Story+ Project

23 and We: Stories of Race in Genetic Ancestry Testing Advertisements


23 and We is a 6-week research project that trains students in methods of visual content analysis research and applies those methods to public advertising for genetic ancestry testing. Students will explore background scholarship on themes of race, genetics, and advertising, as well as concrete research methods for content analysis of television and internet advertisements. Through this program, students will develop skills to: apply research methods to commercial advertisements, generate content analysis on phenotypical and racial markers in those advertisements, and translate initial findings into interdisciplinary academic outputs. In the final two weeks students will design and execute a project of public storytelling to share findings with the broader public.

Essential Skills: 

We do not presume that students will have previous coursework or research knowledge of critical race theory, genetics, or visual content analysis. Essential skills include working knowledge of Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, as well as the ability to perform note-taking, literature review, academic writing, and public presentation.

Project Sponsor(s): 

Keisha Bentley-Edwards, Associate Director of Research, Samuel DuBois Cook Center on Social Equity, Assistant Professor of General Internal Medicine, Duke University

Adam Hollowell, Senior Research Associate, Samuel DuBois Cook Center on Social Equity, Adjunct Professor, Sanford School of Public Policy

Graduate Mentor(s): 

Patricia Bass, PhD Candidate


Dakota Douglas, Mona Tong, Madelyn Winchester


The 23 & We team's research was profiled for Duke's Research Blog! You can read that article here: Do DNA Tests Sell Rosy Ideas About Race for Profit?

CC0 Public Domain


  • Visual Media
  • Mapping
  • History
  • African American Studies