Conversations with my hair

Queens wear their crowns proudly! When I say crown, I don’t mean jewels of adornment. The tresses that grow from my head is my crown. I have so much to say about my hair…and I am sure my hair has much to say about me.


Hair: It’s burning, is it supposed to feel this way?

Me: Well, how do you think it’s SUPPOSED TO FEEL?

Hair: I don’t know, but it’s burning and my head is hurting

from perming and pruning just ruining my fruition

Scalp on fire.. Stressing out my roots. Fine tuning my texture, forgetting my complicated complexion

Stop this madness! Now your scalp is full of sadness

Suffering from chemical stressors



Me: CUTS HAIR in 2010

I cut it off because dermatitis was running wild.

I cut it off because I did not know the true texture of you.

I cut it off because I yearned to get to know you from start to finish.

I cut it and I began to know my true self.

I cut it, and broke the chemical chains.

I began wearing wigs because I was uncomfortable with how you looked.

I slowly started getting to know you.

We went through the growing stage together.

I twisted my tresses, rocked you with colorful dresses, and accessories to match.

Yes my hair is ALL that!

Here you are 7 years later, just as beautiful and strong as you want to be

So wild and yet so free.

I will treat you as I treat myself, with kindness, caring, and love.

My dear sweet tresses, resting above.


Digital Storytelling M3- Landmarks for Life- A Collaborative Digital Story

Introducing our collaborative digital story  Landmarks for Life

For our collaborative mobile story, we decided to get out into nature and visit a local landmark. Each of us created, edited, and narrated our own videos using images and video that we captured while visiting the landmarks. The final video edit was done by Stephanie Ali.

Digital Story Title: Landmarks for Life

Team Members: Aurora Thornton (Team Lead) Stephanie Ali (Video editor) Shante Pierson (Script Writer)

Scenes: Saratoga Spa State Park, Edible Arbor Trail, and Norfolk Botanical Gardens

Media Used: Narration, original images, video, audio, text, sound effects (Saratoga Spa State Park images courtesy of

Tools: iMovie, Garage Band

Digital Story Duration: 3 minutes 25 seconds



Saratoga Spa State Park is considered to be one of New York States most scenic outdoor locations, which distinguished by its classical architecture. Listed as a National Historic Landmark, Saratoga Spa State Park has a multitude of recreational activities that the entire family can enjoy. During our first visit to Saratoga Spa State Park, my family and I enjoyed some time at Peerless Pool, but our favorite place was the playground located next to the newly updated Polaris Pavilion

What I enjoyed the most about coming to this playground is that there are a bunch of different activities that the children can enjoy but there are also opportunities for learning as well. As you can see there are different posts around the park that give bits and pieces of information about the nature that is all around us. Some of the posts describe the flowers, some of the posts described the insects that may be buzzing around. Saratoga Spa State Park is a beautiful place to visit and I am definitely looking forward to making many more trips there with my family.


Edible Arbor Trail, this award-winning path runs through Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter featuring several groves of hardy trees and shrubs that produce edible fruits and nuts along Missouri City’s Oyster Creek Trail in Texas.

Thank you nature! You are the tree of life. You are the natural resource that provides oxygen, food, and medicine. Thank you for improving our air and water quality. Most importantly, we thank you for making our homes.


The Norfolk Botanical Gardens have over 60 different gardens to explore, including a children’s garden and gardens for every season. They also host various events and activities, such as yoga, bike nights, and kayaking. They have various adult and children’s horticultural classes and experiments with different themes, so there’s something for everyone!

The Garden also has art installations spread throughout the gardens dating back to the 1950s. The garden started in 1938 when horticulturist Frederic Heutte partnered with city manager Thomas P. Thompson to create an azalea garden that would rival those in Charleston, South Carolina. The city of Norfolk gave them 75-acres of land to plant their azaleas.

Today, the garden includes 175 acres, a butterfly garden, and boat tours through the canals – which are visited by over 20,000 adults and children annually.

Ending credits


Hyde, C. (June 3, 2015). Edible Arbor Trail.Community Impact.

Lambert, J. (2013). Digital Storytelling: Capturing LivesCreating Communities. (4th ed.). Routledge. New York, NY.

Norfolk Botanical Garden (2018 August 9) Norfolk Botanical Garden. Retrieved from

Saratoga spa state park. (n.d.). Retrieved August 1, 2018, from






Digital Storytelling M3- Creating a collaborative Digital Story

“Stories of place become ways to discuss land resource management, indigenous land rights, climate, disproportionate public health impacts on the poor, and countless other other issues becoming part of our national and international civic dialogues” (Lambert, 2013).

My classmates and I have been split off into teams where we have been tasked to create a collaborative digital story. I suggested a topic that allowed us to get out of the house and enjoy a bit of nature because my daughter loves going to the park and going on nature walks. My team mate, Aurora, suggested creating a video about the importance of visiting local landmarks, with each of us providing footage of a local landmark and the history behind it. I thought his was a great idea because my sister and I had just taken our children to Saratoga Spa State Park for the first time and we had such a wonderful time.

I grew up in Queens, New York and outside of going to the city (Times Square), I hadn’t been to many landmarks. Upon visiting Saratoga Spa State Park, I learned about the amenities and the wide variety of activities that are available for everyone to enjoy. One visit alone was enough for me to begin planning the next visit, in which my family and I intend to spend the entire day! There are so many different activities ranging from recreational to educational. This is why is another reason why I thought my team mate had a great suggestion.

Saratoga Spa State Park is know for its beautiful architecture and for its diverse cultural, aesthetic, and recreational resources (“Saratoga Spa State,” n.d.). This aesthetic landmark houses The Saratoga Performing Arts Center, the Spa Little Theater, The National Museum of Dance, Saratoga Automobile Museum, The Gideon Putnam Resort and Roosevelt Baths and Spa as well as recreational activities. Upon visiting the website, I also learned about their camping sites, which is also a plus because my daughter has been asking to go camping. Saratoga Spa State Park is a beautiful place and if you have never visited, My suggestion is that you put that on your list of things to do! The park also received some recent updates totaling $839,000, which include a new picnic shelter, a comfort station near Peerless Pool and a one-mile bike and pedestrian trail within the park along Route 9/South Broadway (Kraebel, 2014).


Kraebel, C. (2014, November 17). Improvements made to state park. Retrieved

August 1, 2018, from


Lambert, J. (2013). Digital storytelling: Capturing lives, creating community

(4th ed.). New York: Routledge.

Saratoga spa state park. (n.d.). Retrieved August 1, 2018, from

Digital Storytelling M3 Learning- The Editor/Script Writer

Module three has begun and I am very excited to create a digital story with my classmates. We have been set up into teams with the goal of creating a collaborative digital story. I suggested a mobile story that involves getting out into nature because my daughter loves being outside and learning about nature. What a great opportunity for both of us to learn and explore the beauty that is all around us. Since. Starting this course, I have been spending more time outside. I enjoy taking photos of sunsets, gardens, flowers and architecture.

In chapter two, Lambert stated that we all have a tiny voice in our heads that tells us that we may not be able to create stories that people would be interested in hearing. He discusses how we sometimes doubt our own ability to create good content. This is something that I deal with on a regular basis and as I work toward listening to the positive voices, I am also learning to share much more about myself. It is through courses such as this one that I am finding my voice and sharing it with others. It is certainly not an easy task for someone as private as myself, but I am doing it.

As I work on creating a collaborative mobile story, I am now starting to feel a bit uneasy about having to create the script for my group. Creating my own script wasn’t very hard, but I am concerned that because we each will be discussing different places, that it may be a tedious task. It would sort of be like writing three separate scripts and then combining them. Chapter six discusses the story circle and digital storytelling workshops. Script Review and Initial image work was discussed within this chapter, and because I chose to be the team script writer, I felt this information would be very useful. We each bring different ideas and points of view to the same story. As the script writer, it is necessary that I don’t make any changes to they way each person says their words or add any word that we’re not spoken.

Lambert, J. (2013). Digital storytelling: Capturing lives, creating community

(4th ed.). New York: Routledge.

Digital Storytelling- M2 Mobile Story: Intimate Partner Violence and it’s Effects


Digital Story Title: Domestic Violence

Theme Music: Original music created with Garage Band on iPad

Tools: iMovie for iPad, Garage Band, Canva, YouTube

Media Used: Voice recording, royalty free images, video

Digital Story Duration: 8 minutes, 26 seconds

Similar Stories:

Digital Story Duration: 8 minutes, 26 seconds

Image One by GETTY/HUFFPOST Women


(Video News Reporter) Inaudible Nashville woman fighting for her life brought a community together tonight. Singers performed at Gospel United Church in Nashville and people wore purple for domestic violence awareness. It was all to honor thirty-seven-year-old Carolyn Harris. Harris’s boyfriend is accused of shooting her after the two were arguing last month. Since then the mother of nine children remains in the hospital. Proceeds from today’s concert will help her with her ongoing medical bills.


Voice Recording (image two Facebook)

Domestic violence continues to be problem here in the United States, with no sign of slowing down. Both men and women can be victims of intimate partner violence, but women are more likely to be victims.


Image three by DualD FlipFlop via Flickr

Intimate partner violence includes four types of behavior. Physical violence (Image four Instagram) is when an individual hurts their partner by using physical force such as kicking, punching, or slapping.

Sexual violence (Image five by DualD FlipFlop via Flickr) is when an individual forces or attempts to force their partner to take part in a sexual act, a non-physical sexual event or when a partner does not or cannot consent. Stalking (Video from YouTube) is a repeated pattern of unwanted contact or attention by a partner that causes fear or concern for the safety of the victim or individuals that are close to the victim.

Psychological Aggression ( Image five from 30 shocking domestic violence statistics) is the use of verbal and non-verbal communication with the intention to control and harm another individual mentally or emotionally. It is important to understand that these different behaviors can happen all at once and is connected to other forms of violence. (Image six by The Lamp via Flickr)


How serious is intimate partner violence? Well, IPV affects millions of people in the United States each year. ( Image seven created with Canva, info from by CDC) According to the CDC’s National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey, nearly one in four women and about one in seven men report having experienced severe physical violence at the hands of an intimate partner in their lifetime (Preventing Intimate, n.d.).


What can we do to stop IPV before it begins? (Image eight by Giraffecereal via Flickr) There are a variety of approaches that are intended to stop IPV before it starts (Image created with Canva, info from 30 shocking domestic violence statistics) . According to the CDC, when we support the development of healthy, non-violent relationships, we can potentially reduce the occurrence of IPV. It could also prevent damaging, long-lasting effects on individuals, their family and friends, as well as their communities.


The CDC lists multiple strategies that are intended to stop intimate partner violence before it happens, as well as approaches that provide support to survivors, lessening the short and long term effects of abuse. (Image from CDC)


  1. With healthy relationship programs for couples and social-emotional learning programs for youth, we can teach safe and healthy relationship skills.
  2. Family-based programs, bystander empowerment and education and Men and boys as allies in prevention are programs that can help engage influential peers and adults.
  3. Parenting skill and family relationship programs, preschool enrichment with family engagement, early childhood home visitation, and treatment for at-risk children, youth, and family are programs that can alter the developmental pathways toward partner violence. (Image from Domestic Abuse Project)
  4. By improving school climate and safety, modifying the physical and social environments in our neighborhoods, and improving the organizational policies and workplace climate can create an environment of protection. (Images from Pinterest)
  5. Economic support for families can also help stop IPV before it starts, by strengthening work-family supports and household financial security.
  6. Survivors of IPV must be supported to increase safety and lessen the harmful encounters. Housing programs, patient-centered approaches, victim-centered services, first responder and civil legal protections, as well as treatment and support are all services that can assists individuals that have experienced IPV. (Image from Pinterest)


What do you do when intimate partner violence is affecting someone you love? In my case, the person dear to me that was experiencing intimate partner violence, was my sister. My sister Shaquanna is a survivor of IPV and one of the hardest things I’ve ever experienced is seeing my sister battered and bruised. Shaquanna endured almost ten years of verbal, mental and physical abuse at the hands of her children’s father, yet she never allowed her circumstances to deter her from her goals. Shaquanna recently graduated with her bachelors’ Degree in Community and Human Services of SUNY Empire State College, and she is currently working toward her master’s degree in Adult learning.


Short Interview with my sister, Shaquanna Pierson

Scene: Outside in front of Shaquanna’s house 

Shante: What was it that motivated it you to finally to walk away from that abuse relationship?

Shaquanna: Okay so back then, we had already been together for about nine years and for me, I was loyal like almost to a fault. Like I felt, even though I was in a bad situation I felt like I was wrong for wanting to leave the relationship, because of the fact that we had kids together. So to be honest, it really came down to a prior love interest coming back into my life. Because I felt like u didn’t really entertain the though of dating another guy or trying to start all over again. And I wasn’t really even keen to the idea of raising children on my own, so then I had prior love interest who contacted me through Facebook. We met up with each other, we kind of like starting hanging out and then it just went from there. I felt like, you know, he kind of showed me that I could trust again, and also came down to safety where I felt like because he was a man if there was any type of retaliation from the previous relationship that he’d be able to at least protect me or defend me in some type of way. So it sounds a little weird to say that it really took for a man to come in my life, but in that situation that’s what it was because of the fact that I couldn’t see that I didn’t have to maintain my loyalty to someone who was putting me in a an abusive situation. But at the time I didn’t  see that. It really took for him to come along and kind of help open my eyes to things that I was unable to see before.

Shante: Ok, so next question. What would you do if saw someone in public being physically or verbally abused by their significant other, after having experienced a similar situation?

Shaquanna: Well for me there was actually a where that actually did happen, and it really depends on the circumstances. If I felt comfortable enough to approach them and kind of like just break up the situation, then I would. But if  I felt like it would be harmful for myself and probably also for the other person, I would just call the cops.

Shante: What type of advice would you give someone that is currently experiencing some form of intimate partner violence?

Shaquanna: For me I would say just finding your own will to live. What I think it is is that when you’re in an abusive relationship, that usually comes down to a self-worth issue. It could be something that stems from childhood, or any type of experience you’ve had in your life but usually if you have um self-love issues just like some sort of self-esteem issues that’s when you find yourself like accepting less than what you deserve. So I think that when you find the will to live, it gives you a little bit more, it just gives you something to look forward to.

Final images created with Canva.

Thanks for watching




CappaZak. (2012, October 29). Enough movie trailer 2002 (Jennifer lopez) [Video file]. Retrieved from

NewsChannel5. (2018, July 14). Benefit concert held for domestic violence survivor [Video file]. Retrieved from

Preventing intimate partner violence. (n.d.). Retrieved July 3, 2018, from

Smith, S. G., Zhang, X., Basile, K. C., Merrick, M. T., Wang, J., Kresnow, M.-J., & Chen, J. (2015). National intimate partner and sexual violence survey: 2015 data brief. Retrieved June 27, 2018, from

Vagianos, A. (2014, October 23). 30 shocking domestic violence statistics that remind us it’s an epidemic. Retrieved June 25, 2018, from







Digital Storytelling- M2 Mobile Story Introduction

My second mobile story is a story that has effected my family for a number of years. I decided to that I wanted my mobile stories to cover topics that raise awareness for issues that have made in impacted the lives of my family members. Intimate Partner Violence is an act that continues to be an issue here in the U.S. and across the globe. My mobile story discusses what IPV is, who is affected, as well as ways in which IPV can be prevented. With the help of my sister, I conducted a brief interview in which my sister explains how she was able to escape a  violent 10 year relationship.

I must admit, that this was a difficult topic to discuss. My sister wasn’t the only one to  experience domestic violence at the hands of her children’s father. Before my sister became pregnant with my nieces, her then partner gave ME a black eye as well. I had never been a victim of domestic violence prior to this incident. With that said, I was present for quite a few altercations that transpired between my sister and her then partner.

I also thought it was important to inform others that men can be victims of IPV as well. It seems that men are not taken seriously in terms of reporting abuse from a woman. Men may be  less likely to experience intimate partner violence, but it is necessary to provide men with the tools necessary to stop violent behaviors before they start. Knowing the signs when dealing with an abusive person can also prevent the prolonging of an abusive relationship. Domestic or Intimate Partner violence is a serious issue and my goal with this mobile story is to speak out and raise awareness.


Digital Storytelling-M2 Decisions, Decisions

This module, I kept going back and forth in my mind about the topic that I wanted to cover in my next mobile story. I was able to narrow down my choices by applying the advice I received from a professional digital storyteller. There are stories all around us, just waiting to be told. The topics that I want to address are topics that are not easy to talk about. Topics that often don’t receive as much spotlight as it should, because it makes people uncomfortable.

Aside from deciding what to cover in my mobile story, I have been researching different techniques to add to my mobile story. In chapter five, Alexander mentions a Web service named Voice Thread that allows you to create and share conversations around media (Alexander, 2017). You can add text, photos, videos, voice notes, and even type on the screen. There is a web based version, as well as an application that is available through the App Store. The application has quite a few negative reviews, but I will still give the web service a try before making the decision to utilize the service.

Viewing the digital stories on other digital storytellers has helped me to focus on creating stories that evoke emotions, as well as provide a message. Viewing similar stories has also helped me to see the perspectives of others, while dealing with life challenges. As time goes on, I am confident that I will be able to digital masterpieces. As for now, I am taking in as much information as possible. As I build up my instagram following, I am looking out for digital storytellers so that I can see examples of their work and learn from it.

Alexander, B. (2017). The new digital storytelling creating narratives with new

media. Santa Barbara, CA: Praeger.

Digital Storytelling- M2 Learning

As I continue to learn about new applications and platforms that I can use to create digital stories, I find myself becoming a bit overwhelmed. After viewing some of my classmates digital stories, I am reminded that I have much to learn. My first digital story was definitely not my best work, but I am content with the grade that I received because the message that I wished to portray was delivered. I received some tips from my peer review that I plan to take notice of moving forward.

I am currently working on module two’s mobile story and I have ideas about what I want to do, but executing it may be a challenge. I would like to utilize Adobe Spark in combination with a few other applications that I discovered in the App Store, but I am unsure if Spark Page has the capabilities that I am looking for. Today after reading the some of module two readings, I tried creating a sample story using Spark page. I was impressed with how vivid everything looked when I was done. Now if I can figure out how incorporate what I did into my next mobile story, I will be one step closer to creating another meaningful story.

The Instagram account that is linked to my WordPress has also gained quite a few new followers. Through sharing some of my creative work and creative posts, I did gain a few followers that are digital story tellers. I was seeking advice on how to create meaningful stories and I was happy to receive a message back from one of them. I will continue to use Instagram as a marketing source, for inspiration, and to learn from others. I am grateful for the advice that I received and look forward to putting that information to good use.