Research Intern for Give Light: Stories from Indigenous Midwives

Research Intern for Give Light: Stories from Indigenous Midwives

 By: Hannah Levy, class of 2026

 If I could describe what I have learned these past few months working with filmmaker and producer Steph Smith, it would be the magnetic and healing powers of storytelling in the community. ‘Give Light’ is the product of soul and ancient wisdom, and I am very grateful to have been brought onto the film’s team. To be able to combine my organizational skills, through researching and synthesizing data, with Steph’s creative energy has taught me how dynamic spreadsheet work can be … something I never thought I would say (or write).

At ‘Give Light,’ my first goal was to parse through dated research and contact lists, replacing and rejuvenating them with potential partners. The data has grown to cover individuals, for-profit and nonprofit organizations, universities, museums, wellness, insurance, and healthcare industries, and many more. The scope of topics related to Indigenous teachings, women’s autonomy, and family healthcare reach further than one might initially expect – notably, it is an international project.

The film shares midwifery as an alternative model of maternal healthcare, addressing misconceptions about traditional birthing practices and providing tangible solutions to make birth care more affordable and holistic for women and their families. This especially resonates here in New Orleans, where the maternal mortality rate is one of the highest in the nation.

As ‘Give Light’ prepares to air on national television, I have been working to refine the language we use for our community engagement and managing our modes of communication with interested organizations and individuals. After I craft our outreach messages and research who our target audiences are for potential sponsorships, I decide the best method of contact. I have had the opportunity to learn how to use Apollo, an AI software that streamlines contact database management and email outreach. Additionally, I spend time each week listening to contemporary midwifery podcasts, watching documentaries, reading articles, and forming a personal connection to the world of midwifery. I am pleased to be continuing my work with Steph into the summer.