Nuclear fission with red hair.
That’s how Paul Gluck, the general manager of TUTV and associate professor of media studies and production at Temple, described Lisa Bien.
Bien, an adjunct professor within the School of Media and Communication at Temple and president of Bien Marketing Group, has recently taken on the role as host for the new TUTV show “Bouncing Back.”
“[Bien] is the most energetic, charismatic and compassionate mentor one could hope to have,” Anna Tate, a 2013 graduate who majored in strategic communication, said. She was a former student of Bien’s public speaking class.
But Bien wasn’t so confident when she was a student at the university herself.
The class of ’91 graduate said she never found the courage while in college to be in front of the camera, even though she was captivated by the idea of broadcast journalism.
“They had a news anchor desk where they would mock news reports,” Bien said of her undergraduate education at Temple. “I remember walking past the room. I felt like I wasn’t pretty enough to be in that profession.”
Now, at age 47, Bien remembers how a former Temple professor, Jean Brodey, served as her mentor during her senior year, even helping her earn recognition for her achievements. Bien earned the Public Relations Society of America award prior to graduation with Brodey’s support.
“I know exactly where we were,” Bien said. “Right in front of the Tuttleman [Learning Center] building, she said to me, ‘I nominated you for this award and you won.’ By nominating me for the award, she was saying, ‘I believe in you.’”
Winning the award was a turning point for Bien, she said, but she admitted low self-esteem was an ongoing struggle, even after college.
“Bouncing Back” now serves as an outlet for Bien to help other students with similar feelings of low self-esteem.
For the pilot episode, Bien interviewed Tate about the most recent graduate’s battle with an eating disorder.
Tate said she was nervous during filming, but said she also felt that the episode was celebratory.
“I could feel that we were on the cusp of something really great,” Tate said.
“I was ecstatic,” Bien said of filming the pilot. “Here I was, full-circle, coming back to the campus where I didn’t think I was pretty enough, and I was doing a pilot for a TV show that was going to speak to an audience that I feel so passionate about.”
Like the pilot episode, Bien hopes the TUTV series will work as an opportunity for open discussion about the underlying problems college students struggle with.
The idea sprung from a conversation between Bien and Betsy Leebron Tutelman, Temple’s senior vice provost for strategic initiatives and communications and MSP professor.
“I went to [Tutelman] and said, ‘We’re not doing enough for students,’” Bien said.
Both women collaborated on ideas for the show and eventually sought permission to start “Bouncing Back” from the general manager of TUTV.
Gluck has known Bien for years, and said it was her “boundless enthusiasm” and commitment towards “Bouncing Back” that helped him decide to give the green light for the show.
“It appealed to me that someone who is working not only as a professional in media, but as an adjunct at Temple, would be leveraging everything she’s experienced in support of the students,” Gluck said.
Gluck said he believes “Bouncing Back” is even more crucial when taking into account the demographics of Temple.
“I saw the idea as timely to this generation of young people who’ve faced so many challenges— in particular, to Temple, because we’re a big community,” Gluck said.
With nearly 28,000 undergraduate students, those involved in “Bouncing Back” see an opportunity for insecure students to be lost in the crowd or feel that they have no exceptional qualities. “Bouncing Back” is an attempt to provide a safe haven toward those who may feel overwhelmed.
“Sometimes it’s very easy for someone to develop feelings of isolation or inadequacy just because of the sheer scope and size of the place,” Gluck said.
The show is still a work in progress, but Bien hopes that it’s a starting point in helping students to feel camaraderie on campus.
“I want the message to get through, specifically to the college campus here at Temple, that we all go through adversity,” Bien said. “Nobody’s excluded.”
Kerri Ann Raimo can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.