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NPR Stint Leads Radio Enthusiast to Sound’s New Cohort

Q: You grew up in Ohio and attended Kent State University. What did you study in undergrad?
A: I was a communications major with a double minor in non-profit studies and digital media production. 

Q: What piqued your interest in sound and podcasting?
A: I grew up as a backseat listener of NPR, and then when I started driving, I continued to tune into my NPR station (WKSU). That station was my first introduction to sound.

Q: What shows did you listen to?
A: I’d listen to news headlines “All Things Considered,” “Prairie Home Companion” and “Wait Wait … Don’t Tell Me!

Q: What was your first exposure to working in radio?
A: I started out as a DJ at my college radio station. I had a show from midnight to 2 a.m. Then I was the outreach coordinator, program director and eventually the general manager. There’s so much creative freedom with college radio.

Q: After college you moved to Chicago to intern with “Wait Wait … Don’t Tell Me!” That must have been a dream considering it was a show you listened to growing up.
A: It was the peak of my career so far! It was a pretty cool opportunity to intern with “Wait Wait.”

Q: What was that experience like?
A: It was super exciting and then super terrifying. It’s a very small team, so you share an office with Peter Sagal. I really wanted to do a good job and make the most of it. I put a lot of pressure on myself. Looking back, I wish I had relaxed a bit more and not stressed so much. When you’re there, you realize, ‘Oh, these aren’t celebrities; they’re people.’

Q: In addition to the internship and doing your own podcast work with friends, you also teach a podcast workshop. Can you talk about that?
A: It’s called Blok by Blok, and we worked in Chicago public schools with fourth through sixth graders. We helped them think about the basics of storytelling, what makes a good interview, open-ended vs. closed-ended questions, etc. When you’re young, you don’t know any of the rules, so it was challenging but super fun.

Q: What spurred your decision to go back to school?
A: After the internship, I did some soul searching. I knew I wanted to go back to school even after undergrad. After the internship ended and I had more experience, I knew I wanted to go back to school and get better at this.

Q: What attracted you to the Northwestern University program?
A: Northwestern’s program is great because you can focus on what you want to do and broaden your horizons at the same time. I know where I want to be, but I don’t know exactly how I’m going to get there. This program will help me figure that out.

Q: Is there anything you’re particularly excited about or looking forward to?
A: I’m especially excited about Sara Geis being an instructor and getting better at Pro Tools. The facilities are amazing, and there are so many talented teachers that have a good handle on all of the tools.

Q: You probably listen to tons of podcasts, but do you have any recommendations? Anything you’ve been listening to lately that you would recommend?
A: I recently binged “The Great God of Depression.” I also like “Everything is Alive” and “Welcome to L.A.,” and “Heavyweight“ is a really good one. And “Love + Radio.”