At the end of 2021, students in the Digital Journalism class unveiled Cyclone Radio, an audio magazine made for the members and stakeholders of the Mills community.
Supervised by Assistant Adjunct Professor of Communication and Communication Program Head Keli Dailey and supported by We Are the Voices, this student-centered project shares the opinions, feelings, and advice of students and faculty members on the Mills campus. Not only do these students handle audio editing and help conceptualize the podcast’s website, but they also conduct the interviews themselves—searching for stories and topics that mean as much to them as they would to the community as a whole.
For instance, Cyclone Radio released an episode on the experiences of current first-generation college students titled “I Am The First” on December 9, 2021. First-gen students Erin Maher (who pitched the story) and Rosina Ghebreyesus spoke with two first-years—Cielos Santiago and Alia Phelps— about their perspectives on being “the first” in their families to go to college. The episode opened with a striking quote from Santiago: “I don’t know what I don’t know,” she pointed out. “Being a first-generation student means not knowing what you have to do and also not knowing how to do that.”
From there, Ghebreyesus conducted an authentic conversation with Phelps about the struggles of being a first-gen student. “I looked at my peers—who seemed to have it figured out—and really questioned if I had made a big mistake spending my time and money on college,” Phelps said. “I felt like an imposter. As if my hard work wasn’t mine, and I cheated my way up to that point.”
But these personal admissions weren’t limited to only the guests. Ghebreyesus closed the dialogue with an uplifting message inspired by her own journey: “We see our ability to grow and know that it is directly tied to the pain and power we’ve experienced, but it’s also directly tied to all the layers that [is] being first-gen, and we’re proud.”
To listen to more stories like this one, check out the Cyclone Radio website at anchor.fm/cyclone-radio/.