OxyCorps -- Alumni Stories of Student Life
Authors:Sara Mooney, Isabel Osgood-Roach, Ryan Rambach, Taylor Rowland
Mentor:Dale Ann Stieber, Special Collections Librarian/College Archivist, Occidental College
The OxyCorps pilot project was launched in the summer of 2012, and was spearheaded by four student researchers under the supervision of Dale Stieber, Special Collections Librarian/College Archivist. The objectives of the project were to capture a wide range of individual perspectives through oral history methodologies and to build a narrative to broaden the history of Occidental as a liberal arts college. The first stage was centered on identifying alumni who were active participants on campus during their time at Oxy. Starting with recommendations from the Alumni Office, browsing through yearbooks, and doing online research, we were able to compose an extensive list of compelling alums. We created a pre-interview questionnaire, designed a general outline for the interviews, learned filming and interviewing techniques, and coordinated the logistical matters of scheduling rooms. The month of July was spent transcribing and analyzing each of the 58 interviews. To take full advantage of the rich material embedded within these interviews, we devised a list of dominant themes, which allowed us to categorize the footage. As part of the project, we selected 16 clips from the interviews and created an interactive online database to host them. We chose to feature “student life” as a unifying theme relevant to both current and former students, highlighting clips that exemplify the multiple facets of an Occidental College experience. We hope this project creates the space for alumni stories to be shared while also strengthening ties across the College community as well as demonstrate the potential for further endeavors.