Tune in to Focus Carolina during morning, noon and evening drive times and on the weekends to hear stories from faculty members at UNC and find out what ignites their passion for their work. Focus Carolina is an exclusive program on 97.9 The Hill WCHL, sponsored by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Dr. Brian Sturm is an associate professor with the School of Information and Library Science and his research focuses on how people become immersed in what they hear and read. He established Story Squad, which encourages young people to read and assists older children with understanding the structure of a story and helps older adults maintain their mental agility and imagination.
“My research is geared around this whole sense of fascination or immersion. When people read a book and get totally lost in the narrative story to the point where they don’t hear the telephone ring or they don’t hear someone call, that kind of intense focused attention is what intrigues me.”
In addition to his duties with the School of Information and Library Science, Dr. Sturm was also asked by the UNC Hospital to tell stories to the children who are staying there. Dr. Sturm says it is a rewarding experience for him to tell stories to the children, who for a brief moment are transported away from the hospital bed to the world of the story.
“It’s split into two pieces. The first piece is to go to the actual school and they bring the children down to the school who are healthy enough to come and I perform for about an hour for them and tell them stories and we talk. Then, the children who aren’t healthy enough to come down who are in their rooms, I go up with one of the teachers and we go around and the teachers ask if the child would like me to tell a story. If all of the clearances are okay and they’re healthy enough, I will go into their room and tell a story. It has been an incredibly rewarding experience, but also incredibly difficult.”