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Community Voice Fellows Program: Facilitators Training Master Class

This year the CVP will continue its work with an existing partner, the Anacostia Community Museum, to engage in a new program to train highly skilled storytellers to become Digital Storytelling Facilitators. During Master Class sessions in Digital Storytelling, conducted by Professor Shapiro-Perl, selected students will train to become facilitators in the art and method of digital storytelling in the community. Over the course of 10 months, selected students will work with members of communities facing change, such as Anacostia and other communities East of the River. In participating in this project, students and community members whose paths might rarely cross, will collaborate and learn from each other. Digital storytelling is the bridge.

Students will be trained to help community members “find” the stories they wish to tell, taking us into the lived experience of community residents, in their own words. Their stories help break down a sense of “Otherness” from both sides, changing the storyteller and the witness in the process. In its place are people, in all their complexity, with nuanced narratives of segregation and poverty for example, interwoven with beauty, spirituality, connection and hope. This is the transformative potential of the digital story — both in its capacity to effect personal and social change from the side of both storyteller and witness. It allows us to listen deeply to each other, across the divides of neighborhood, class, race and culture, allowing us to connect as people.

The Community Voice Project Fellowship contains two main components:

  • Training with Nina Shapiro-Perl to become a CMSI Trained Facilitator in Digital Storytelling.
  • Story Collection. Students will then use their newly acquired Digital Storytelling skills to work with individuals selected by the Anacostia Community Museum to tell their own stories of community change.

Digital stories created will be included in public screenings at American University, the Anacostia Community Museum, and other venues to be determined. Selected works may also be included in a future exhibit at the Anacostia Community Museum.

2016 Fellows' Community Stories

2016 Fellows

Michael_BlaineMichael Blain

Michael has a background in journalism and the labor movement, and a strong interest in using film and video to tell the stories of working families. He is currently coordinating statewide communications for the Maryland Campaign for Paid Sick Days, and co-producing a feature-length documentary about Walmart workers titled “Dear Walmart.” Previously, he has worked as an organizer for the Communications Workers of America (CWA), a communications specialist & video producer for the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), a freelance videographer, and a regional communications director for the Laborers International Union of North America (LiUNA!). Michael holds a masters’ degree in Producing for Film & Video from American University and a bachelor’s degree in journalism, with a concentration in Latin American studies, from the University of California, Santa Cruz.


Matt_Cipollone_HeadshotMatt Cipollone

Matt is a current MFA student at American University with a concentration in political, cultural, and social impact. Prior to studying at AU, Matt was a child welfare consultant for The Annie E. Casey Foundation and most recently Kids Insight, an organization dedicated to improving outcomes for youth in foster care. His community arts and film experience includes; creating a community-based youth photography program in Baltimore with Living Classrooms Foundation, assisting in the production of videos in which youth in foster care tell their stories, and creating short documentaries and photo essays profiling Baltimore nonprofit leaders.



kelsey_marshKelsey Marsh

Kelsey is an alumna of Stephen F. Austin State University (TX) where she earned a Bachelor’s degree in political science and communications. After graduating, Kelsey spent two years in Africa with the Peace Corps. She recently earned her Master’s degree in film & electronic media from American University last May. Several of her short films have made the film festival circuit. Currently, she is an Associate Producer for arts and culture programming at Maryland Public Television.



Anna_NorthrupAnna Northrup

Anna is a visual media producer from Washington, DC. Recently her work was exhibited with the College Art Association and the University of District of Columbia. With a Japanese mother, Swedish father, and a home that migrated from country to country, she frequently found herself in situations where language was either used to include or exclude. Her hope is to use visual media to express and explore themes that can be lost in verbal translation.

Anna is an MFA candidate in American University’s Film and Electronic Media program, with a BA from Georgetown University in Linguistics and Performance Studies.


Alexis Pazmiño

Alexis is currently pursuing a master’s degree in film and video. She recently served as a co-director and co-writer for “Chesapeake Footsoldiers,” a documentary for Maryland Public Television’s 2016 Chesapeake Bay Week. As an alumna of the AU School of Public Affairs, Alexis is passionate about social justice and storytelling. Outside of class, Alexis performs standup comedy in the DC area. She currently works in higher education fundraising. Following graduation, Alexis hopes to pursue a career in film and television development or screenwriting.



Shalom_RosenbergShalom Rosenberg

I was born and raised in New York City and attended CUNY: Brooklyn College where I majored in Film Studies and minored in Education. I was a grade school teacher for the past decade in New York and California. I enjoy spending time with my family: my husband Adam, my cat Shachar, and my dog Phaedra. I also enjoy watching and creating media (films, videos, etc.), travelling, taking photos, collecting magnets, listening to oldies music, and teaching whenever I get the chance. I am thrilled to be a part of CVP and grateful for this opportunity.



SteveRosenberg_HeadshotSteve Rosenberg

My name is Steve Rosenberg and I’m a second year MFA student in the Film and Electronic Media program at American University.  In 2011, I also graduated from AU as an undergraduate with a Broadcast Journalism degree and a minor in Justice.  Growing up in South Jersey, I always had a passion for filmmaking and writing.  After a three-year hiatus of working in law, I decided to come back into the world of media.  It was this decision, which led me to come back to school to refine my skills as a storyteller for both narrative and documentary films.



Vinny_TerlizziVincent Terlizzi

Vincent is currently a second year MFA candidate at American University in the Film and Electronic Media program. Currently, Vincent creates media in both fiction and non-fiction. He holds a B.A. in Philosophy and Film Studies from the University of North Florida, with a concentration in Ethics and Documentary Studies. Throughout his undergraduate program Vincent served as Philosophy Club President and as a Creator for an on campus Documentary Program AfterImage Productions. His work focuses on the Jacksonville community and were screened at the Museum of Contemporary Art Jacksonville from 2012-2014.