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Beyond the Bell Tower – Season 1

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

Episode 1, Jamal Moss

Jamal speaks to succeeding as a low-income first-generation African-American male in college and working toward earning a medical degree. Enjoy his vivacious personality and be inspired by his road to success. Jamal a biology graduate of NC State and was an active member of SSS. He is currently attending Duke University earning a graduate degree in Bioethics and Science Policy. This episode was recorded Summer 2017.

Listen to Jamal’s Interview (Part 1)

Listen to Jamal’s Interview (Part 2)

Episode 2, Roshaunda Breeden

Battling and overcoming the “imposter syndrome” as an undergraduate student, in graduate school, and even as a professional, plagues many. Roshaunda shares her personal experiences with an amazing amount of intimacy and vulnerability. Gain support, perspective and hope for overcoming “imposter syndrome” from her. This episode was recorded Summer 2017.

Listen to Roshaunda’s Interview (Part 1)

Listen to Roshaunda’s Interview (Part 2)

Episode 3, Kalysha Clark

Owning a home is the American dream. Kalysha bought her first home last year while pursuing her graduate degree at NC State. Learn how she did this as a low-income student. Kalysha is now pursuing her M.S. degree in the College of Natural Sciences at NC State and was a SSS student as an undergraduate. This episode was recorded Summer 2017.

Listen to Kalysha’s Interview (Part 1)

Listen to Kalysha’s Interview (Part 2)

Episode 4, Lakeisha George

Lakeisha is a lauded for being a mother of four, low-income and non-traditional student.  Lakeisha earned her B.A. degree in 2016 and is now pursuing her M.S.W. degree at NC State. She shares her secrets to success managing family, part-time work, school work and overcoming self-doubt. This episode was recorded Fall 2017.

Listen to Lakeisha’s Interview (Part 1)

Listen to Lakeisha’s Interview (Part 2)

Episode 5, Morgan Travis

Graduating in May 2017 Morgan reflects openly and honestly about how she overcame working too much, eating too little and spending more time stressing than studying. While at NC State she advocated for students to access quality and affordable health care on campus. She is passionate about access to healthcare based upon her experiences struggling to access healthcare. And now with a B.S. in Nutrition Sciences from NC State she is working in the public health field. This episode was recorded Summer 2017.

Listen to Morgan’s Interview (Part 1)

Listen to Morgan’s Interview (Part 2)

Episode 6, Bradford Hill

Eighty-five percent of college students report feeling overwhelmed by everything they have to do in college. Bradford shares his personal experiences with managing the stressors of applying to graduate school, ending relationships and transitioning to a career in counseling. Bradford currently works as the Academic Success Coordinator for TRIO Student Support Services Programs at NC State.  Bradford earned his undergraduate degree at North Carolina A&T State University and his graduate degree in Counseling from UNC-Pembroke. This episode was recorded Summer 2017.

Listen to Bradford’s Interview (Part 1)

Listen to Bradford’s Interview (Part 2)

Episode 7, Riki Dows

Riki is a third year student at NC State studying communication with a concentration in media, minoring in dance, a reporter in Student Media, a University Theatre actor, and recently, a TRIO SSS student. Throughout her college education, she, along with many other low-income, first generation students, has felt the extreme pressure to succeed in the college expectation of being able to “do it all” – get good grades, build a resume by joining extracurricular clubs, and make money to survive. In this episode, she talks about dealing with the stress of being overwhelmed, bouncing back from rejection, and how to best take care of yourself when it doesn’t seem like your schedule allows for it. Riki is the newest staff member assisting in the production of Beyond the Bell Tower.

Listen to Riki’s Interview

Episode 8, Brooke Blosser

Graduating in May 2018, Brooke discusses the best decisions she has made at NC State – attending CMAST (academic semester at NC State’s Center for Marine Sciences and Technology), seeking out mentoring relationships and presenting her research at national conferences. The multiple part-time jobs she has worked since 16, never deterred her for being so invested in her future of earning a Ph.D. This episode was recorded Fall 2017.

Listen to Brooke’s Interview

Episode 9, Eric Graham

Eric entered NC State as an engineering major. Like a great number of college students, after two years in the Biological Engineering program it was apparent he needed a change his major. After considering several other majors, Eric shares his story of feelings of failure and frustration to now achieving academic success and committing to career in textiles. This episode was recorded Summer 2017.

Listen to Eric’s Interview

Episode 10, Qulea Anderson

Qulea is a proud second-year TRIO Student Support Services STEM student at NC State. In this podcast, Qulea shares her story of caring for her chronically ill parents and then dealing with their death while in high school. Listen to Qulea, as she shares her story of homelessness and how utilizing TRIO, the Counseling Center and other support systems have been beneficially to her ultimate success. As Qulea states, “”There is always someone out there watching over you.”

Listen to Qulea’s Interview

Episode 11, Jesse Lopez

Jesse Lopez, a TRIO Upward Bound Alumni, is now a lead librarian at Arizona State University. Before achieving this administrator position, he earned a very competitive and esteemed position at NC State libraries when he shared his story for the podcast in October 2017. Learn how Jesse negotiated a better salary at ASU, pursued a career as a librarian and struggled to transition from a predominately Hispanic community in Los Angeles to an affluent PWI.

Listen to Jesse’s Interview

Episode 12, Wade Moore

Wade has done it all: CO-OP and part-time employment in a high paying industry, accepted to graduate school before graduation with a B.S. degree and a diverse network of professional contacts and mentors. These accomplishments did not come easy to Wade. Learn about the tough decisions he made and the risks he took leading him to become financially and professionally secure.

Listen to Wade’s Interview

Episode 13, Dontavis Funderburk

As a first-generation college student and graduate of the Poole College of Management, Dontavis overcame the odds of earning a bachelor’s and graduate degree. Listen as Dontavis shares tips and strategies on budgeting, saving and investing while balancing adulthood.

Listen to Dontavis’ Interview

Episode 14, Yareli “Gabby” Manjarrez Medero

In this episode of Beyond the Bell Tower, Gabby talks about study abroad at NC State. Using her own travels to Belize as a teaching tool, she also go in-depth with the confusing process of travel, from how to prepare for your trip to how to make the most out of your experience. Gabby is a senior in human biology and a first-generation TRIO student. She hopes to use the service that she’s provided on her travels to help her help other people in the future.

Listen to Gabby’s Interview

Episode 15, Taylor Adams

Buying a car is one of the first investments young adults learn to make. But what exactly goes into that purchase? This process can be even harder for students for many students and even more so for students from lower income backgrounds. Taylor Adams, a graduating senior and TRIO scholars, has gone through the car-buying process. He shares with us his experience in buying his used car, the benefits and disadvantages of buying new versus used, and ways he’s maintained his car over the years.

Listen to Taylor’s Interview

Episode 16, Yvonne Damon

For as far back as we can remember, gender identity and sexuality have always been restricted between the two sexes: female and male. Today, those restrictions have been opened up to include a variety of identities and sexualities, from gender-fluid and nonbinary to pansexual and asexual to many more. Yvonne Damon, a sophomore in biochemistry and TRIO Ambassador, identifies as a cis-gendered pansexual. On this episode of “Beyond the Bell Tower,” Yvonne (she, her, hers) and Riki (she, her, hers) have an enlightening conversation about pronouns, derogatory terms, and the LGBT climate both on campus and around the world.

Listen to Yvonne’s Interview

Episode 17, Connie & Jelina Gatlin

Only 33% of parents graduate with a bachelor’s degree. And with childcare costing so much more than the price of tuition, many parents struggle with balancing the responsibilities of raising a child and continuing their education. Connie Gatlin, a recent graduate in Horticulture Science and the TRIO program, defied the odds and succeeded despite them – all with her daughter, Jelina, beside her every step of the way. Tune in to hear Connie and Jelina talk their journey, including what it was like for Connie to bring her daughter with her to class, how Jelina has benefited from her time as one of the youngest students to ever attend NC State, and all the different ways they overcame what was supposed to be impossible.

Listen to Connie and Jelina’s Interview

Episode 18, Aalanah Valentine

TRIO Student Support Services and Student Support Services STEM is an organization that provides a supportive community for an underrepresented and under-resourced demographic at NC State – the low-income, first generation students. In this community, students feel safe, understood and supported. Outside of this community, however, it’s hard not to feel judged. Because in a society where social justice has reached an all-time high, with support for marginalized groups like minorities, the LGBT community and women, we still need to have the conversation about why our society hates the poor.

Aalanah Valentine and Riki Dows are TRIO students who know this feeling of being judged all too well. In this episode of “Beyond the Bell Tower,” Aalanah and Riki talk about the stigma society has of the poor, share their own personal struggles with being low-income on an elite campus like NC State and prove to anyone listening that they don’t have to be ashamed of their background. They hope to inspire low-income, first generation students to be proud of where they’ve come from because it’s the reason they’re here today and to show them that no matter where they’ve been, their strength is going to take them amazing places in the future.

Listen to Aalanah’s Interview



The information, opinions, and recommendations presented in the Beyond the Bell Tower Podcast are for general information only and any reliance on the information provided in this Podcast is done at your own risk. This Podcast should not be considered professional advice. Unless specifically stated otherwise, TRIO Programs does not endorse, approve, recommend, or certify any information, product, process, service, or organization presented or mentioned in this Podcast, and information from this Podcast should not be referenced in any way to imply such approval or endorsement

All materials contained herein or otherwise affiliated were produced in good faith for informational and inspirational purposes for TRIO students. Although reasonable efforts have been made to ensure the information contained in these podcast episodes was current and accurate at the time of publication, neither NC State University, nor any individual who has furnished content or been involved in the presentation of this material, either orally or in writing,can guarantee that all information is accurate and valid.

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