By Bryan Hay

Prof. Mark Crain’s students once again tapped into the rich storytelling reservoir of Lafayette alumni to produce the second installment of the Past, Present and Future podcast series.

“On behalf of the 32 sophomores, juniors, and seniors in my Industry, Strategy, and Policy course, I’m grateful for the continued support we receive from Chad Davis, executive director of alumni engagement and annual giving, and his staff for recruiting accomplished alumni for the series,” says Crain, William E. Simon Professor of Political Economy and chair of policy studies.

“We hear alumni reflecting on their Lafayette experiences, what makes it special to them, and lessons learned at Lafayette that have been valuable for a lifetime,” he says. “The students discover a variety of professions and leadership styles, and have an opportunity to imagine their future selves.”

Produced in partnership with WLVR, the Lehigh Valley’s NPR affiliate, the spring podcast series features:

Bob Sell ’84, chair of the Board of Trustees; Trustees Harry Cherken ’71 and Linda Assante ’90; John Stephenson ’05, director of state policy for Rivian, an electric vehicle company; Paul McCurdy ’82, an attorney specializing in financial services; and Peter Holran ’87, director, government relations, U.S., at Enbridge, a multinational pipeline company.

Paul McCurdy ’82 during podcast recording

Paul McCurdy ’82 during Lafayette podcast recording

Episodes coming soon will feature Peter Jacoby ’81, vice president-federal relations and director of legislative strategy, AT&T; Tom Moriarty ’85, executive vice president, chief policy and external affairs officer, and general counsel at CVS Health; and Pamela Passman ’83, trustee and chair, corporate and managing director, New York, for APCO Worldwide, an advisory and advocacy communications consultancy.

“For me, the coolest part was actually being able to listen to all of the podcasts,” says Daisy Wheeler ’25, who served as project manager.

“Each interview was around 45 minutes, and the students had to edit those interviews into 10-minute versions. So, there’s a lot of discussion that the listener doesn’t hear that I got to hear,” she says. “The personal stories from these alumni, their life lessons, and just hearing about their time at Lafayette was really interesting, especially considering the wide range in graduation years. To hear the contrasting experiences and their success stories was really beneficial.”

Wheeler notes that the podcast project helped students refine their interviewing skills.

“Lafayette prepares us to be interviewed, especially for jobs, but not so much the reverse,” she says. “But everyone rose up to the challenge. The alumni were so approachable and made this process easy for us.”

 Bob Sell '84 with podcast team of Ty Sharinn '22, Charlize Cramer '24, and Maggie Fiesel '23

Bob Sell ’84 with podcast team of Ty Sharinn ’22, Charlize Cramer ’24, and Maggie Fiesel ’23

Mentorship, a universal theme through each of the podcasts, provided a platform for alumni to pass down words of wisdom to the students and took on a special meaning, Wheeler adds.

“Everyone agreed that it was going to be a friendly and happy environment,” she says. “And I think it came out that way. You can really hear and feel the distinct personalities in each podcast interview.”

Wheeler encourages all students to take time to listen to the podcast series.

“Not only do you get a sense of what this place can do for you, but it also clarifies how you can get to such a successful point,” she says. “There’s a lot of reflection on behalf of the alumni about their time here. Hearing about their challenges or what they enjoyed at Lafayette, it’s information you wouldn’t necessarily expect or realize. It’s important that everyone takes time and listens to these uplifting stories.”

Crain, along with Nicole Crain, who is now professor of economics at the National Defense University, formed a partnership with PBS39, the Lehigh Valley’s public television station, in 2012 to produce coverage of the national elections. The partnership expanded to include Lafayette Lens, an hourlong series covering issues of global importance, and collaboration on the new podcast series with WLVR.

Links to all editions of the broadcasts are available on the policy studies website.


Listen Now

Past, Present and Future

Seasons 1 and 2 of student-produced podcast, featuring notable alumni, are available

learn more
Categorized in: Alumni, Faculty and Staff, Featured News, Policy Studies
Tagged with: , ,