Thinking Out Loud: Local Youth Make Waves

Jun 29, 2015
Kelsey Kupferer

Radio can be a powerful medium for storytelling. Just ask a group of recent graduates from Columbia's Rock Bridge High School. In this episode of Thinking Out Loud, we hear a trio of young women's stories that explore how their identity was formed and who they want to be.

Noah McQueen is part of "My Brother's Keeper," a White House program aimed at young men of color.

His teen years have been rough, and include several arrests and a short period of incarceration. But last week, he was at the White House. The 18-year-old sat down for a StoryCorps interview with President Obama, who wanted to know more about Noah's life.


5-year-old Kylie Journell’s father is in Japan with the Navy, and she lives with her grandmother Maria Oropello in Columbia, who cares for her as a mother. They came to story corps to talk about their family history and how the military has impacted it.

This story was produced by Kate Grumke for KBIA. Music by Chris Zabriskie


Sam Jonesi is a cadet in the Air Force ROTC at University of Missouri.   He’s a computer science student and hopes to use his training to help the military in cyber warfare.  He came to Story Corps with his friend Lakshna Mehta to talk about his hopes and motivations for his military life.

This story was produced by Meredith Turk for KBIA. Music by Chris Zabriskie

Watch the show and join the conversation on the Intersection website.  


After 12 years of service in the U.S. Navy and military, Kendale Carter received a medical discharge for his PTSD symptoms. When he arrived home, he struggled with his condition while also coping with the death of his younger brother, who died of a brain tumor, and the separation from his first wife. Carter came to StoryCorps with long-time family friend Jenny Greeves  to talk about his struggles and what it took for him to persevere.

The story was produced by Andrew Yost for KBIA. Music by Chris Zabriskie.


Like many veterans, 56-year-old Michael Vizcarra left a young family at home when he left on deployment; and for him, that was a significant sacrifice. Michael came to StoryCorps and brought along his now 17-year-old daughter Victoria Vizcarra, to talk about some of his experiences overseas.

Bridgit Bowden produced this story for KBIA. Music by Chris Zabriskie


Levi Newman grew up in Stella, Missouri, a small town near Joplin of less than 200 people. Ten days after finishing up high school, Newman decided to join the Army. His life in the service changed significantly when the 9/11 attacks occurred. Now, after 10 years in the military, Newman graduated from MU. He currently is Senior Author and Director of Outreach at Veterans United in Columbia, where he writes stories or opinion pieces and reaches out to the community. Co-worker Jeff Ousley sat down with Newman to look back on his life in the military and transition back to a rural area.

Tony Nochim produced this story for KBIA. Music by Chris Zabriskie


Sterling Wyatt, 21, was a soldier who lost his life in 2012 in an IED explosion while serving the US Army in Afghanistan. His mother, Sherry Wyatt, 55, came to StoryCorps to share the story of how she learned of her son’s character through his journals and stories from his brothers-in-arms.

Sterling Wyatt’s death while serving the US Army in Afghanistan in 2012 lead to the funeral that brought out thousands of Columbians dressed in red to show their support of the Wyatt family.  

The story was produced by George Varney for KBIA. Music by Chris Zabriskie.


Shawn Lee is a former Army infantryman who lives in Columbia. He served in both the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Lee and his friend and fellow veteran Daniel Hartman, came to StoryCorps to talk about why Lee enlisted, and the challenges he faced coming home.

This story was edited by Casey Morell for KBIA. Music by Chris Zabriskie.


When 38-year-old Rhett Hartman joined the Marine Corps in 2002, he hadn’t considered death as a possibility—until he was asked by his sergeant to write a letter for home in case he didn’t come back. 

Photo courtesy of StoryCorps

This week’s show is all about moms—and we have the good, the bad and the ugly. First up, we’ll hear about a book of portraits on the life of the American mother and later we have an audio essay on the complicated mother/daughter relationship.

Photo courtesy of StoryCorps

Still thinking of what to do this Sunday for Mother’s Day? How about interviewing your mom? That’s a suggestion from veteran public radio producer and StoryCorps founder Dave Isay. Since 2003, the organization has collected over 40,000 interviews, some of which you may have heard on NPR’s Morning Edition. Some of those interviews have also been compiled into the book Mom: A Celebration of Mothers from StoryCorps. Now in paperback, it consists of interviews with and about–you guessed it–moms. KBIA’s Rehman Tungekar spoke with Dave Isay, and he started out by talking about what the book teaches us about mothers.