Beyond the Bell Tower – Season 2

New episodes are released weekly on Mondays. Beyond the Bell Tower Podcast is available on SoundCloud or by using the links below.

Episode 19, Bri Elum

As a first-generation student, Bri recalls the days and weeks leading up to the start of her first year of college and first months on campus. These days were filled with uncertainty, and she was afraid to ask questions. Every day, she continued to realize how much she didn’t know. Fast forward now, she screams to the top of my lungs with joy “I am a proud first generation college student” because that has indeed shaped her experience in undergrad and graduate school. Bri has not let anything “dim her light” and she wants you to do the same. Bri Elum is Community Director for University Housing.

Listen to Bri’s Interview

Episode 20, Joelle Fuchs

Joelle shares the good and bad of her four years at NC State. Engaging in undergraduate research and benefiting from a cast of female mentors have been her motivating force. She excelled in research studying the effects of BPA on the brain and was selected for summer research at Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health, which ranks first in the country. But, during that time, she had no possibility of securing housing when she returned to campus – making her homeless. Joelle not only shares more of her experiences excelling in school while being food and housing insecure, but offers solutions. Moving forward, Joelle is going to continue with a career in research – to find the answers to the problems she experienced.

Listen to Joelle’s Interview

Episode 21, Clay Chaney

Clay Chaney is the TRIO resident meteorologist. Currently a TV Weather Center Intern for WRAL local TV station, Clay covered Hurricane Florence and Michael, creating a weather graphic of Hurricane Florence that had over 1 million views and 15,000 shares on social media. In this episode, Clay shares the literal sweat and tears he shed to reach his goal of being a storm chaser. He relied on Greek life, intramural sports, undergraduate research and TRIO to be the first one in his family to graduate college and go onto graduate school. We do wish him luck to reach another goal, winning a championship in intramural flag football.

Listen to Clay’s Interview

Episode 22, Kyana Miller and Kier Way

Kier Way, TRIO Alum and first-year veterinary medical school student, speaks with current TRIO students and current veterinary medicine applicants about his origins, his journey through State, and how he stays humble throughout the highs and lows of being a student. Be ready to rock it with this stoic front-runner.

Kyana Miller, TRIO Chair of the Peer Mentor Program and senior in Animal Science program will walk you through her truth. She’s an out of state student, a study abroad ambassador, and an advocate for exotic animal medicine. In this interview, she’ll tell you the reality of being a POC in the College of Agriculture & Life Sciences while keeping it more than upbeat. You’ll hear tips, tricks, accomplishments, and lessons learned in this field.

Kier Way was a celebrated leader on campus during undergrad at NC State. His achievements range from Outstanding Achievement in Classical Studies to executive board member for National Pan-Hellenic Council (governing body of all Black Greek organizations). Academically he made the dean’s list, but not every semester. Even though it may seem like perfection is necessary to be admitted to vet school, it is not. Kier’s experience working in a exotic animal practice, research, and study abroad experiences, in addition to a diverse accumulation of animal contact hours and passion prepared him to be accepted.

Both Kier and Kyana share their passion for the profession along with the hardships of being a pre-vet student, living the vet life while juggling classes, friends, and working on veterinary school applications. It takes more than a love for animals to reach vet school, and TRIO was an instrumental resource. Kier and Kyana also share their experiences of being people of color on campus as animal science majors. If you are thinking of applying to vet or medical school – this is for you!

Listen to Kyana and Kier’s Interview

Episode 23, Dominick Vaccaro

Dominick made a huge impact at TRIO being the first President of the TRIO Student Ambassadors. It was obvious he was meant for great things. He recently graduated with a bachelor’s and master’s in Accounting from NC State. Today, he is an auditor with Cherry Bekaert LLP. Dominick’s path was not always a straight line. Within his first two years at NC State, Dominick had been a math major and applied to the Colleges of Engineering and Design. Discouraged is not in Dominick’s vocabulary – when he was turned down for summer internships, he just kept preparing himself for his career. Not getting an internship with NASCAR did not stop him from being a car fanatic.

Listen to Dominick’s Interview


Episode 24, Women’s Panel

On August 21, 2018, the young women of TRIO met with Dr. Kathryn Edin to have brunch and discuss the themes of her book, $2.00 a Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America. These women reached back into their earliest memories, talking about how certain moments in the book reflected moments in their actual lives, with some revealing things they’d never talked about before. This conversation opened the door for students to feel more comfortable talking about one of the most taboo topics on a college campus: money. The most inspiring message that came from this brunch was one of perseverance and survival. Despite all that these women have been through, they continue to thrive in an environment that is set up in every way for them to fail. On this episode of Beyond the Bell Tower, kick off Women’s History Month with host, Riki Dows, and TRIO women — Joelle Fuchs, Jacqulea Anderson, and Khadija Parker — as they share their stories of living on almost nothing in America and how they continue to fight (and survive through) these same obstacles on a college campus.

Listen to the Women’s Panel


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