CDS Celebrates Certificate in Documentary Studies Spring 2023 Capstone Graduates

Pictures of various students smiling in capstone course.

The Certificate in Documentary Studies program attracts undergraduates to the Center for Documentary Studies from across the arts and sciences. At a celebratory event on April 30, 2023 (2–6 p.m.), in the Center for Documentary Studies auditorium, the following eleven students in the Spring 2023 Documentary Capstone Seminar will receive their certificates and present their final projects, completed under the guidance of Chris Sims with Hareth Yousef in the spring and taught by Nancy Kalow in the fall. The event is free and open to the public.

Fall 2022–Spring 2023 Capstone Students and Projects

Charlotte Cohen (Public Policy, Psychology: Duke University)
Fall 2022

Dear Noa, Jet and James (Short Film): “My film tells the story of [Duke men’s basketball coach] Jon Scheyer and his family. Letters are a powerful tool for storytelling—they are thought-out, personal, timeless, and loving. Through these written letters, the film documents a time the [Scheyer] children have yet to fully understand. As they grow up, the film will become increasingly meaningful to Noa, Jet, and James.”

Charlotte Cohen focuses on storytelling through photography, film, and creative content in the classroom and through her work for the Duke men’s basketball team.


Chaya Brennan Agarwal (International Comparative Studies; Gender, Sexuality, and Feminist Studies: Duke University)
Spring 2023

Mapuche Resistance to Ecological Colonialism (Short Film): “My film portrays the complex narrative of the varied responses among members of a community in southern Chile to an outside enterprise proposing the construction of a hydroelectric dam that would significantly alter the natural environment of their home. Through interviews, this film will illustrate nuanced conflicts in values, discussions of ancestral heritage, and connection with the land through a lens of environmental justice.”

Chaya Brennan Agarwal engages in creative storytelling through documentary filmmaking and photography to narrate stories of social and environmental justice. Throughout her undergraduate career, she has collected familial oral histories, conducted interviews, created photographic essays, and produced documentary films.


Connor Haughey (Psychology, Philosophy: Duke University)
Spring 2023

Queerness in Young Adults of Durham, NC (35mm film photos; short digital video) explores components of the complex queer experience in Durham. The project particularly focuses on how queer people interact with themselves, others, and physical spaces across the city.

Connor is drawn to how individuals express emotion — physically, through the stories they share, and how they choose to interact with their surroundings. Each interaction with his subjects is formative in his evolution as an artist and, more importantly, as a person. Connor primarily works with analog photography and digital video.


Greta N. Cywińska (Neuroscience, Minor in Photography: Duke University)
Spring 2023

The Gift of Memories (Photography): "My project documents my three-year experience of capturing and printing remembrance portraits for palliative care families in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Duke Medical Center and UNC Medical Center. Palliative care provides support for babies with serious and complex illnesses, many of which are life-threatening. Although nothing can take away the grief felt by palliative care families in the NICU, my hope is that my photographs validate every child's presence, honor their legacy, and serve as a physical memory that parents can hold onto for years to come.

Greta is fascinated by the intersection of art and healthcare. Her work explores how photography can be incorporated into the healing environment to create a more humanizing experience for patients and support them in ways that transcend the scope of traditional medicine.

Josephine Vonk (Psychology, Certificate in Innovation and Entrepenuership: Duke University)
Spring 2023

Ohana on a Plate (Short Film): “How do you express family tradition, Hawaiian culture, and delight in one meal? A Rainbow Drive-In plate speaks for itself.”

Josephine Vonk centers her work on storytelling through food and photography. During her undergraduate career, she has photographed at multiple restaurants and collected the stories of many food entrepreneurs. Her favorite part is the relationships with the people, from the business owners to the line cooks.


Kendra Tse (Cultural Anthropology, Spanish: UNC-Chapel Hill)
Fall 2022

The Family Archive (Short Film—Found Footage/Archival Film): “This film explores the conception, evolution, and purpose of my family’s collection of family footage.”

Kendra Tse is fascinated in human expressions, connections, and stories. During her undergraduate career she has worked on diverse documentary projects exploring movement, food, found footage, and more. She has also contributed to community oral history projects in Chapel Hill with the Marian Cheek Jackson Center and Southern Folklife Collection.


Miranda Gershoni (Global Cultural Literature, Cinematic Arts: Duke University)
Spring 2023

To Fall and Remember (Short Film): Play, presence, somatic slowness, liberation through imagination, unspooling conditioned ways in the choreography of white capitalist culture, returning to source,
remembering pure being and creating, following the paths of children to rewild and reconnect with essence, listening to spirit, connecting to an ancient dance, joining in color and song and silence; deep commitment to play and listening with presence and care to the felt experiences and imaginal worlds of children.

Miranda Gershoni creates through sound, video, and presence in community.


Pentsok Whenggyel Rtsang (Visual Media Studies, Minor in Cinematic Arts: Duke University)
Spring 2023

IC: Intros of Cultures, Countries and Communities (to Tibetans) (Video Series): The IC video series introduces different countries, cultures, and communities to a Tibetan audience, offering a unique cultural exchange dialogue.

Pentsok is interested in introducing and preserving different cultures around the world through film, either short videos or documentary films. In the past few years, he has explored photography, experimental drawing, vector illustrations, audio, and videos to introduce and preserve Tibetan cultural practices and knowledge.


Rebekah Theresa Alvarenga (Cultural Anthropology, Visual Arts: Duke University)
Spring 2023

From Here to There (Artist Book—Paper, String, Glue, Photography): This project explores my parents return to their homeland of Honduras, lost and imagined memory, and present-day Honduras in the aftermath of Standard Fruit Company.

Rebekah Theresa Alvarenga explores storytelling through documentary photography and untraditional book formats. During her undergraduate career, her identities and heritage have led her to make works about questions of Latinidad, memory, oral history, and Western imperialism in Honduras.


Tashia Ethridge (African and African American Studies: Duke University)
Spring 2023

Good Grief (Mixed Media/Photography): This project is an exploration, an invitation to the participant and viewer to bear witness to, and be in conversation with, the body.

Tashia Ethridge believes in the power and necessity of telling the stories of our own communities, where we have ties and roots that allow for connection and truth-telling. As they continue navigating what documentary means to them, they center play, collaboration, and dialogue within their work. They are currently constructing their own personal archive and encouraging others to do the same.



Tessa Delgo (Global Cultural Studies, Cinematic Arts: Duke University)
Spring 2023

State of the Art (Short Film): A guide to pursuing the arts at and after Duke University.

Tessa Delgo is a passionate advocate for the importance of the arts and believes art is a powerful tool for social change. Much of her favorite time at Duke has been spent as an arts & culture journalist, experimental filmmaker, and multimedia assistant at the Franklin Humanities Institute.