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Hosted & Produced by Grace Ibrahim & SOC's Communications & Outreach Office.

American University School of Communication

Media in the Mix

Welcome to "Media in the Mix," the only podcast produced and hosted by the School of Communication at American University. Join us as we create a safe space to explore topics and communication at the intersection of social justice, tech, innovation & pop culture. Stream on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Anchor, and Amazon Music. Watch on Spotify and YouTube

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  1. American University School of Communication

    MEDIA IN THE MIX | SOC Student-Athlete Life; With Deidre & Aidan

  2. American University School of Communication

    SOC Student-Athlete Life; With Deidre & Aidan

  3. American University School of Communication

    Self & Professional Growth with Irina Gilbertson

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    R.A. Sinn; A Powerful Sibling Duo

  6. American University School of Communication

    SOC3 Back in the House!

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    David Ruck & Grace Eggleston; "The Erie Situation"

  8. American University School of Communication

    SOC Alumni Mentorship Program; Information Session

  9. American University School of Communication

    *Flashback Episode* The Art of Directing with Claudia Myers

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    *Flashback Episode* Our Time to Give Back with Derek McGinty

  11. American University School of Communication

    *Flashback Episode* Matchmakers in the Music Business with Jen Tanner

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    *Flashback Episode* Art Imitating Life with H Spencer Young

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    Capturing Reality; The Art of Documentary Film

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    Meet the Founder of Anacostia Youth Media Festival

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    *BONUS EPISODE* Democracy with Dean Sam Fulwood III!

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    American University Girl Doll; Plastic to Power

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    What's Your Call to Action?

  18. American University School of Communication

    SOC3 In the House

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    Adventures with Rorschach Theatre!

  20. American University School of Communication

    A Look into Student Life!

  21. American University School of Communication

    The 3 P's of Public Speaking

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    Matchmakers in the Music Business

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    Photography: Painting with Light

  24. American University School of Communication

    Art Imitating Life

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    The Path to Post-Production

  26. American University School of Communication

    Sports Events Are the Memories Business

  27. American University School of Communication

    Our Time to Give Back

  28. American University School of Communication

    I made the L.A move... Should you?

  29. American University School of Communication

    Pandemic or Endemic? The fate of the entertainment industry.

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    The Evolution of the Film Industry & Award Shows

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    The State of Far-Right Extremism In America

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SOC Student-Athlete Life!

SOC Student Athlete Media in the Mix

Join Media in the Mix this week as host and former student-athlete Grace Ibrahim speaks to two SOC Student-Athletes, ⁠Deidre Brown ⁠and ⁠Aidan Delehanty⁠! Aidan is a junior majoring in journalism and political science. Before coming to AU, he was a member of the National Honors Society, a High Honor Roll student with distinction and is now a D1 athelte. He loves reading comic books, collecting sneakers, and collecting swim caps from all the different teams he's swam against.

Deidre Brown is a freshman starting her first year at AU as a D1 Lacrosse player. Before coming to AU, she was a member of the NSPA/JEA Quill and Scroll National Journalism Honors Society, was also DCL All-Star and All-Conference in both field hockey and swimming. She is also an ambassador for Morgan’s Message and co-founded a non-profit lip balm company called ‘Lip Bomb’ in 2023 from which all proceeds go toward Morgan’s Message. She is just starting her journey in the communication division this year. 


[0:00:00] Grace Ibrahim: Welcome to Media in the Mix, the only podcast produced and hosted by the School of Communication at American University. Join us as we create a safe space to explore topics and communication at the intersection of social justice, tech, innovation, and pop culture. Welcome back to Media in the Mix. I'm your host Grace Ibrahim, and today we're talking with two SOC student athletes, and I'm super excited. I was an SOC student. I was also an athlete, and I've never gotten to do an athlete episode, so this is our first so thank you. Deirdre Brown and Aiden Delahunty are joining us today. And we have a lacrosse player and a swimmer. And I used to be a swimmer too, so it just holds a special place in my heart. That's awesome. Okay, I want to give you both the opportunity just to introduce yourself. Let us know what you're doing at SOC, what sport you play, and just kind of how this year's going.


[0:00:54] Deirdre Brown: All right. So, my name is Deirdre Brown. I'm from Boston, Massachusetts. I'm a film and media major right now in SOC. I really love graphic design and marketing. And I don't know, the graphic design part has always been an interest to me. So that's what I chose, interested to explore it. I'm a lacrosse player. I'm about seven weeks into the season right now, we're pretty deep. We're in our 20-hour weeks right now. So, it's a lot of intense training. But we're coming up on our last fall ball game. So, then we'll hit our eight hour weeks, which is just more conditioning. But it's been great so far. It's an interesting adjustment, just from going from high school where you really only practice like, two hours every day. Where now I'm lifting, practicing doing film having fall ball games, which is a big adjustment, but personally, I love it. It's awesome, so yeah.


[0:01:48] Grace Ibrahim: It takes a special person. And Aiden what about you?


[0:01:51] Aidan Delehanty: Yeah, my name is Aiden Delahunty. I'm from Rochester, New York. I'm a junior here at American University. I am a double major, actually in political science and journalism. So I love anything in political journalism and that sort of realm, as well as sports journalism as obviously I'm an athlete, member of the swimming and diving team. For swimmers out there, I always joke and say, I only swim the 50 backstroke. That's all I'm good at. But in reality I'll swim any backstroke events that my coaches need me. Some spread freestyle. And yeah, and we're like, in the thick of the season right now. I think we're four beats in got one tomorrow at Georgetown. That's just how the sport is. You start right at the beginning of the school year, and it doesn't stop really till the end of February.


[0:02:04] Grace Ibrahim: And you both touched on your training schedules. And I don't think people really know the kind of work that goes into that. Can you kind of just give us just a little taste of what a week looks like?


[0:02:48] Deirdre Brown: Yeah, so usually, I know myself, and I can't really get work done after practice. So my classes are usually 8:10, 9:45, 11:20. And my practices kind of shift around in the

middle of day, but it's usually from the block of like, 11:15 to around 3:30. That's like, when our practices are. We lift three days a week, we practice for two and a half hours. And then this past weekend, I had five games, two on Saturday, three on Sunday. That was a little bit heavier. But usually around that time, we practice and play games for 20 hours a week, which is a lot. It's a lot on the schedule, you're kind of burnt out by the end of the day, like all I want to do is really take a nap. And then we also have at least for me, I have eight hours of mandatory study hall every week. So, after practice, I try to get two hours out of the way just to get it done, over with, which is helpful. It structures my day, but sometimes it's a little bit annoying.


[0:03:45] Aidan Delehanty: I luckily don't have those eight hours anymore. It's only for freshmen luckily. Only for for freshmen. Yeah. So I'm all done with my hours. But yeah, to kind of like piggyback off of Deidre. So then NCAA allows you to do 20 hours of practice film or scheduled meeting times with your coaches a week while you're in season. So whether if you're a fall, spring or winter sport, and then when you're out of season, which technically Deidra will be inwhat a week, two weeks. Then you go down to eight hours of mandatory times, but then there's always your voluntary practices and stuff like that, which coaches will hold which are, depending on the coach, sometimes mandatory. Sometimes they really are voluntary. But yeah, so right now I'm in 20 hour weeks, as well. I practice in the mornings, three days a week, from 6:15 to 8. And then every single day from 2:30 to 4:30. And then in there as well I'll lift in the mornings from eight to nine. So yeah, three lifts a week, three mornings a week, five afternoon practices and when we do have a meet on the weekends, then we're also practicing on Saturdays for about two and a half hours so it's a long schedule. And just because I'm not very familiar with lacrosse and I know I remember swimming it was like you'd go to a swim meet, you have maybe four to six races in a day because it was like, you know different heats, different events, different whatever you may swim. Is lacrosse the same in terms of like, when you go to a game? Is it just kind of like basketball style? Like one one team versus one team for the day? Or do you have like tournament style where you guys are, you know, kind of Red Robin?


[0:05:28] Deirdre Brown: Yeah usually, actually, all of our follow games so far have been like round robin tournament style. So on Saturday, we played GW and we played Mount St. Mary's. And then on Sunday, we played Maryland, UVA, and Temple, all within like an hour of each other. So we played Maryland at 8am. Then we played UVA at 11. And then we played Temple at one. So it's like you have a game on game off game on, game off. So it is a lot, especially if you're playing like two to three quarters a game. It's fall ball right now. So everyone's really getting in a lot. But our coaches gave us the day on Monday just to recover. They're like, hey, take a day. Do like ice bath. Do some yoga. Get your body ready for this week.


[0:06:09] Grace Ibrahim: Yeah. Sorry. I meant to say round robin. I said Red Robin. I'm thinking of burgers. That's awesome. Yeah, I just wanted to follow up on that, because I don't think a lot of people are aware of kind of not just the training, but then what comes after the training, obviously,

we all compete. So it's, you know, rigorous schedule. And then, to that point, how has it been and I want to hear from Deirdre in terms of what have you learned in terms of time management and kind of how being an athlete helped you really shape your life? Because I know it's there, right? There's so many things we have to juggle whether you think you're juggling it well or not, I guarantee it's well, because you're juggling it. That's it, you're juggling, you know, so, and then Aidan, I want to hear from you, in terms of when you remember back freshman year, and now junior year, and kind of like where you're at with that. So, whoever wants to go first, go ahead.


[0:06:56] Deirdre Brown: Yeah, so definitely in high school, I learned that when I was in between sports, I played three seasons sports, there would be like an awkward month period where I didn't have a sport in between each season. And I was like a lost puppy. I didn't know what I was doing, I'd get home from school, I go on my phone, I'd watch a show, I wouldn't do any work, because my day wasn't structured. So I just was freelancing all the time. But now, when I'm here, when I have practice, it's like, okay, I have practice for two hours. And then I'm going to take 10 minutes, 20 minutes to recover. After I'm gonna take an ice bath, I'm gonna get changed, I'm gonna go do my work for two and a half hours. And it's just set everyday like that. And it's so my day is so structured, but it feels so i It feels less chaotic, even though in like reality, it's crazy, because I'm jumping from one thing to another. But I feel less stressed. Because I know that I have to do this. And if I do that, then my day, ultimately is better. And my week is gonna be better. And I can enjoy the weekend. So yeah, I think it is actually like really, really important for myself honestly, to have that sort of structure. Because otherwise, like, I wouldn't know what I would be doing. Yeah,


[0:08:07] Grace Ibrahim: I call it structured chaos all the time. Because that's how it feels. Yeah. And Aiden, what about you?


[0:08:14] Aidan Delehanty: Yeah, I feel like, for me, I've definitely learned when am I going to be the most productive. When am I not going to be the most productive. So like, I learned very on my freshman year, that on Wednesdays, I'm not going to do anything. It's after two doubles, on Monday and Tuesday, so I'm not gonna be able to get anything done on Wednesday. So I haven't had a class on a Wednesday since probably my freshman year. And again, it's figuring out when is the best time for me to get quality in both in the water as well as for academically. Like when am I going to be the most productive to get work done. Is it going to be after five hours of practice in a day? Probably not. Or is it going to be on like, Thursday afternoons, where like, I've had one class I've had to practice, so I have a little bit of downtime for my next practice in class and stuff like that. So I can probably just like sit down in the library, sit down in a cafe, the Bridge, I go to the Bridge all the time, and just sit there and try to get as much work done as humanly possible. So it's figuring out like, when are your peaks, in both again, life for like social times, academically. Swim wise, it's like figuring out those like ebbs and flows.


[0:09:25] Grace Ibrahim: Yeah. And that's kind of the cool thing I think about athletics is you kind of know what to expect year after year. So your sophomore year, I feel like you're kind of gonna feel like you got the hang of things, you know. So that's awesome. And then I want to go back to your tie in to SOC. So we have Film and Media Arts and we have Sports Journalism. How do you plan to kind of take your athletic career, take what you've done in athletics and apply it to what comes next.


[0:09:49] Deirdre Brown: I feel like for me, leadership is a big thing that I've just learned from all my sports. And I think just taking initiative and bringing people together like whether that's a group project, whether that's a company I'm working for in the future, it's just a big deal for me and learning how to actually communicate, being in a communications major, learning how to talk, learning how to be comfortable in what I'm saying, learning how to be confident, and what I'm saying, I think I take that away from practice every day like, building the confidence to say, hey, maybe we should try this. Like, even though I'm a freshman, I still feel like, I'm learning how to do that and talking to like seniors. So I think leadership and being confident in what I'm saying is going to help me greatly in the future.


[0:10:35] Aidan Delehanty: Yeah, I'm tying like my sport into my major and stuff. So right now, along with taking journalism classes and stuff like that, I'm also a intern actually, for the athletic department, within the communications office. So I do work writing some preview articles for sports, or going through photos and, you know, just interning kind of stuff. And I also did some writing this summer as well, for a professional ultimate frisbee team in the area, the DC Breeze. So same kind of thing, where I was doing preview writing, game recaps, and stuff like that, and just trying to learn the ins and outs of sports journalism as a whole. This summer, I'm going to be probably doing some more stuff in political journalism. But just like trying to know the field as much as humanly possible and get the ins and outs.


[0:11:23] Grace Ibrahim: And Aidan, I want to kind of follow up with you. Along the same lines of what Deirdre was just saying, are there any skills that you've learned as an athlete that you feel when you're kind of in that journalism mindset? Are there any skills that you have taken from the last almost three years of athletics and apply it there?


[0:11:39] Aidan Delehanty: I think the biggest thing is probably time management and like planning out kind of ideas wise. When I sit down and I need to write an article or some assignment or something like that, just like I approach a race, I have to break down what components there are in the race, there's your dive, there's your underwater, there's the break out and that kind of stuff. And just like any article, you gotta break it down from, what's your lead going to be? What's going to, like, really grab your audience, what's gonna be the meat of the paragraph, do your good old inverted pyramid format. And it's just same thing, just break everything down into its smallest components, try to get that done to the highest quality level. And then that's how you get your

articles now. That's awesome. I have a little bit of a shift of a question? Are there any misconceptions you feel that athletes get?


[0:12:31] Deirdre Brown: I think a misconception is that we just got into the school just because of athletics. And I think that that's extremely false. Because in order to be an athlete, obviously as Aidan's touching on, you're so good at this time management, that it actually bodes extremely well for you in the classroom. And just because you're an athlete doesn't mean that we're not getting any special treatment. We're working hard for the things that like we're earning those things. Like we're earning this gear, we earn a spot on the team, but we're also working hard in the classroom so that we can earn those things.


[0:13:11] Aidan Delehanty: Yeah, kind of to piggyback off of that. The swim team, as you probably know, has one of the highest GPAs in the athletic department, if not in the athletic department, in the entire NCAA. My freshman year, I think we were ranked something like six in the nation with highest GPA. Only people that were above us were either Stanford CAL or Ivy League's. So we do pretty good trying to make sure that our academics speak very highly for our team. That's what we're here for main part. Then to kind of go off of that the swim team has no scholarships whatsoever. There hasn't been scholarships on the swim team since late 2000s. So we're actually here for school. Right? Like, that's what we're here for. It's just a little extra added bonus that we get to be Division One athletes and get all the little perks and stuff like that that goes along with that. Yeah, I'm here for school.


[0:14:05] Deirdre Brown: Yeah, people always joke you're a student before you're an athlete, like we're student athletes. So we're here for school.


[0:14:11] Grace Ibrahim: Yeah, that's very true. And I was gonna say that follow up. My time when I was walking around. And everyone was saying swimmers are on scholarship. And I was like, actually, we're the only team that doesn't have scholarship.


[0:14:23] Aidan Delehanty: It's kind of like one of those things where it's just like, also, like, students are like, oh, all of our money, that's where it's going. It's going to the athletes to go to on these crazy trips to I mean, yeah, like, does the basketball team go play over in Italy? Yes, they do. But I mean, like, trust me, not enough of your tuition is going to be impacting the athletic department and that kind of stuff. Our money is coming from March Madness and that kind of stuff. It's not coming out of your pocket.


[0:14:50] Grace Ibrahim: And to that, actually, a question that just came to my head and you could lay it all out or just touch on certain things, but I think back to my time involved in NCAA and all of that. Are there anything that you think they could change do better do differently?


[0:15:06] Deirdre Brown: I think something that they are changing, which is amazing is the NIL stuff, which I think is super cool. I just saw some teams like posting jerseys and actually, it's some games they've been posting. Like, they've been like selling jerseys, I think at the soccer games, not just of soccer players, but of basketball players, field hockey players, lacrosse players, just retired jerseys, which I think is really cool.


[0:15:38] Aidan Delehanty: Yeah, I think another big thing that's changing the NCAA right now is the overarching conference landscapes we see in basically the death of the PAC 12. Teams moving into the ACC, going from mid major to power five, that's probably the biggest changing like platform that's happening across the board. I see some positives in it. And it's going to bring more recognition for the athletes give them more possible NIL deals get more money. So they're not actually paying for school, don't have to rely on the scholarships as much as they can actually really pay for it out of their own pocket. But there's also like, the everyone talks about, like the travel time and stuff like that, if you're coming from if your Stanford's now going to be in the ACC Stanford's gonna have to travel to Georgia Tech, or UNC, and stuff like that for a Wednesday night soccer game or something like that. And that travel plus the time difference and stuff like that, that's gonna be a lot for some student athletes, but they'll probably work the way around it and stuff like that. So if you'd like if anything needs to really change, I love the super conferences, I think it's a lot of fun. Seeing these big teams go against each other, get more recognition for smaller sports. But if we're going to make these super conferences, then we can just make an East Coast and a West Coast version of the ACC or big ten or whatever conferences. I mean, they already have an East Coast and West Coast version or a Central and East Coast. Just split it up a little bit differently. And give the ability for like everyone to have access.


[0:17:12] Grace Ibrahim: When you say super conference. Can you just elaborate for everybody listening?


[0:17:15] Aidan Delehanty: Yeah, so there's the idea of the power five conferences, the power five conferences being the Big 10, Big 12, PAC 12, SEC, and ACC conferences. These are your big schools, your Dukes, your UNCs, Texas, Oklahoma, all the big, basically state schools. And right now, two conferences in specific the SEC, the South East conference, and the Big 10 currently have the biggest television deals with their own networks at this point. But with ESPN, have these television deals where the schools are making anywhere between 50 to $70 million a year, just off of the television rights for their football teams. So these other conferences, the Big 12, the PAC 12, and the ACC, like want a little bit of this action that the money that these other two conferences are getting. So different schools are basically like jumping ship from one conference to another conference, in order to just make more money, and just have the ability to get more access for the student athletes, and really just get some more dollars in the pockets of like ADs and stuff like that.


[0:18:29] Grace Ibrahim: And also, at the end, at the end of every training year, I guess you could say, conferences is something we attend as like our end all be all swim meet. That really kind of puts us where I guess we should be at you know, all year we train we go to the swim meets every week. And then at the end of the year, we go to conferences and you're competing against a lot more people there's semi finals, finals. I mean, it's a whole week.


[0:18:55] Aidan Delehanty: And it's the same thing for every sport. I mean, Deidre's team will begin the Patriot League playoff tournament for lacrosse. There's a playoff tournament for basketball, soccer, wrestling, there's like a championship meet similar to swimming championship meet for track and stuff like that.


[0:19:13] Grace Ibrahim: March Madness, which we hear about. That's essentially what everyone's equivalent.


[0:19:16] Aidan Delehanty: If you win your conference, then you can go to march madness for basketball and stuff like that.


[0:19:21] Grace Ibrahim: So it's a lot of steaks. But awesome. Thank you very much for just clarifying that. I feel like sometimes people are like, what are they talking about? And then I do want to just shift to some fun questions for the time we have left. What is maybe like your favorite memory so far being an athlete because I know it's freshman year, it's only been seven weeks.


[0:19:52] Deirdre Brown: Honestly, my favorite memory is actually from this past weekend. So Maryland for lacrosse is this just power team. It's like won five years, they won the national championship in a row. They're just known as this huge, amazing team and just being able to like be on the field and like play with them is so cool because in the regular season, we won't play with them. But like, as a freshman, like I never thought I would be playing Maryland and having the opportunity to be on the field was just so beyond me.


[0:20:15] Aidan Delehanty: Yeah, one of the things that swim team does every year, which is always a fun time as we take a training trip to Puerto Rico, almost every college swim team will do some sort of training trip, whether it be California, Hawaii, if you're out on the West Coast, or Florida, a lot of times for the East Coast. But luckily we get to go to Puerto Rico, which is a little bit different. And last year, we went into the meet out there against like Cornell some D3 teams, Loyola, which is in our conference, and it was just like a fun time outdoors. Sun was shining, was a beautiful day. And then like right afterwards, we kind of all just crashed at the beach, which was right next to the hotel. And just I laid out there for hours and stuff like that. And did a little scuba diving and stuff like that, ya know, into the coral reefs. Just amazing. It's a lot of fun.


[0:21:01] Grace Ibrahim: That's awesome. Yeah, mine was in Key West, went to Key West, Florida. So you know, not as good as Puerto Rico. That's awesome. And those, like weekend's like that do remain still some of my favorite memories. So that's awesome to hear. Any standout moments in SOC, obviously, because we have to highlight SOC. Is there a like a favorite class, you're taking, something that surprised you?


[0:21:22] Deirdre Brown: I'm taking a class called visual literacy, which is really cool. It's a block class, we only meet once a week. But like last night, she gave us like, 20, 30 minutes to just go and take pictures, and experiment with taking pictures. We have like a photo essay that's due. But something that's really cool we're doing in the class is we're building a website, basically as a portfolio. And it's mandatory that we go make a resume with the Career Center. But just making the website like as we do assignments, just adding these assignments to this website that we can use, honestly, for like the future, which is really cool.


[0:21:01] Grace Ibrahim: That’s awesome.


[0:21:57] Aidan Delehanty: Yeah, I think some of my favorite classes that I took with SOC, sports writing, sports journalism are taught by the play by play announcer for the Washington Commanders. So I mean, that's one of those like adjunct professors that AU has, like, it's really in the field.


[0:22:18] Grace Ibrahim: It's okay, if you can't remember. You're fine. You're fine. Curious, because I had no idea.


[0:22:23] Aidan Delehanty: He was an AU alum, went here, worked his way up through ESPN and then got hired there. But like, just basically sat down every week, got to talk sports, what what was happening in the media. How does it relate to different aspects of journalism, and stuff like that. I got to write an overarching story for the entire year following a beat, which is pretty crazy.


[0:22:43] Grace Ibrahim: Awesome. And more so for you because you have a little more experience in college. Is there any for someone wanting to go into sports journalism? Is there any class or professor you highly recommend that you've taken so far?


[0:22:54] Aidan Delehanty: I mean, at least that a you if you can take sports writing or sports journalism. Even if like, if you have just any interest in sports whatsoever. It's not like there's any requirements or anything like that, but it's like a 300 level class. So you got to take it a little bit later on. But yeah, those two classes are just really great. If you just want to just talk sports, realize what's their impact in media and even just popular culture today and just do a lot of good writing.


[0:23:21] Grace Ibrahim: Yeah, that's awesome. Any funny memories at AU, and it could be athletics or SOC. Since we're talking about both today.


[0:23:29] Deirdre Brown: I think a funny memory I've had was we had an alumni game a few weekends ago. And one alumni from the Patriot League winning team in 2003 came and like, no one was taking her seriously. And she rocked the field. It was impressive. Like she was like, I haven't picked up a stick in like, a lot of years, and she killed that. Like we were not expecting her to do as good as she did. Yeah, that was fun.


[0:23:57] Aidan Delehanty: A recent one that comes to mind is celebrating after a big race is a big thing in swimming. And it's a little frowned upon and a duel me like usually you do it after a big championship meet and stuff like that. There's one character on the swim team I'll leave him nameless, but it's definitely the videos up on the Instagram if you want to go look for it. He won the 1000. He won by a pretty good margin. I think it'd be probably 100 yards ahead of the next guy from UMBC and then he goes out and then he just like cocks the gun back and like shoots our coach and none of us were expecting this after the race and we were just like, blown away. And it was just like, the funniest thing because like, we were talking about, like celebrations but after big races, like really just like a little like dual meet start. Yeah, right. We were not expecting that. Yeah, it just came out of nowhere. And that was a funny one. We used to always say on our team.


[0:24:51] Grace Ibrahim: We used to be so jealous of other sports teams that could do like the soccer does the celebration, like other teams all run down the field and like they used to be so strict the swimmers. I don't know what NCAA like at conferences, they'd be like, you can't celebrate when you touch the wall.


[0:25:04] Aidan Delehanty: Yeah, I think definitely things have changed at this point, people are just gonna do whatever they want right now. Just take a little wins.


[0:25:11] Grace Ibrahim: You work so hard. And it's like, I mean, at least for me, I was a sprinter. So it's like 30 seconds of my life. You know? I feel like it deserved to celebrate that. But and then another question, because I know when I picked you two separately to do this podcast, Deirdre was like, Oh, my God, I know, Aidan. So how do you feel like at least when I joined a year, it was really nice, because I felt like I had this community right away that I could just kind of lean on. And I was super introverted. So I was like, I don't really want to go off and make friends on my own. So do you guys feel the same, like, especially for you Dierdre coming in as a freshman was there that comfort there?


[0:25:46] Deirdre Brown: Totally like everyone on our floor, a lot of the athletes live on the same floor. And we all just like when we have homework, we all just like study together, we hang out in the lounge. And like we had a group chat before we even came to school. But it's just like a whole

group of people that understand the same thing that you're going through. And like when you have a hard day, like they probably have also had a hard day too. And we do AUX together, which is actually been really cool. It's a transition in class into a you, you basically learn about resources and stuff. But last week, we actually had a really like, vulnerable conversation. And like, I wasn't expecting people to like be so open, but they were and it was like really cool to know that like people feel comfortable around you to share these things. But the community is so open and obviously, Aidan is a junior and I'm a freshman, but I already know Aidan just because of connections to the swim team.


[0:26:38] Grace Ibrahim: Yeah, that's really cool.


[0:26:41] Deirdre Brown: Okay, well, so my boyfriend is on the swim team. So that helps a little bit.


[0:26:44] Aidan Delehanty: We always joke because they were both on a recruiting trip here the same weekend, but she committed first. So we always say that Campbell followed. Yeah, that's awesome. No, it's always good to know people. You know, it's like college is such an intimidating experience sometimes. So yeah, to have that community is just, it's good. It's like a bonus friends, you know, automatically. Totally. Yeah, like, same thing. The nicest thing is that at AU and this is true from almost all colleges across the country, they throw the freshmen athletes together, all on one floor. For the most part, I had field hockey and lacrosse on my floor freshman year. Still super close with a lot of Deirdre's teammates who are juniors as well. Some of my best friends are on the field hockey team. I don't think I've missed a field hockey game in three years. Same thing with Lacrosse. I've been to probably every single home game. Yeah, and there's still some of my closest friends. Yeah, some of my neighbors freshman year were all Lacrosse so. But it wasn't weird to wake up at the same time and walk out of our rooms when it was like still dark out. Hey guys, you know, everyone's like good morning, you know, versus people who are coming home times were waking up. And you know, it was just like, such a different life. So to have those people around, you kind of going through the same things is really nice.


[0:28:01] Deirdre Brown: Which is just awesome.


[0:28:03] Aidan Delehanty: We'll all come out to each other's games and stuff like that. Some teams are always at every volleyball game. We love volleyball. It's just a fun sport to watch. I haven't missed a field hockey or lacrosse game in two years.


[0:28:14] Grace Ibrahim: That's awesome. So Deirdre and Aidan, thank you so much for joining us on Media in the Mix, our first ever SOC student athlete episode. I was gonna say down in the books I don't know what's wrong with me today is my brain is not working. And thank you so much for being here. We hope to have another athlete centered episode. If not, we'll have to do something else SOC centered with athletes so maybe getting back to you all but we'll see. Thank you so much. And thank you for listening. If you want to donate to SOC or this podcast, go to giving.American.soc. And I'll see you next time. Thanks for tuning into Media in the Mix.

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Join Media in the Mix this week as host and SOC mentor Grace Ibrahim speaks to Advacement Coordinator Lindsay Zimnoch and SOC alumna and former mentee Jessical Newell, SOC/MA '22. Listen to this episode to learn what it's like to be a part of the SOC Mentorship Program. Want to know how to make the most out of your mentorship and how to set expectations? Stream now! 



0:00:00] Grace: Welcome to Media in the Mix. The only podcast produced and hosted by the School of Communication at American University. Join us as we create a safe space to explore topics and communication at the intersection of social justice, tech, innovation, and pop culture. Welcome back to Media in the Mix. We're doing a little special episode today. I'm going to hand it off to my colleague, Lindsey, and she's going to explain what we're doing here today, what we're talking about. Lindsay, Take it away.


[0:00:28] Lindsey: Hello, everybody. Thank you for tuning in to Media in the Mix. We're doing things a little bit different today. My name is Lindsey Zimnok, and I am the Development Coordinator for the School of Communication in the Office of Advancement. And today, I'm super excited to interview two participants in our esteemed SOC alumni mentor program: Grace and Jessica. Thank you for being here.


[0:00:52] Grace: Yep and if you have been following Media in the Mix this last year you might remember me and Jessica doing an episode. Gosh, fall semester? Was that fall semester? Or spring?


[0:01:01] Jessica: It was around this right around this time.


[0:01:05] Grace: Right like beginning of Springtime, where we did talk about the mentorship program. But gosh, I mean, when you look at that time compared to now we had like another six months under our belt. It's now the end of the year, we're starting into a new year. I feel like we just have so much to talk about.


[0:01:20] Jessica: We have so much wisdom now.


[0:01:22] Grace: Yeah, we do.


[0:01:23] Jessica: We’re six months more seasoned.


[0:01:24] Grace: I really feel like it makes a difference.


[0:01:25] Lindsey: It’s been a long time, it’s been a long time.


[0:01:27] Grace: Yeah, yeah.


[0:01:28] Jessica: It’s the sequel.


[0:01:30] Lindsey: Well, let's start at the beginning. Grace, tell us about yourself. You were a student here at SOC. Let's talk about that.


[0:01:36] Grace: Yeah. So quick summary, I am a double SOC alum. So I was an SOC for undergrad. I did communications and I had a psych minor, and then I came back for grad school. I did film and media arts in 2017. And so I graduated right before the pandemic and I was an athlete at SOC. I did swimming, so I was a swimmer. Gosh, so much, it was fun. I did LA intensive, which is where I met a lot of people I now know in the mentorship program, which is pretty cool. And yeah, just happy to be back working here. Now I work for SOC. I'm their video production person because just me and I basically do everything video, audio, this podcast that you listen to. So it's been a really cool full circle moment to kind of just come back and work here now.


[0:02:20] Lindsey: That's awesome. And Jessica, share with us your SOC student experience.


[0:02:26] Jessica: So I just graduated from the one year Master's in Strategic Communication. Officially a master communicator, as I like to tell people. Which is awkward if I ever mess up my speech or say a word incorrectly because they go, aren't you supposed to be perfect at this? Not exactly. But I had the greatest time. I took four classes each semester, two in the summer. So it was pretty jam packed, really hectic. I was a full time student, some people do part time, but not me. And then I also was a teaching assistant during my time here, really active in the classroom. My boss was Professor Roslyn Donald. She let me lecture and really work directly with our students which I loved 'cause I might want to be a professor some day. And what better way to learn that than to really get to be in the classroom, not just like grading and being five

steps removed from the students or something. Now I am working part time for the Center for Media and Social Impact, which is again, connected to SOC. Was still working with Professor Donald and then Catie Borum, another professor who is of course the director of that center, doing a study on the impact of climate justice documentaries on both the filmmakers and then also on a lot of the indigenous populations that were included in those films.


[0:03:38] Grace: That's awesome.


[0:03:39] Lindsey: That's awesome. I look forward to hearing more about that on Media in the Mix. We'll have to dig into that.


[0:03:46] Grace: Reunion episode.


[0:03:47] Lindsey: So I would love to just have a conversation with y'all today about your experience in the mentor program. So Grace, just right off the bat, what brought you to the alumni mentor program and what do you think makes a great mentee?


[0:04:05] Grace: So what brought me to the program actually was around that same time I did a podcast episode which was one of my very first at this job with Derek Mcginty, who is also an SOC mentor. And he said to me, our episode was called “Our Time to Give Back.” And it was the first time I'd really dove into the subject of like, what do I do now that I have knowledge? And I don't want to say that it's all successful knowledge because some of it's like knowledge from failure and things that I did wrong that I now know how to do better and you know, and such. But he kind of explained it to me as like there's a certain point you reach in your career where it's not just about you anymore. It's about what can you do to give back. And that stuck with me so much. So when I got the offer to be a part of the mentorship program, I was like absolutely. Because although at the time, I felt like I couldn't. You know, I look at Jessica and we're not that far apart in age. So you know, I think about it, I'm like, do I have that wisdom? Do I have that knowledge? But I believe it comes with experience. And so much happened in my life between the time that I graduated school and now, so I surprised myself, I think. And I was able to offer, you know, knowledge that I didn't even know was capable of.

[0:05:17] Lindsey: I love that story. And what do you think makes a great mentee? What were you looking for in a mentee?


[0:05:17] Grace: I think I actually told you this. One of our very first meetings I was like, you know, we might not always have the same alignments in terms of like what we're going after. And admittedly we don't really. Right, like there's certain things that overlap but there's a lot that's different there. But I remember telling you I was like, I regardless of that, I want to be there for you every step of the way. So whether you have a question about what you should put on your resume or you're just having a bad day and it's nice to know somebody to talk to. Like, I made sure to tell Jessica, like, all of those doors are open. There just I didn't want there to be any barrier of feeling like you couldn't approach me on something or you know. So I would say in summary, keeping that line of communication open is such a big thing. And then also maybe just like a little bit of transparency goes a long way, in terms of what you're looking for, what you need help with. You know, as a mentee, I would imagine that there's 1 million different things that pop into your head throughout the year. Whether it may be portfolio or resume, or job hunting, or interviews or what not. So I just wanted her to know that all of those avenues are open to exploring. You know, that there's not something that I'm going to say no to because maybe I'm not an expert at it or I don't know so much about it. So that was really important to me. And then also just open mind and that goes for a lot of different things and it kind of goes to my last point of like there might not, you know, you might look at your mentee and be like, oh my gosh, they're journalism and I'm film. How am I going to get them a job here? It's not always about that. You know, and admittedly, we only have so much power when it comes to the hiring process and this and that. So I think even just guidance to your mentee helps so much, even if you have a little bit of knowledge or you know, somebody that's gone through that career path, like providing that knowledge of like this is what I know. And maybe I could connect you to someone that knows more. But I believe the guidance should always be there. Because as mentors, we do have the knowledge, in a general sense, to guide people through the specifics, if that makes sense.


[0:07:21] Lindsey: Yeah, definitely. Jessica, what was it like for you meeting Grace for the first time as your mentor?


[0:07:28] Jessica: I was really excited because I realized we had the capacity to be friends in addition to being a mentor and a mentee, which I didn't necessarily come into it with that expectation. You know, if there had been somebody who was like in their 60s or whatever, it might have been a little bit less of a pure relationship, but still tons of like professional support and wisdom and good advice, of course. So I was always hoping that was going to be there, but then truly we just really got along and it was so comforting because I was moving to DC and I didn't know a ton of people. I didn't have a really big network. So it was great because I kind of got the best of both worlds. I got somebody to kind of support me emotionally as a friend, which was really helpful for the transition. And then, Grace is also just really smart and prepared to handle any type of question. And even if she doesn't know what to do, she's very enthusiastic

about figuring out how to kind of like pass me off to somebody or show me other resources. So ten out of ten.


[0:08:25] Lindsey: I love that. That's so sweet. I think you guys have a great mentor-mentee relationship. I know throughout the program we talked regularly, Grace and I, about like how things were doing. I like to check in with the mentors. And so Grace, I'm excited to know what types of projects, ideas, or professional development opportunities did you see flourish in Jessica's particular path? What was going on there? And how did you kind of help her through that process?


[0:08:52] Grace: First of all, I will say you're really good at checking in with the mentors at mentees. So bravo. I love that.


[0:08:56] Lindsey: Thank you.


[0:08:57] Grace: Gosh, I mean so much. I feel like we touched on so many different points, from like resume building to just networking. I remember we talked a lot about just who we can approach, who we can talk to, interviews, where we should apply for jobs. I did my best to look at what she was interested in and take from what I knew and kind of provide what I could provide in terms of different locations to apply to maybe. We did a lot of exploring, I think

through campus, you know, campus jobs and what could work here. And that part of my life is so recent, I go through it all the time. You know, when I leave a job I'm looking for another job. So in a way, it kind of felt like for the year we were doing things together, it kind of like aligned with what she's looking for, what I'm looking for. Until we were able to just kind of help each other. And then a lot of the times it was just a check in. You know, get lunch, get coffee, how you doing, how's everything, is there anything you want to chat about, you know? And I feel like we yeah, we touched on a lot of different subjects. It was just nice.


[0:09:55] Jessica: Definitely. I feel like one of your strong points too is you have that inclusive mindset. So as you're going through your life, obviously you are really busy and you're working, but you're also kind of thinking about me concurrently and kind of in a parallel timeline. Like if you're doing something, oh, maybe I can include Jessica. It's like doing the podcast and you've let me be both on the microphone and then also behind the camera. So really both sides of production, which has shown up into kind of job interviews because people, I can kind of show my writing skills to them with writing samples and everything, but kind of also saying, you know, I know my way a little bit around microphones and cameras and some of those technical elements. And it's very honest because you've created those opportunities for me that has shown up in the job search too.


[0:10:33] Grace: Yeah, I can't believe I didn't even mention the podcast. That's so true. That whole week was like something new for Jessica, which I love to provide. I think that's the one thing I always ask people when I start to work with them is like, is there anything that you haven't done that you want to do, you know? And I think that's how we literally got on the subject up the podcast. Yeah. And she was like, I would love to do a podcast episode and she killed it. Her and Lauren were great, so it was a new thing to both of you. And it was just like it was so fun. And I just, I loved watching that happen and come to life. It was such a special day. So yeah, you're right.


[0:11:05] Jessica: You helped me become an SOC celebrity.


[0:11:07] Lindsey: I know. SOC superstar right here,

[0:11:10] Grace: Literally still with our mentor mentor-mentee pictures.


[0:11:13] Lindsey: I know. So if you haven't checked out our Instagram, we've got Grace and Jessica leading the marketing for that. We got them at Jessica's graduation and it was just like the perfect picture to summarize, you know, what the alumni mentor program means and it's so special to see you two. Since we work so closely together, I know how important your relationship with Jessica has been and how, you know, you have been there for her through her professional journey. And now that you've graduated, which I will have to say this is the first time that I've met with a student after graduation from the program. So this is really cool. And you talked a little bit about how Grace helped you develop your portfolio. And maybe touch on some areas that you would be interested in growing professionally. And what areas do you think? Either Grace's mentorship or like, how did she embolden you to take new moves and try new things? And since graduation, how is that looking?


[0:12:17] Jessica: I think Grace definitely encourages my flexibility with what I'm applying to my degree just by nature. It is really flexible. It's not like there's only one or two outcomes that you can have. And so, she's kind of approved my choices when I've kind of said like, well maybe I'll be an academic advisor or maybe I'll go and be a marketing coordinator. And kind of saying like, yeah, sure, that makes sense. And kind of just like the different ways to repackage the skills that I have and some of the experiences to fit those different things. But not looking at me like well, you're not making sense, why are you going this way? So it's just kind of nice to have that reassurance, that flexibility is a good thing. And I'm not just being haphazard because it can feel like you're flailing a little when you first graduate and you're trying to apply to jobs.


[0:12:58] Lindsey: I think we all went through that. Right, Right. We're not sure, zure we're

hitting the right target.


[0:13:04] Grace: Sure. I'm like, what skills apply to what? I don't know. But to your point, I think I wanted you to know that like there's so many skills and communications that apply to so many different things. And that's what I learned throughout my career, which I think eased a lot

of my job hunting anxiety, you know, being like, oh no, this skill does work here and it does work here, you know? So yeah, we talked about that a lot.


[0:13:22] Jesscia: She's also helped me feel more patient because I had applied to a job in July, and I know we were talking in probably early September and I was going I don't know, do you think I should give up on them? I haven't heard anything even about a first wave. But she kind of said, I don't think you should completely give up yet. I think you should keep applying. But I wouldn't necessarily like cancel out that one. And then I got a notification for an interview like a week later. So I think she just changed my mindset too about the timeline. I think I assumed things moved a lot faster. She's just kind of telling me, no, you need to feel just a little more patient. Things happen at the most random times and not everybody is really being speedy with hiring even though they have positions to fill, which is a little confusing. But I know she's been through it, so she knows that.


[0:14:04] Lindsey: Yeah, it can be a slow process.


[0:14:05] Grace: I was on the other side of I was in, I guess you'd call it recruiting or HR, for like a year in my life. But that year taught me so much and I always like try to think back to my experience in that year and all the people I had to deal with. And then I take that into my job hunting experience because I'm like, I remember when something took a month and a half or two months to like look over or just even, you know. So I always tell myself like give it two months plus another two months. Yeah, it’s a lot, it’s a lot.


[0:14:32] Lindsey: Yeah it can. And so I think it's great to have the partner in that process. But I think what is really important to mention about your mentee-mentor relationship is that we do this for the academic year, so we do this in the fall up into the spring semester. But a lot of our mentor-mentee relationships continue on. And like you mentioned earlier, you become friends and you become a part of each other's life. How has that relationship helped you in your transition as, from a student into an alumni? Right. So we've talked a little bit about how difficult and challenging it can be navigating the new job career prospects. But maybe just personally, what does it mean to you to have somebody who's now an alumni? You guys are both alumni.

You're part of the alumni community. And having that network and access to that network. What does that mean to you?


[0:15:24] Jessica: The continuation of our relationship keeps me closer to SOC than I might have been. Because, I mean, obviously here I'm graduated and I'm back on the podcast. And Grace is helping me look at some jobs at American University and also just kind of giving me updates. And so I still feel in the loop and I still feel like a lot of the relationships that are adjacent to her people that she introduced me to are still able to kind of stay fresh because we have that continuing relationship. So that's good because I really want to stay involved. You know, I don't want to just kind of disappear. And some day I would love to come back and be a mentor. I want just a couple more years maybe out before I come back and impart all of my amazing knowledge and experience on somebody. But I think it will be easier to come back because I still have this relationship going.


[0:16:10] Lindsey: Right. And we would love to have you. Yeah, and now that you mentioned that, we do have a couple folks that are mentors now that, believe it or not, 21 years ago when this program started, they were a mentee. And so we've got quite a few folks that started off in this program as students that have now transitioned into that mentor role into the program. And we're so thankful for them and they're really crucial to this program. A lot of our mentors, as you know, you mentioned Derek McGinty. They do this every year and it's something that is really meaningful to them. And so Grace as a double eagle, double alum. When you see the cohort of mentors and the group that we have, how does that make you feel? How, what kind of pride does that give you as an SOC alum?


[0:17:00] Grace: It's awesome because I remember even just looking at my own cohort, more so grad school because, you know, undergrad is such a big class. So you kind of had your group of people that you took the same classes with. But when I came back for grad school, it was very centered, like unless you were in film and media arts, you weren't in that cohort. So it was a very close like, cohort of 20 people, you know, taking the film in arts program. Film in media arts program. And I remember even then just looking around at everyone and being like everyone is so different. Everyone is coming from all walks of life, all ages, all races, just just everything. It

was so funny to look at all of us genius filmmakers, but then see all the different personalities and like ideas would spring from all these different personalities. And so I was really proud at the time because I was like, just this experience alone I know is going to launch me forward in my career. Being around these people, getting to meet these people. And so when I look at something like our mentorship program, it kind of feels that same way to me. It's just this tight-knit group of such different people that are able to offer all these different expertise. That's like, it's so unique, you know, it's so special. And I think everybody comes from a different walk of life. Everybody has something different that they could put on the table. It's so fun. So it kind of brings me back to that time being a student actually, which is pretty cool.


[0:18:20] Lindsey: I love that. It's a little bit of that hands-on experiential learning that we provide here, not just at SOC, but at American University. And, I want to ask both of you, how does having a hands-on learning opportunity enhance your time at the school of communication? So whether it was Jessica as a student. So for anyone listening, we are part of the experiential learning opportunities here at SOC. But that also includes, let's see, Classroom In the Wild, we've got alumni in the classroom. Grace help me think of a couple others.


[0:18:56] Grace: La Intensive, New York Intensive.


[0:18:57] Lindsey: The LA, New York intensive programs, which are pillars of our experiential learning.


[0:19:03] Grace: SOC3.


[0:19:04] Lindsey: SOC3! Our newest one. We just actually celebrated the one year. And so I'm sure we'll be hearing more about that pretty soon. But as a student, you know, it can be challenging. Right. Like working and going to school and maybe identifying those internships. So in many ways, the alumni program can help bridge those gaps, I feel. How do you think that SOC experiential learning helps students? And sort of how can we maybe better get the info out there as a student? Like how can we be helpful in making sure that we're bringing these opportunities to you at the front and when you get here?


[0:19:49] Jessica: So now as an alum that is applying to jobs, I'm discovering that my degree alone does speak volumes because obviously it's a really prestigious school and people recognize it. And so that will sometimes get me considered. But you need to supplement the degree itself with tangible items in your portfolio. A lot of these applications, what kind of proof of the skills? Not just, oh, you took this course, but they really want to see it for themselves on a website or in some kind of sample that you need to provide. And so only through really experiential learning can you kind of get these products. Of course, if you do the LA and the New York intensive, you showed that you traveled and you networked and you did whatever projects are done on those trips. And then if you're taking classes, like, I took a podcasting class, I took content creation, and so I was making videos, I was making recordings. Those are all things that you can pass along to say, not only did I learn these things, but then I can also demonstrate them. And I can imagine that in tons of mentor relationships, the mentors can provide opportunities in their fields for a similar type of experiential learning. They might say, hey, do you want to try drafting something? I mean, just as Grace was able to provide podcast experience for me, because she is the host of this podcast, I'm sure that other people are doing videography and other writing samples. And if they can bring in their menti in any way, even outside of the university, that's great. That adds other businesses and kind of like other sources of validation for those skills.


[0:21:15] Lindsey: No, yeah, that’s a great answer, I’m taking notes. Okay. Jessica, I would love to hear any advice that you have for a new student entering the program that says, maybe this student is a first generation student that doesn't come from a family of folks who went to higher education. Maybe the student also works part-time. Maybe the students’ working full-time, right? So for these students out there that maybe don't have, you know, the availability in the schedule, what sort of advice would you give to somebody who may struggle with saying, I don't know if I have the time for this program.


[0:21:52] Jessica: I would tell them that this program is whatever they make it, it's not on a formal schedule. You could talk, you could talk once a month. If you really wanted, if you can find 1 hour a month, then that's what it could be. And if you want to talk to your mentor on a Sunday and you agree that that's fine for your work-life boundaries to talk on the weekend, then you talk outside of the work week. Really, it's not like a class and it's not like a lot of these other

things where there's such a set schedule that you can't get out of. You can make it what you need it to be. And then of course, if you are more available, you can meet more frequently and kind of have a more enriching partnership. But that's up to you, so I really don't even have to meet in person. It could even be a phone call and sometimes it can even be texting. I would text Grace a link to something or she would just kind of send me a notification about something and that's a five second interaction. So I feel like, you know, I could justify if I have time to TikTok scroll, I have time to text my mentor.


[0:22:46] Lindsey: Absolutely. That's a great point. That's a great point. Folks, let's hear that again.


[0:22:53] Grace: Again, if you have time to send a TikTok video, you have time to text. No honestly, we would send like voice notes to each other sometimes.


[0:23:00] Jessica: Because Grace is so expressive.


[0:23:02] Grace: I’d be like, I'm just going to send your voice note, it would be like a 2 and half minute voice note. But, you know, it's like that's how we kept in touch and it worked. And also I have to mention things like, you know what you said. Jess goes, so true it is what you make of it. If you want to keep it a professional relationship, that's totally fine too. If it becomes more of a personal one, that's awesome. I feel like you just gained another friend, you know. And that's how I feel, our relationship went and like I do stand up comedy part-time and like Jessica came to one of my shows, you know what I mean? Like looking out in the front row and seeing her there was so special. Like that was when I realized like, oh, this relationship is more than just what you should put on your resume.


[0:23:38] Jessica: Like Grace is a funny lady. Which you know from listening to this podcast. ,


[0:23:44] Grace: Thank you, thank you. Yes, we really just leveled up a little bit. I think because we both realized, like, I think what we both wanted to put into the relationship and we both knew we were on the same page. So it was easy to grow it that way. But at the end of the day, I also

will say like if you just want to keep it professional, that’s fine too, it is what you make of it. It really is.


[0:23:59] Jessica: And with what you were saying about first generation students, people who might not really understand college because college is not intuitive.


[0:24:04] Lindsey: No, it is not.


[0:24:05] Jessica: There are so many words that just don't exist outside of the university, and I don't know how you're supposed to distinguish them unless you have like phone a friend and like ask somebody. And so your mentor is that kind of nonjudgmental person who has completed their degree. So they've been through years and years of school specifically at your university too. They even know American University specific procedures and lingo. And just like the dynamic and the culture of the campus. And so they are the best resource to go to that is going to just answer your questions and not like laugh at you. 'Cause like, right, they're cheering for you.


[0:24:43] Lindsey: A lot of them have been through this. Grace just recorded a great episode with Irena and she talks about how you can come to SOC and then change your direction. Maybe your mentor shows you a new path. Maybe they say, hey, I kind of noticed this is a strength for you. Have you ever thought about looking at that? So I really like that feel. That's great.


[0:25:04] Grace: Yeah. Also, I will say like in terms of what I said earlier about keeping an open mind as a mentor, I will say a lot of that has to do with learning from your mentee as well. I feel like I learned so much from Jessica. Admittedly, because of what we were just talking about. We had two different college and grad school experiences. You know what I mean? College, che's working for the Dean's office, right? And you won an award there?


[0:25:27] Jessica: Yeah.


[0:25:28] Lindsey: That’s awesome.

[0:25:29] Grace: That's amazing. I failed my first two years of college, right. Lower than a 1.0 GPA. So, in my mind, it's like there was so much I could learn from her because there was so much expertise at your age that I didn't have at that age that I was like, this is admirable. I love listening to this 'cause this is something that I didn't experience. And then in turn, again, going by the nonjudgmental part of it, there was no shame on my end of being like this is what not to do. You know what I mean? Because trust me, I've done it and this is how it turned out. So, it's like, you know, you can learn and, of course, you're teaching and that's great. But especially when I think there's the beauty of like the more age gap you have, you know, it's like some people think, well, there's nothing I can learn. No, absolutely you can. So I would think that goes in line with like keeping an open mind because there's just so much your mentee could teach you.


[0:26:21] Jessica: It meant a lot to me when you started opening up to me about certain questions and challenges that you might have been facing in the workplace. Because then it kind of was like, oh, the tables have turned and I got to put on the little mentor cap and talk it through with you. And that's important because I'm about to be doing all the same thing. I mean, I'm not exactly but be at the kind of similar level in my career. And so it was such a moment where I was like, yeah, this is an equitable relationship. Like we truly are able to converse as just two professionals because we are both educated professional ladies.


[0:26:52] Grace: Yeah. And I knew she had enough expertise to give me advice, you know, like I opened up to her comfortably, being like I need some help and I need some advice and, you know, maybe we're not going through the same things, but possibly one day maybe you will. And I hope that you can think back to that conversation. And although it's like my struggle, I hope it can help you in some way, you know. So yeah, that just open mind goes for so many different things.


[0:27:15] Lindsey: No, I love that. And I do find that a lot of the students that are in this program are super inspiring. And Grace, I can say too, when I was first starting off in college, I was a first gen student. I did not walk out of the door with straight as my first year or my second year. And so, you know, I resonate with that, I resonate with that. And I think that, you know,

one of the great things that the mentors get out of their mentorship in this program is exactly what you're saying, Grace, is that perspective of, you know, newness, new ideas, new ways of looking at things that can be helpful to mentors in their career, and to the things that they're doing. You know, sometimes as we age out of school, we are maybe not up to tune with what's hip, what's happening in the PR world, what's happening in journalism right now. What are the threats to media currently, and what are Gen Z students having to face in those environments? And so I think that that is a really great point, Grace, is that we have a lot that we can learn from the mentees as well, and making sure that communication stays open.


[0:28:24] Grace: Yeah.


[0:28:25] Lindsey: Does anyone have any closing thoughts? What do we want to impart on both mentors and students as we close out this podcast?


[0:28:31] Grace: I will say it's only a year. And that seems like a really long time, but it goes by so fast, as Jessica could tell you. And so I think just take advantage of it. There's only so many times in your life where someone's going to be like, here's a mentor, enjoy! You know? And it's like, use that up, take advantage of it. I wish I did that more when I was an undergrad and a grad student. I mean, I had so many awesome people around me, whether it be professors. I didn't do a mentorship program, you know. At the same time, everyone kept telling me you talk to your professors, network with your professors. But I sometimes just like objectively look at this

program and I think like this is such a special unique program because there is only, it really is like once in a lifetime things where somebody kind of just hands you this tool that you could really utilize for a whole year. That's 12 months, you know? So take advantage of it. That's my only piece of advice.


[0:29:24] Lindsey: Love that. Jessica?


[0:29:25] Jessica: Yeah, I agree. I would say try it. It doesn't cost money. The application takes probably no more than 15 minutes. If you really, really do not like who you're paired up with, you're not stuck. You can part ways, and so try it. And my other thing that I think I said back in

the spring when we were talking is to be intentional. And neither side of the mentor relationship should be passive. Mentorship doesn't just happen when you're sitting in the same room as your mentor. Come with questions, come with things that you want them to look at. And it really should be both sides. And only from both sides being active will it be a productive relationship.


[0:30:04] Lindsey: Absolutely, and I like that make sure you come to your meetings prepared. I think that's great feedback for both mentors and mentees is if you're a mentor, you can give homework to your mentee, and if you are a mentee, come with your loaded questions. And you know, I think realizing that no question is a dumb question and understanding that all the mentors who sign up want to do this, we ask them and we say, hey, are you interested in this? And that's it. And so if they sign up, that's because they really want to be there and they want to get to know the students. So, I think coming prepared is a great idea and I'm so thankful to both of you for your participation. I think this year has been really, honestly, a beautiful experience to watch. I regularly am in touch with our mentors and I'm just like touched by the relationship that you guys have built in this last year. Jessica, we're so proud of you.


[0:31:00] Jessica: Thank you.


[0:31:01] Lindsey: And our whole team has just kind of, you know, watched this relationship flourish. And we're so excited to see what happens next for you.


[0:31:09] Grace: Agreed.


[0:31:10] Lindsey: Thank you all for tuning in today, and it was a great episode, and I hope to be back here with Grace soon.


[0:31:18] Grace: Absolutely, you did such a great job. I'm definitely gonna have you back.


[0:31:22] Jessica: Thanks for having me. Bye.

Creative Connoisseur ft. Trace Dominguez

Trace Dominguez Media in the Mix

On this episode of Media in the Mix, meet Trace Dominguez, SOC/MA'10. Dominguez is an award-winning science communicator, video producer, content creator, podcaster and researcher. He has written over 1,000 videos for award winning and top ranked Facebook and YouTube channels. He primarily focuses on quantum mechanics, astronomy, psychology, engineering and agriculture. Dominguez produces content for clients including CuriosityStream, Nebula, SMART and PBS Digital Studios. He has collaborated with the Obama White House, The US Air Force, Toyota, Boeing, Skillshare and more. Listen to this episode to hear about how he has also hosted, written and produced for PBS Television, Discovery Channel, Science Channel, TBD Network, Seeker, Amazon Prime, YouTube originals, and other networks across the globe. After checking out this episode, make sure to check out his podcast, That's Absurd Please Elaborate.


[0:00:00] Grace Ibrahim: Welcome to Media in the Mix, the only podcast produced and hosted by the School of Communication at American University. Join us as we create a safe space to explore topics and communication at the intersection of social justice, tech, innovation, and pop culture. Welcome back to Media in the Mix. I'm your host, Grace Ibrahim and today, we have a very special guest, Trace Dominguez, who graduated from American University in 2010 with his master’s in public communication. We're going to get into a little bit of your capstone project that you did there. But Trace, is there anything else you wanted to add?


[0:00:41] Trace Dominguez: Gosh, I think if I hadn't gone to American, I wouldn't be where I am now. I mean, that's a little cliche, or trite or whatever. But I literally got the internship at Discovery that kind of launched my career because they did an info session on campus. So, it was cool.


[0:00:57] Grace Ibrahim: That's so cool. I didn't know that. Okay. Wow. So, I'm learning a few new things. That's awesome. So actually, I'm just gonna dive right into your time at AU SOC. What made you kind of want to go into the public comms sphere?


[0:01:10] Trace Dominguez: So, I graduated my undergrad with a degree in behavioral psychology. And I thought, okay, a lot of people who get that degree, they end up working with children with autism or doing some kind of organized behavioral therapy. And that wasn't for me. I had looked at it as an option, but it wasn't what I wanted to do. So, I took a few years off between my undergrad and grad program. And when I went to look for grad programs, I was looking for something that was practical, something that wasn't like a two or three, or you know, so on year program. So, I could just get working. I wanted to like go and get a career in media in some capacity. And so, to do that, I looked around at different programs, and I ended up applying to several, and American, I really liked the program. I liked that it was a one-year program, that it was really intense. And I could just like devote my time to it and ended up going and obviously worked out for me. So, I think it was awesome.


[0:02:06] Grace Ibrahim: I do have a little follow up question there. I know a lot of our students, a lot of them do take the two likes for example, I did the two-year master's program. I saw my, you know, cohort and the people, my peers take the three year, the MFA. So, they had even that extra additional time. Is there anything that you can provide just for like what to expect if you do end up taking the one-year program? Because I know a lot of people will say it's intense, but you know, just elaborate on that a little bit.


[0:02:32] Trace Dominguez: I mean, yeah, intense is the word for sure. And it's not so much that it's difficult intense. It's just you have to dedicate your time to it. I found an apartment right near campus that I could walk to the classes that I needed to take, and you were in classes all day and then doing, you know, either at the library or doing your work at night, and there wasn't as much time to just casually take a master's program, not that any master's program is casual, per se, but it's just, it felt like okay, I'm gonna do this all day, every day. And I remember the day after graduation, I like popped up in bed. And I was like, Okay, well, what do I have to do today? Because I had this like routine where I had this list of things that I constantly was getting done every single day. And I was like, Oh, well, I graduated. So, nothing right now. Like, I could just take some time. And I remember not knowing what the popular music was, not knowing what was cool on YouTube or whatever. I just didn't, because I wasn't paying attention. You know, we had a TV, I didn't use it. I didn't have time; I was doing something else. And so, it was just like, I could have probably carved out time to do those things, but I filled my free time with social time, usually with my other cohort, which is cool.


[0:03:51] Grace Ibrahim: That's very cool. Yeah, I feel like a one year really gives you time to bond even though you may not think you do because it's like so intense. You're always together, always doing things together. That's awesome. Do you remember any of the classes that really stood out to you or like a professor that stood out to you. Favorite memory?


[0:04:09] Trace Dominguez: Oh, yeah, definitely. I mean, the main, the first class that I took, really stood out only because I got to meet with Rick Stax class, and I really just got to meet all of the students and the other people and see where they were from. I really liked Dottie Lynch's class about polling, I thought it was really interesting and learning about, you know, kind of the practical application of these things that we were learning. Lauren Feldman's class was really interesting. I took a class about international PR, which was cool. Wasn't quite what I thought it was going to be. But it was really interesting because we each got to pick a country and then learn about that country and how their PR might work, which I thought was very cool. And then we did like a presentation at the end. So, it was there were several classes that obviously stood out. But I think generally speaking, it was the thing that really stuck out to me aside from, you know, the practical application of stuff, which is my jam, that's what I really enjoy is just seeing how everybody approached it differently and where they all wanted to go. Because my goal was to get into a media sphere in some way. And not everybody wanted to do that. A lot of people wanted to go into PR, you know, more traditional aspects, some people didn't want to do PR at all, they were just learning to have that like, thought process of kind of strategic communicating. So, everybody sort of had a different goal. And that was, I think that was the thing that I liked even more than just any individual class.


[0:05:36] Grace Ibrahim: Did your expectation of your career. So, I know you said you always knew you want to go into media. But did the expectation of your career change from the start of that program? To the end? It? Was it what you know, you kind of changed your mind a little bit there? Did you surprise yourself with anything?


[0:05:49] Trace Dominguez: No, I think I just focused a little bit, I didn't really change my mind on where I wanted to go. I just focused on what I was interested in. Seeing what other people wanted to do and where they wanted to go and how focused they were on it sort of helped me distill what it was that I was looking for. And how I always think of it now like looking back, I don't know almost how I felt at the time, you know, because it was all in flux. But now when I look back, I think I wanted to work in media. And I didn't care how I was going to get there almost when I started. And by the end, I was like, oh, I want to work in these specific places and media, you know, something where I can feel good about what it is that we're making?


[0:06:33] Grace Ibrahim: That's great. I like that. And then how would you just overall, because I have like a million notes here of what you did what you do now, and the different areas you're in. But I have a sentence here, which I pulled from your bio. Basically, he primarily focuses on quantum mechanics, astronomy, Psychology, Engineering, and agriculture when it comes to your media work. Why? What kind of drew you to getting into that, and I know, this is actually a nice segue from an episode that's going to be released a little bit before you we talked to David Ruck. And he talks all about how he translates kind of the science in the field into video form. And so, you guys both kind of reminded me of each other, because that is very interesting. And that's not a lot that we think about, you know. A lot of people consider kind of the field of like stem to be numbers and analytics and this but being able to kind of translate it translate it into a visual form. Basically, what got you into that? And can you just elaborate on that anymore?


[0:07:29] Trace Dominguez: Yeah, absolutely. So, if you don't know what I do, I guess aside from the bio that we're putting in the episode, I basically make science videos is when you know, if you're in a lift and somebody's like, what do you do, I'm like, I make videos. And if they push, I'll say I make science videos. Because people love, either love learning about this, or they are like, completely turned off by the science part of it. And I don't say stem too often only because then people are like, well, what's that? I don't even know what that is. So basically, I'm a science communicator. I didn't know what that was. When I started my career, I was told that that's what I was. I said, okay, sure. But translating science and technology, engineering, math, you know, into visual can be complicated. It can, but it's also really fun. It's a puzzle every time. So, when I make videos, when I sat down to like, kind of start my career, I got an internship with the Discovery Communications company in Silver Spring. And I was the Discovery News intern. So, it was my job to kind of do journalistic science coverage. And that's where I sort of cut my teeth and learned what it is that that even meant. And what it really means is not just like, hey, there's a new paper out, let's read it. It's more like what's happening in the world, just like any journalist, and what is it that we can look at it from a science lens? Oh, there are, you know, whales swimming into the bay area during the pandemic into the San Francisco Bay. What does that mean? And did they always come in there? And were they going there before? And why weren't they? Why were they? And it turns out, you know, boat engines, even though we don't hear them because they're vibrating the water, whales can hear them for hundreds of miles. And so, they avoid them because they're quite loud. If you think of it as sound as moving through the water, as opposed to air. And so, like boat motors and boat channels, whales avoid them, because it'd be like, going into a construction site for us. It's just very loud. And so even just how we describe what that means, and how we're translating how whales are hearing things, you know, it's just taking a regular story, and putting it through a lens of science. And so, when I say things like quantum mechanics and psychology and engineering, you know, we're doing videos about airplanes, you know, we're doing videos about computers. We're doing videos about what things that people use on a day-to-day basis and trying to make it relevant. And sometimes that involves I was getting into weird, esoteric science things. And so, I'm a generalist, I'm not an expert in any specific science. So, I'm always trying to learn something about all these different facets of it.


[0:10:14] Grace Ibrahim: That's very fascinating. I love that. I feel like I'm like your target audience for that stuff. I'm like, I don't know anything about it. Yeah, but I'm a very visual learner. So, I could see how that's so beneficial to anyone, even in the science field, who is a visual learner like that really could help you more so than words on a page. So that's awesome.


[0:10:33] Trace Dominguez: Actually, I think that's a really good point. Because I think people think when they think of science communication, like, oh, it's science nerds that watch that that's just for science. But science, people don't all know the same thing. Just like, you know, you go to SOC, you don't necessarily know how somebody in a crisis comm PR agency works versus an advertising branding agency, they don't know how each other work. And sciences are exactly the same. Where I was making a video about antimatter, which if you think of a hydrogen atom is a proton and electron, and they spin, you know, electrons, like orbiting like a planet, swap it. So, the proton would become a negative, and the electron would become a positive. Everything else about it is the same. And but describing that, even now is tough, right? And so, I went to this MIT engineer, and I was like, does this video make sense? And she was like, I don't know what is happening in this video. Because even though she is, you know, MIT engineering, right? And she does science communication. And she was still like, I don't get this. And she's, like, immersed in science video every day. And it's just not her thing. So, it's just there's so much room in all of these jobs. Because there's specialization and everywhere.


[0:11:49] Grace Ibrahim: Right. I was just talking about that the other day, actually, with this podcast, even just the video aspect, the audio aspect, the hosting aspect, they're all different jobs. So, it's like, you can't expect someone to know all of them. Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. That's awesome. And then can you go into just a little bit about kind of what it was like? Maybe after your master’s or I know you had the internship, but kind of moving into being an independent creator? And kind of starting that. How did that go about for you? Was there challenges, was there you know, a part of it that you love so much that surprised you? Just anything there?


[0:12:23] Trace Dominguez: Yeah, yeah. So, after AU, I had this info session and at the job fair on campus, and ended up at Discovery. They had me with this Discovery News team, I was there for a long time. I worked with a different team for a while but came back to Discovery News. And we launched a YouTube channel, which is now called seeker, it's owned by Vox, it's very big. And it's more or less dormant at this point. They don't have a staff supporting it. But we made like 3500 videos over the course of the run of that channel. And then at some point, it was sold to another company and sold to another company and then Vox bought it. And in that time, I was like, okay, I've really, I know how this works, I should be able to do this myself. And then I'm not beholden to all of these different changes, because it's this industry, this digital media industry is very dynamic, is a nice way to put it. But it's also lightweight. And so, all of these things were changing. And I was like, I'm out of here, I would like to have some stability. And it's sad when the stability is work for yourself and have no understanding of if you're going to make money at all, or what you're going to do. And so, I went independent, and I took a month off, because I was totally burned out. And I watched all the Marvel movies and television shows in order. And after that month was over, I was like, okay, let's sit down and figure this out. And so, I made a video every week, for about three months, just about whatever, just to kind of get back into the groove of making things. And the thing that surprised me was how much I liked editing videos. I didn't know I liked it. But there's a level of control there that you get that you can do whatever you want. And you can really play with stuff in a way that I'd never done before, which was really cool. I mean, I had done it, but not in years. And then as I became like this business, I would start to pitch ideas to other companies. And I would get contracts from them. And I'd have people reach out and say, hey, we really like your work. Can you do this and that? That was so validating, and really exciting. And some of those people I still work with. And so, I think the surprising thing was twofold. One, how long it takes. It took a while from when I left and became independent until I was sort of comfortable being independent, maybe like a year or two. Which seems like a long time. It is, but looking back, it didn't feel that long. And then the other thing was just like how much I enjoy being able to pitch ideas and have these like long term connections with people, because then they want to make more stuff. You know, I work with PBS in South Florida, to make a show called stargazers. They came to me, and they said, hey, we need a new host, we have these astronomers who are hosting now. They're very good. But we want something a little younger and fresher and different. We don't want to just like have a professional astronomer, we want somebody who's a science communicator. So that sounds great. So, I did a test, they liked it. And I've been doing it since then. That was like 2019, I think. And now I'm pitching other things to them. They're like, hey, do you have an idea for this? You know, 360 dome, we want to put up and I'm like, yeah, I can come up with an idea for that. And so now I'm pitching those ideas. And if you just become, I don't know, things that I could not have done when I worked for a company because those were siloed, sort of the opposite of what we were just talking about, where those are siloed into different places within the company. When you work for yourself, you can do all of them. And in some cases, you have to, you know, like accounting, yeah, whatever. I think the fun part is seeing what I can do, which I couldn't have done before. Yeah, you know, when working at Discovery in general was great in a variety of different ways. It was also terrible, in a variety of different ways, just like working anywhere. Part of it, it's a big company. You're one of many, many 1000s of people working on parallel missions, which is both interesting, it gives you a lot of room to specialize. But you're also subject to the whims of whatever that company decides to do the next day, you know, and that can be tough. When we were sold the first time, we were sold to a company called Group Nine Media. And Group Nine was a collection of digital brands Thrillist, the dodo source fed, which was spun out pretty quickly. Seeker was one and then I'm missing one. Anyway, doesn't matter. They don't exist anymore. But the idea was, that it was these brands from all over the digital sphere. And they did all of these different things. And we were like, the premium science brand, but they also had, you know, animals, like the dodos, animals, and Thrillist was like, I don't actually know bros and food, I guess. But it you know; it was like they had these different brands. And that was neat, but it was a big change. And I remember the conversation in the office was, it's really hard to get people on the phone, and not literally on the phone, but just like, get them to email us back. Because when you're emailing from Discovery, and you got a email address, and you're trying to talk to a scientist, they want to talk to you. But when you're emailing from Group Nine Media, that doesn't really mean anything to them. And so, then when I left under the Group Nine, and so now that channel that I built, though, is owned by Vox. And so now I changed my bio, to say I built a channel that is Vox now. There's no reason for me to put Discovery or Group Nine, necessarily. I put Discovery because it's a big name. And I put Vox because it's a big name. But I never worked for Vox. But the thing that I made is now owned by Vox. And so, I'm able to kind of borrow a little bit of that prestige, in order to say like, hey, they thought it was good. So, if you want to work with me, maybe you should consider that, too. And so, it's sort of like you're getting on LinkedIn, when people are like you should work with Brett, with Jennifer. She's great, you know, and it's just like, that's awesome. This is sort of like that, but you're doing it in a personal marketing way. I'm terrible at personal marketing, like I'm really bad at building my brand. I just kind of do my thing and hope that people like it, and that's not what you're supposed to do. And it worked fine when I had a big company behind me. But now that I'm independent, I have to find other ways to push myself out there. Yeah, it kind of lights a fire under you. Because you're like, okay, now it's up to me, I kind of got to make it happen. Yeah, definitely. Yeah. And then just a little follow up there. So, obviously, you mentioned Seeker and Vox buying Seeker. How did you go about? Because Vox is very notable. So how did you go about kind of self-branding, and, you know, I have put here kind of like, your experience with bigger companies, finding your brands. So, if there's any advice there because I know a lot of people are freelancing, but you know, to get to that point where now you're, it's transactional. And you're actually, you know, moving up in that sense. Just any advice you could offer there.


[0:19:55] Grace Ibrahim: That's awesome. And I feel like there's so much value there too. But it basically is like an unspoken testimonial or like an unspoken reference when these things you know, because it's like, well, if you thought it was great, like you might.


[0:20:08] Trace Dominguez: Yeah. And so, keeping an eye on that, and being able to put it out there as like, hey, yeah, make notes for yourself and say, you know, there's a reason that websites have that thing where it's like, press, here's the things that people have posted about our company or people that you know. Collect those things, ask for testimonials. I do that anytime I work now. I didn't at first, but now I'm like, hey, if you can give me a testimonial for my website, or if they text me, and they're like, oh, my god, that was so awesome. I'm like, Cool. Can I put that on my website that you thought it was awesome? Do you want to add anything to that? Those little things go a long way because word of mouth is the most powerful thing that you can have. And if they're not going to tell their friend about it, you can tell other people about it.


[0:20:49] Grace Ibrahim: And I actually want to transition to portfolios and kind of like your website, like you mentioned. There must be 1000s and 1000s of videos at this point that you've worked on. I know that a lot of students sometimes are looking for that. Those answers about portfolios, which I'm sure you can find. However, when it comes to somebody who has so many different projects under their belt, how did you go about choosing? I mean, the simple way is choosing which ones go on the website or the portfolio. But did you break it down? More than that, was it the things that reach the most people, or the ones that did the best numbers? Like how did you choose kind of what you showcased for yourself, especially when you have so much work?


[0:21:29] Trace Dominguez: Yeah, and you know, people say great question to buy for time. But that's a great question. Because it's all of those things. It's a little bit like, okay, when I sat down to build my portfolio, the first things I thought of were the videos that I really liked. The videos that really spoke to me as a creative person, the videos that I enjoyed making. There's a video that I have in my portfolio that's me and my friend, Amy eating ice cream, and like, lamenting about dating, for like, that was the cold open for the video, you know, it's 12 seconds or something. And it's about why men have trouble getting over breakups based on a couple of these studies that we read. And obviously, I remember that video, and I liked it. And I thought it was really funny. So, I picked it up. Is it liking the best example? No, but it's a good general example. So, some of the portfolio was just like, here's like, generic videos, that maybe they did, well, maybe they didn't, it kind of didn't matter. It was just like, here's just baseline what I can do, then you of course, yes, want to pick the videos that do very well, the videos that are really prestigious, you get to go somewhere, you get to talk to someone, you know, I went to the White House Science Fair a couple of times, I picked one of those videos, and went to the Arctic Circle, I picked one of those videos, I flew in an F 18 obviously I'm gonna pick that one, you know, so it's just stuff like that, where you get to do these crazy things, or you get a video that you know, and not everybody gets to do that. So, like, if you're making Tik Toks, you might make them all in your living room or around your house or in your car. So pick the ones that do well, pick the ones that you feel good about, pick the ones that you're proud of your performance, you know, the ones that maybe you tried something new and you felt like it worked, you know, you green screened yourself for the first time, or the third time or whatever, and you're like this time I nailed it. Get that one because it's like a resume, you're picking bullet points. And nobody's gonna watch all of them. I think that's something to point out, people are gonna look just like anything, they're gonna look at the thumbnails, they're gonna look at the titles, and they're gonna go, I'm gonna watch this one. So, if you're proud of everything in your portfolio, assume they're gonna watch one and maybe a half, you know, because they're not going to watch it all.


[0:23:43] Grace Ibrahim: That makes sense. And I liked that you said the things that you like, because I found that there are projects that while I'm very proud of, I don't have the same passion speaking on them as I do other ones. And I feel like that when you're able to speak on them with such like pride and passion that it makes such a difference in how people view it.


[0:24:01] Trace Dominguez: Yeah, definitely. When I was the producer of our show. I started as a host, and a writer, and eventually, like, worked my way up to being the producer of several of the shows when we were at Discovery and Seeker. And what I used to say is your excitement, the audience can see that. So, if you're excited, they're excited. And it's the same with anything else. You know, if you're just putting stuff on your resume or in your portfolio, that's like, I need to put this year because I need to, and it's like, you're not excited about it. And that's your whole resume. That sucks. That sucks for you. It sucks for the people who were trying to hire you, you know, you want to put stuff in there that you're like when they ask you about it, you're like, Oh, I'm so excited to talk to you about this. This was so neat. What a cool project.


[0:24:46] Grace Ibrahim: That's great. It's speaking of, I just have to ask, So how was it flying in the FAA team?


[0:24:52] Trace Dominguez: Oh, I threw up all over.


[0:24:55] Grace Ibrahim: What was that for?


[0:24:57] Trace Dominguez: So, we made a video so it's funny how things actually work. You ready for it? I'm gonna pull the curtain back. It was our vice president's wife's college roommate worked for Boeing. And they were testing out a new system within an old airframe. So, it's an F 18, which isn't a new plane. But they were trying out, essentially, when an F 18 flies into an area, they have, you're like, Oh, well, in the movies, they have missiles and guns. And it's like, yeah, that is something that they can have. But they can also have ways to block cell phones and Wi-Fi. And so that was what they were testing. And we're like, that's interesting. Never seen that before. And then still, I've never really seen people talk about it, but it's called an F 18 Electronic attack aircraft. And so, you'd have like a couple with missiles and guns, and like cameras, and then you have a couple that are like one that just blocks wireless signals to make sure that they're not like, texting pictures to their other people about where these planes are, whatever. So, it was really neat. And so, we wanted to do the story. And they're like, do you want to fly in it? And I was, and it's an F 18. So, I was like, I don't like roller coasters. So yes, obviously, I have to fly in it. And they let me keep the flight suit. So that's cool and I wear it on Halloween now.


[0:26:18] Grace Ibrahim: That's crazy. Just, you know, all the Top Gun fans out there. But right now, you are Trace Elements. Media, correct? And everything you do comes from under that umbrella?


[0:26:33] Trace Dominguez: Yes. structure wise. Yeah. So, I'm an LLC, single member LLC. I renew that every year, pay my LLC fees in California, we have to pay a fee to the Franchise Tax Board every year. And that LLC runs all the business more runs is really just an entity that exists. Yeah.


[0:26:55] Grace Ibrahim: I remember I did my LLC in 2019, I believe, but I don't think we've ever talked about LLC on this podcast. Can you just give a little intro into kind of what that is? If anyone has no idea what an LLC means?


[0:27:08] Trace Dominguez: Yeah. So, when I first went independent, I was just myself, right? Like, you go on a wherever you have a friend who wants you to do some work for them, whatever that is, and you do the work. And they Venmo you or they, you know, pay you somehow whatever that is. And you're like, cool, that's totally a fine way to do business, it works totally well, for freelancers. And you just report that income to the IRS and your state. And whatever. Long term, it's helpful to have an LLC and sometimes required. So why I did it is I was talking to a friend of mine, who also does YouTube videos and other things. And she said, you should be an LLC, eventually. Because what ends up happening is it's essentially a separate entity from yourself. And so, you go and you just file paperwork, you can go Legal Zoom, you can go online, and file paperwork takes no time at all, and apply for a tax number. And then what ends up happening is the business, which is a sort of separate person, can apply for things like insurance. I needed production insurance in case somebody fell on set, when we were doing something, I needed insurance for that. And a person cannot get production insurance, but a company can. And so, I could apply through my LLC. And there are different levels of an LLC. So, an LLC is literally just a piece of paper that says that this business exists, it has an address, it has a tax number, and this is the person who runs that business. And you can be a single member LLC, which is what I am. So, I'm taxed the same as a regular person. My business doesn't have to file corporate taxes or anything. But that's my LLC. And then there are different levels above that you can go all the way up to like a C-Corp, which is like a big multinational corporation. And there are all these rules about paper and filings, and you have to pay separate taxes and all sorts of things. And there are levels, so many levels in between that like a handful.


[0:29:02] Grace Ibrahim: Awesome. Thank you for diving into that. Just realized that some people may not know what it means.


[0:29:09] Trace Dominguez: If you get together with a bunch of independent people, eventually the talk comes around to like, so how did you start? Like I was at a wedding a couple weekends ago, and my cousin owns a bike shop. And I was just like, so how do you structure your business? Like what is? And he's like, Well, we're an LLC, and it's like, no, like, oh, okay, cool. And so, you end up talking about it, because there is no rulebook for how to do this. And once you've been independent for a while, once you make over a certain amount a year, it actually makes more sense to be an LLC. And at some point, it makes more sense to be a certain type of LLC. Because then you can pay yourself just like you would get a paycheck from a regular company. And when that happens, it makes your taxes much easier. So, it sort of depends. Let's say you're doing 100 jobs a year. Even as a freelancer, you might be making so much money that it would make more sense for the business to be paying you rather than mowing over and over again.


[0:30:02] Grace Ibrahim: Yeah, no, that makes sense. And I feel like sometimes big companies will ask for your employer identification number. Then you're like, oh, wait, I need to make an LLC. So, you might even end up having to just make one for a specific job you're doing?


[0:30:18] Trace Dominguez: Definitely. Yeah, I got the insurance for a contract I did during like high COVID, we had a pitch that I sent to PBS Digital Studios for a show called Animal IQ still out there. And it's about animal intelligence. And I originally had pitched it was like, let's go to the zoo and talk to the zookeepers and like, learn about these animals and how smart they are. But obviously, it's pandemic. So instead, we did it mostly digitally, you know, zoomed with the other guests. And, you know, it was early on, and we weren't really sure how to do it. So, it didn't come out as good as I wanted. But it was very neat, because it was cool to go through this whole process of hiring freelancers as an LLC. Because PBS Digital Studios doesn't work with people. They work with LLC. So, you have to be one in order to get the contract. And so, I would have had to make one anywhere. Anyway, but luckily, I hadn't made one like six months before. And so like, Oh, are you an LLC? And I'm like, Yeah, production company, Trace Elements Media, like, great. And it's been very helpful for exactly stuff like that.


[0:31:19] Grace Ibrahim: Just a sidebar with COVID. How did that slow you down, if at all, especially as a content creator? How did that impact those few years?


[0:31:32] Trace Dominguez: I mean, it impacted me similarly to everyone else, right? Obviously, I was already working from home. So early on, people were like, how do you work from home and I'm like, oh, here, I'll tell you how to work from home. You know, put pants on, that was my main advice was put pants on, don't work from your bed. Which we’re all pretty aware that you don't do those things. But at the time, it was amazing to think of. It was like, people were like, oh, I'll just wear my pajamas and work in my bed all day. And it's like, you can't do that for years, it doesn't work. But in terms of video making, I was already doing most of my work in my studio at home. Occasionally, I would go out and I would you know, do an interview with somebody in the field. But that's expensive. And when you work by yourself, you have to pick and choose when that makes sense. And so, a lot of my stuff was remote anyway, or I was just calling or emailing with people and getting them to answer my questions. Then restating it, if anything, it became easier to reach out to people, because people understood video online, where it's, again, very difficult to imagine. But in 2019, if I needed a scientist to get onto a video call, it was almost impossible. They didn't know how to do it; they'd never done it before. They didn't have the apps on their computer, they didn't know how to use those apps, they didn't have a good camera, they didn't have good audio. But now people are so much more aware of that, which has been a real boost to my work, because now I can just video chat a scientist. And in some cases, if it's at a big organization, you know, NASA was already good at this. But they have like a media cart that they could roll into wherever the scientist is with a good camera and good audio and help that scientist do that interview. And now they don't need to. Now they can just the scientist gets it, they can just go on Zoom and, or wherever. And they know what to do.


[0:33:19] Grace Ibrahim: Just as a follow up to all our LLC talk and you being you know, an independent creator, how do you go about making money? I know sometimes that question comes up and people wonder if it's, you know, I'm sure there are times when it's not as consistent as you may think. And just can you give any insight into that?


[0:33:38] Trace Dominguez: Yeah, for sure. I mean, digital creators make money in a variety of different ways. The big creators, it's a lot of brand deals. So, you might sell a product to your audience, whether you're selling it directly, like oh, you should buy this or if you're just presenting it, like, oh, I just got this brand-new X, you know, new camera, new whatever. You know, I'm using this new product. If you look at the influencer market, especially in things like beauty, it's very clear when they're trying to tell you, hey, I'm trying this new product. In sciences, it's a little more nebulous, no pun intended. You know, it's like you're doing things that are kind of alignments. So, I've sold ads on my YouTube channel where that will air alongside, I'll read a thing like on NPR when they're like, hey, and do this thing. And I'll have an offer code and they'll go sign up. And hopefully, they'll go sign up for things like, which is a mathematical website where you can like learn math and physics and stuff, or curiosity stream or Nebula, which is a VOD service that I have now invested in because I think they're really cool. You know, or whatever. And so, you end up getting money from them and to put into your YouTube channel, in front of your audience or into your Tik Toks in front of your audience. That's one way. Another way to make money is books. We get a lot of people writing books. I haven't done that, but with really big audiences. And the reason they do that is because I have a big audience, say I have a million subscribers, if 10% of those people buy a book, that's great, that's good sales. If 1% buy a book, it's still pretty good. Like, it's not great, but it's not bad. So, there's a lot of different ways to do that. And merch is another example. Books and merch are very similar, where it's just like you're selling things to your audience. And then another way to make money is you leverage, and this is how I make money. You leverage your digital products for more traditional products. So, things like I make YouTube videos, but I don't make them necessarily so that I get to be YouTube famous. Yeah, I'm never going to be Mr. Beast, I don't want to be. I have no interest. I would like, however, a casting director or somebody who wants to do something for somewhere, that I agree with some science program or something that aligns with my interests in my brand, they'll find my YouTube channel, they'll find my digital, my digital fingerprints, and they will hopefully then reach out. And I will be able to make money that way. So, the way I pay my bills is mostly through hosting this show for PBS television, for pitching concepts that get picked up and doing other things that are not even really about my digital media presence. It's just the digital media presence is sort of the billboard that points you to me, so that I can go get workout. And so, everybody makes money a little differently when it comes to digital creation. And that's how I do it. When it comes to the LLC, having that means that then they pay the LLC. And so, then the LLC, it's literally a separate bank account, and I just transfer money into my own bank account. Because I don't pay myself with a W-2 or anything like that yet. However, having that LLC is really nice, because then I can just say as silly as it is, it just feels more professional to say please send a check to Trace Elements Media, as opposed to sending one to me. And then you can also get an agent who will help you. And it's not what I think I thought it was originally. My agent doesn't like, go and sell me places, I bring work to my agent. And they're like, they're the lawyer, typically, who does the interaction with the brand for you, as my agent likes to say he shakes the money tree to try and get more money out of the brand. Sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn't. But then you don't have to be the bad guy as the creator. You can show up, create, be creative, and somebody else was the bad guy. And you knew the whole time that that was their job. That's all. So that's helpful. But again, not the interaction that I thought it was.


[0:37:54] Grace Ibrahim: I feel like there's a lot of misconceptions around that, too. We had talked about that previously on another podcast as well, with someone, who was publishing a book. So, it was just like a different type of, you know, like, it's just different environment.


[0:38:08] Trace Dominguez: It's a whole different thing. Like I don't even have a book agent, so. And that's if you can have a commercial agent, you can have a book agent, you can have an acting agent you can have a tax agent, just for like conferences and talk. Like you can have a lot of people working for you. And it becomes quite interesting and complicated.


[0:38:29] Grace Ibrahim: Yeah, they help though. They do help.


[0:38:33] Trace Dominguez: They do. You know, if you'd told me 10 years ago, you know, if you told me when I was at AU that like, okay, you're gonna get a career, you're gonna do this, you're gonna do that. Eventually, you're gonna have a lawyer and an accountant and an agent and an editor and an assistant and it's just like, I'm gonna Well, yeah, yeah, you know, and that's just how it must be a good feeling, though. Sometimes, it's like, just step back. And you're like, this is me. This isn't.


[0:39:00] Grace Ibrahim: Yeah. And I liked that you said like, things like YouTube channels can be the billboard or the building blocks, because I think we get so caught up in, like, I went into stand-up comedy recently. But I don't think I want to be a stand-up comedian. It was just like, what is another building block that I can do that's going to help me you know, and producer role or, you know, whatever it may be putting on my own comedy shows, like things like that. That just reminded me of that. I love that because, admittedly, personally, I'm thinking about that, but it's nice to have it you know, restated, just because sometimes you think it's going to be like, Oh, this is the end, but it's not really. It could just be another building block to something you never thought you'd be doing.


[0:39:42] Trace Dominguez: Awesome point. There is no end. When I first got a "job job". I was a personal assistant. And I was helping people out when I was like 19. And the thing that bugged me was that the inbox of stuff not like email don't but like, Do this, do this, do this, do this inbox never ended. And the outbox never disappeared. It was just like you're constantly doing, you're on an assembly line. I like to make packages of, you know, products. I like to make one YouTube video, I've shipped to the YouTube video, I feel really good about it. And I make another one. And everybody works differently. Some people like one some people like the other. But yeah, thinking of all the different skills that are involved, is so important. So, you're totally right to think of it as like building blocks. If you can write, put that out there, make sure that people know, because if you can write but you don't have any examples of it, then no one knows that you can do it. And you can edit yourself, you can video you can do, you know? It's all those skills are important to the modern workplace, in a lot of ways.


[0:40:57] Grace Ibrahim: Someone asked me the other day about personal scripts. And if those count as writing. I was like, of course it counts as writing 100% counts. Because you know whether it's something someone used or not, you wrote and that's the skill they're looking for. And that's that, you know, it's pretty simple sometimes. Yeah.


[0:41:18] Trace Dominguez: So, the grad department has a mentee mentor program. I'm in the mentor program. And one of my mentees now lives in LA and we meet up occasionally. It's been really cool. And something I told her once was, and, you know, take it with the spirit, it's given resumes are not legal documents. They're marketing documents, and so make sure you put the stuff that's going to show you in the best light. And she was like, well, I never thought about it that way. And so we talked about that. We talked about this idea a lot. And it's the exact same with that my first resume before I'd had like a lot of professional work, I literally put volunteer job on there. And people were like, put us on a job. And it's like, I didn't get paid. You're right. But I ran that cotton candy stand at that at that festival for a week. And I ran the whole thing and took the money and did all you know, and that's an important thing to put on there. And so just because you didn't get paid doesn't mean it's not a job. You know, you volunteered to help out your theater company with set design. You did set design.


[0:42:23] Grace Ibrahim: Yeah, if you're on that set, and you are touching those, it counts.


[0:42:27] Trace Dominguez: You're involved, you know. Just set yourself up for success. Don't be like, oh, well, that doesn't count even though I did it. Don't knock yourself.


[0:42:38] Grace Ibrahim: Sometimes people look at the word sugarcoat as, like a negative, but I'm always like, sugarcoat that resume, it's like, show the best version of yourself. It's like, you know, it's not lies. But you know just write it the best as you can make it. Yeah.


[0:42:56] Trace Dominguez: Don't misrepresent. But best represent for sure.


[0:42:59] Grace Ibrahim: Yeah, I agree. Would love to dive into the podcast now. So, you're in the podcasting world? Can you tell us about your new podcast? Well, actually, about the time when we had talked it was dropping that next week, correct?


[0:43:13] Trace Dominguez: Yeah, it was brand new a few months ago. And now I would say it's still new. We're at episode 11. Episode 12 is coming out next week. So, we upload every other week. And I've done podcasting before. But this is the first time I've like I wholly owned the podcast; we made up the format, we did the whole thing by ourselves. And it's been really, really fun. So, the podcast is called That's Absurd, Please Elaborate. And the show is essentially people send in questions, and we answer them. And we want the questions to be silly or strange, or like, weird. We don't want it to be like, why is the sky blue? We want it to be like, how do you build a Lego replica of the sun? And how long would that take? And it's like, it's awesome. We did the math. And we figured it out. And it was really fun to do that episode. And there are episodes like that up and down the slate. And we're getting new questions every day from the audience, which is so awesome. And it's myself and somebody I met while working for discovery and seeker named Julian. He's also a science communicator, and we have really nice rapport. And so, it just goes really well and we bring on guests. When we have something like, recently the most recent episode, as of this recording, so early September, late August, was about let's see. Julian answered a question about what would happen if we were born with adult size hands and feet? I answered. Can you smell something until it no longer exists? Like can something disintegrate from being smelly? And then we had a guest from a company called D Script. She used to work for Her name is Ashley Hamer, and she's got a master's degree in music and one of the audience members had asked why are not all music written in the same key? Like, why isn't everything just written in the same key because then you wouldn't have to worry about where on the piano you were playing, everything would work the same. And I play some music, but I'm not an expert. So it was so cool to have this like person with a master's degree in music, come on, and explain it to us. It's a science podcast, but you don't have to be sciency to listen to it. Because we're not like, well, according to the paper that is published, and you know, we're just, oh, well, let's think about it and try and make it accessible and fun and silly.


[0:45:37] Grace Ibrahim: And of course I'm sure there's obviously planning that goes into every episode as every podcast. But do you kind of leave that, that space open for conversation like to bounce off of each other? Or do you do like heavy, you know, research beforehand? Like, how does that process go for such absurd questions rather?


[0:45:57] Trace Dominguez: Yeah, I mean, that's the fun part, Grace, because we get to, like, do both of those things. So, Julian and I have been science communicators for a decade, at least each. And so, like we'll do a few hours of research. We'll write up bullet points about our question. And we don't share the question answer. Like we don't share any of our research with each other until the mics are on. Because we’ve done this in the past, where like, oh, my gosh, and we'll end up talking about it on the phone. And we're like, we weren't recording any of that we probably should have been. So, we keep it fresh for the podcast itself to get the best reactions. But then also, we wrote into I love a template. I templatize everything. So, I don't have to look at a blank sheet of paper ever. I open up a template, and it's like, fill in these boxes here, answer these questions, fill out this stuff. And then you're on your way to writing a script. And one of the things I have in my template is leave room for guests, leave room for the other people. You know, ask them questions, talk to them about what you've learned. So, when it came to like, the things that were smelly, we always ask how this question comes up. And so, either the audience or one of the other hosts come up with the questions and we ask them how so they can tell a personal story, we make sure that there's like, a back and forth. So, when we do questions, where it's relevant, like about pets or something I'll ask, you know, okay, so you're a cat person, right? And then Julian will have a conversation. And all of that is scripted. The idea is we know that it's going to happen. Even if Julian doesn't, I do. Because I've written the answer in such a way where I've left space, like you say.


[0:47:39] Grace Ibrahim: Has there been an episode that's really stood out to you?


[0:47:42] Trace Dominguez: I mean, every time people talk about the podcast, I'm like, what was the latest episode? Because when you've made as many things as I've made, I already have trouble remembering them all. The Lego sun one really stands out. And the reason is, this gal I used to know, years and years ago, messaged me on Instagram and was like, hey, I was listening to your podcast with my kid. And he loves it, and wanted to know, a question. And she DM'd me, how long would it take to build a Lego replica of the sun? And I said, that's a great question. I'm going to do it on the podcast. And her son was five. And I said, can you get audio from him? So that we can put it in the podcast, and he can ask the question. And she was like, yeah, and she sent it to me. And we did the episode. And it was so fun. It's episode number 39, Universally Bricked. And it's about that. So, it stuck out to me because it was so ridiculous. As a question, the sun is just so big, that it's impossible to fathom. And then it was just a fun thing to get to interact with the audience in that way. Making YouTube videos and doing television, you get to interact with the audience, but not as directly. You see YouTube comments, which are a garbage fire and you you get like people coming up to you on the street and being like, I love your show. And it's the best feeling. But having someone submit a question, and send you an audio clip that you then just get to answer right there. And even though they're not in the room, it's just, it feels awesome. It feels really awesome.


[0:49:24] Grace Ibrahim: I feel like it's like that back in the day, radio show feel of like caller, what's your question? I feel like we've kind of lost a little bit of that art. Also, when your audiences, five-year-olds, like when you had stated that question earlier. I was like, that's a pretty interesting question. That's so awesome.


[0:49:52] Trace Dominguez: Yeah, it was really great. He did a great job. Asking the question on audio. It's funny. This isn't a new podcast. And it's funny, I didn't think about it until this minute. But my capstone was about something very similar to this, that idea of like interaction. So, my capstone was about YouTube comments in the State of the Union. So, under the Obama era, they did a YouTube kind of town hall when YouTube had a politics section, like a team. And they submitted questions from users and played them for the President in the White House somewhere, you know, and then filmed it all after the State of the Union. It's like the State of the Union airs, the rebuttal airs, and then this aired. And the idea was, to kind of have this dialogue. And so, my capstone was more qualitative. And I wanted to know, do those people feel like they talked to the President? Like, their question was played for him? They weren't there. But they asked it and it was answered, or at least they played it and maybe he made a, you know, spin around it, or didn't really answer it. But like was essentially talking about the question they had. And that's kind of like what I'm doing now, in that now, I'm taking these questions from people and whether they feel like they're talking to me or not based on my capstone, they likely do and based on talking to this kid's mom, he felt like he was in the podcast, and that we had a nice conversation. It was really funny. But that was basically what my capstone was about. Was do people who just submit questions into the ether, feel like they're in a dialogue, like? And they said, I went and found them, which took a while. It was like master's program and internet stalking. But I found these people, and I was able to email them and be like, Hi, I'm a researcher, I'm researching this for my project. And of the 12 questions, I think I found nine of the people and like seven of them responded. So, I felt pretty good about it. It would have been nice if there were more people, so I could have a little more quantitative information, or if they did it a bunch of times, but it only was, I think, done twice. Once or twice over a couple of years


[0:52:13] Grace Ibrahim: Was the general consensus that it was yes, that they did feel like they were interacting?


[0:52:18] Trace Dominguez: Yeah, generally speaking, all of them were more or less positive on the interaction, they felt like they were heard, they felt like they were seeing, they felt like the president either didn't necessarily respond to their question, but at least heard their question and then formed an answer of some type, you know, they're a politician. Presidents aren't always beholden to answer the question to the letter, you know, they're going to say what they need to say. But it was really interesting to hear their responses. And that's really, I mean, we sort of know this from radio shows and things. People feel like they're in this conversation. It's really powerful.


[0:52:55] Grace Ibrahim: That's kind of cool how you've come full circle there.


[0:52:58] Trace Dominguez: Yeah, I didn't realize it until right now.


[0:53:01] Grace Ibrahim: Cool. Awesome. And then on that, AU, kind of podcasting, science communication, everything that you've done thus far. And then looking back on graduating from AU, we always love to ask this question. Do you have any advice for our students who are either graduating undergrad or their masters are just going into this crazy world of communications that is today. But any advice there, we always like to just kind of end on that.


[0:53:28] Trace Dominguez: I think the best advice that that I can give is just to have. Well, I mean, like, the cliche advice is have an open mind and, you know, be good. Like, the thing I like to tell students is all work is group work. All of it, there is no individual project, none. In the business, even as an individual person who works by myself, I have to hire people who know more than me about stuff. No one knows everything about everything. And so, because of that, that's what I tell students when I go to like classrooms and stuff is all work is group work. And then the other thing is because all work is group work, to just be be nice. You know, I have this thing. Can we swear on your podcast and my mom? Okay, my mom, I have this sticky note on my desktop that says, be friendly and enthusiastic. Be humble. Don't be an asshole. No one wants to work with an asshole. And I was like, thanks, mom. And so, I keep it on my desktop. Not because I have like asshole tendencies, but because everybody has a bad day, you know? So, you want to make sure you don't take that out on your coworkers because you have to hang out with them. And communication is a small community, even though there are lots and lots of people. You know, you go to a conference and you're like, oh, wow, you've been in the industry a while and now everywhere you go, you see someone you know or used to work with. So, if you burn those bridges, there's only so many places to work and they're going to be like, oh, I worked with that person. They were awesome. You know.


[0:53:35] Grace Ibrahim: Word travels the fastest in this industry.


[0:53:55] Trace Dominguez: I mean, that is what we do.


[0:55:10] Grace Ibrahim: But then we're also like, Oh, God, that was quick. Alright, Trace, I think that brings us to the end. Thank you so much for coming on Media in the Mix. I feel like there's a lot of great stuff today that we've never talked about on the podcast. So, thank you for that. I hope you could take some notes on this episode, because there's a lot of gems in here. And I'll leave you to close out if there's anything you want to say.


[0:55:36] Trace Dominguez: Sure, you can find any of my YouTube videos on my social media. It's just my name Trace Dominguez for the most part. I mentioned Tik Toks. But I actually don't do Tik Toks. I just watch them and help other people make videos. Not that I don't want to if you have advice, I'd love some advice on how to make Tik Toks. I need to get better at it. If you want to listen to my podcast, it's everywhere podcasts are That's Absurd, Please Elaborate. Again, you can probably just search for Trace Dominguez. And then I've also sent a little clip here to Media in the Mix of our Unbricking the Universe episode where we talk about the sun and answer Matthew’s question from when he was five. So pretty cool.


[0:56:20] Grace Ibrahim: All right. And you're about to hear a little sneak peek that episode. So, enjoy.


[0:56:26] Trace Dominguez: [Snip bit from Trace Dominquez's podcast "That's Absurd, Please Elaborate."]

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