'Cuse Conversations

'Cuse Conversations

By Syracuse University Alumni
Hosted by Syracuse University’s Office of Alumni Engagement communications team, the ’Cuse Conversations podcast allows listeners to hear directly from the outstanding Syracuse University alumni who visit campus, as well as current students and faculty members.
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Responding to COVID-19: Isaac Budmen '12 and Stephanie Keefe '12 use 3D printers to produce face shields

'Cuse Conversations

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Joy Cho '01: Home Design Expert and Pinterest's Most-Followed User
Always the creative type, Joy Cho '01 founded the Oh Joy! blog in 2005 to market her work as a graphic and product designer. Cho combined her social media savvy with captivating content to launch her own lifestyle brand, Oh Joy!, and she has become a trailblazer in the world of personal style. A home design expert, Cho was one of the first users on Pinterest, and with more than 13 million followers she is now Pinterest’s most popular creative influencer. An accomplished entrepreneur and author, Cho shares her personal style preferences, discusses her love for bringing color into people’s day-to-day lives, dishes out advice to spruce up your home décor, and much more!
39:21
May 20, 2020
Actress, comedian and "A.P. Bio" star Lyric Lewis
Lyric Lewis is an accomplished actress, hilarious comedian, and history buff who plays history teacher Stef Duncan on NBC’s hit show "A.P. Bio." Lewis, who earned a drama degree from the College of Visual and Performing Arts, has also starred on "MadTV" and Comedy Central’s "Drunk History." Lewis says she always wanted to make people laugh, and she is one of the funnier alumna you’ll hear from on this podcast! As Hollywood continue to deal with COVID-19, Lewis shares how this pandemic has impacted the entertainment business, what Hollywood will look like once the industry is allowed to resume filming, how she transitioned from a classically-trained theater major to comedian and improv expert, and how "Jurassic Park" made Lewis get into acting. 
37:16
May 7, 2020
Brittany Berry '18 and Logan Bonney G'17: Delivering Meals for a Cause
Brittany Berry '18 and Logan Bonney G'17 are the co-owners of Anything But Beer, a brewery and taproom in Syracuse. Specializing in gluten-free and grain-free foods and beverages, Anything But Beer was only open for one month before COVID-19 forced the restaurant and taproom to close its dining room. Berry and Bonney shifted their focus to helping the area’s health care workers, many of whom have the same dietary restrictions as the restaurant. Thanks to donations made online, Anything But Beer is providing its gluten-free and grain-free meals to medical workers through a series of free deliveries, paid for by those online gifts. Berry and Bonney discuss why they're using their restaurant to give back to our health care workers, how this gives them a renewed sense of purpose and community, and how Syracuse played a role in launching their business.
39:42
April 28, 2020
Becoming Resilient and Restoring Security During COVID-19
Bryan Semaan is an assistant professor in the School of Information Studies (iSchool) at Syracuse University. Semaan's research exploring how we develop resiliency in the face of a life-altering disruption such as COVID-19 is more pertinent and relevant than ever before. Semaan shares how social media can both connect us and lead to a sense of isolation and loneliness, and why, even when we're isolated in our homes, it's important to cultivate a sense of community. Semaan offers insights into how we can restore security in our lives by developing a daily routine, by finding and creating connections with others during the age of social distancing, and by engaging in activities for the greater good.
41:59
April 22, 2020
Responding to COVID-19: Nurse Katie McMurray '13
As the world continues to deal with the fallout from COVID-19, the novel coronavirus, nurses like Katie McMurray '13 are doing their part to treat patients with the coronavirus.  McMurray, a progressive care nurse at Danbury Hospital in Danbury, Conn., is a member of an Orange Legacy family who earned her biology degree from the College of Arts and Sciences before entering the health care field. Her hospital has seen its share of coronavirus patients, including treating the state’s first COVID-19 patient, Chris Tillett, who was in a medically-induced coma before recovering. McMurray discusses how the hospital responds when someone is suspected of being COVID-positive, shares how she copes with the anxiety of being a nurse during this pandemic, and reveals how her time with Syracuse University Ambulance taught her to respond to emergency situations.
30:27
April 14, 2020
Tokyo 2020 Olympics Spokesperson Masa Takaya G'07
Much like the rest of the sports world, the 2020 Summer Olympics and Paralympic Games in Tokyo, Japan have been affected by COVID-19, the novel coronavirus. For only the fourth time in the history of the Olympics, the games will not go off as scheduled, with the Summer Olympics postponed until July 23, 2021. Takaya and his colleagues spent seven years securing the Summer Olympics and Paralympic Games for Tokyo, only to have the Games be affected by this pandemic. Takaya, the communications director and official spokesperson for the Tokyo Organizing Committee, discusses how his time at Syracuse University shaped his career and the decision for organizers to postpone the Summer Olympics. He addresses how these games will convey a message to the world and the Japanese people about the importance of resiliency, recovery and hope for a country that nine years ago was devastated by a catastrophic earthquake and tsunami. 
32:20
April 8, 2020
Responding to COVID-19: Isaac Budmen '12 and Stephanie Keefe '12 use 3D printers to produce face shields
We’ve all heard how our nation’s health care workers are putting their lives on the line each and every day in the fight against COVID-19, the novel coronavirus. Isaac Budmen '12 and Stephanie Keefe '12 are using their company, Budmen Industries, to produce 3D face shields to help keep our health care workers safe. In a span of two weeks, this grassroots movement has gone from a basement in Central New York to a global scale. Budmen Industries is providing digital instructions for printing up various components of these face shields on its website, budmen.com, while connecting 3D printing enthusiasts with hospitals around the world. To date, more than 240,000 requests have come in from people who want to help. Discover how Budmen and Keefe, who met on the Syracuse campus, have turned their Orange love into an inspirational story of Syracuse alumni responding to this pandemic to save lives.
42:53
March 31, 2020
Award-Winning Broadway Producer Van Dean '96
Van Dean '96 is an award-winning Broadway producer. His latest project, "Jagged Little Pill," inspired by Alanis Morissette’s Grammy Award-winning album, debuted on Broadway in December. But now, the musical, like all performances on Broadway, has been shut down by the coronavirus. On the latest episode, Dean shares how the Broadway community is coming together to take care of each other during these unprecedented times. While a student at Syracuse, Dean re-wrote "The Boys From Syracuse" to honor the University's 125th anniversary. The company he co-founded, Broadway Records, has produced more than 200 albums capturing live Broadway musical performances. He discusses the circuitous path he took to Broadway, how he founded Broadway Records to preserve Broadway performances for future generations, and how the classes he took at Syracuse University served as a road map for his successful career. 
43:22
March 26, 2020
Forever Orange: The Story of Syracuse University authors Rick Burton '80 and Scott Pitoniak '77
As Syracuse University marks its 150th anniversary on March 24, 2020, we talk to two men who have written the definitive book on the University’s history. Rick Burton ’80 and Scott Pitoniak ’77 are the authors of Forever Orange: The Story of Syracuse University, which shares the stories of the people, places and moments in time that capture the essence of what it means to be Orange.
32:00
March 23, 2020
Alumni journalists on covering the pandemic
As the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic expands around the globe and across the country, life has changed dramatically for everyone. For journalists, keeping up with constant developments can be a tremendous challenge in a 24-hour news cycle. Another challenge: staying well - both mentally and physically - as they, like all of us, try to balance the responsibilities of their jobs with the evolving responsibilities of their lives. In this 'Cuse Conversation, we'll hear from television reporters Lissette Nunez '15, Lauren Hall '10 and Scott MacFarlane '98, as well as newspaper editor Maggie Gordon '08 about how they're approaching their jobs and their lives in our "new normal."  
36:10
March 19, 2020
Alumni sportscasters... in a world without sports
For many of us, sports is a welcome and enjoyable distraction. For many others, it’s a business, a job, a source of income. In this ’Cuse Conversation, we check in with ESPN play-by-play broadcasters Mike Couzens ’10, Kevin Fitzgerald ’14 and Jay Alter ’16 and WSYR-TV sportscaster Darius Joshua ’14. We talk about life without sports, the significance of sports in society and the importance of “coming together” in this time of social distancing to help one another.
32:49
March 17, 2020
Aaron Robinson '03
Tired of hearing the negative stories about Baltimore, Aaron Robinson '03 decided to do something to change the narrative about his beloved hometown: he started his own podcast, No Pix After Dark, to tell the positive stories from Baltimore. Robinson, who earned a retail degree from the College of Visual and Performing Arts, knew nothing about creating a podcast, but he was passionate about storytelling, and dedicated himself to this new venture. One year later, Robinson has used his podcast to tell the stories of Baltimore residents who are committed to making a difference in their communities, and his podcast was nominated for best podcast in the Baltimore Sun's Best of Baltimore readers' choice awards. Robinson reflects on the lessons learned from his time at SU, tells some of his favorite stories from the podcast, discusses why he almost gave up the podcast, and shares why his love for Syracuse runs deep.
35:47
March 3, 2020
Ed Levine '78
As Ed Levine '78 will tell you, he "talked his way" into the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications in the mid-1970s and, as those who know him will tell you, Levine hasn't stopped talking. But that makes perfect sense for a man who has built a long and successful career in the radio business. Levine, who got his start at WAER while he was a student, is president and CEO of Central New York-based Galaxy Media, which is celebrating its 30th anniversary. In this 'Cuse Conversation, Levine discusses how he built Galaxy into a local radio powerhouse, his love of radio and his passion and pride for Syracuse University.
27:16
February 26, 2020
Cam Lynch '14
Ever since he was a standout linebacker for the Syracuse University football team, Cam Lynch '14 envisioned a career in the media. A four-year varsity letter-winner, Lynch ventured into the world of sportscasting as a student-athlete, producing his own sports segment, "Cam's Cam," featuring interviews with teammates. Lynch has played five seasons in the NFL with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and St. Louis/Los Angeles Rams, and while he still dreams of returning to the NFL, Lynch formed his own media company, Heart Work Media, to tell compelling stories. He provided color commentary on the radio for Super Bowl LIII after being selected from hundreds of applicants for the Broadcast Bowl. For this year's big game, Lynch is holding football camps with our troops in both Australia and Guam, capturing digital content for future television and online segments. Lynch discusses his passion for storytelling, how he built his career in media, and why no matter what happens in life, he never stops climbing up. 
34:10
January 30, 2020
Sherman Williams
Sherman Williams, a 25-year veteran of the United States Army, is an entrepreneur, a business owner and a proud graduate of Syracuse University's Institute for Veterans and Military Families' (IVMF) Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans. A mechanic in the Army, Williams saw how our troops were struggling to fuel their bodies with healthy beverages that could both survive the harsh conditions of Iraq and provide essential vitamins and minerals, so he created Body Aqua. Williams discusses how his service to country helped him discover his own greatness, and shares the lessons learned from his time in the Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans.
18:32
January 9, 2020
Lenny Garner '74
Director Leonard R. "Lenny" Garner came to Syracuse University hoping to become a professional actor, but thanks to the hands-on experiences and lessons learned from the College of Visual and Performing Arts, Garner instead developed into a respected television and motion picture director. After graduating, Garner moved out to Los Angeles where he received his big break: being accepted into an assistant director's training program designed to help women and minorities break into the business. His directorial career spans four decades, and his credits include hits like: "Miami Vice," "The Blues Brothers," "The Rockford Files," "Wings," "NewsRadio," "Just Shoot Me!," "Sister, Sister," "Sabrina the Teenage Witch," "The King of Queens," "Rules of Engagement," and more. Discover Garner's Orange success story and hear his advice for students looking to break into the field.
26:24
December 20, 2019
Adam Fazackerley '96
Adam Fazackerley ’96 came to Syracuse University to study to become an engineer. He graduated with the education and motivation to become an entrepreneur. Adam and his wife Amy are co-founders of Lay-n-Go, an “activity mat, cleanup, storage and carryall solution in one.” Adam, who with his wife, serves on the Syracuse University Libraries Advisory Board talks about building a business, mentoring aspiring entrepreneurs and why he gets so much out of giving back to current students.
30:22
December 13, 2019
Beth Mowins G'90
Trailblazing sportscaster Beth Mowins G'90 made history as the first woman to handle play-by-play duties for a Monday Night Football game. Mowins, who joined ESPN in 1994, has called NCAA championships in basketball, softball, soccer and volleyball, and has served as the voice of the Women's College World Series for over 20 years. Mowins discusses growing up as a passionate Syracuse sports fan, why the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications was the perfect place to hone her craft, the path she took to broadcasting success, and more. Mowins also shares advice for students who aspire to follow in her sports broadcasting footsteps. 
20:35
November 14, 2019
Brian Moritz G'11, G'14
After about a decade as a sportswriter, Brian Moritz decided to go back to school. He chose Syracuse University's S.I. Newhouse School of public communications, where he earned both a master's and a doctoral degree. Now, he's a communications professor at SUNY-Oswego, blogs about journalism and sports media and hosts a podcast about writing. Brian joined us to talk about why he values his connection to Syracuse Univerity, what he's learned, his philosophy on teaching the next generation of journalists, on what it takes to be a good writer and much more. 
37:49
October 15, 2019
Alexis Ostrander '07
We sit down with director Alexis Ostrander '07 to discuss her career in Hollywood and her penchant for telling compelling stories. Ostrander, who earned a musical theater degree from the College of Visual and Performing Arts, has directed television shows like FX's "American Horror Story: Roanoke," CW's "Riverdale," SyFy's "Deadly Class," and more. A member of the inaugural "Sorkin Week" immersion program as part of Syracuse University in Los Angeles, Ostrander has carved out an award-winning and Emmy nominated career as a director. Her work on the short film, "The Haircut," which premiered at the American Film Institute Festival, garnered 13 awards while telling the story of the first female class of recruits at the service academies. Ostrander describes what motivates her as a director, where she learned to tell compelling stories, how she continues to refine her voice as a director, and the role Syracuse University played in her career. 
29:25
October 9, 2019
Jonalyn Saxer '14
Just five years out of college, Jonalyn Saxer '14 is building an impressive Broadway resume. After being part of the original Broadway cast of Mean Girls, she's currently playing the role of Karen Smith in the touring production of the show. In this 'Cuse Conversation, Jonalyn tells us how her Syracuse University education prepared her to stand out in a competitive field, talks about sharing the Broadway stage with other Syracuse alumni and provides some valuable advice for young actors who'd like to follow in her footsteps. 
21:24
September 20, 2019
Jeff Kurkjian '15
Jeff Kurkjian ’15 stops by to discuss his successful career as a morning talk radio host. Kurkjian, whose career started in Cleveland right after graduating with a broadcast and digital journalism major, is currently a co-host on 102.7 the Coyote in Las Vegas. Kurkjian talks about his love of Syracuse University, the lessons he learned from his S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications faculty members and classmates, how WJPZ (Z89) prepared him for his career in radio, and what it was like being an Otto, Syracuse's official mascot.  Kurkjian also talks about his experiences forming Otto Tunes, the all-male a cappella group that performs around the country raising money for testicular cancer research, and the power of Syracuse's alumni network. 
36:19
September 11, 2019
Monica Levinson '90
Producer Monica Levinson '90 stops by to discuss her decorated career as a film producer, including her latest work on "Brian Banks," a tale of a football player whose dreams of playing in the NFL were derailed by accusations of rape and kidnapping. Banks, who was falsely incarcerated, was exonerated and now spends his time fighting for others who were falsely convicted of crimes. Levinson's career as a producer has included films like “Captain Fantastic,” “Zoolander,” "Private Parts," “Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story," “Trumbo,” and “Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan.” Levinson reveals the break that launched her career in film, talks about reinventing herself, and shares the impact Syracuse University has on her life.
34:35
August 21, 2019
Ben Holtzman '13 and Sammy Lopez '13
Ben Holtzman came to Syracuse University from New York City; Sammy Lopez arrived from Los Angeles. When they met on the first day of their first year on campus, the new roommates shared a similar dream -- both wanted to be Broadway performers. Now, more than a decade later, the two alumni of Syracuse University's College of Visual and Performing Arts (VPA) are making their marks on the theater world... in a way they hadn't initially imagined. They worked together on the team that brought one of 2019's "buzziest" shows, "Be More Chill," to Broadway. Now, they're lead producers on "Gun and Powder," an original musical co-written by fellow VPA alum Ross Baum '12, which will premiere in early 2020 at the Signature Theatre in Arlington, VA. Ben and Sammy talk about their education and experience in the musical theater program at Syracuse, discuss the impact social media is having on entertainment and share the many ways they stay involved with the "family" they built at Syracuse University. 
25:22
August 21, 2019
Kevin Belbey '13, G'16, L'16
2019 Generation Orange Alumni Award winner Kevin Belbey jokingly lives by a motto used by ESPNU - "never graduate." While he has, in fact, graduated (he has three degrees from Syracuse University!), Belbey remains passionate about and connected to his alma mater. He works alongside and represents many fellow alumni as director of sports broadcasting for the Montag Group. Belbey, who was a manager for the men's basketball team as a student, has brought Orange alumni together to compete in The Basketball Tournament (TBT) for the last four summers as general manager of Boeheim's Army. 
13:08
July 26, 2019
Jennie May '17 and Mike Smith '12, G'13
On the latest episode of the 'Cuse Conversations Podcast, May and Smith, a pair of Generation Orange alumni (graduates of the last 10 years) stopped by to discuss some of the exciting programming available to our young alumni. May and Smith are leaders on the Generation Orange Leadership Council, a collection of young alumni responsible for organizing programs like the GO (Generation Orange) Pro Series and professional development and networking nights. They share their advice to fellow young alumni while highlighting all of the ways you can get involved with Syracuse University where you live.
29:22
July 9, 2019
Peter Gianesini '94
For over 20 years, Gianesini has forged a successful career at ESPN, working on popular shows like "Mike and Mike," "The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz," and more. Gianesini stopped by the 'Cuse Conversations Podcast to discuss his career in radio, the lessons he learned from his time studying broadcast journalism at Syracuse University, and his advice to aspiring journalists. 
42:22
June 26, 2019
Liz Liddy G'77, G'88
Liddy recently retired as dean of the School of Information Studies (iSchool) at Syracuse University following an 11-year career as dean, and a 30-year career as a faculty member and researcher. On the latest 'Cuse Conversations Podcast, Liddy discusses her distinguished career, shares highlights from her time with the iSchool, and addresses the progress made in helping women and minorities discover careers in STEM. 
24:45
June 18, 2019
Mary C. Daly G'94
Daly went from a high school dropout to the president and C.E.O.  of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.  On the latest 'Cuse Conversations Podcast, learn how Daly became one of the world's most respected economists, and how her time spent studying economics and public policy in the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs helped her devise fiscal policies geared at serving others. 
18:02
June 13, 2019
Getting Started with 'Cuse Conversations
Co-hosts John Boccacino '03 and Chris Velardi '95 from Syracuse University's Office of Alumni Engagement introduce you to our new 'Cuse Conversations Podcast! Our first podcast sets the stage for what listeners can expect moving forward, while introducing you to our co-hosts, both proud graduates of the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications and longtime members of the media who know how to tell compelling stories. 
07:51
May 29, 2019