UW Tacoma officially has their own podcast! The podcast is called “Paw’d Defiance” and was intentionally given the name to speak to an interest in people, stories and issues at UWT and in the greater Tacoma community. The first three episodes were released April 3 on Spotify, Google Podcasts, Pocket Casts, and Stitcher and can also be found on iTunes. The episodes are available for free and do not need to be purchased.
The idea of having a podcast had been floating around for years, but only became a reality after receiving funding from the campus Strategic Initiative Fund. Through the SIF, the funding covers the hourly wage of the podcast host, the hourly rate of renting a Tacoma recording studio, the cost of hosting the podcast through the Buzzsprout service and editing of the first three episodes by the owner of the recording studio.
John Burkhardt, associate director for communications at UWT, explained the reasons for why the podcast was started.
“One reason for the podcast is to expand the audience of informed UW Tacoma supporters,” Burkhardt said. “We are always looking for new ways to connect with these supporters, which include alumni, donors, community and elected leaders and the general public. We already do a pretty good job of telling UW Tacoma stories on our website and through social media, and we actively work with news media for coverage. We believe there are people who will listen to a podcast about UW Tacoma that do not currently engage with us via our website or social media, nor do they have a regular news media habit.”
Burkhardt also stated that the podcast is a way to listen stories in audio format, which wouldn’t be the same if written down. The podcast is recorded at Moon Yard Recording Studio — located in Tacoma — and is owned and operated by Doug Mackey. The plan is to release ten episodes as part of the podcast’s first season.
The first episode titled “Generous and Welcoming,” features UWT assistant professor Danica Miller and her father, Puyallup Tribal Chairman Bill Sterud, discussing the Indigenous history of the Tacoma area. The second episode “Be the First,” focuses on Director of Student Transition Programs Amanda Figueroa and First Generation Student Initiatives Coordinator Yanira Pacheco, who talk about what it means to be a first-generation student. The third episode titled “A Podcast Episode 65 Million Years in the Making” features UWT assistant professors Uba Backonja and Christopher Schell who discuss the 1993 film “Jurassic Park” and how it instilled a love for science in them.
Maria Crisostomo Salmeron, a UWT senior majoring in Politics, Philosophy and Economics currently serves as the podcast host, where her responsibilities include kicking off the podcast with an introduction, conducting research, reading stories and interviewing various guest speakers. Crisostomo Salmeron described some of the challenges she has encountered during the recording and interviewing sessions.
“It has been a learning experience for me,” Crisostomo Salmeron said. “I do not have any prior experience [with] interviewing people or running a podcast. It is exciting to learn something new and step out of my comfort zone … [but] it has been a little difficult as well. I often catch myself wanting to ask questions correctly, but it’s more about being comfortable and being yourself in the studio.”
While the podcast has had its challenges, Crisostomo Salmeron believes that being a part of the podcast has been an exciting experience and hopes that people who listen to the episodes will enjoy what they hear, learn more about UWT and the Tacoma area and be inspired from the stories.
“We do not want to make it boring, but instead a mixture of entertainment and knowledge,” Crisostomo Salmeron said. “The podcast itself is another method for students to learn outside the classroom and learn more about the community they are a part of. So far, I have learned a lot, and we have amazing faculty and community members that serve as our resources.”
To learn more about the podcast and the episodes, visit the podcast website: