and intern for the project, has spent the past few months working closely under Myhre. Sharma created a video trailer to give insight to the project, but plans to create a new trailer.  

“I didn’t do the project justice in regard to how impactful the video I created could have been,” said Sharma.

The California History Center, VIDA and the Euphrat Museum of Art are three of many partnerships who are collaborating with Myhre on the project.

“1500 Stories is an amazing project and I really respect how she integrates visualization, art, literature, video and person to person stories,” said Diana Argabrite, Euphrat Museum of Art Programs Coordinator.

Argabrite said Myhre “is a heart centered activist who really walks her talk.”

“Her energy and enthusiasm is infectious,” said Tom Izu Executive Director of the California History Center. “She gets excited about something and it’s hard not to also get excited.”

With 30 stories ready to go, Myhre said, “I want everyone to bring their talents to the table.”

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