CState faculty & students produce “FutureProof” podcast that promotes experiential education & achieving career success despite adversity

The podcast FutureProof, which premiered during Spring Semester 2024, is telling the stories of Cincinnati State graduates who changed their lives as a result of the experiential education opportunities provided by the College.

Nine episodes produced between January and May 2024 are currently available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Amazon Music podcasts, and YouTube Music podcasts (formerly Google Podcasts). You can also connect to FutureProof on the College website: https://www.cincinnatistate.edu/futureproof.

FutureProof podcast logo

More episodes that were produced during Spring Semester will be released in July and August 2024.

Each episode of FutureProof is an interview with a Cincinnati State student or alumnus who shares their personal story about overcoming adversity and achieving career success.

Stories shared in some of the episodes include:

  • Emily Bursk talked about her journey from failing a math class to working for the Cincinnati Observatory (and after the podcast was recorded, working for NASA)!
  • Kimheart Moeung moved from local and national hip hop fame to earning his doctorate in education. (2-part podcast)
  • Mickela Harris shared her story of joining the National Guard, returning to college, finding her passion in all things electrical, and landing her dream job.
  • Cierra Campbell worked her way through college selling bread, driving a bus, and working in research and development–never choosing just one opportunity or another, but saying, “I’ll do both.” (2-part podcast)

“We were compelled to find a way to share these stories”

Co-hosts Jayne Dressing and Eimee Donbar get ready to start an episode
Co-hosts Jayne Dressing and Eimee Donbar get ready to start an episode

The idea for the podcast started in Fall 2023, with a conversation between Eimee Donbar and Jayne Martin Dressing. At the time, both were Co-op and Internship Coordinators for the Humanities & Sciences Division. (Eimee is now the Interim Associate Dean for the Business Division.)

“We would sit in my office, sharing incredible stories about what students were doing in their co-op experiences, or hearing from graduates who were finishing an advanced degree while working in their field, and who wanted to hire Cincinnati State students,” Jayne said.

“We realized that more people needed to understand how powerful career-related working and learning experiences can be, and we were compelled to find a way to share these stories.”

Dressing and Donbar lacked experience starting a podcast, so they asked for help from Dave Killen, Program Chair for the Audio/Video Production (AVP) degree.

“When we reached out to Dave to ask if he wanted to collaborate on a project, we fully expected him to politely decline,” Jayne said. “But he was excited about the idea and offered time, expertise, student support, and vision.”

Dave suggested that Jayne and Eimee could “learn along with us” as participants in creating the podcast, with students providing the technical production skills.

“Our collaboration is an example of the power of experiential learning”

“We need this kind of storytelling for the College,” Dave said. “What we do at Cincinnati State is exciting, and it’s important to share what we do with others.”

Carly Baker in the recording studio
Carly Baker in the recording studio

Audio/Video Production co-op and work-study students Carly Baker and Jayson Warner produced the podcast episodes.

“From the beginning, the AVP students gained experience in production as we started creating the podcast,” Eimee recalled. “Our collaboration is an example of the power of experiential learning, on a podcast about that topic.”

Dave said the students developed the framework that would be used for each episode, as well as standard opening and closing segments. Jamal Lundy, the Executive Assistant in the Humanities & Sciences division, provided voice actor support.

Carly said, “I gained a lot of experience recording audio in a professional studio and editing the podcasts. We wanted FutureProof to convey the feel of a genuine and organic conversation, with three people sharing stories around a table. I was grateful to hear, record, edit, and share these incredible stories to help inspire others.”

The opening of each episode asks, “What makes us resilient? What makes some people continue to pursue their goals and dreams, in spite of roadblocks or challenges? What if all we needed was an opportunity? Imagine if we trusted our talents, our abilities, and our strengths, then took a chance on ourselves? FutureProof is a Cincinnati State faculty and student created podcast where students, alumni, and employers share adventures in learning outside of the classroom. We hope you will cheer, cry, and laugh along the way as we share our students’ stories of resiliency in overcoming the odds. Find out what happens when we stop saying ‘no’ and start saying ‘yes’.”

The name “FutureProof” is intended to convey that experiential education prepares students to deal successfully with anything they might encounter in their future career paths.

“We’re looking forward to growing this platform in the future”

Other College support for the project included funding from the College’s Marketing department for technical hosting services, so FutureProof episodes can be shared on platforms like Spotify, Apple, and Amazon.

Jayson Warner in the recording studio
Jayson Warner in the recording studio

Graphic Design student Joey Hickey created the podcast logo. Co-op student Nozina Eshkobilova assisted with production and marketing tasks.

College staff member Mike Tekulve, who coordinates operations of the AVP recording studios located on the fourth floor of the ATLC, provided additional support and mentoring.

He said, “FutureProof turned out even better than we had anticipated when Eimee and Jayne brought us the idea. We’re looking forward to growing this platform in the future.”

Jayne said more new episodes of FutureProof will be produced this summer. Also, a live episode, broadcast from the Cincinnati State Auditorium, is tentatively planned for September.

You can learn more about FutureProof by following on Instagram @futureproofpodcast and on LinkedIn at FutureProof Podcast.

If you’re a Cincinnati State student or alumnus interested in sharing your story, or know someone who might want to share theirs, please send an email message to futureproof@cincinnatistate.edu.

Also, please share FutureProof with others. “We need more listeners!” Jayne said.

(Top of page photo: Jayne Dressing, podcast guest Mickela Harris, Carly Baker, Mike Tekulve, and Eimee Donbar)

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