Podcasts have seen a massive rise in popularity over the past few years, and for good reason. Not only are they accessible to wide audiences, but they are also incredibly versatile.
Nowadays, there seems to be a podcast for everything, and Mercyhurst has taken advantage of that trend with the new “Mercyhurst Made” podcast.
The concept is simple: the podcast will share interviews with members of the Mercyhurst community, from alumni and faculty to students and staff. Thanks to the dedicated on-campus podcast recording studio, the podcast is of professional-grade audio quality.
Each installment is about fifty minutes long, which may seem intimidating. However, the engaging subject matter, not to mention the personal connection for Lakers, makes the time fly by.
The first episode is hosted by former associate vice president for Advancement, Ryan Palm.
Palm has since moved on from Mercyhurst, but his dedication to ensuring the podcast is uploaded on various sites has allowed me to review it even after the fact.
Palm’s guest is Mercyhurst alumnus and vice president for Enrollment, Joe Howard.
After the cheerful theme music fades away, Palm first promotes upcoming admissions events for prospective students, taking advantage of the potential to draw listeners’ interest.
Immediately after, he wastes no time in introducing his guest.
From the outset, Palm establishes a pleasant rapport with Howard that makes for easy listening. The atmosphere is unfailingly positive, as both host and guest demonstrate a genuine love for Mercyhurst that shines clearly through their words.
The podcast follows a traditional question and answer format, with Palm posing open-ended queries to Howard on a variety of topics that are, of course, related to Mercyhurst. This format is simple yet effective, as it gives the guest ample space and opportunity to voice his thoughts and allows the host to explore topics expansive in both breadth and depth.
These topics cover both personal experience and professional insights.
Palm starts the conversation by asking Howard how he came to Mercyhurst as a student, allowing Howard to share a meaningful story of inspiration from high school teachers and his experience as a first generation college student.
Howard goes on to discuss Mercyhurst’s strengths, noting its liberal arts program as especially impactful. He specifically discusses the Mercyhurst Ambassador program as a keystone of the college, referring to Ambassadors as the “preservers and transmitters of the legacy that we inherited from the Sisters and the people who came before us.”
This legacy is important to both Howard and Palm, who discuss its importance to the spirit of Mercyhurst and the college’s ongoing mission.
Listening to their heartfelt conversation, it is impossible not to consider just how special Mercyhurst really is. The conversation soon shifts to the world of higher education in general, as Howard discusses his background working in this field and shares some of the challenges facing higher education today — one of which is, of course, the COVID-19 pandemic.
To conclude the episode, Palm presents three questions which he will ask each guest in all subsequent episodes: he asks the guest to name their favorite spot on campus, a person within the Mercyhurst community who has had an impact on their life and one word that accurately describes Mercyhurst. It is a skillful way to add a bit of variety, diverging from the previous long-answer format, while bringing the conversation full-circle back to the Mercyhurst experience.
Available on Spotify and other podcasting platforms, “Mercyhurst Made” already has several episodes complete — the perfect way to pass a commute or a snowy afternoon on campus.
Ultimately, “Mercyhurst Made” is both informative and uplifting. For listeners from outside of Mercyhurst, it provides a candid and personal perspective on the Mercyhurst experience, making it a great tool for attracting prospective students. For listeners who are part of the Mercyhurst community, it brings up fond memories and encourages the audience to reflect on their own ‘Mercyhurst Made’ stories — serving as a warm and welcome reminder of why Hurst is Home.