Many Aggies, One World
Maximizing accessibility is never an easy task, but members of the MSC L.T. Jordan Institute for International Awareness have taken what they learned during the pandemic and found more innovative ways to reach the campus community.
“We wanted to engage students in something that could provide international awareness during COVID,” Lance Neidhardt, on-campus executive, said about the original goal of the “Many Aggies, One World” podcast. The program, currently in its third year, has now become a staple of the committee. Although programming the pandemic has ended, Neidhart and the rest of the podcast team have retained their dedication to preserving students’ access to cool people on campus. “The podcast revolves around people within the Texas A&M community. “Lots of students haven’t been outside the country themselves, so this shows them that they can do this too if they want,” he said.
MSC Jordan committee members have found ways to make their program’s impact felt in the classroom as well. “Professors use podcasts as materials for students, “ Luis Sanchez, another Jordan executive, said. “International studies classes use the podcast as extra credit.”
However, ensuring the podcast remains educational while properly highlighting the guests does not happen without preparation. “We send all of the topics to a guest a couple of days to a week beforehand and involve them in putting new questions together.” Once the podcast recording begins, the host and guests have the freedom to explore any experience they choose. “The first podcasts were more question and answer. Lately, we’ve tried to make them more conversational.”
When selecting guests for the podcast, the committee takes into account current campus events. After Texas A&M University was granted Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) status, the podcast featured Dr. Felipe Hinojosa, assistant provost for HSI Initiatives, to discuss what this achievement means for the community. “As an international student, it was interesting to hear how funding through HSI will be used for international Hispanic students, Sanchez said, before noting how international students are ineligible for many traditional scholarships. “I enjoyed hearing how HSI affects everyone,” said Neidhart. “And how the purpose of HSI is to provide representation on campus.”
Through promoting such impactful subject matter, MSC Jordan students have grown as communicators and leaders while facing some fun surprises along the way. “Learning how to talk to a professor, learning how to be a host and talk for an audience, I hadn’t had the chance to do this until the podcast,” Sanchez said. “The first time I was on the podcast, I thought I was going to be a guest until [on-campus executive] Mahera told me I was going to be the host.”
Many Aggies, One World can be streamed from all major podcasting outlets including Buzzsprout, Spotify and Apple Podcasts.