When JMU sent out the email that students would not be returning to campus after spring break, a wave of shock and grief swept through the JMU community. As the reality of the pandemic gradually sank in over time, it weighed on everyone’s hearts to know that things would likely never be the same.
As we adjusted to this “new normal” of working from home and connecting primarily through devices, all we knew was what we read in the news or heard through our contacts. Everyone at JMU from the students to the faculty and administrators rose to the challenge and found a way to quickly get online . The one thing we didn’t really know was—what was it like on an individual basis for people across JMU in response to COVID-19?
At the same time, JMU X-Labs Founding Director Nick Swayne had been wondering how we could give both prospective and long-time students and
faculty insight into “the JMU way” during a time when people were unable to see it for themselves on campus. With that in mind, he asked the JMU X-Labs team to consider hosting a podcast.
Assistant Director Kelsey Hartman and Director of Programming Emily Winter came up with a plan and asked the student interns if they were interested. Not only were the interns interested, they took the plan and ran with it, and are now releasing three new episodes every week. With interviews from students, faculty, staff and administrators, the podcast offers everything from comic relief to helpful tips to combat loneliness and insights into how JMU is taking care of its people and carrying out its mission despite the pandemic.
Guests from our first series
Above | (Left to right) Kevin Peng – Economics Major, Natalie Kerr – Professor of Psychology, Bob Kolvoord – Dean of the College of Integrated Science and Engineering, Michael Klein – Associate Professor of Writing, Rhetoric and Technical Communication, Christopher Berndsen – Associate Professor of Biochemistry and Enzymology
Above | (Left to right) Rebecca Brannon – Associate Professor of History, Tim Miller – Vice President for Student Affairs, Brad Barnett – Director of Financial Aid & Scholarship, Kerry Crawford – Associate Professor of Political Science, Pia Antolic-Piper – Assistant Professor of Philosophy
Above | (Left to right) John Tkac – Lecturer of Spanish, Jennifer Peeksmease – Assistant Professor of Communication Studies, Andy Perrine – Associate Vice President of Communications and Marketing, Seán McCarthy – Associate Professor of Writing, Rhetoric and Technical Communication, Aaron Ludwig – Founder of Billy Jack’s Shack and Jack Brown’s Beer & Burger Joint