How Stonehill enhanced the curiosity and critical thinking skills at the heart of alums’ podcasts.
As an eight-time school record-holder and the first All-American in the history of the Stonehill men’s cross-country program, Mario Fraioli ’04 lived and breathed competitive running in college. After graduating, the Auburn, Massachusetts, native turned his attention to creating content focused on the sport.
“I wrote for Competitor Magazine from 2010 to 2016,” he said. “Interviewing runners and coaches was my favorite part of the job. As I moved on and developed my own email newsletter, I also started listening to a lot of long-form podcasts about running [but] couldn’t find one that spoke to me. I knew I had the journalistic chops and the connections necessary to produce my own series.”
Launched in December 2017, The Morning Shakeout podcast provides insight and inspiration through in-depth conversations with runners, coaches and other personalities. Fraioli, who studied philosophy and psychology in college, believes he brings a piece of his Stonehill experience with him whenever he conducts interviews.
“Philosophy encouraged me to follow my curiosities, to go below the surface and to not accept things at face value” he said. “That’s an approach I bring to every conversation.”
Bringing Technology to the Forefront of Education
Fraioli is one of many Stonehill community members currently producing podcasts. In general, the number of creators participating in this medium continues to increase globally. Podcast creation software Anchor contributed more than 1 million productions to Spotify’s total catalog of over 1.9 million podcasts in 2020, according to The Verge.
Associate Professor of English Scott Cohen believes the prevalence of podcasts can be attributed not only to humanity’s intrinsic love of storytelling but also the unique experience offered by audio productions in today’s image-saturated culture.
“Podcasters aren’t obligated to fill in every visual detail,” he said. “It’s the work of the listener to paint the portrait. People like taking part in that world-making experience.”
Cohen is one of the pioneers behind the MacPhaidin Library’s Digital Innovation Lab, a space dedicated to bringing technology to the forefront of education. The lab features a podcast studio with recording equipment and editing suites.
“Faculty can help students navigate technical recording challenges and business challenges related to marketing podcasts,” Cohen said. “We also share best creative practices tied to the fundamentals of good broadcasting.”
The Electro-Library podcast is perhaps the most notable production to emerge from the lab. This literary and cultural arts anthology series features the work of Stonehill community members and emerging writers as well as conversations with established creatives like author Teju Cole and artist and activist Layli Long Soldier.
Professor Jared Green produces the podcast with English Department colleagues Cohen and Professor Amra Brooks. He notes the series presents cross-disciplinary learning opportunities, specifically citing a 2017 episode about storytelling. In this installment, Associate Professor of Mathematics Timothy Woodcock weaves a tale about the infinite monkey theorem, which posits that a primate randomly hitting typewriter keys will eventually type out a Shakespearean work.
“We involve professors and students from outside the English Department to create the most multidimensional and diverse approach we can in a relatively short show,” Green said.
Making an Impact Through Content Creation
Just as the producers of The Electro-Library seek to educate and inspire listeners, Thomas Alaimo ’15, formerly of Andover, Massachusetts, hopes to do something similar through his podcast, Millennial Sales.
“Each episode features a discussion with a millennial salesperson,” he said. “We offer actionable tips that listeners can apply to their own careers.”
The biweekly podcast, recorded in Alaimo’s San Francisco apartment, recently released its landmark 200th episode. The host juggles producing the series with his duties as an account executive for revenue intelligence platform Gong.
Alaimo, who majored in marketing and minored in entrepreneurship, believes Professor Warren Dahlin’s Creative Process course instilled in him the skills needed to produce his passion project. The class explored practice methods to increase individuals’ innovative potential.
“I never saw myself as creative,” he said. “Professor Dahlin got me to write poems and stand-up comedy. That stretched my skill set and set me up to become a content creator.”
Bridgewater, Massachusetts, resident Ashley Mason ’19 similarly credits her marketing professors for imparting important lessons that helped shape her podcast, Student to CEO. Through conversations with young, successful business owners, the series inspires listeners to pursue their entrepreneurial interests in lieu of a typical 9-to-5 career.
“My professors spent a lot of time exploring how businesses implement social responsibility campaigns,” she said. “I came to realize the importance of using my work to impact others. I’ve carried this with me as I’ve tried to impact budding entrepreneurs through this podcast.”
The Stonehill Alumni Podcasting Universe
Alumni who have produced podcasts include:
Jay Webb ’97 — Over Quota — interviews with sales leaders, talent acquisition leaders and managers in the technology industry.
Liz Theresa ’09 — Liz on Biz — offering young entrepreneurs the opportunity to learn from guests as they recount the struggles they faced starting their own businesses.
Pamela Bardhi ’13 — The Underdog Podcast — sheds light on the experiences of people who have overcome challenges to succeed against all odds.
Jareed Gaines ’13 and Asia Ewing ’14 — Done With Adulting — breaks down the societal expectations thrust upon them as young adults in today’s world.
Thomas Noah ’15 — My Fitness Journey — seeks to redefine what it means to be fit.
Kate Stalling ’17 — The Take 5 Podcast — explores topics in the fields of marketing and web design.
Ian Vescera ’19 — IV The Love of Sports — interviews with notable figures from the world of sports.
Liam Scully ’20 — Sum of Life — explores mental health from the perspective of a young man pursuing a master’s degree in psychology.
- Kyle Novakoski ’20 and Ethan Vidyarthy ’20 — Professorfy — provides insight on a range of topics through meaningful conversations with college professors.