Alliance Theatre’s Final Project

The Alliance Theatre is a successful and highly-respected acting education program located in Atlanta, GA. They are dedicated to sharing theatrical experiences with diverse people and providing access to the arts on a national level while remaining deeply rooted in and reflective of the local community.

The Alliance Theatre group worked with Laura Asherman (Filmmaker) and Celise Kalke (Director of New Projects at Alliance Theatre).

The Team:

Maya Bornstein

Samantha Franco

Sarah Hale

Klamath Henry

Molly Tucker

Baily Putnam

Urban Health Initiative

Urban Health Initiative Mission Statement:

UHI provides health disparities education and advocacy, builds collaborative partnerships and develops best practice models with underserved communities and those who work with them in Metropolitan Atlanta in order to advance equity in health and well-being.

This past semester, The Arts and Social Engagement group paired with Urban Health Initiative and filmmaker William Feagins in a project to improve the community through their work. They were also assisted by Dr. Carolyn Aidman, PHD and Dr. William Sexson, MD.Their goal was to increase education on nutrition and access to fresh produce in low socio-economic neighborhoods of Atlanta through their work at the Community Teaching Garden. The garden is located in low income, food desert area of North West Atlanta. Their project aims to teach community members how to grow their own food, to provide nutritional education, and to grow fresh produce from the garden.

Hagar Elsayed- Video Guru

Bria Goeller- Artist Liaison and Video Editor

Samantha Goodman- UHI Liaison

Jordan Hesslein – UHI Liaison

Hannah Higgins – UHI Liaison

Justin Lee – UHI Liaison

Hangyul Song – Group Organizer

Leila Yavari – Video Guru

Throughout their project, members of the Arts and Social Engagement team interviewed various people involved in their project and involved with UHI.

The Urban Health Initiative’s Goal is to connect community with academia, to provide an opportunity for learners both in a school setting or in the community to get more knowledge about social determinants of health, to apply that knowledge and then to also work together with community students to make a positive change.”

Co- Director of Urban Health Initiative Dr. Charles Moore when asked about UHI’s goals

Charles E. Moore, MD is an associate professor of Otolaryngology at Emory University School of Medicine, co-director of the Emory Urban Health Initiative, and chief of service in the Department of Otolaryngology at Grady Health System. Dr. Moore is also the founder and co-editor of the International Journal of Medical Volunteerism.

“Working with the students on The Temple Bombing short documentary has been an eye-opening experience for me. By breaking down my process for beginners to the medium, I’m contextualizing and reevaluating the habits that have become ingrained in me. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed getting to know the students, and I hope that both through our process and the content of our film, they come away from this with a deeper grasp of the power of media to effect social change and the skills necessary to embark on their own documentary projects.” – Laura Asherman

An Interview with UHI

Dr. Charles Moore, associate professor of Otolaryngology at Emory University School of Medicine and co-director of UHI, says:

“The Urban Health Initiative’s goal is to connect communities with academia, to provide an opportunity for learners, both in a school setting and in the community, to gain more knowledge about social determinants of health, to apply that knowledge, and to work together with community students to make a positive change.”

Interviewing Dr. Sexson

Dr. William Sexson:

“Many of the things we do relate to things that exist or that we are able to do in the garden or the community garden setting. Part of the reason we do that is because the garden is good for teaching about obesity and obesity-related diseases. The other really important thing is that because we have one of the few teaching gardens in the country, we can teach parents and families in a safe environment.”

Dr. Carolyn Aidman:

“Our teaching gardens, our container programs, our medical education programs, our community involvement are all being developed into models that can be put into tool kits and spread across the country. We are an educational institution, above all, as Emory University.”

Samantha Goodman with Dr. Aidman at the NICU

Interviewing Rabbi Berg


Rabbi Peter Berg (shown above) educates Emory Student’s on the Temple coming that helped inspire the theater play. He presents a photo which showcases how the Atlanta community rallied around their Jewish neighbors and helped to rebuild the Temple.


Members of the group (Sarah Hale EC ’17 shown above) interview Rabbi Peter Berg about the Temple bombing and look on as documentary filmmaker Laura Asherman films him.


Students Reflections about working with the theater

“While working on this project, I have learned the value of patience. You need a lot of patience when filming and gathering research. For instance we filmed an hour worth of footage with the author of “The Temple Bombing” and we will probably only use a minute of it in the video. Overall it has been an amazing experience visiting the alliance theater, and helping Laura.” -Maya Bornstein


“I have helped set up different interviews for the documentary, assisted in research, and have met with both Laura and people in the alliance theater about the production and promotion of the video. It has really been a fulfilling experience.” – Klamath Henry


Laura Asherman works alongside students

Laura Asherman works alongside students

Professional filmmaker and photographer Laura Asherman works alongside students Bailey Putman (EC’17) and Molly Tucker (EC’ 17).  The students were trained on how to use DSLR Digital cameras and took photos of some of the iconic signs that are featured around Atlanta’s cityscape and traveled to areas like Piedmont Park and The Varsity (see below).


UHI: Student Reflections

(From left) Justin Lee, Hannah Higgins, Leila Yavari, Samantha Goodman

Samantha Goodman: “It was neat to get hands-on experience working with the passionate group that is UHI. From the beginning, I was extremely impressed by the array and variety of UHI’s initiatives. They are tackling so many different urban health problems just here in Atlanta. It was an important reminder that we do not necessarily have to travel far to make a difference, as there is so much to do right beyond the Emory gates. I hope that our work with Will Feagins sheds even a little bit of light on the awesome work UHI does — from the rolling suitcase drive to the community teaching garden.”

Bria Goeller: “This was a wonderful learning experience. Being in consistent contact with a professional artist and working towards a tangible goal helped me gain insight into the world of art after college.”

Hannah Higgins: “Working with Dr. Sexson and UHI was a great experience, especially when we actually got to go to Emory Midtown.”