Temple student creates podcast with political science professors

Rachel Gelman started her podcast to inform people on issues they may not know about.

Rachel Gelman, sophomore political science major, shares the details of her podcasting process in the Honors Podcasts & AV Studio on Nov. 15. | JUN WENTZ / THE TEMPLE NEWS

This summer, Rachel Gelman interned at Joe Biden’s campaign headquarters and became interested in learning about policy issues. 

“Obviously being in that environment puts you at the forefront of the issues,” said Gelman, a sophomore political science major.

The experience inspired her, and on Nov 3, Gelman created “Exploring with Experts,” a series of half-hour-long podcasts where she talks with Temple professors about political and social issues affecting the city. She’s released two episodes so far touching on political biases, voting age and the history of the electoral college. 

Gelman created the podcast because she felt there was a lack of knowledge with political and social issues, especially in the media. 

“I feel that it is important to be knowledgeable and purposeful about what you are saying,” Gelman said. “It shows respect for the issues you are discussing.”

Her first podcast, released on Nov 4, “Professor Kevin Arceneaux on Biases” featured Arceneaux, a political science professor and director of the Behavior Foundations Lab, an advanced center for conducting research on beliefs, attitudes, psychophysiology and intuition. They discussed political biases and how to address them. 

“It’s a good way to sort of interact and get professors talking about things they’re working on,” Arceneaux said. “I don’t think students always get a sense of what it is that we do on a daily basis, so that was a really nice interaction for that.”

He was concerned with the way people react to those with opposite political beliefs, Arceneaux said.

“People are so angry at the situation and the other side,” he added. “I think there are many people that don’t want to have compassion.” 

Gelman gets ideas for her segments by thinking about political science topics that aren’t commonly discussed, she said. 

“I’m looking for viewers that are looking to broaden their knowledge on issues that are usually skewed or people don’t know much about,” she added.

Gelman produces the podcast on her own, recording the episodes in the Honors Podcasts & AV Studio in the Tuttleman Learning Center.

“My biggest draw to it is that it’s stuff I can relate to,” said Daniel Hedberg, a sophomore industrial and systems engineering major and Gelman’s friend. “She presents it as not biased to one side or the other, but rather presenting topics as they are, and discussing with professionals on both sides of the argument, which I appreciate.”

Robin Kolodny, a political science professor, was Gelman’s second guest on the Nov 6 episode. The two discussed voting age, the electoral college and money in politics. 

Students could benefit from listening to segments about topics relevant to their lives, like what gets recycled or how to use public transportation, Kolodny said. 

“I’m a big fan of the notion that starting with something local that touches on your life is what gives people an incentive to learn more about,” she added.

On Kolodny’s episode, she discussed that lowering the voting age wouldn’t encourage those eligible now to go out and participate in elections.

“If all 18-year-olds were registered to vote and actively voting, then we could work on 17-year-olds,” she said. 

In future episodes, Gelman wants to touch on incarceration and injustices in the criminal justice system and climate change, and reach out to community leaders in Philadelphia.

 “It could be a great platform for them to get their message out there,” Gelman said. “If it brings awareness to other people and organizations, so be it … I don’t want to have any expectations because when you don’t have expectations, people surprise you.”

Her podcast episodes total about 160 streams, but Gelman isn’t concerned about the number. Instead, she’s more focused on the quality of her viewership, she said.

“If I could just have 10 loyal listeners that are like, ‘You’re doing great,’ I’ll be happy,” she added.

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