First Wave Touring Ensemble

Five people pose artfully for a photo on a black stage with a brick backdrop.

The First Wave Touring Ensemble is the artistic outgrowth of the First Wave Hip Hop and Urban Arts Scholarship Program. The group uses collaborative tools to unpack personal narratives as a route to academic engagement, artistic productivity and community engagement. The group is organized around a philosophy that the arts are central to education. Members collaborate with faculty representing the broad range of disciplines First Wave scholars are engaged in and find creative ways to decode academic theory. By engaging academic theory in creative ways, students are given a platform to provide spaces for deeper dialogue around difficult-to-discuss subject matter such as race, gender, religion, justice and politics in the U.S.

  • Diya Abbas (they/them), 14th cohort, majoring in creative writing and psychology, 2020-21 St. Louis Youth Poet Laureate
  • Adrian Cyrus (he/him), 14th cohort, majoring in neurobiology
  • Heavyn Dyer-Jones (she/her), 13th cohort, majoring in classical piano music
  • Zachary Lesmeister (they/them), 13th cohort, majoring in creative writing, 2017 St. Louis Youth Poet Laureate
  • Alpha Stokes (she/her), 13th cohort, majoring in sociology