Tyrome Harvey ~  Guest Writer  

 Season two of the podcast “A Smarter U,” will debut on Sept. 30 at the University of Lynchburg. Season one was hosted by recent graduate Justin Cummings, while season two is hosted by sophomore, Hannah Belayachi. 

     Podcast topics for the new season will include fake news, women superheroes, diversity and marketing, professional sports pay, and will the robot take your job?”

     According to Director of Communications, Bryan Gentry the podcast began last January with a discussion on football, physics and concussions with Dr. Eric Goff and Dr. Tom Bowman.

     Gentry explained, “Last fall we started thinking about the opportunity to move forward on it. We had a student working for us, his name was Justin Cummings, he graduated back in May. He had some experience working on a podcast in the past, so we said we got Justin working here, so why not try it out. We brainstormed the podcast ideas, we came up with one that would involve faculty staff, alumni, and students to come together.”

     New host Belayachi said, “Actually, I did not really look for it, it was something that happen to fall into my lap. I was in Dr. Mike’s Disney colloquium in the honors program last semester. I got an email from Bryan Gentry saying that they were looking to host the podcast, since their host Justin Cummings is graduating, and he had asked Dr. Mike for recommendations and my name came up.” 

     Belayachi also said, “We started talking about superheroes because captain marvel had just came out at that point and we were talking essentially just about how women superheroes finally getting the recognition without being sexualized in media… the whole reason that interview happened is because Dr. Mike put my name in and when I asked he said it was simply because I knew what questions to ask even though I was not necessarily interested in.” 

     Dr. Mike Robinson, Professor of Communication Studies, said his experience on the podcast was fantastic. “I love to talk about popular culture and very excited as it is one of the great things about my job. I get to talk about everything that people are really interested or intrigued about and explore ways and ideas that can go a little deeper,” said Robinson. 

     A Smarter U: Episode the Joker is available on Spotify, Apple Podcast, and Google Play.