Innovation Fund Report: WESU Interviews

Wesleyan students from a range of majors and interests – all with shared interests in utilizing resources in innovative ways to positively impact the greater Middletown community – applied to the Student Innovation Fund.  The fund provided up to $750 for projects that prioritized:

  • Collaboration between student groups, faculty/staff, and/or community partners.
  • Investigation of the impact of our civic engagement efforts.
  • Sharing of ideas and learnings in civic engagement on campus and beyond.

Kate Harvey ’23 organized the WESU interviews – alumni in audio and podcasting: 

Through this experience, I hoped to engage the WESU Middletown Community in learning about WESU alumni who had pursued careers in audio and podcasting and share how they achieved this, and learn more about their experiences in WESU. Through our lecture series, we hosted WESU alumni David Krasnow, Avery Trufelman, and Andrea Silenzi, who have all entered impressive careers in the audio sphere. David Krasnow is an Executive Producer of the New Yorker Radio Hours, Avery Trufelman is a host of the podcast Nice Try!, and Andrea Silenzi is a Supervising Creative Producer at Spotify. Though they occupy different niches, they all use storytelling and audio to engage with listeners and the world around them. 
From them, the WESU community learned about each of their individual experiences in entering this career path and how current WESU staff-members might follow a similar trajectory. Personally, I found it valuable to learn about the many different pathways to pursuing these types of careers. From Avery Trufelman interning for NPR in Berlin, to Andrea Silenzi hosting a dating podcast, each WESU alum has followed very different paths of storytelling and community engagement. 
One particularly important moment of reflection took place during Andrea Silenzi’s talk, in which she discussed how inaccessible it can be to pursue careers in this field. Many have to rely on unpaid internships, with hopes of them one day turning into a paid position. Andrea shared some ideas of different programs people might look into, but it was an important reminder of the need to expand access in podcasting and radio.

One special thing about WESU is our ability to engage with the broader Middletown community. Many listeners of the station are community members who tune in through their car radios, and we also feature a number of incredible community member DJ’s. We are always looking for more community members and students who are energized to be a part of the WESU community and to host their own shows. For more information on how to train as a DJ for the station, please contact We hope to produce these interviews into audio segments that will be accessible to listen to through the WESU Soundcloud soon. Thank you again to the JCCP for the support through the Innovation Fund that was able to make these events possible.