Meet the Team

We are a group of folklorists with a range of interests and backgrounds. We collaborate with individuals who have a vested interest in folklore across the world, from professional folklorists, to artists, to non-profit organizations, to general folklore enthusiasts. Learn more about each of us here!

  • White text on the image reads “[Folklore] encourages making connections between personal, lived experiences and institutional knowledge. It provides a framework for understanding the wonderful and strange traditions, customs, habits and beliefs that structure our culture. - Dr. Anna Morel.” The background image is of a railing on a bridge covered in bolt locks and ribbons as a public art piece.
  • Black text with a white background on the image reads “Folklore studies allows me a greater empathy and awareness to see where gaps are, and the openness to embrace my own ignorance and a willingness to work through that. - Kerry Kaleba.” The background image is of a black goat standing on top of a pile of hay.
  • Text on the image reads “In writing classes teachers will often say to add details or "show don't tell" and Folklore can serve as a great study in order to add that kind of texture to your work. - Shirley Shields.” The background image is of a pathway leading into a dense and foggy forest.
  • an image of a driftwood house on a Sandy Oregon beach. Text on the image reads “This discipline has also made me introspective about where my beliefs and practices come from and why, as well as which traditions I want to embrace and engage in more deeply. Folklore is also an incredibly exciting and diverse field which allows your interests to flourish. - Dr. Jared Schmidt”
  • Image of several people in a line at a hotdog eating contest actively eating hotdogs behind a table. White text on the image with blue background reads “For years I've been an esports organizer and commentator, and I've been saying that folklorists need to look at the cultures which form around playing video games. That's the main thing I've wanted to do in Folkwise-- give gamers the tools to recognize folk cultures in their lives and point out the gamer folklore to folklorists. Well, that and wear ridiculous costumes. - Dr. Dom Tartaglia”
  • White text on the image reads “The theories and perspectives I learned through studying folklore changed the way that I thought about humans while doing work in history. - David Tauber.” The background image is of a rusty industrial factory next to a river.
  • White text on the image reads “Folklore has impacted my work by emphasizing the power collective action can have on our world… Folklore gives me a language to articulate how special the experiences of everyday life and being together in this blip of cosmic time really is. - Daisy Ahlstone.” The background image is of a grass-covered field and cavern with lots of orange poppies in the foreground and trees in the background.
  • White text on the image reads “Folklore freed me from my concerns about how I was representing folks because it gave me a framework to be transparent about my position and role, while also decentering myself to highlight the voices of the people I worked with. - Dr. Chrissy Widmayer.” The background image is of a grassy field and sky with yellow flowers and green trees.

Wisefolk Productions, LLC Affiliates

A selfie Daisy took while outside doing fieldwork in SE Ohio. Daisy is a light-skinned person with short blonde hair, is wearing a black shirt with brown overalls, black rimmed glasses, and has a small cat patch above their chest pocket.

Daisy Ahlstone

Daisy is our amazing folklorist wrangler in their many roles as the WiseFolk Productions, LLC co-owner, Folkwise director, host for Folkwise Live, and as a content creator! Originally from southern California, Daisy has hopped across the states in their pursuit of folklore obtaining a B.A. in Folklore from University of Oregon and an M.A. in American Studies / Folklore from Utah State University. They are now currently based in Ohio completing a PhD in Comparative Studies with a concentration in Folklore from the Ohio State University (see here: @osu_folklore).

Daisy specializes in environmental folklore, legend, semiotics, and material culture. They apply these areas of focus interdisciplinary with discourse analysis, rhetoric, public policy, and collaborative project-based theories. Folklore is important to them because:

“…it helps me stop and notice the ways my community and support network constantly surround me – from art on my walls, memes people send me, the way I cook a meal – these are all representative of the folkloric forms we use to communicate and express our relationships to each other in small ways every day. Folklore reminds me that my communities are the most important parts of my life, and that we express those relationships through a range of creative forms.”

Email Daisy at daisy.ahlstone@gmail.comor follow me on:

Dr. Dom Tartaglia on ‘Gaming with Folkwise’.
ID: Dom is a white male with shoulder-length long black-brown hair, wearing white headphones while sitting in front of a microphone. Background is pink lighting over a bookshelf.

Dr. Dom Tartaglia

You all know and love Dr. Dom as one of our hosts on our Folkwise Live show on games and folklore! But, do you know what else he does? In addition to being a host and content creator, Dom serves as the Creative Director of WiseFolk Productions, LLC. Not only known for his amazing cosplays, Dom carefully plans out and thinks about the most creative ways to ensure the audience is having a great time. He also does all of the video-editing of the interviews and gameplay highlights! 

Originally from Ohio, Dom received his B.A. degrees in Anthropology and Classics from the University of Cincinnati. He received his M.A. and PhD in Folklore from @iufolkethno. Dom specializes in festivals, “meats” (referring to his foodways research), and vernacular video game communities. In particular, Dom’s research and passion in regards to vernacular video game communities has led him to be an advocate about how digital platforms such as Twitch provides an opportunity for folklorists to engage on an entirely different level with these communities. Folklore is important to him because, “I love being around enthusiastic people and folklore gives me access to the raw enthusiasm”. 

Email Dom at or follow me on:

Portrait of Kerry, a white woman with curly brown hair, wearing red lipstick and a grey shirt.

Kerry Kaleba

Kerry wears several different hats within Folkwise! She is not only the WiseFolk Productions, LLC Chief Financial Officer, but also one of our researchers and content creators and serves as our “General Agent of Chaos but sometimes Order”. Kerry’s background in theater from Virginia Tech led her into earning a M.A. in Folklore from George Mason University, Folklore Program and obtaining another M.A. in Arts Management from George Mason University. Kerry is our second Virginia based Folkwise folklorists that also works in Washington, D.C.

Kerry specializes in legends, tourism, heritage programming, material culture (specifically textiles), and folkloric adaptations to other medias. Folklore is important to her because, “Storytelling is the basis of communication and collaboration. And, folklore and practices are often an overlooked survivor of academia and society.”

Email Kerry at or follow me on:

Selfie of Kaitlyn, a white woman with long brown hair, smiling and wearing a green and blue shirt with a gold metal bracelet.

Kaitlyn Kinney

Kaitlyn is the Communications Director for WiseFolk Productions, LLC, thinking creatively about how to raise folklore’s visibility online. Based in Virginia, Kaitlyn received her B.A.s in Anthropology and English and earned her M.A. in Folklore from the George Mason University, Folklore Program.

Outside of Folkwise, Kaitlyn is the Project Manager for Folkstreams, a free streaming site of traditional culture films. She is also working on several projects on the intersections between death and folklore. And she has recently published an article in the Journal of Folklore & Education. Further writing projects include aiding in the publication of the recently deceased and much-beloved folklorist Janet Langlois’s forthcoming book ‘Other Worlds: Talking About the Dead Returning’, which examines personal experience narratives of deathbed visions in hospice care. 

Kaitlyn primarily specializes in death studies, medical folklore, personal experience narrative, stigmatized vernaculars, social movements, digital folklore, true crime, and new media as a means for examining how people communicate (or don’t communicate) about death and dying in their everyday lives. She additionally specializes in agricultural folklore and foodways. Folklore is important to Kaitlyn because “to paraphrase Mary Hufford, folklife and folklore are hidden in full view and lodged in the various ways we have of discovering and expressing who we are and how we fit into the world. Folklore provides an important reflexive approach towards understanding everyday life’s informal and artistic expressions even when sometimes the experience itself is uncomfortable to engage with.”

Email Kaitlyn at or follow me on:

Selfie of Caroline, a white blonde woman with long hair wearing red lipstick, a red blouse, and gold earrings and necklace.

Caroline Miller

Caroline is one of our 12 amazing content creators and you most likely recognize her from our Rolling with Folkwise table-top rpg project that infuses folklore scholarship alongside tabletop gameplay! Proudly from North Carolina, Caroline received her B.A. in Anthropology from Elon University and her M.A in Folklore from UNC at Chapel Hill. Currently based in Indiana, Caroline is busy tackling her PhD in Folklore at Indiana University, Bloomington and is presently doing ethnographic fieldwork for her dissertation in Ireland working with Irish Travellers.

Caroline specializes in Personal Experience Narrative, Irish folklore, Women’s Folklore, Southern US foodways and drinkways, collaborative methodologies, rumor and legend, as well as moonshining traditions and “craft” moonshine. Folklore is important to Caroline because in her opinion it, “is the best lens for trying to better understand the human condition. Studying folklore allows me to think deeply about the aspects of daily life that shape who we are as individuals and as part of various cultures. Everyone has important stories to tell, and Folklore provides a million different ways to enter into a conversation about them. Whether through talking to people about their food traditions, personal experiences, crafting skills, supernatural experiences, or any number of aspects of their lives, Folklore gives an opportunity to build connections with other people and find out what makes them, them.”

Email Caroline at or follow me on:

Portrait of Shirley, a white person with short brown hair, wearing a brightly floral shirt and black glasses with a purple background.

Shirley Shields

Shirley is our Chief Tumblr Correspondent, a Stream Mod, a Content Creator, and our Merchandise Coordinator. Based in Virginia, Shirley received her BFA in Creative Writing and minored in Folklore and Mythology from George Mason University in 2020. Shirley specializes primarily in folk narrative, belief & the supernatural, religion, queerlore, adaptation/translation, the folkloresque, and of course all of the fun and interesting ways all of these intersect. This is important to her work with a vampire zine launching this summer on Kickstarter called ‘Carpe Noctem: Vampires through the ages’. They have a lot of really cool and talented contributors and a wide range of vampires from all over the world!

Folklore is important to Shirley because “I’ve always loved fairy tales and myths, which was definitely my intro into Folklore. But after taking classes and learning more about the field as a whole, I kept finding new things to love about it. Folklore to me can serve not only as a way to better understand others, but as a map of how we all interact with each other; how we’re all ‘mosaics of the people we’ve met’. It’s a way to examine and appreciate all the little bits, to bring out parts we want to highlight, and even identify parts we may not want to carry with us anymore. The simple things many people barely acknowledge or think about day-to-day are still worthy of attention, and I love that I can participate both in conversations about simple habits, as well as larger ideas with broad societal consequences within the same discipline, and sometimes the same focus of study!”

Email Shirley at or follow me on:

Photo of Anna, a white woman with dirty blonde hair wearing a patterned baseball hat and cheetah-print jacket, lounging on the grass and looking off into the distance.

Dr. Annamarie Morel

Anna is our super chill “Artiste” and applies her endless creativity as a content creator and researcher, especially in her work with our Table Top RPG show on Twitch ‘Rolling with Folkwise’! Keep an eye out for her work on our most recent offshoot of Call of Cthulhu (another TTRPG) on the Jersey Devil and the Pine Barrens!

Anna is currently working at the Tenderloin Museum and Treasure Island Museum in San Francisco, California. However, she has roots in Ohio, Michigan, and Pennsylvania. Anna holds a BA in Arts & Ideas at University of Michigan, an MA in Popular Culture Studies at BGSU, and graduated with her PhD in American Studies from Penn State, Harrisburg in February 2021.

Anna specializes in digital folklore, visual and material culture, popular culture, and photography! Folklore is important to Anna because “it has helped me appreciate the art of everyday life! It gives me a greater understanding of the value of all kinds of expression, from selfies and bumper stickers to county fairs and birthday parties.”

Email Annamarie at or follow me on:

Mid-shot of Jared, a white man with short brownish blonde hair wearing a grey button up shirt and a red scarf. he is standing in front of a fence with Niagara Falls in the background.

Dr. Jared L. Schmidt

Jared is one of our many Folkwise content creators that you may recognize already from his Folkwise Mini Lecture on vampires and garlic. Jared hails from Minnesota, land of the hot dish and many lakes, but is currently based in coastal Oregon. Jared has a M.A. in Applied Anthropology from Minnesota State University, Mankato and another M.A. in Comparative Literature and Folklore Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Currently, Jared recently defended his dissertation on occupational folklife of costumed third-person interpreters at the living history farm, Old World Wisconsin. He is about to graduate with his PhD in Folklore Studies from University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Jared specializes in Heritage Studies, Folk Art, Museum Studies, Material Culture, Foodways, Occupational Folklife, and Vampires. Folklore is important to him, “–because it informs so much about our individual and community identities. How this is performed can vary widely from person to person and can often times be connected to incredibly heartfelt stories. Helping document and preserve these, whether they be art, stories, memes, etc., is assists us better understand the human condition”.

Email Jared at or follow me on:

Portrait of Chrissy, a white woman with curly brown hair. She is smiling and wearing a white and floral shirt with plants in the background.

Dr. Chrissy Widmayer

You may recognize Chrissy from our Folkwise Live twitch stream as being the MOST SUS folklorist to ever play Among Us. Chrissy is not only one of our many content creators, but she’s also our editing specialist for many of the Folkwise Team! Originally from Michigan, Chrissy received a BA in Political Science from Kalamazoo College and came into folkloristics when she was completing her MFA in Creative Writing and taking as many folklore classes as she could with @gmufolklore. Currently based in Wisconsin, Chrissy has since received an MA in Folklore Studies and finished her PhD in Folklore Studies from University of Wisconsin-Madison in July 2021! Chrissy specializes broadly in American folklore and material culture, but focuses more closely in foodways, family folklore, gender and women’s studies/folklore, performance and performativity, oral history, life history, and digital folklore.

Folklore is important to Chrissy because, “I’m one of those people who was doing folklore my entire life without knowing it was a thing. I grew up listening to stories from my grandmother on my mom’s side and making Chaldean foods with my dad’s extended family. I loved my family’s Christmas traditions—putting a chicken on the top of our tree, leaving a note out for Santa long after we stopped truly believing, opening presents in order of age from youngest to oldest, etc. For so long, I didn’t know what folklore was, and when I finally encountered it, it was like finding kin. Studying folklore formally has opened my eyes to the world and I love the lens folklorists use to see it. Folklorists don’t judge; we offer curiosity and interest as our guiding principle and value everything we can learn. And folklore has taught me that that learning never stops. It is also important to me to share that with my students, to help others see how much of the world we let pass us by, so that they can better understand themselves and others.”

Email Chrissy at or follow me on: