Honors Students Receive Prestigious Award from VCU President for Work Focused on Narrative, Healing
By William Lineberry
VCU Honors College
Three Virginia Commonwealth University Honors College students have received a prestigious award from VCU President Michael Rao, Ph.D. for notable contributions to community and multicultural enrichment.
MiJin Cho (right center), Elysia Lin and Emma Geisler (left center) were named recipients of the Tristen Sloane Presidential Award for Multicultural Enrichment Student Award for their work with the Storytelling and Healing Student Group. The group, which was selected for the PACME Student Award, seeks to use the power of narrative—using fiction, poetry, nonfiction visual arts, and more-- to help students feel empowered to tell their own stories.
PACME Awards are given out annually and recognize faculty, staff and students on VCU’s Monroe Park Campus and at VCU Health “who have made exemplary contributions with regard to promoting civility, building community, establishing cross-cultural initiatives, advocating equity and nurturing a welcoming and inclusively excellent environment throughout the university and area communities.”
“PACME feels almost unreal to me and our team,” said Cho, a senior double majoring in English and Psychology in the College of Humanities and Sciences. “Two years ago, we were just first-year students at VCU with a vision to create a lasting impact on our greater Richmond community. With the power of narrative, we’ve created this open and inclusive platform that seeks to empower others as curators of their own narratives and teach others how to embody empathy as a community learning to heal.”
With the power of narrative, we’ve created this open and inclusive platform that seeks to empower others as curators of their own narratives and teach others how to embody empathy as a community learning to heal.
The recognition Storytelling and Healing receives from the PACME Award is an affirmation of the group’s efforts to create community both at VCU and in Richmond, Geisler added.
“This recognition is a great honor for myself and for our group as it recognizes the significance of what our organization is all about: community,” Geisler, a junior majoring in Interdisciplinary Studies in University College, said. “I am beyond grateful to receive this award which reaffirms the power that narrative healing has on our campus and within our communities.”
Storytelling and Healing’s mission to help students heal through narrative came at a critical time as students were facing challenges related to social isolation and learning because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Christy Tyndall, Ph.D. Honors College faculty member and Storytelling and Healing’s faculty adviser, said.
"We believe that in the wake of all that we have experienced in the past few years, it has been vital for students and community members to have opportunities to process emotions, give voice to experiences and work toward healing,” Tyndall said. “It is a privilege to work with this exceptional team and we are incredibly proud of the positive difference they have made and to see their efforts recognized and appreciated with high honors."
Cho, Geisler and Lin were presented their PACME Award from President Rao in a special ceremony on Tuesday, April 26 in the VCU University Student Commons Commonwealth Ballroom.