Labeled the inquisitive one out of the bunch, I have always been attracted to the art of communication and storytelling. Whether this came in the form of a good book or eavesdropping in on my grandmother’s conversations, it didn’t matter. My name is Fayana Richards and I am a second year PhD/MPH graduate student in the Department of Anthropology and Program in Public Health at Michigan State University. My research interests include U.S. health care systems, chronic illness, intersections of gender, race and class, and immigration.

Outside of my anthropological studies, I also have an undergraduate background in journalism where I initially devoted my energies towards print journalism. Other than developing sound writing skills, I was trained to believe that essentials for a journalist simply included a pen, writing pad, and a recorder. Fast forward to 2007 when the world of journalism had to rapidly respond to a changing economic climate and the increasing demand for the production of online content. With the future of journalism in question, I had to make a decision. I could remain on the traditional print journalism path or immerse myself in the world of multimedia and digital storytelling. I choose the latter. From serving as an editor for an online newspaper to creating a podcast as intern for Science Magazine, I used these opportunities to plunge into the realm of digital storytelling and multimedia journalism. Despite being challenging, these experiences afforded me to the opportunity to be exposed to the world of coding, editing audio and film, and interactive graphs and maps. Instead of isolating the journalism experience, it was amplified.

As a 2011 CHI Grad Fellow, I am interested in learning about how digital humanities can inform my background in anthropology and journalism and can be used as tool for scholarly communication as well as community engagement. Within the larger discipline of Anthropology, those of us who have focused on the U.S. remain a smaller minority. As a result, one of my goals during the next year will focus on exploring various digital platforms and their potential for community building for medical anthropologists with U.S. based research agendas.

During my free time, I like to watch Broadway musicals and live music acts, taking random dance classes and watching or reading anything fantasy or super hero related.