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Beyond the Bell Tower – Season 5

Episode 45: Mohamed Hijazi and Sarah Aljafaari

Mohamed is an Industrial Engineering major and is looking forward to work for a Design Consulting Firm after college. He plans to eventually start his own practice.

Fun fact: Mohamed: “I make music and it’s available everywhere! Just search “Shmoneymo” on your streaming platform

Sarah Aljaafari is a Junior at NC State. She has received various certifications for first aid, suicide prevention, and crowd management. Sarah has worked with four departments at NC State spanning from Event Manager to Global Ambassador.

Fun Fact: Sarah is certified in QPR+ Suicide Prevention Training.

Listen to Mohamed and Sarah’s Interview

Episode 46: Miguel Ortiz-Cruz

Miguel Ortiz-Cruz and his family living in Pender County experienced devastation to their home and lives by Hurricane Florence in September 2018. For over one year, Miguel’s family lived in FEMA shelters while the family waited for their jobs to return and roads could be restored so the family could begin rebuilding their house.

There was a silver lining to Miguel’s experience. In this podcast he shares how he learned the benefits of asking for help and leveraging personal experiences to become an advocate for other college students managing homelessness while earning a degree. Miguel accessed the Hurricane Emergency Grants offered by NC college students as well as all of the assistance NC State made available. Normally avoiding any attention, it was during the experience of living through Hurricane Florence and the after-math he became vocal in the media with local, state and national media.
Miguel graduated from Magna Cum Laude in May 2020 with a degree in Technology, Design and Engineering from the College of Education. While at NC State he was active in the Marching Band, Bellydance Club, and TRIO.

Listen to Miguel’s Interview

Episode 47: Robin Batsuli

Robin Batsuli is a student at NC State University Majoring in Business Administration and an active TRIO student. He completed a Co-Op position during COVID19. During this podcast, we tackled tough conversations surrounding race, professional internships, academics, moving across the country and more. We do a deep dive into Robin’s co-op experience and what he went through as an African-American male in a completely different part of the country.
Many of our students at North Carolina State University go through internships experiences every year, this episode takes a deeper look into the individuals experience during their internship. Are you a student that doesn’t know anything about co-ops or internships? Have you had an abnormal internship experience? Would you get a glimpse of what it is like to take a co-op internship during undergrad? This episode will answer those questions.

Listen to Robin’s Interview

Episode 48: Andrea Wallenbeck

Andrea Wallenbeck
Counselor, Post Master’s Fellow
NC State University Student Counseling Center

In this episode we tackled multiple mental health issues from a student perspective and faculty perspective. Both Isaiah and Andrea shared their own experiences with mental health challenges and seeking support. The transitions students experienced with Covid-19 and continuing in college has not left any student without personal, academic, health and financial challenges. And the effect of Covid-19 is still challenging for the student population. We also mentioned various mental health resources for students and faculty to use throughout their time here at North Carolina State University. If you would like to strengthen your mental health please reach out to the following resources and contact your TRIO Coach with any questions.

Listen to Andrea’s Interview

Episode 49: Gabrielle Neal

This episode highlights the study abroad experience of TRIO student Gabrielle Neal. This was Gabby’s first experience leaving the county as well as first time flying! The road to South Korea was uphill for Gabby as she managed the Covid-19 restrictions for both the United States and South Korea as well as completing all of the Visa applications as well as confirming her budget and financial aid resources. The opportunity to study in Sol, Korea was a top goal for Gabby and she achieved it! During this episode, we tackled student life at NC State versus student life abroad, benefits of TRIO from high school to college, and life abroad.

Listen to Gabby’s Interview

Episode 50: Dorcas Johnson

Are you a future graduating student? Are you interested in pursuing a graduate degree? Would you like to connect your post-graduate experience to someone else’s? This episode will answer those tough questions and provide clarity to individuals who are facing these issues as well as dating life talk.
Dorcas is a recent graduate of Tufts University School of Medicine, receiving her Master’s of Public Health with a concentration in Nutrition and currently working towards a PhD in Community Health Education at University of North Carolina at Greensboro. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Nutrition Sciences from NC State University when she was an active TRIO leader.
During this podcast, we tackle a series of issues such as student life, relationships, graduate degrees, and more. This is a timeless episode for students at any stage of their career. This episode is very useful for students thinking about or entering their journey to graduate programs as well as for students wondering what college life is post graduation. We also touched on relationships after graduation which is huge for the college student wanting to continue to build their social skills.

Listen to Dorcas’s Interview

Episode 51: Dylan McDonald

Dylan McDonald is a recent TRIO grad. He earned dual Bachelor’s degrees in Psychology and Human Biology in May 2022 with Magna Cum Laude honors. He is passionate about medicine, his dog (Athena), and mental health advocacy.

In this episode we tackled the experience of a working college student, what is the work/student life balance? How do students handle a job and academics at the same time?
We also talked about food insecurity and its impact on the average college student. Dylan shared these experiences on television at–housing-insecurity-to-help-others-in-similar-situation-

Listen to Dylan’s Interview