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'Cuse Conversations

Education Podcasts

Hosted by Syracuse University’s Internal Communications team, the ’Cuse Conversations podcast allows listeners to hear directly from Syracuse University's talented current students, decorated faculty members, dedicated staff members and accomplished alumni.


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Hosted by Syracuse University’s Internal Communications team, the ’Cuse Conversations podcast allows listeners to hear directly from Syracuse University's talented current students, decorated faculty members, dedicated staff members and accomplished alumni.








Student Leaders Dylan France '24 and Andi-Rose Oates '26 Becoming Agents of Change Who Amplify Black Voices

Syracuse University has a proud and storied tradition of honoring Black History Month through a series of engaging and thought-provoking student-run programs, events and discussions occurring through March 3 on campus. Student leaders like Dylan France ’24 and Andrea-Rose Oates ’26 are among the many passionate and talented Black student leaders who have become agents of change for their peers during their time on campus. And France and Oates are committed to helping train a new generation of student leaders. On this “'Cuse Conversation,” France and Oates discuss what fueled their involvement as student leaders and how they hope to inspire other students to become agents of change, explore what their Black heritage and Black culture means to them, share how they found community on campus and offer up their highlights from the Black History Month celebrations.


What Makes Syracuse University A Premier Research Institution With Duncan Brown, Vice President for Research

Syracuse University has developed into an outstanding and accomplished research institution. As Syracuse's Vice President for Research, Duncan Brown supports and empowers Syracuse's internationally recognized creative and scholarly excellence, advancing centers and institutes that are global leaders in their fields. In this role, Brown oversees $157 million in internal and external research funding across the natural sciences, engineering, education, social sciences and law fields. Brown also leads the Office of Research and its component units, which serve as the backbone of the University’s research, scholarship and creative support enterprise. Collectively, these efforts help students and faculty expand their knowledge through innovation, creativity and discovery. On this 'Cuse Conversation, Brown shares his vision for the research enterprise at Syracuse University, explains what makes Syracuse a premier research institution, examines the impact the research being done by our faculty and students is having on campus and beyond, and reveals where his passion for research came from.


How Meeting Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Influenced Rick Wright G'93 and Inspired His Broadcasting Career

Roosevelt "Rick" Wright G'93 had a front-row seat as the Civil Rights movement took off across the American South in the late 1950s and early 1960s, participating in the sit-ins and demonstrations as a teenager in Elizabeth City, North Carolina. At the heart of the movement were the non-violent, civil disobedience teachings of the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the Civil Rights leader who inspired Black citizens around the country to speak out and stand up for their rights. Wright had the pleasure of meeting and eating with Dr. King several times as a teenager, with King imparting many valuable life lessons on the impressionable Wright. On this 'Cuse Conversation, Wright recalls the powerful impact Dr. King made on him, shares how Dr. King utilized the radio to preach his non-violent message, and how Dr. King's oratorical prowess inspired his successful career as both a radio broadcaster and television, radio and film professor at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications. Wright, who became the first Black communications professor at Newhouse, was the first faculty advisor for the student-run radio station WJPZ and served as an invaluable resource for the thousands of students who took one of his classes. He's the definition of "Major Market."


The Power of Being Native and the Strength of the Syracuse University Community With Lorna Rose ’11, G’21

Despite growing up on Cayuga ancestral lands, one of the six nations that make up the Haudenosaunee Confederacy of Native Americans in New York, Lorna Rose ’11, G’21 never really identified with her Native heritage. She was raised Italian American and always thought of her Italian roots when it came to her cultural heritage. But that perspective changed with the sudden passing of her older sister in 2020. That loss led Rose to a spiritual reawakening, cultivating an affinity for both her Native culture and her Native heritage. From the depths of sadness, Rose immersed herself in her Cayuga culture, reacclimating and reacquainting herself with her Native roots while rediscovering pride in belonging to the Cayuga Nation, the People of the Great Swamp. As the University community celebrates Native Heritage Month, Rose discusses her spiritual reawakening, the pride she feels through her Native heritage and culture, how the Syracuse University community helped her overcome depression and mental health issues, and why she’s eternally proud to be a Syracuse University alumna.


Adrian Autry '94 Ready to Make His Mark as Next Men's Basketball Coach

Adrian Autry ’94 came to Syracuse University from New York City as a talented men’s basketball recruit, a McDonald’s All-American who etched his name in the school’s record books as a prolific passer and tremendous defender during his four years on campus. Following a successful playing career that included stints in Europe and across North and South America, Autry embarked on his second act: as a basketball coach. He learned from one of the best, serving as an assistant and associate coach for his mentor, Hall of Fame head coach Jim Boeheim '66, G'73, and in March, Autry was named the program's eighth head coach. Before the Orange open the season on Nov. 6, Autry discusses this exciting opportunity and why he’s ready to take over and make his mark on the program. Autry also reveals the lessons he's learned from Boeheim, why his team will be fast-paced on offense and tenacious on defense, recalls his favorite memories from his playing days, and shares why Syracuse has always felt like home.


Look Back. Act Forward. The Profound Impact of the Remembrance Scholars Cohort

"Look back. Act forward." Those words influence how Syracuse University's Remembrance and Lockerbie Scholars honor and celebrate the lives of the people who were killed during the terrorist bombing of Pan Am Flight 103. This year marks the 35th anniversary of the bombing, which claimed the lives of 270 people, including 35 Syracuse students who were on their way home following a semester abroad. Each October, the University community comes together during Remembrance Week events and activities—planned by that year’s cohort of Remembrance and Lockerbie Scholars—to memorialize the victims and further educate the campus community about terrorism. Three alumni—Julie Friend '92 and Hannah (Visnosky) Rafferty ’16 and Luke Rafferty ’16—reflect on the significant impact the Remembrance Scholars program had on them, share their stories of why they wanted to become Remembrance Scholars, and explain how they continue to honor the lives of the University students who died on the flight.


The BioInspired Institute's Growth Helps Fuel Student and Faculty Research

One of the most impactful and influential examples of how the University is leading the way in research excellence is the BioInspired Institute, an interdisciplinary institute whose members examine complex biological systems, developing and designing programmable smart materials to address global challenges in health, medicine and materials innovation. On this 'Cuse Conversation, James H. (Jay) Henderson, the new director of BioInspired, and Lisa Manning, the founding director, share how BioInspired embraces an interdisciplinary approach to research, discuss the importance of introducing students to research opportunities early in their academic careers and explain how BioInspired and Syracuse University are helping more women and students from underrepresented populations get involved in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields. They also explore the Cluster Hires Initiative, preview the second annual BioInspired Symposium and explain how they became passionate about research.


Addressing Mental Wellness and Social Anxiety With Counseling Director Carrie Brown

Moving away from home and embarking on your Syracuse University journey can be a difficult time as students leave behind their families and friends and start a new chapter in their lives. On top of that, social anxiety among college students is at an all-time high. The mental health and well-being of Syracuse's students is a top priority for Carrie Brown, the Counseling Director at the Barnes Center at the Arch. On this 'Cuse Conversation, Brown addresses a topic that affects many of our students: social anxiety over making new friends and finding community on campus. Brown discusses the University's integrated health and wellness model for addressing mental health concerns, shares how the University focuses on a student's holistic development while remaining empathetic to their concerns, describes what sets Syracuse apart with its mental health resources, offers up tips for finding community and shares common mistakes students make when trying to make friends and develop their social circle.


The State of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Accessibility at Syracuse University With Mary Grace Almandrez

In June, the Supreme Court decided to undo decades of judicial precedent by reversing rulings that allowed race-conscious admissions programs, preventing colleges like Syracuse University from considering race as one of many factors in deciding which qualified applicants are admitted. As the University’s vice president for diversity and inclusion, Mary Grace Almandrez was paying close attention to the rulings. While Almandrez was deeply disappointed by the rulings, she pointed to the University’s long track record of fostering an environment where all students feel welcomed and supported as proof that Syracuse University will not waver in its commitment to DEIA issues. Almandrez discusses the rulings and their impact on current and prospective students, shares how the University remains committed to being a national leader in DEIA efforts, and highlights what the campus community can expect from the inaugural D.E.I.A. Symposium on Oct. 3.


Raising Awareness While Battling Cancer: Danielle Koppenaal '17 Shares Her Story and Stories of Fellow Cancer Survivors

In May, Danielle Koppenaal ’17 was diagnosed with Stage 4 colon cancer. She is 28 years old. In this ’Cuse Conversation, Koppenaal shares her approach to battling cancer by taking it day-by-day. She talks about how she leans on her support system, her efforts to stay active and her commitment to raising awareness about cancer – particularly the increase the medical community is seeing in what it calls “early-onset” cancers in the United States. To chronicle her own journey and to share other stories of cancer survivors, Koppenaal started the Cancer Chats podcast, an Instagram account and a blog. As a big sports fan, she also works to support the V Foundation for Cancer Research.


Carolina Panthers' Anish Shroff ’04 Hopes to Inspire Future Generations of South Asian Sportscasters

Anish Shroff ’04 is the only minority radio play-by-play voice of a National Football League (NFL) team, but the landscape is changing, and Shroff feels proud when he looks around the sportscasting landscape and sees a plethora of talented South Asian broadcasters working for ESPN, MLB Network, Fox Sports, TNT and other national media outlets. It's a stark contrast from when Shroff was watching sports and saw the field dominated by white men. Growing up, Shroff was a sports-crazed kid, an avid baseball player, rabid collector of sports trading cards and someone who read the Newark Star-Ledger sports section cover-to-cover. He always wanted to be a sports broadcaster, and thanks to parents who supported his dreams, Shroff has realized those childhood dreams. Shroff is entering his second season calling Carolina Panthers games on the team’s network of radio stations, and he’s also handled play-by-play duties for ESPN’s coverage of college football, college basketball, men’s lacrosse and baseball. Shroff discusses his path to the NFL, how he cultivated his voice as a broadcaster, why he feels future sportscasters should embrace reading and learning history to help hone their on-air skills, and how he’s forever thankful that his immigrant parents encouraged him to pursue his sportscasting dreams.


How Student Living Enhances Student Development With Steve Herndon

Living in a residence hall on North Campus or an apartment on South Campus is more than just a place to rest your head at night for students. They find friendships, build community and develop relationships that can sometimes last a lifetime. Residential learning impacts a student's holistic development, a place to learn, thrive and develop into leaders. Steve Herndon, the University’s new assistant vice president for student living, leads a team responsible for helping students find their community and realize their potential through their housing experiences. A respected leader in residential education, housing and student development, Herndon discusses how his team helps students reach their full potential, why Syracuse University was the perfect fit for the next chapter in his career and the profound role residential living plays on campus.


Welcome to the Orange Family! Previewing Syracuse Welcome With Carrie Grogan Abbott G'03

The Syracuse University family is expanding, as more than 4,000 first-year students will move into their residence halls during Syracuse Welcome, the University’s annual new student orientation program, running Aug. 24-27. Syracuse Welcome represents the first steps in a student’s Syracuse journey, and the week-long orientation is filled with programs designed to make new students and their family members feel at home through engaging academic and social events, including New Student Convocation, a key component of Syracuse Welcome. Carrie Grogan Abbott G'03 is the director of new student programs, and her team strives to help students feel a sense of belonging to the Syracuse University community from their first day on campus. Abbott shares why Syracuse Welcome is the perfect way to introduce new students to campus, reflects on the Goon Squad's pivotal role during move-in, and offers advice to ensure move-in runs smoothly.


Behind the Orange: Otto is Going Into the Mascot Hall of Fame!

Syracuse University’s iconic mascot Otto the Orange is a Hall of Famer! Otto is part of the Mascot Hall of Fame’s Class of 2023. This special ’Cuse Conversations podcast explores Otto’s history, Otto’s impact on the University and Central New York communities and the significance of this honor with Julie Walas ’07, a former Otto and the current coach of the mascot team, and alumni Ottos Brian Lapis ’91, Jeff Kurkjian’15 and Zannah Bailey ’14. They’ll share their memorable stories. Join the University’s celebratory send-off for Otto on Thursday, Aug. 10 on the Irving Avenue side of the JMA Wireless Dome. Otto will be inducted into the Mascot Hall of Fame in Whiting, Indiana during a ceremony and family-friendly fan fest on Saturday, August 12th. If you live in the area, you’re invited to support Otto in person. You can also make a gift to support Otto through the Otto the Orange Mascot Fund.


Curiosity Helps Ryan Smith '92 Transition from Lawyer to Decorated ESPN Anchor and Television Reporter

Ryan Smith '92 anchors ESPN’s flagship "SportsCenter" program, and he's a Sports Emmy-winning host of ESPN’s "Outside the Lines" and "E60." Smith also serves as a legal analyst for ESPN and ABC News. But his path to journalism was unorthodox. After earning his political science degree from the Maxwell School, Smith went on to earn his law degree from Columbia Law School. A successful practicing lawyer, Smith didn't feel satisfied, so he pivoted to pursue a career in television. The bet paid off. Today, Smith combines his love of law with his passion for journalism. Smith discusses his unusual career path and the skillsets from being a lawyer that carry over to journalism. He shares why he's forever curious about the stories he tells, how he enjoys making complicated issues easy for the audience to understand, the important role Syracuse University played in his life, and the best piece of advice he ever received.


Zava! Meet Maximilian Osinski '06, the Breakout Star of Season 3 of ‘Ted Lasso’

Back in 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic caused worldwide angst and turmoil, a show debuted on Apple TV+ that emphasized the importance of hope and believing in yourself. “Ted Lasso,” which recently concluded its third season, has been a feel-good television hit from the first episode. Early in the third season, the show introduced a new character, Zava, who was never lacking in confidence and self-belief. While Zava’s bravado jumps off the screen, fans of the show might not know that the real-life actor who plays Zava is Maximilian Osinski ’06, who never played a minute of soccer in his life. On this “’Cuse Conversation,” Osinski, who earned a bachelor's degree in drama from the College of Visual and Performing Arts, discusses his breakout role on “Ted Lasso” and how he overcame his doubts about whether he could play the world’s greatest soccer player. Osinski shares why Syracuse University was his dream school, recalls his first role in a major motion picture: as former Orange football standout Gerhard Schwedes '60 in the Ernie Davis '62 biopic, "The Express," explores how being born in a refugee camp to immigrant parents inspired him to pursue his dreams and more.


Providing a Voice for the Systematically Suppressed With Erykah Pasha '24

From an early age, Erykah Pasha ’24 has been driven to provide a voice for those who have been systematically oppressed and suppressed in her hometown of Syracuse, and she always knew Syracuse University was where she wanted to study. Enrolling in the dual degree political science and sociology program in the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs and the College of Arts and Sciences, Pasha credits the University for providing her with the resources and, more importantly, the opportunities to effect change. On this 'Cuse Conversation, Pasha, a Kessler Scholar and McNair Scholar, discusses her research, how she hopes to create change through this summer experience and how her time on campus helped her find her voice. As Pride Month is celebrated across the country, Pasha, who identifies as queer, shares how both the Intercultural Collective and the LGBTQ Resource Center play a pivotal role in her development as a campus leader and how the programs and engagement efforts offered through the LGBTQ Resource Center created a home-away-from-home atmosphere.


How The Rising Popularity of Esports Led to Syracuse University’s Newest Degree Program

Electronic sports, or esports, has seen a remarkable spike in popularity over the years, with a recent study from Pew Research finding that 90% of teenagers between the ages of 13 and 17 play video games. Seeking to both capitalize on the tremendous popularity of esports and continue to innovate, expand career options in emerging fields and deliver academic programs that meet its students’ needs, Syracuse University will soon begin offering a new, first-of-its-kind degree program focused on esports. The program taps into the rapidly growing, multibillion-dollar esports industry, serving as a continuation of the work already happening on campus. Jeff Rubin⁠, special advisor to the chancellor on esports and digital transformation, Olivia Stomski, professor of practice of television, radio and film and director of the Newhouse Sports Media Center, and Chris Hanson, associate professor of English in the College of Arts and Sciences, were on the University-wide task force charged with conducting the benchmarking that led to the creation of the esports program. Rubin, Stomski and Hanson reveal why the time was right for Syracuse University to add an esports degree program, share how the new academic offering will position students for success once they graduate, explain the research that went into creating this program and discuss the rapid growth of esports on campus.


Pursuing What Fulfills You: Ruchatneet Printup’s ’23 Nontraditional Journey to a Film Degree

Instead of feeling pride over being the first member of his family to earn a college degree, Ruchatneet Printup '23 felt trapped in a dead-end job that lacked purpose, meaning and fulfillment after earning a biomedical computing degree from Rochester Institute of Technology in 1988. More than three decades later, after embarking on an unconventional path that took him from an office job in Philadelphia to serving his community as a non-profit advocate on the Tuscarora Reservation, Printup was driving a truck delivering the Buffalo News when he had a life-changing epiphany. As he meditated, he realized he needed to pursue his passions and return to school to earn a film degree. This week, Printup will graduate from Syracuse University's College of Visual and Performing Arts (VPA) with a film degree. One of 12 University Scholars, the highest undergraduate honor the University bestows, Printup has made the most of his second undergraduate experience. A Haudenosaunee Promise Scholar, Printup plans on using his degree to ensure more Native Americans' voices and stories are represented in film. Printup shares how he will make a difference as a film director, how the University's well-rounded course load made him a better storyteller, and why as soon as he walked into his first class at Syracuse he knew he was where he was meant to be. Printup, who says he had to venture outside of his comfort zone and become fearless while making the difficult adjustment of going back to college later in life, shares how he inspired his daughter, Gehnew, to follow his lead and pursue her dreams as a fashion design student in VPA.


Comparing Voter ID Laws in the US and UK With Gretchen Coleman '22

The United Kingdom is about to hold the country’s first elections where voters are required to show ID when they vote. The reason behind the policy change is a growing mistrust in the election process, and the new laws closely follow those in the U.S. Gretchen Coleman '22, who is currently pursuing a master's degree in political science, democracy and elections at the University of Manchester, has researched voter ID laws in the U.S. Now, she’s shifting her focus to U.K. elections, thanks to a Fulbright postgraduate award. Coleman will analyze materials sent to voters informing them of the policy change to examine how well-informed voters were about the policy shift. Coleman’s findings will be used for a report on how the U.K. can improve its elections. Coleman stops by to discuss her research and how she became interested in politics and elections, compares voter ID laws in the U.S. with the U.K., addresses the growing concern in the U.S. over voters not trusting election results, and shares how she wants to use this research to make election laws less discriminatory and more representative.