Ally Karsyn

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Sioux City, Iowa

The Story

Entering college, Ally Karsyn (’11) anticipated studying communication and graphic design, but her path changed when she received two journalism scholarships.  She followed a new direction that eventually led to her current position at Siouxland Public Media in Sioux City, Iowa.

“My freshman academic adviser guided me through the process of creating an individual studies major with a journalism minor,” says Karsyn. “This allowed me to take courses in journalism, communication, sociology, psychology, photography and graphic design.”

Creating a unique major was not the only opportunity that Karsyn benefited from during her time in college; she also had the opportunity to study in London and spend a semester in Chicago. These opportunities to study off-campus helped Karsyn find her passion in the world of journalism.

“Ultimately, the Chicago Semester exposed me to the magic of live storytelling," she says. 

After graduation and a few years spent as a newspaper reporter, Karsyn found an opportunity to use her career to share people’s stories using public radio.  Siouxland Public Media, a National Public Radio member station, is where she works as an arts producer and is the founder, producer, and host of Ode.

“Two years ago, I started Ode, a live storytelling series where community members tell true stories on stage to encourage empathy,” says Karsyn. “At the time, I was working at a newspaper and feeling like something was missing from my life, personally and professionally. I was searching for something meaningful, something that could make a difference. And for me, that was live storytelling.” 

Karsyn has found success in her work. She was selected to receive the 2017 Images & Voices of Hope (ivoh) Restorative Narrative Fellowship and spoke about her work with Ode at ivoh's annual media summit in June of 2017.  Karsyn finds Ode to be a fulfilling outlet to work with others and help them share their life stories.

“One of my greatest joys is helping people craft meaningful stories that speak to their struggles but also their strengths,” she says. “In the past two years, I have witnessed and experienced the transformative power of storytelling.”