Austin Storie reflects on time at WSU as graduation nears


Senior year is tough for most students, but Austin Story, fine arts in studio arts with a concentration in applied drawings major, makes the best of it with a willing attitude to learn and adapt. While also setting boundaries and sticking up for himself.

Storie and his family moved to Wichita from St. Louis when he was in high school, so choosing Wichita State University was an easy choice for him.

“We moved from St. Louis to the Wichita area when I was still in high school, so I was just kind of like, well, what options are out there for me and a lot of what I was saying is that I cannot travel across the nation to go somewhere,” Storie said. “So it was really one of those boring like ‘Well the program looks good and it’s conveniently located.’ So I was like, you know what, let’s just go ahead and do it.”

As graduation approaches, Storie said he is excited to take the knowledge learned in his time at WSU and be able to apply it to his career, and also look back and know the challenges he overcame.

“These four years and everything that is happening to these four years — being able to be like, I overcame that, I got through this, that is done,” Storie said. “I don’t have to take this with me anymore.”

After graduation, he plans to take a year and work on the skills that he feels arent strongest, but continue to freelance.

Storie recently won the Tallgrass Film Festival poster contest, with his finger-printed poster for the film No Fear No Favor, which depicts the choices that the African communities have to make to protect their land’s wildlife heritage against illegal trading that happens frequently. A large part of the documentary focuses on the illegal ivory hunting of African elephants.

“Basing my composition around an African elephant rendered in graphite, I recreated its tusks using scans I took of my own fingers printed in ink,” Storie said in a previous interview with The Sunflower. “I made this specific decision to connect viewers with the idea that humans have an active role in the degradation, but also restoration, of wildlife species. After making a few minor adjustments, I felt that what I created was conceptually and visually strong enough to put into the contest.”

Majoring in the arts can be taxing, like most degrees, and is a lot of independent work. Storie said that the biggest takeaway he has from his time at WSU is the self-advocacy he has learned. And offers the same advice to others.

“I think the biggest thing that I’ve taken away is the power of self-advocacy, it really is the biggest thing that I wanted,” Storie said. “I tell a lot of incoming students or some that are just starting their major, that sometimes you have to be able to communicate what it is that you want and need in order to get that and be willing to work with people to get you there.”