MDOCS Storytellers' Institute

2022 Visiting Fellows

Shalon Buskirk is a community leader who has dedicated her life to protecting, helping, and saving young adults from violence within her community. She was born and raised in Allentown, PA. After the tragic death of her first born son, Parris, she started to work towards a nonprofit for young adults that engages them with the resources they need for success. She was a driving force behind the first major funding in the city for youth violence prevention. She is a storyteller, a mother of eight children, and the CEO/Founder of the Parris J. Lane Memorial Foundation. She was a Visiting Fellow at Skidmore College’s MDOCS Storytellers’ Institute in 2020 and recently the co-author of United Hearts for Autism: Stories from Caregivers and Self-Advocates. She is a board member for Community Bike Works, and on the advisory council for Allentown’s Salvation Army and Youth Teen Renovations.

Drew Swedberg is a documentary filmmaker, cinematographer, educator, and basketball coach. Through a collaborative process and poetic approach, his filmmaking orbits around the everyday dreams, relationships, and forces that shape his home in Eastern Pennsylvania. Drew is the founder of Collaborative Media Expressions, a digital storytelling initiative focused on engaging, supporting, and cultivating emerging artists in Allentown, PA. He is an Adjunct Professor in Lafayette College’s Film and Media Studies Department and leads the independent film curation for the Civic Theatre, Allentown’s local arthouse cinema. Drew currently teaches an array of film classes from elementary to college classrooms, most recently as an instructor for PBS39’s Middle School Media Lab and professor for the LVAIC Documentary Storymaking Capstone. He was a Visiting Fellow at Skidmore College’s MDOCS Storytellers’ Institute in 2020 and an Artist-in-Residence for the Cultural Coalition of Allentown in 2019 and 2021.

Shalon and Drew’s film- in love, in memory

Gioncarlo Valentine (b. 1990) is an award-winning American photographer and writer. Valentine hails from Baltimore City and attended Towson University, in Maryland. Backed by his seven years of social work experience, his work seeks to examine issues faced by marginalized populations, most often focusing his lens on the experiences of Black/LGBTQIA+ communities. Through writing and photography, Gioncarlo aims to broaden conversations around masculinity culture, gender, and longing.   

His work has been collected by the Whitney Museum of American Art and he is a regular contributor to The New York Times. Select publications include The New Yorker, Wall Street Journal Magazine, Propublica, New York Times Magazine, Esquire, American Vogue, THEM, and Newsweek among many others.

Gioncarlo’s website-

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