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APSU College of Arts & Letters to launch podcast to celebrate alumni stories

A screen capture from the podcast intro.

(Posted on Thursday, Oct. 27, 2022)

The College of Arts & Letters at Austin Peay State University will unveil a new podcast on Nov. 4 that celebrates the stories of the college’s alumni while striving to inspire current students.

The podcast – titled “Govs on the Go: Alumni Edition” and hosted by the college’s dean, Dr. William “Buzz” Hoon – will highlight why alumni chose to attend Austin Peay and study in their areas.

Each episode will celebrate Arts & Letters alumni successes while giving encouragement and relatable experiences to current students, Hoon said.

After the Nov. 4 launch, new episodes will follow every two weeks, each time highlighting an alum from another Arts & Letters department. Audio versions of the podcast will be on Spotify and iTunes Podcasts, and video versions will be on the Arts & Letter’s YouTube channel.

When Hoon first started at Austin Peay in August, the rich stories of alumni, faculty and students impressed him. Taking inspiration from an alumni podcast he started at his previous institution, he began reaching out to alumni from the college to help share their stories.

2019 Austin Peay graduate Ashanté Kindle is the first guest.

‘That changed something in me’

The first episode will feature 2019 Art + Design graduate Ashanté Kindle, an artist and Master of Fine Arts graduate from the University of Connecticut in Storrs, Connecticut. She earned her MFA in May.

She and fellow APSU alum Khari Turner currently are showing their artwork in an exhibition titled “We’re on the Move” at Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens.

Kindle describes her work as “a form of personal healing driven by the recall of memories and a desire to celebrate the history and beauty of Blackness.” Her work communicates her existence and what she finds beautiful in her identity.

Austin Peay gave her the opportunities that helped “set me up for life,” she said, crediting her time at APSU as especially formative.

“Anytime I’m doing an artist’s talk, I bring up Virginia Griswold and how we were having a meeting and she asked me why I made work so small,” Kindle said. “My immediate answer was ‘I didn’t want to take up space from anyone else.’”

Griswold, an associate professor of sculpture, encouraged Kindle to take up the space, saying that the work should be as big as it needs to be. 

“That personally changed something in me, within my identity and existence, and this fear of taking up space and that challenge pushed me to a new level,” she said. “That was a big moment for me.”

Brittney Hitch, left, with Dr. William "Buzz" Hoon in one of the episodes.

‘I can’t thank everybody enough’

One of the early podcasts will feature Brittney Hitch, who finished her bachelor’s degree in communication in 2016 before joining the Nashville Predators as contract and booking coordinator.

Looking back on her childhood, Hitch shared how she developed a passion for design.

“In eighth grade, probably middle school, we had a yearbook program,” she told Hoon in the podcast. “I loved learning InDesign and the design process.”

She started to pursue this passion, leading to a continued exploration of her many and varied interests, finally culminating in declaring a major in communication at Austin Peay.

“Growing up in Clarksville, Austin Peay is the home university,” Hitch said.

As she discussed her first memories at APSU, Hitch praised Mike Dunn, a beloved communication instructor in the department, as her adviser, and she talked about finding her way on campus and learning what it takes to be a college student.

“I just can’t thank everybody there enough for my time,” she said.

Future podcasts

Hoon already is working on future podcasts. They include the following Arts & Letters alumni:

The production team

A team of graduate and undergraduate students and alumni led by Professor Karen Bullis from the Department of Communication is helping to produce the podcast.

They are Meghann Stamps, Kat McClung, Shaterra Pryor, Jim Spight, Paul Edward Schuhart, Matthew Wix, James Ingersoll, Peyton Jula, Taylor Slifko, Patton Cook, Austin Staggs, Aaron King, Dakota Stansfield and Maya Brown. And communication Professor David Ellison captured the drone footage used in the podcast intro.


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