Some mornings, there would be a certain buzz in the air among my cohort; often, this excitement was a result of newly sparked questions and idea creation, generated from spent time brainstorming with Nyssa in recent days. She creates a space for open, empathetic communication; she is always encouraging us to be creative with our questioning and understanding of ourselves and the world at large. Her compassionate exploration of perspective—and quest for the understanding of humanity—is at the heart here.
For a long time, I have fought hard to overcome my language barrier during class discussions. I often see my classmates’ faces of confusion, simple respect and encouragement but with no idea of what I am talking about. Nyssa shows her patience and amazing understanding in rephrasing my points and synthesizes my loose expressions with context. I am amazed by her ability to master the invisible energy of the class with few words – she tells me how to articulate my ideas in a clear and concise way; she promotes the points and connects them with the topic of the class; she motivates the other people to talk and get into the conversation. Her magic comes from her deep understanding of people’s minds and her artful construction of the invisible space of learning–she could understand the situation from different perspectives and find the perfect point to drive the process of learning.
As an international student, I felt helpless to conduct interview related to the election which I had no idea about. Then I talked to Nyssa. The questions that she prepared with me help me go deeper with my narrator and really got her story. The most impressive process was working with her to finish the story writing part. Because I was overwhelmed by the election results and the story and didn’t know where to start, Nyssa spent the whole afternoon listening to me. The way she worked with me is really helpful and impressive. She never talked first. She always asked me to retell the stories. No matter how long it was, she would listen to the whole thing patiently and took notes while I was talking. The magical thing was that when I finished talking, she would always have an idea for me based on what I had said. I remember she told me: “You need to find a thematic container for your story and then you find the form and structure for it.” She helped me find that container which shaped the story really well. For me, her help is really valuable.
When she provides feedback, she is profoundly inquisitive, passionate, compassionate, and patient – all qualities that are critical to ensuring open dialogue and discourse with students. In a classroom, she takes the lead and everyone is immediately drawn to the skill and confidence with which she teaches. She is generous with her time outside the classroom as well, and during the course of the class, she often meet with students during office hours to provide one-on-one mentorship on the Election Project and our oral history practice and theory as a whole.
A clear-eyed educator and a pride in curiosity that goes unmatched. Unfailingly generous with her time, she always made herself available to myself and my classmates.
Nyssa asked me questions that cracked open my entire thesis project and redirected my approach to it.... her open-ended offerings, her innate sense of story, and method of inquiry had a greater impact on my work than any of my other instructors.
With Nyssa, the lessons seemed to flow naturally, conversationally. Beyond the expertise with visual narratives—that is her gift. To share her authority, and converse you to new insight. I feel truly blessed to have had Nyssa as an instructor.
Absolutely loved this workshop. It really opened up possibilities for me in my own work, learning how to tell a story creatively while still retaining analytical rigidity…loved the hands on approach.
I loved this! A really engaging workshop which encouraged emotional honesty in a supportive atmosphere.