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Episode Info:

Storytelling using culture is not new, but it does provide a creative way to make connections with others regarding educating about cultural differences but in the end, how we are all more alike than different. Nancy Xiong is the guest for this episode and we talked about her work with using storytelling to achieve this and other goals. Nancy is a Hmong American Educator, Writer, and Artist. She was named after former First Lady, Nancy Reagan, as a symbol of democracy. She drove her mother through crazy adventures and was known as "siab coob" or many hearts/ having many interests. She's a dreamer at heart with goals after another. Moving away to college, Nancy started a journey discovering and learning/unlearning about her Hmong American identity as a child of Hmong war refugee parents. The puzzle pieces started to connect when she found herself in graduate school being challenged to look at herself as a first generation, cisgender Hmong American female. Her professors and mentors took her on board to look at the world through the lens of solidarity, diversity, and inclusion. They also emphasized the importance of knowing your family history and yourself. Currently, Nancy is a part of a leadership team running a women and gender studies department where she plans programs and events, advises and fearlessly teaches young folks on issues of women and gender. Nancy has incorporated storytelling which has been a healing tool in her teaching and workshops as well as her community work. Nancy holds a B.A. in International Studies and a BA in East Asian Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, an M.A. in Sociology from George Mason University, and a M.A. in Social Justice in Intercultural Relations from SIT Graduate Institute. Her research and academic interest include diversity and inclusion, Hmong-American Studies, Refugee Studies, Gender-based Violence, and International Marriage Migration. During this episode, Nancy and I discuss how she got started using her cultural roots and creativity to share her story, the benefits of sharing her creative gifts through storytelling, and her advice for other creatives who would like to share their story through a similar method. You can learn more about Nancy Xiong at http://nancyxiong.com. You can follow her on Instagram at @xiongnacyx. Theme music for Spark Your Creative podcast was created exclusively by DC area musician and songwriter, Melvin Rodgers: https://store.cdbaby.com/cd/melvinrogers.

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