Launched this past school year, UA+ Community Workshops provide space and time for exploration, deep dives, and passion projects. It can be described as “mini camp” for Ursuline students, current parents, alumnae, parents of alumnae, and employees.
In Podcasting, participants explored different show formats, covered podcast production, recorded, edited, and shared their work. They were taught by Ursuline Social Studies teacher, Dr. Caitlin Rathe.
Dr. Rathe first got into podcasting in 2018, during the last year of her dissertation research. Her supervisor was being interviewed for a podcast about Lyndon B. Johnson and the Great Society. The Executive Director was looking for a researcher, and her supervisor connected her. She’s been working on podcasts ever since!
“I enjoy being able to use the research skills I acquired as a History PhD to help podcasters (especially those making history pods) to find archival audio,” she said. “I love being sucked into a podcast, and taken to another time or place, and enjoy being part of the process that creates that experience for others.”
She believes that podcasting is important because it provides a different avenue/medium to connect people with information and hopes her podcasting students leave her class with the ability to deconstruct a podcast and identify the elements that make it up.
“How did this podcast creator use music or sound effects to set the mood? What is the relationship between the host and guest, or is there a narrator? Picking up on all these pieces will allow students to dissect and then design whatever audio projects they have in mind,” she said.
One of her podcasting students, John Gilchrist, had a desire to learn about podcasting to market his business. His prior experience with podcasting was only as a listener.
“I was interested in learning the mechanics of creating a podcast, understanding publishing and marketing, and developing a style,” he said.
During the workshop, he focused on interviewing various nonprofit leaders and appreciated Dr. Rathe’s style, insights, and experience.
He was most proud of creating his first podcast, “complete with intro/outro music and seamless musical breaks!” he said.
“The course proved to be a tremendous boost in my confidence to produce a quality podcast,” he said. “I plan to take the next course!”
Emily Nguyen ’24, another podcasting student, was drawn to podcasting as a passion project but didn’t know where to start.
“I had listened to so many podcasts prior to registering for the workshop and thought the idea of sharing my voice through a podcast sounded new and interesting,” she said. “That’s why I joined this workshop.”
Like John, she had no previous experience with podcasting other than as a listener, but wanted to create a podcast where she could review books.
“I am passionate about reading and felt like this would be a good way to share my opinions and recommendations,” she said.
Her goal for the workshop? Finish her first full episode and have it edited in a way that matched the theme of the book she was reviewing.
While nervous to attend the workshop at first, Emily found that everyone was incredibly supportive and that the small group gave her a chance to ask questions.
“I was proud of learning how to edit audio, volume, and record my own podcast independently,” she said. “I was also shocked to find how relaxing and fun this workshop was. Dr. Rathe was great at helping me understand.”
Ultimately, podcasts create a way to consume media differently.
"I am able to step back from a movie, song, or even a live sports broadcast, and think about all the different people whose work made this product I am consuming possible," said Dr. Rathe. "I’m now more grateful for all the awesome, creative folks out there making the different content I read, listen to, and watch on a daily basis."
Stay tuned for 2023-2024 Community Workshops!