Nikki Silvestrini is a first year Master’s student. Originally from Minnesota, she graduated with distinction from Indiana University with a B.A. in Folklore and Ethnomusicology and a minor in Rock and Roll history. Nikki has spent the past four years working at indie bookstores in Duluth and Minneapolis and volunteering at the Animal Humane Society as both wildlife rehabilitator and canine behavior rehabilitator. Her research interests include verbal folklore with emphasis on storytelling and narrative as well as youth culture, performance, and contemporary music history. She is specifically interested in studying the role of animals in human communities and cultural identity. Nikki is excited to be in Oregon for many reasons, one reason being that there’s less snow to shovel.
Jules Helweg-Larson is a first year Master’s student in folklore. Recently graduated from Memorial University of Newfoundland, she is a Canadian citizen who happened to grow up in North Carolina. Inspired by her BA in Folklore and a minor in Classics, Jules’ research interests include the reciprocal relationship between folk and popular culture and its representation in material culture, differential identity, and the interplay between vernacular belief and social media. Since beginning the masters program, her focus has been on contemporary burlesque and women’s roller derby revival. Other passions include tattoos, the outdoors, circus arts, the supernatural, and collecting books.