CDS Celebrates Certificate in Documentary Studies Graduates

Zoom screenshot of Spring 2021 Capstone Seminar students

Zoom screenshot of Fall 2020 Capstone Seminar students with CDS Lecturing Fellow Nancy Kalow (top left)

The Center for Documentary Studies (CDS) is proud to recognize thirteen Duke University undergraduates from the 2020–2021 academic year who have earned a Certificate in Documentary Studies. Working in one or more documentary mediums—photography, filmmaking, writing, audio, performance, among others—students complete a program of study involving community-based research and fieldwork. Certificate students completed their final documentary projects in Capstone Seminars under the guidance of CDS Lecturing Fellow Nancy Kalow (Fall 2020 grads) and CDS Undergraduate Education Director Chris Sims (Spring 2021 grads). The Certificate in Documentary Studies students are listed below, along with their majors and a brief description of their final projects.

Certificate in Documentary Studies graduates, 2020–2021

Rand Alotaibi (Earth and Ocean Sciences)
Behind the Wheel—an exploration of women’s rights in Saudi Arabia two years after the lifting of the driving ban.

Christopher Cruz Jr. (Theater Studies, Psychology)
Yes And—the story of Duke University Improv, and of four bumbling amateur comedians struggling to raise money for child-cancer research during a global pandemic.

Marlowe Early (Visual Media Studies)
Durham: Then & Now—an audiovisual diary reflecting on the changing physical and cultural landscape of Durham throughout the years, through the perspectives of longtime residents.

Elizabeth Lee (Sociology)
Hey Bestie!: We Probably Should’ve Talked About This—a motion graphic, comedic audio piece about a tumultuous college friendship and the lessons learned along the way about communication and care.

Harry Liang (Biology)
Soil to Table—a short documentary video about COPA in downtown Durham and the restaurant’s mission to share authentic Cuban cuisine and to cultivate meaningful relationships through farming and food.

Samia Noor (Public Policy)
Happy, at Duke—a documentary film that follows the experiences of students and mental health resources at Duke University to better understand the causes of mental illnesses and how to improve services to undergraduate students.

Priyanka Rao (Neuroscience)
The Mangalsutra—a documentary poem/film exploring the forces that led from my grandmother in India being married at twelve to my upbringing in the U.S. and attending a top university such as Duke University. 

Lydia Sellers (Environmental Science)
The Making of a Renaissance—a visual behind-the-scenes glimpse into the collaborative art produced by Duke University– and North Carolina–based Black creators, created for the student group DukeAFRICA’s homegrown celebration of Afro heritage.

Anna Steltenkamp (Cultural Anthropology)
The Sacred Lands of the Mohican Nation—an audio documentary series about the Stockbridge-Munsee Community of the Mohican Nation—Indigenous peoples of the Mahhicannituck River (Hudson River) Valley—and their enduring relation to their ancestral homelands; the series explores histories of forced relocation and intergenerational trauma, resilience and cultural revitalization, and what respectful acknowledgment and engagement by non-Native peoples upon Indigenous lands means in the present-day (so-called) “United States.”

Christopher Teufel (Biology)
Fine Lines: A Case Study on Sustainably Caught Seafooda photography project engaging with small-scale commercial fishers in New England about the problems they face and how they see the future unfolding for a historical occupation in a rapidly modernizing world.

Jessica Wang (Environmental Sciences)
Topsail Turtle Hospital—a short documentary film about the day in the life of a sea turtle at the Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation Center.

Arjun Yagnamurthy (Public Policy Studies)
It's Only Fearan audio documentary story capturing my personal journey learning more about my estranged father through interviews with my mother, aunt, and grandmother, helping me break down some of the deep-rooted fears I have of him.

Sierra Winters (Cultural Anthropology and Food Studies)
The Banter Book—a curated journal of resources, musings, and activities designed to encourage readers to engage with body image in a documentary experience of their own; produced in coordination with Body Banter.