This SIF-led project features GSU students who are also refugees. Recording their interview, we ask refugee students to tell us their story of migration to the U.S. by focusing on an object they carried with them through their journey. SIF students use OHMS (Oral History Metadata Synchronizer) to digitally organize and catalog the interviews and 3-D scan the objects the refugee students bring to their interview. For example, Obie Njoku’s “lucky shirt” is the object through which he told his story of migration.

Mary Helen O’Connor, professor of English at GSU Perimeter in Clarkston, requested a collaborative project with the Student Innovation Fellowship (SIF) with the goal of finding a way to frame students’ stories of migration in terms other than the “bootstraps” success narrative or the narrative of victimization. GSU’s Clarkston campus has a huge population of first-generation immigrants and newcomers — a remarkable feat, given the drastically reduced number of refugee admissions for 2018 and the overwhelming disproportionate ratio of refugee students to U.S.-born students in higher education. The project seeks, in part, to advocate for and empower refugee students both at GSU and throughout the states.

PROJECT Team


Brennan Collins

Program Co-Director

Ashley Cheyemi McNeil

Multi-Ethnic Literature

Frances Noon

Cultural Anthopology