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WVIA to air Dr. Nordstrom's 'Voices Project: Disability' in November
11-6-12

The first show will air on Nov. 19 at 7 p.m.
Misericordia University’s “The Voices Project: Disability,” a poignant staged reading of memoirs that promotes understanding and examines the stereotypes and prejudice faced by those living with disabilities, will debut on WVIA-TV on Monday, Nov. 19 at 7 p.m. The television program will be rebroadcast on Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, Nov. 22 at 8 p.m., on Sunday, Nov. 25 at 3 p.m., and on Monday, Dec. 10 at 7 p.m. A radio version of the production will air on WVIA-FM 89.9 on Sunday, Nov. 18 at 2 p.m.

The hour-long program is based on interviews done by students in the Introduction to Psychology class of Associate Professor Alicia Nordstrom, Ph.D. The freshmen interviewed a cross section of community members and their families about living with disabilities such as deafness, blindness, dwarfism, spinal cord injury, stroke, stuttering, spina bifida, cerebral palsy, arthrogryposis, and others. The students then wrote memoirs in the first person based on each of the interviews that captured how having a disability or having a family member with a disability has affected their lives. A faculty writing team took the students’ stories and integrated them into a staged reading that was originally read aloud on April 26 at Misericordia University. An Aug. 18 presentation in the Sordoni High Definition Theater was recorded by WVIA for radio and television broadcast.

The presenters for the program, in addition to Dr. Nordstrom, included Erika Funke, WVIA; Misericordia faculty and staff members Kit Foley, Amy Lahart, Roya Fahmy and Scott Woolnough, and student Aimee DiLucido; and community members Jason Sherry, Ellen O’Brien Sherry, Walter Mitchell, Jillian Puhalla, Kerry Brazen, Rory Giovannucci, Paige Balitski, Bob Balitski, Eric Lutz, Kimmie Wrazie, Dave Piehota, Margaret Walther, Keith Williams, Joe Domenic DeMuro, Kathryn Priestash, Sharon Quinn and Jonathan Simpson.

Dr. Nordstrom worked in partnership with the Northeast Pennsylvania Center for Independent Living (NEPACIL) in Scranton, Pa., to connect her students to individuals with disabilities. “The original learning goals of ‘The Voices Project’ were to enhance Misericordia University students’ critical thinking, cultural competency and attitudes towards groups of difference…but we can now expand our subject group to the entire Northeastern Pennsylvania community, thanks to WVIA,” Dr. Nordstrom said. “We can only hope that the television audience is as impacted as the students have been by listening to the stories.”

In 2009, Dr. Nordstrom conducted a “Voices Project” on stereotyping. Assessments collected early and late in the semester suggested that the assignment effectively achieved its goals of reducing students’ stereotypes and prejudice towards stigmatized groups. “The purpose of the assignment to the class, comprised of freshmen teacher education majors, was to help them understand the life stories of people from misunderstood or stereotyped groups,” Dr. Nordstrom said. “By hearing real-life stories, students can identify, empathize and critically analyze the prejudice and discrimination faced by people who have disabilities and are considered outside social norms.”

For more information about The Voices Project at Misericordia University, please log on to http://misericordia.edu/voicesproject or call Dr. Nordstrom at (570) 674-8008. Founded and Sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy in 1924, Misericordia University is Luzerne County’s first four-year college and offers 37 degree programs on the graduate and undergraduate levels in full and part-time formats.

Caption:

Misericordia University’s ‘The Voices Project’ will premiere on WVIA-TV on Monday, Nov. 19 at 7 p.m. Shown are presenters, first row, from left: Erika Funke, Kimmie Wrazien, Joe Domenic DeMuro, Paige Balitski, Alicia Nordstrom, Ph.D., associate professor of psychology, Misericordia University; Margaret Walther, Jonathan Simpson, Aimee DiLucido, and Amy Lahart; second row, Walter Mitchell, Roya Fahmy, Eric Lutz, Kathryn Priestash, Kit Foley, Rory Giovannucci, Jillian Puhalla, Sharon Quinn, Scott Woolnough and Bob Balitski.