Amy Messersmith, associate director of the Arthur O. Eve Higher Education Opportunity Program and TRIO Student Support Services—part of the School of Education’s Center for Academic Achievement and Student Development (CAASD)—has been awarded an Office of Diversity and Inclusion (ODI) Administrative Fellowship. Earlier in 2023, ODI invited staff members to apply for the fellowship in an effort to further elevate diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility on campus, as well as promote leadership and professional development for University employees.
Messersmith plans to facilitate storytelling through podcasting. “My goal is to tell stories from the campus community that pertain to diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility in some way,” says Messersmith. “My hope is to humanize one another through personal storytelling as a way to tap into our shared humanity.”
Messersmith’s proposed pop-up podcast studio will allow her to capture stories anywhere on campus, not just in a specific studio, aimed at fostering inclusion and belonging focusing on students and their lived experiences; administrative offices to humanize and help build connections across campus between staff; and other topics that might emerge out of discussions and meetings that Messersmith has as an ODI fellow.
“The intended outcome for these podcast projects is that it brings us closer together as a campus community and therefore strengthens our sense of belonging and inclusion on campus,” says Messersmith. “In a safe environment, campus community members will share stories in a way that allows the listener to find themselves in each other’s stories. We want to humanize each other across the silos of the University, and we want to tap into our shared humanity as individuals with different backgrounds and identities.”
“In a safe environment, campus community members will share stories in a way that allows the listener to find themselves in each other’s stories.”
Messersmith’s vision came to life when she recorded her first episode of the podcast on Sept. 29, at the Intercultural Collective. “It’s rewarding to see an idea come to fruition. I was able to sit down with some amazing students to share their stories with openness, honesty and courage,” she says. Messersmith’s plan is to release the podcasts on a monthly basis in the future.