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Honors Students Take on Podcasting and Kamala Harris

Tasha Dubriwny challenged her COMM Honors students to create podcasts around current issues in women’s rhetoric and electoral politics. 'Women's Rhetoric: Election 2020' is now live.

By Hannah Brennan

Associate Professor Tasha Dubriwny, Ph.D.

Associate Professor Tasha Dubriwny, Ph.D.

Faculty member Tasha Dubriwny challenged the honors students from her Women’s Rhetoric class to create a podcast about vice presidential candidate Kamala Harris.

“Women’s Rhetoric: Election 2020” will have nine episodes total, one per honors student in the Women’s Rhetoric class, said Dubriwny. She added each episode is six to eight minutes and are posted weekly at in the run up to election day, Tuesday, Nov. 3. 

Instead of requiring an extra assignment or test for her honors students, Dubriwny said she intended the podcast to be fun and interactive with current issues about women’s rhetoric and electoral politics. 

“One thing about the Department of Communication is that we have a great honors program,” said Dubriwny. “Our honors students get the opportunity to do something different and unique.”

Dubriwny said she is encouraging creative freedom to not constrain students, but requires a written draft of the podcast script one week before recording. Remote learning has required students to record and edit individually, she added. 

“The fun thing about podcasts is that podcasts are easy,” said Dubriwny. “They’re easy to produce in a sense. You can just have your phone.”

Some episodes include history of the vice presidency, Harris’s biography, political experience and background, and speech analysis, Dubriwny said. The goal is to catch the interest of college students and inform them about the vice presidential candidate, said Megan Cherry, an honors student in Dubriwny’s class. 

“My personal episode is called ‘She’s Not the First’ giving homage to other women in politics that have paved the way for her having this platform and space,” said Cherry. “It’s also acknowledging that it’s incredible to have a woman of color as the running mate for a presidential candidate, so it’s a really great step forward progressing toward equality.”

Christine Koellner, Texas A&M Student

Christine Koellner, COMM honors student, recorded the third episode “I’m Speaking.”

Cherry added she has been interested in how the media portrays Harris compared to her male counterparts. She has noticed Harris usually is asked about what she is wearing and her family, when her peers are asked about policy.

“I think it’s really cool she’s giving younger generations of girls hope,” said Christine Koellner, another COMM honors student. “In America, women are 51% majority so our time is coming. We need to stand our ground.”

Koellner’s episode, “I’m Speaking,” is based on the Vice Presidential Debate where Mike Pence repeatedly interrupted Harris. Koellner’s episode emphasizes four debate takeaways and cites online NPR articles, she said. Koellner said the debate inspired both her mom, too. 

“My mom said ‘Damn right we need to have young girls in America look up to her, and think I can stand my ground, too,’” said Koellner. 


To start listening to Women’s Rhetoric: Election 2020 episode one “Why Kamala Harris?” click here.