What's Your Why?

What's Your Why? supported by the Wyoming Humanities Council, features stories with and about dynamic thinkers, scholars, artists, and innovators who live in or visit Wyoming. This cultural podcast focuses on humanities, arts, and cultural resources in Wyoming.  

The Reverend Debra W. Haffner is executive director of the Religious Institute, a multifaith, nonprofit organization dedicated to sexual health, education and justice. An ordained Unitarian Universalist minister, she is an endorsed community minister with the Unitarian Church in Westport, CT.

Two Native American Students from the Wind River Reservation are sharing their journey to continue their education at Central Wyoming College in Riverton, Wyoming. They are both members of the Eastern Shoshone Tribe. They speak of their desire and passion to help others achieve their dreams and goals on the reservation. They also discuss breaking down the barriers and stereotypes that Native American people experience. 

Willard Gould, member of the Arapahoe Business Council and the Northern Arapahoe Language Commission. Willard's work has been in substance abuse counseling, domestic violence and family services. 

What does it mean to be a citizen of an American Indian tribe and the history behind it? What does Blood Quantum mean to tribal citizens of the Wind River Reservation?Tune in and listen to Ivan talk about his experiences while growing up on the Wind River Reservation in Wyoming. Ivan has been a member of the Eastern Shoshone Business Council and is the Tribal Education Coordinator for Central Wyoming College.

In 2009, Nona started work on Vertical Harvest of Jackson Hole. Following her passion for local food and experiences growing up with a brother with developmental disabilities, Nona conceived of a three story hydroponic greenhouse that employs people with developmental disabilities while producing local food for the community year round. In 2016 Vertical Harvest opened its doors as a 'for profit business with a non profit soul'. This flagship project embodies Nona’s efforts to pursue projects that are able to have a profound impact on communities based on architectural, economic and social innovation.

The 2016 U.S. presidential election highlighted the ability of Russian intelligence to exploit social media to target fragmented social communities and amplify its propaganda efforts within them. Former FBI counterintelligence agent Asha Rangappa examines how Russia took advantage of an already existing vulnerability in America's social fabric, and its implications for the future of democracy.

Anna talks about perceptions, boundaries and expectations that confine Native American Art. Using video, sculpture, installations, and photographs, Anna explores themes of Native identity through contemporary mediums, forcing people to readjust how they think of Native-American aesthetics.

Kitty Pilgrim worked as a CNN correspondent and news anchor for 24 years. Kitty talks about her career as a woman and single mother working in the CNN newsroom as well as the variety of assignments that took her around the world to Russia, China, Cuba, the Middle East, Korea and South Africa. Her love for a good story began her journey as a novelist. 

Award-winning author Nina McConigley reflects on her life growing up in Wyoming. McConigley discusses her life journey of being a girl, teenager, woman, and teacher - neither fully Indian, nor fully Anglo, but thoroughly American. thinkwy.org/podcast/

Former Wyoming Gov. Mike Sullivan and U.S Ambassador to Ireland talks civility in politics and how a Democratic governor can serve two terms as governor in a Republican state. Sullivan was a key participant in the 1998 peace accord in Northern Ireland and named the 2016 Citizen of the West.


W. Kamau Bell

W. Kamau Bell is a socio-political comedian and host of the hit Emmy Award-nominated CNN docu-series, United Shades of America. W. Kamau Bell talks about his life work as a political comedian and what that means for him personally and professionally.

Zenka is an artist and a futurist. “I mix new tech with collaboration structures to form strategies to improve the outcome of future. Exponential growth - the ability for something to change drastically rather than slowly - has forever changed the way I see the world. Change can be scary but it also can be good, especially if we can think ahead and create a strategy and a clear vision for the world we want to build.”

Alan Simpson was born and raised in Wyoming. He served from 1965 to 1977 in the Wyoming House of Representatives from Park County. Then he set his sights on the U.S. Senate. From 1979 to 1997 he served as a United States Senator from Wyoming. From 1985 to 1995, Simpson was the Republican whip, Assistant Republican Leader in the Senate. Additionally, he served as chairman of the Veterans’ Affairs Committee from 1981 to 1985, and again from 1995 to 1997.

Damien Mander is the founder of the International Anti-Poaching Foundation which operates in southern Africa to prevent poaching of the last remaining black rhino populations.

He started the foundation after an African holiday when he saw, 'an elephant for the first time with its face cut off and the ivory missing. That was enough for me.'

As a former Australian Special Operations sniper, clearance diver and trainer of Iraqi Police cadets, Mander knew he could train, equip and work with local African rangers in the war against poaching.

Craig Johnson is the author of eight novels in the Walt Longmire mystery series, which has garnered popular and critical acclaim. Johnson, whose main character is Sheriff Walt Longmire, said he does base his characters on family, neighbors and his friends on the Cheyenne reservation.

Executive Director of the Grand Teton Music Festival shares his philosophy of music and sports and how they share similarities of passion and discipline.

    

Author John Byrne Cooke was Janis Joplin’s personal friend and road manger until her death in 1970. He talks about his unique perspective of her life and why he wrote his book.

Pulitzer Prize winning author Tracy Kidder discussing his book Strength in What Remains, his journey to writing, becoming an author and the people who have helped him along the way.

A historian, author and educator, Shannon Smith is passionate about the humanities especially Western American, Women's, and American Indian History. She currently serves as the executive director of the Wyoming Humanities Council.

As a consultant specializing in all aspects of land conservation, Story Clark knows the unique history behind the many places in and around Jackson Hole that most travelers just drive by. Using mobile app technology as a portal to connecting people to great places, travelers will be able to hear the stories and connect with the land in a meaningful and unique way.

After 20 years of fearing guns, Lynn discovered that it wasn’t the gun she was afraid of it was the bad guy behind the gun. She is now the co-founder and business manager of Jackson Hole Shooting Experience. She talks about her new understanding and shares her experiences working with people to impart the fun of the shooting sports and the mental and physical fundamentals of self-defense.

Antonio Sacre is an American bilingual storyteller, author and performance artist. Born in Boston to an Irish American mother and Cuban father, Sacre uses his diverse background to tell stories in English and Spanish. He wants to teach others the value of their own stories.

Born in Uganda, Brolin describes his amazing journey to the United Stated where he is reunited with his mother at age 11.  Brolin shares his courageous ambition to become a doctor and be the first Olympic snowboarder to represent an African nation.

Governor Matt Mead talks about his Jackson roots, family influences as the grandson of  Senator Cliff Hansen and life in the governors mansion. His conversation is light-hearted as he talks about his Mom and her run for governor in 1990, how he met his wife, Carol and raising their two children.

Bill Sniffin is a journalist and entrepreneur who has lived in Wyoming for 42 years.  He has received acclaim far and wide for his work.  In his newest book, Wyoming's 7 Greatest Natural Wonders, we discover his love affair with Wyoming's many fascinating places he set out to discover.

Ed Belbruno is both an astrophysicist and artist. He discovered a new type of route to the Moon that was spectacularly demonstrated in 1991, rescuing a Japanese spacecraft. He is also a recognized painter, with a recent exhibition at Lincoln Center and a painting in NASA’s executive collection in Washington. Ed is affiliated with Princeton University.

April Alliston teaches literature and gender and sexuality studies at Princeton University.  Recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and other awards, her publications range from books on eighteenth-century women’s fiction to op-eds on Fifty Shades of Grey and Internet trolls.  He current book is Consenting Adults?  On Pornography, Privacy, and Freedom.

Ruth Ann moved to Jackson, Wyoming to start her own business in 1988.  Since then, she has owned two successful businesses and has become involved in Wyoming politics.  Learn about her journey to Jackson and her desire to serve as a Wyoming Representative.

Gloria Baxter: Professor Emeritus of the University of Memphis School of Dance and Theater, Gloria was invited by The Murie Center of Grand Teton National Park to create an original narrative theater adaptation based on the writings of Olaus and Margaret Murie, pioneers in the American wilderness movement.

Jason Cohn first became aware of Charles and Ray Eames through their films when a friend introduced him to their six volume DVD set. The chair obsession followed. EAMES: The Architect and the Painter is Jason's first feature documentary. He previously produced segments for the PBS program Frontline World, associate produced for Frontline and field produced for the award-winning PBS series Remaking American Medicine.

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