Student Storyteller in Residence

postcard of goldenrod

postcard of windmill

postcard of meadowlark

postcard of city

Dear Great Plains

Become a part of this year's project!

Dear Great Plains is a postcard-writing campaign created by Karla Hernandez Torrijos. The project hopes to tell a different story of the Great Plains: more complex, more diverse, and more nuanced. If you have ever felt or been told that you could not be an artist, a poet, a writer, this project is for you. We want to hear your story. Use this space to reflect on your lived experiences in the region: positive, negative, and everything in between.

A collective letter, the project raises questions of heritage, history, and home. Botanist Robin Wall Kimmerer writes, “Knowing that you love the earth changes you [...] but when you feel that the earth loves you in return, that feeling transforms the relationship from a one-way street into a sacred bond.” I am asking you to consider your bond with the Great Plains. I am asking you to write a postcard to the Great Plains.

There is no right or wrong way to make your postcard: paint it your favorite shade of yellow, write a grocery list for your grandmother’s chocolate-chip cookies, chronicle the worst snow day of your life. We are interested in the story of the Great Plains, as told by the people who live here.

--Karla Hernandez Torrijos

Following a collection period, the postcards will become an art installation open to the public at the Great Plains Art Museum in Lincoln, Nebraska. Groups interested in hosting Hernandez Torrijos for a postcard-writing workshop should contact the Center for Great Plains Studies at The public is also invited to a First Friday workshop, 5 to 7 p.m. April 5 at the museum. Read more on the project.

Request a printed postcard by emailing or pick one up at the Great Plains Art Museum. Fill out a digital postcard that will be copied onto a physical postcard by filling out this Google form.

2023-24 Student Storyteller in Residence: Karla Hernandez Torrijos

UNL undergraduate student Karla Hernandez Torrijos (she/her) is a poet and workshop facilitator who has been invited to read in venues across Nebraska, including The Bay, El Museo Latino, and The UNL Wick Alumni Center. The recipient of the 2022-2023 Irby F. Wood Prize for Poetry and the 2020-2021 Vreeland Award for Poetry, her writing interrogates our understanding of home, displacement, and the liminal space in between. Karla was the 2021-2022 Creative in Community Resident for The LUX Center for the Arts and is the inaugural Student Storyteller in Residence for The Center for Great Plains Studies. Her work can be found in Preposition: An Undercurrent Anthology.

Become a Great Plains storyteller!

This annual program at the Center for Great Plains Studies invites students to apply to be our Student Storyteller in Residence. Over the course of the year, the storyteller will produce a visual and/or written project that helps tell the story of the region by working with Center mentors. The student will receive a one-time stipend of $1,275, an office at the Center for the academic year, mentorship, and help publishing their project. Project examples include: a podcast, essays, poetry, website, film, visual artwork, film, etc. The application opens each April and residency starts fall semester.

Do you have a story to tell about the Great Plains? The Center for Great Plains Studies invites any UNL undergraduate or graduate student to apply for its inaugural Student Storyteller in Residence. The successful applicant will be provided a one-time stipend of $1,275, an office at the Center for the 2023-24 year, and mentorship by a committee of Center Fellows. Applications due by May 1, 2024. Applicants will be notified by June 1. Sample storytelling projects include (but are not limited to) a:

  • podcast
  • creative non-fiction essay
  • poetry chapbook
  • website
  • film
  • visual artwork

This program is funded by the Michael Farrell Fund for Student Storytelling, administered through the University of Nebraska Foundation.

Michael Farrell has been a storyteller all his life. He spent most of his career as an award-winning public media documentarian focused on the culture, history, and environment of Nebraska and the Great Plains. Whether it’s the Platte Basin Timelapse project or another topic suited to the Great Plains, Michael hopes to inspire students to orient themselves toward storytelling. In honor of Michael’s career and the many people who supported him in doing what he loves year after year, he is establishing this fund.


To apply, email with your CV/resumé and a cover letter of no more than two pages that includes:

  • Why you are interested in the program
  • What project you would like to pursue and how it relates to the Great Plains
  • Which Center Fellows would be helpful mentors to you (choose no more than four from the list at
Karla Hernandez Torrijos

Karla Hernandez Torrijos