From the series President's Awards for Excellence 2015

Spirit of Innovation

Veterans Voices Project

Wright State’s Veterans Voices Project has connected different generations of veterans at the university and across the Dayton area through a unique historical archive of veterans’ stories.

Veterans Voices is a collaborative effort by Wright State’s Veteran and Military Center, local NPR station WYSO, local VFW and American Legion posts, the VA and Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.

The Project’s purpose is to record stories of both student veterans and veterans in the communities that will be stored at both the Library of Congress and Wright State archives. The project began in fall of 2014 and has produced 32 interviews of which 20 have been sent to the Library of Congress.

Front row left to right: Matt Bauer, student veteran, WYSO Fellow; Adrian Hill,  student veteran, Veterans Voices Project coordinator. Back row left to right: Jonathan R. Winkler, associate professor of history and Veterans Voices humanities scholar; Terry Ramirez, student veteran, Veterans Voices video interviewer; Will Davis, WYSO project editor, Director of the Wright State Communication Department Media Lab; Seth E. Gordon, director, Wright State Veteran and Military Center.

Front row left to right: Matt Bauer, student veteran, WYSO Fellow;
Adrian Hill, student veteran, Veterans Voices Project coordinator. Back row left to right: Jonathan R. Winkler, associate professor of history and Veterans Voices humanities scholar;
Terry Ramirez, student veteran, Veterans Voices video interviewer;
Will Davis, WYSO project editor, Director of the Wright State Communication Department Media Lab; Seth E. Gordon, director, Wright State Veteran and Military Center.

“This project is conducted by veterans, for veterans,” said Craig This, interim director of the Office of Institutional Research. “Many military service members have never told their story. This is their chance to do it. Recording and archiving these stories preserves them for future generations.”

The project is coordinated by undergraduate student, Adrian Hill. Students, Jeremy Dobbins and Allison Loy serve as producers and editors, and Eric Wiete, conducts research on the unit of those interviewed for further documentation. All four students are veterans and received training from WYSO.

The project has received a $25,000 grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and a $20,000 grant form the Ohio Humanities Council.

“WYSO aired the stories for the national project Veterans Coming Home. The pieces examined the transitions and struggles that veterans in Dayton have faced and overcome.

Eight stories were also produced and aired on WYSO from December through June. A second season is planned for this fall.

Wright State alumna Bridget Federspiel and associate professor Marjorie McLellan have also served as advisers to the project.

“The veteran identity is one driven by shared experience of military culture, regardless of combat experience,” said Seth Gordon, director of the Veteran and Military Center. “Veterans appear to experience a transitive moment of trust when engaged with another veteran.”

The Veterans Voices Project “gets people like myself talking to other veterans about our common experiences,” Hill said. “Many veterans have trouble articulating what their experiences in the military were like and the Veterans Voices Project is an outlet for them to do so.”

 

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