Two MDC Students Named Finalists in NPR’s College Podcasts Challenge

Students with professor in podcast studio

Two Miami Dade College Students Named Finalists in NPR’s College Podcasts Challenge

Miami, March 4, 2024 – Ana Bassett and Michael Vargas, two Miami Dade College (MDC) students, have been named finalists in the most recent edition of National Public Radio’s (NPR) College Podcast Challenge. They were selected out of a record over 500 entries from colleges and universities across the country. MDC is the only Florida institution on the list and the only college with two finalists in the competition, which showcases the best of college podcasting. The winner will be announced later this month and awarded a $5,000 scholarship.

Bassett and Vargas were students in Professor Emily Andrea Sendin’s Introduction to Communication class, where they created the podcasts as a course project. Professor Sendin tailored the curriculum around the NPR Podcast Challenge.

“I am so proud of my students’ authentic and vulnerable storytelling, and I am grateful for all the support they received in the Kendall Campus Speech Lab in the English & Communications Department. When you create the space for excellence, students rise to the challenge and thrive!” said Professor Sendin, who teaches English, speech, literature and creative writing at MDC Kendall Campus.

The competition challenged participants to produce a podcast between three and eight minutes on a topic, issue or story of their choosing. This year, entries ranged from personal stories of conflict or triumph; deep, thoughtful interviews; compelling local news coverage; and sound-rich investigative reporting.

In addition to having their work featured on national NPR programs such as All Things Considered and Morning Edition, the winning student will also have NPR journalists feature stories on their entries.

Learn more about the MDC finalists below:

Listen here: Midway Through

By Ana Bassett

What’s it like to return to college as a middle-aged woman? In this heartwarming entry, Bassett interviews her son and tells her story on why it’s important for her to take on new challenges and keep growing in different, adult ways. Listen here: The Monsters We Create

By Michael Vargas Arango

This personal story follows the life of Vargas Arango, a college student with schizoaffective disorder. With sound design and interviews, he recreates what it’s like to live with a mental health disorder, in hopes of removing the stigma around it.

About NPR

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