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Summer 2014

Humans of Denison

Humans of Denison

In the summer of 2010, photographer Brandon Stanton began to take photos of people on the streets of New York and later started to capture their stories through a project he called “Humans of New York.” According to his popular blog, HONY now has more than 4 million followers on social media, and the images have been pulled together into a New York Times bestselling book. But HONY also has sparked a Humans movement, with “Humans of …” spinoffs popping up on Facebook and highlighting the people and personalities of places throughout the world, from Pittsburgh to Paris to Pakistan. • A group of Denison students—Jihyun Kim ’16 of the Republic of South Korea, Asesha Dayal ’17 of Mumbai, India, and Ridhim Seth ’17 of Kolkata, India—joined the international movement and created their own “Humans of Denison” Facebook page—one that they continually update to show that everyone has a story to tell. • Here are just a few of the people they’ve met along the way.



Nick Holland ’ 14 

An English major from Wadsworth, Ohio

“Dr. Xinda Lian in the modern languages department has taught me some of the most valuable lessons of my life: To live with spontaneity, or tzu-ran, and to embrace non-intentionality, or wu-wei. But mostly to find a balance between the two. It may not sound like much, but those lessons have seen me through a lot.”


Sarah Dixon standing and holding toilet paper

Sarah Dixon ’17

a political science major from Springfield, Ohio

“I carry this toilet paper around in case of emergencies.”

An electronic device sits on a table in front of a Denison student

Rohaan Unvala ’17,

A Communication/Cinema double major from Mumbai, India

“I think people need to have less of a filter. They need to be more expressive and faaaa! (Don’t put that in the interview though, ’cause it’s not an actual word.) That’s partly why theatre is so awesome, because you can pretty much be who you want to be, and I think that’s how everyone should be. It’s great at Denison because everyone is really open and…” (JAZZ HANDS)

A young woman sits on a long, wooden bench outside the Denison campus

Emily Carnevale ’16

A Cinema/ English double major from Columbus, Ohio

“I can sing the names of all the presidents of the United States. My dad made it up with his sister. When he was in college, he would bet people that he could sing it in under 15 seconds to get a free beer.”

A student poses in front of a brink wall on the campus at Denison

Chris D. Howard ’17

An Education/ Psychology double major from Washington, D.C.

“I was born having had a stroke. My parents didn’t know this until I was six months old. I had to do extensive physical therapy for the first 13 years of my life. Then I met the captain of the U.S. National Paralympic Soccer Team. He wanted me to come out and play. I’ve been a part of the team since 2008. I’ve traveled to England, Ukraine, Turkey, and Holland playing soccer for the U.S. of A.”

“What’s your position on the team?” “Left bench.”

Associate Professor Fred Porcheddu-Engel

Fred Porcheddu-Engel ’87

Associate Professor of English

“I just married my partner of 25 years last year. Now we are officially an old married couple. I’ve taught English at Denison for more than 20 years, and I wouldn’t want to be any place else.”

(A student nearby): “Dr. Porcheddu is my life advisor.”

Multiple airpots line the counter of a campus coffee shop

The lady behind the counter who asked not to be photographed.

“What do you believe in?” “The Lord.”

Two men control music from behind a DJ booth

Daniel Critchfield ’17

a Communication/ Cinema double major from Falls Church, Virginia,


and Saúl Alejandro Zamora ’17

a Chemistry major from Chicago, Illinois,


during the Strobie Strobe Show on WDUB 91.1 FM

“We’ve had listeners from all over the world. We’ve had listeners from Russia, telling us about how much they love the Doobie!”

A young woman stands in front of a brick building on the Denison campus

Vanessa Gibson ’17,

a Psychology/ Music double major from Pickerington, Ohio

 “What is your dream job? ” “An astronaut. Actually, a singing astronaut!”

Twin brothers sit and study at a campus table with their laptops

Kevin ‘Robin’ Herman ’17 (left),

a Political Science/ Education double major,

pictured with twin brother Michael ‘Batman’ Herman

a student at the College of Wooster 

“We used to call each other Batman and Robin.”

“Who was who? ” “When we were young, he used to wear red, and I used to wear blue. But I wanted to wear red. I wanted to be Robin. So I became Robin.”

Two girls covered in paint stand smiling outside on the Denison campus

Twisha Asher ’17 (left)

A Philosophy, Politics, and Economics (PPE) major from Mumbai, India,

pictured with Tanvi Doshi ’17

A Dance/Economics double major from Calcutta, India

“Philosophy is very fundamental to my being. It is the ultimate form of critical thinking. It assures me that anyone and anything is capable of change if you ask the right questions.”

A smiling student stands outside a study room

Ryan Liedke ’16

A Physics major from Chicago, Illinois

“I’m a sophomore. A Homesteader. A physics major. I live in Olin’s study room. I mean, I live at the Homestead. But I live here, too. All my stuff is usually in the corner, right next to that computer.”

(Someone from the back of the room) “He sleeps here, too.”

“No, I don’t. I don’t. I try not to.”

Three students pose together for a photo in a hallway on the Denison campus

“Everyone has experiences that form their identities. We just wanted to share them.”

The Original

Brandon Stanton has taken more than 5,000 photographs as part of the “Humans of New York” movement. They have included children collecting bugs, playing guitar, and dressing up. They have included people in the East Village, in Central Park, and on the Upper West Side. His subjects have been tatooed and clear-skinned and lost and in love. They have been homeless and homeschooled. But nearly all of them have opened up to this stranger with a camera. What Stanton stumbled upon in his endeavor to capture the people of his hometown (and all the offshoots that sprang up in towns, cities, and countries along the way) was a universal need to share stories—and our universal desire to listen.

Asesha Dayal ’17

an economics/ communication double major (right), pictured with fellow creators of “Humans of Denison”

Jihyun Kim ’16

a cinema/studio art double major (left),

and Ridhim Seth ’17

an economics major (center)