The Beyond Boundaries Podcast

A podcast where we interview faculty, students, staff, and alums of the Beyond Boundaries series of courses and the Beyond Boundaries Program at
Washington University in St Louis.

On this episode of the Beyond Boundaries Podcast, Rob has a conversation with Beyond Boundaries Program Class of 2024 student RuthAnne Dunn. They chat about RuthAnne’s journey to WashU as a early-decision Questbridge applicant and her year taking a number of courses Rob teaches from Designing Creativity to the Beyond Boundaries Seminar to the Intro to Theatre Production course. RuthAnne’s interests cover the gamut from sustainability to linguistics. Her involvement all across campus ranges from programs like Deneb STARS (where she will be an Aspirational Peer Mentor next year) and Period Ambassadors to her association with student groups like the Aristocats (Disney-themed a capella) to the Association of Christian Youth Seekers (ACTS). 

In this pod episode, Rob talks with a couple of College of Arts & Sciences students in the Beyond Boundaries Class of 2024 in Kimberly Hwang joining the call from Taiwan and Nicole Chen in Los Angeles. We talk about how they know each other from grade school, awkward P.E. class events, WashU student groups, their interesting interdisciplinary interests and difficulty in raising succulents and fish without killing either.

On this episode, Rob chats with two Beyond Boundaries Class of 2023 students in Samantha ‘Sam’ Ko and Dhillon Miyashiro. Both have connections across divisions between the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts and Olin School of Business. We chat about their hometown of Los Angeles and Dhillon’s return to campus this semester despite frigid St. Louis temperatures. Both talk about their interdisciplinary journeys and evolving interests across both schools at WashU, how they spend free time when they have it, and wisdom for incoming 1st Year students. Check it out!

After a winter break hiatus, the Beyond Boundaries Podcast is BACK with a new episode featuring two students involved in sustainability, the environment, and climate change. Mandy Huang (WashU ’22) is an Associate in the Office of Sustainability and an Environmental Analysis major in the College of Arts & Sciences along with Bennett Rosenberg (WashU ’23) a Beyond Boundaries Program cohort student, an Associate with the Climate Change Program with a minor in the Business of Social Impact in the Olin Business School. We talk about their individual and interdisciplinary paths of study at WashU, influential courses, faculty they admire, and … favorite breakfast cereals. Listen & subscribe!


On this episode of the Beyond Boundaries Podcast, we talk with two of the four amazing professors teaching the Endgame of Entrepreneurship: Leveraging Capitalism for Good course in Dr. Heather Cameron and Professor Joe Steensma from the Brown School of Social Work. The course is offered next Spring in the Beyond Boundaries slate of course offerings to ALL 1st Year students at WashU! We discuss the big ideas behind the course itself and dig into each professor’s journey to and areas of research at WashU. We discuss social enterprises of all kinds from the use of sports for community development (Boxgirls for example) to what biology and birding can teach us about business. We even touch on kayaking and sailing as well. Don’t miss this episode!

On this episode of the pod, Rob sits down with Assistant Dean in the College of Arts & Sciences and Senior Lecturer in the College Writing Program & University CollegeDr. Deanna Benjamin. We talk about Dr. Benjamin’s roles in advising current students and highlighting the work of young writers all over the WashU campus in her role as Co-Chair of the McLeod First-Year Writing Prize, an annual prize that recognizes student writing that addresses race, gender, and/or identity. We talk about her love of her students and delve into discussing her past life as a thespian working on stage lighting, her undergrad studies at University of Houston and grad work at Arizona State, and her work as a copy runner and copy editor for the Houston Post newspaper that allowed her to literally say “stop the presses!” on one occasion.

On this episode of the Beyond Boundaries Podcast, Rob talks with Dr. Caline Mattar of the Washington University School of Medicine Department of Internal Medicine in the Division of Infectious Diseases and Professor Proscovia Nabunya from the Brown School of Social Work and co-director of the International Center for Child Health & Development (ICHAD) about their Spring 2021 course offering of the popular Beyond Boundaries course called Gender, Youth, & Global Health. Together, they discuss the international journey both professors have taken to be at WashU, how they  have continued their work during the COVID-19 pandemic, and their recommendations for 1st Year students on how to self-care during this uncertain time. Listen and subscribe!

On this episode, Rob sits down with three distinguished faculty members in Professors Patricia Olynyk from the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts, Associate Professor Shanti Parikh from Sociocultural Anthropology and the Department of African and African-American Studies in the College of Arts & Sciences, and Dr Piroska Kopar from the Department of Surgery in the School of Medicine at WashU. The three of them teach the Beyond Boundaries Art of Medicine course next Spring. Rob interviews them to discuss this equal parts interesting and exciting class at WashU. Professors Olynyk, Parikh, and Kopar discuss their research areas of interest and practice, the connections that led to their collaboration on the course, and wise advice they have for first year college students based on their own personal experiences. Give this one a listen!

In this pod episode, Rob interviews Professor Darrell Hudson with the Brown School of Social Work who also holds joint appointments in the Department of PsychiatryDepartment of Sociology, and the Institute for Public Health. Dr. Hudson talks about his upbringing in Detroit in the care of his grandmother, his journey to WashU and how his area of expertise is relevant now with COVID-19 particularly related to Social Epidemiology. His research focuses on racial/ethnic health disparities and the role of social determinants of health, particularly how socioeconomic position and social context affect health and health disparities. Don’t miss this fascinating interview!

On this episode of the Beyond Boundaries Podcast, we celebrate the BIRTHDAY of Beyond Boundaries Program Coordinator Simone Picker by releasing an interview with her on her birthday! Simone talks about her background growing up in South Africa and Dallas, TX, her background as both an undergraduate and graduate alum of WashU most recently receiving a Masters in Social Work from the Brown School of Social Work in 2009, and role with both administration and mentoring of Beyond Boundaries Program students who look to her for wisdom and advice.

This episode of the Beyond Boundaries Podcast is a delightful two-for-one interview of two rising stars in the Beyond Boundaries Program Class of 2023 in Emma Singh and Anya Mody. In this pod, Emma and Anya talk about their journey to WashU, how they became engaged in non-profits ranging from the International Institute of St Louis to ArchCity Defenders to the National Women’s Law Center. For students beginning just their 2nd year at WashU, these two are a force for good in the world and are sure to be an inspiration for anyone listening to their stories. But don’t try to ask them to agree on which is the better bagel: New York or New Jersey. There is no compromise there.

On this episode, Rob sits down with Assistant Dean in Arts & Sciences and Senior Lecturer in Women, Gender, & Sexuality Studies Trevor Sangrey. They discuss how she gets to do “all the things” at WashU from heading up First Year Programs for the College of Arts & Sciences, life on campus with her partner Anika Walke and adorable son Delaney, substitute clutch replacement gardening during COVID for the Burning Kumquat student group as featured in this article, her upbringing on college campuses all over the country, and…hats!

On this episode, Rob sits down with Dr. Randi Foraker, the Director of the Center for Population Health Informatics (CPHI) within the Institute for Informatics at Washington University in St. Louis and an Associate Professor in the School of Medicine and the Brown School of Social Work in the area of Public Health. Joining her is PhD Candidate and Research Assistant Joshua Landman who is working for the Center in the Division of Computational and Data Sciences. Together, they talk about their backgrounds growing up, the work they do at WashU and the effects of COVID-19 on both their life and research pursuits. They impart some great advice for incoming 1st Year students and Rob becomes obsessed with superhero branding he envisions for Epidemiology Task Force members and drag racing sponsorships.

On this episode, Rob visits with the Assistant Director of the John B. Ervin Scholars Program Jonathan Solomon. Jonathan talks about his role in directing and overseeing the administrative and operational aspects of the Ervin Scholars Program as well as his role as a faculty advisor for Black Men’s Coalition at WashU and others. We talk about his childhood growing up in Cleveland, Ohio and his inspiring journey in learning and education culminating soon in being awarded his PhD. We talk about his hiking excursions in the region, a book he recommends called We Real Cool: Black Men and Masculinity by Bell Hooks, and his advice to college students. A must-listen episode!

In this episode, Rob chats with Dr. Julia Macias who serves as both an Assistant Dean in the Office of Scholar Programs and as Director of the Annika Rodriguez Scholars Program. Rob and Julia talk about her background growing up in University City as the child of a WashU chemistry professor, her interest in Anthropology and undergraduate study at Stanford, and her return to St Louis in 2003 to join the WashU Campus Life team and later become an Assistant Dean in the College of Arts & Sciences. We chat at length about the Scholars Programs and the type of students in those programs. We also wish to extend a hearty congratulations to Dr. Macias on her recent successful defense of her dissertation in May of 2020!

On this episode, Rob interviews Professor Jennifer ‘Jenni’ Harpring and welcomes her as the new Assistant Director of the Beyond Boundaries Program at WashU! Fresh off of her teaching of the Beyond Boundaries class Empathy First last semester with Professor Liz Kramer, Jenni will be joining Beyond Boundaries as a co-teacher of the Beyond Boundaries Seminar this Fall in addition to serving in other capacities as the program grows in size moving forward. Rob and Jenni talk about growing up in St. Louis, her undergraduate experience, her involvement in community partnerships in both California and the St. Louis area, her current role at the Brown School of Social Work at WashU as the Assistant Dean of Field Education, cross-country travel tips, flat tires, using her co-workers kids as surrogates for book transport, and her favorite activities inside and outside of the classroom.

On this episode, Rob sits down with Beyond Boundaries Program Class of 2023 student Tinuola Adebukola to talk about her first year in the program, the Creative Collaborations project she did with classmate and fellow scholar Colleen Avila in the form of THIS book about racial inequities and disparities in St. Louis. This episode was recorded before the most recent BLM protests spurred by the death of George Floyd so an additional statement about that penned by the talented Tinuola accompanies this podcast episode: “There is so much to say and unpack about the revolution we are in against racism and injustice. The systems in hand were never made for Black and brown people to thrive. There is injustice at every corner. If we can learn anything from this revolution it is that we need to completely re-imagine systems so that they can be equitable in order to strive to reach equality for all. It has been 200 years since slavery has ended, yet America fails to understand that Black Lives Matter. As a Black woman I will continue to take up space and continue to be a change-maker aimed at equality.”

In this episode, Rob talks with the Reverend Callista Isabelle who is the new Director for Religious, Spiritual, and Ethical Life at Washington University in St Louis in a role where she promotes interfaith understanding and dialogue. Rob and Callista talk about both her past history and her new role at WashU in a conversation that ranges from discussion of a “speed-faithing” event she hosted last November to choir advice and life wisdom rolled into one: “listen louder than you sing” to how wrestling drove Rob to religion in college.

In this episode, Rob chats with Beyond Boundaries Program Class of 2023 student Elizabeth Joseph from Lenexa, KS. Elizabeth is a talented  author, writer, and poet. She fills us in on what she’s been doing in quarantine, her intense summer job hunt, and some of the online poetry workshops she’s been attending. She even shares some of her poetry on the podcast! Don’t miss listening to this one.

In this episode, Rob interviews incoming Beyond Boundaries Program Class of 2024 student Maya Kovacevic. The discussion covers Maya’s ‘big question’ she hopes to tackle at WashU that explores the lack of female leadership in healthcare and how that denies organizations the ability to accumulate expertise and empathetic responses to matters of healthcare administration, psychology, neuroscience, and business. We also discuss family trips to Croatia and exercising with family members while in quarantine.

On this episode, Rob chats with Class of 2023 Beyond Boundaries Program student Nisha Sahgal and her interests across disciplines. Her ‘big question’ involves Ethical Engineering and she talks about her personal backstory in that area. We also talk about her work in designing and building autonomous vehicles, robotics, and WashU Racing. We also chat about her love of Broadway musicals and hip hop dancing by way of WUHHU – WashU’s Hip Hop Union club.

In this episode, Rob has to improvise to get a recording of an interview with incoming Class of 2024 student Julianne “Juli” Aronson because she joins the podcast from the wilds of Watkins Glen, NY where she serves as an intern at a farm sanctuary. Juli talks about her love of animals and her interdisciplinary interests in studying Anthropogenic Climate Change involving math, anthropology, environmental and political science. And this pod episode marks a milestone: the very first that features live CHICKENS on audio.

In this episode, Rob talks with Distinguished Professor of Law & Religion and Professor of Political Science John Inazu and Distinguished Professor of Religion and Politics Mark Valeri about their brand-new Fall 2020 Beyond Boundaries course Religious Freedom in America. The conversation covers their own backgrounds, research, their work in the Danforth Center for Religion & Politics, how they met and conceived of the new course together, some wisdom for first-year students, and their landlord/tenant relationship as well.

In this episode, Rob sits down with Dean Steve Malter who is the Senior Associate Dean of Experiential Learning & Strategic Initiatives at the Olin Business School at Washington University in St Louis and Co-Founder of the Israel Summer Business Academy. Dean Malter discusses his role and history at WashU and briefly discuss the Israel Academy. We also discuss the brand-new Beyond Boundaries course he will be teaching this Fall with Professor Andrew Reeves from Political Science called the Business of Elections. We are also joined by Steve’s dog ‘Finn’ and the origins of Finn’s name. Give a listen!

In this episode, Rob talks with current Beyond Boundaries Program Class of 2023 students Ranen Miao and Christine Nguyen. They talk about their first year in the program, the student group and leadership positions they enjoy all across campus (including Ranen’s role as SU President), being stuck in Appalachia when word of the campus closure went out, their favorite places on campus to eat and study, and advice they have for incoming first-year students.

In this episode, Rob interviews Dean Jill Stratton affectionately known by generations of students as the ‘Dean of Joy’. Dean Stratton is the Associate Dean for Undergraduate Residential Learning at Washington University in St Louis and has been a trusted advisor and special counsel to the Beyond Boundaries Program. Dean Stratton has enjoyed 27 years at WashU and will soon be departing for a new position as an Assistant Provost for Experiential Learning at Vanderbilt University. We reminisce about Jill’s early years at WashU, her teaching in the areas of leadership and psychology, and her advice to college students moving forward in these uncertain times.

In this episode, Rob interviews a pair of current Beyond Boundaries students in Olin Business student Harrison Tanaka from Laguna Niguel, CA and Engineering student Josh Sturgell from Neenah, WI. Both reflect on their first year as students in the first year of the program as it relates to classes and extracurricular opportunities. We also discuss the city tours led by their classmate Liam Dai and what they’ve been doing to pass the time in quarantine.

In the episode, Rob chats with the brilliant team behind the popular Beyond Boundaries ‘Bear Bridge’ course Empathy First: Solutions With Heart led by two faculty across the university in Liz Kramer from the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts and the Office of Socially Engaged Practice and Jennifer Harpring from the Brown School of Social Work and Director of Field Education. Joining them as well is graduate student and Instructional Assistant for the course, Marissa Price. Their class delves into methods, processes, and approaches in integrating empathy into decisions used in design and social work and features unique panel conversations with experts in health, law, and business. The class is a unique feature of the Beyond Boundaries Program curriculum as one of two ‘Bear Bridge’ courses that actively incorporate a community-engagement component to the course.

In this episode, Rob interviews current Beyond Boundaries Program student Liam Dai from Kansas City, MO. Liam is a student in the Olin Business School pursuing a number of different interests related to urban planning and construction. Rob and Liam discuss the miles-long walking tours that Liam has led for his classmates all over St Louis in an effort to see the civic challenges St Louis faces up-close and personal.

A special two-for-one episode that starts with an interview of Merry May Ma, undergraduate Teaching Assistant for the Beyond Boundaries course Designing Creativity with a background in followed by an interview of incoming Class of 2024 Beyond Boundaries Program student and Sikeston, MO native Jordan Lin.

In this episode, Rob interviews the trio of WashU faculty representing 3 different divisions at WashU in Dr Brian Carpenter, Professor of Psychological and Brain Sciences , Dr Nancy Morrow-Howell, Professor of Social Policy with the Brown School of Social Work and Director of the Harvey A Friedman Center for Aging, and Dr Susan Stark, Professor in Occupational Therapy with the School of Medicine. Together these talented faculty members teach the longest-running Beyond Boundaries class each Fall called When I’m 64: Imagining the Future of Aging. They talk about the early ideas for the course, their individual areas of expertise, and what advice they would give their younger 1st Year college selves (if they could).

In this episode, we talk with Jessie Wills who is entering the Beyond Boundaries Program in the Fall as a proud member of the Class of 2024. We discuss Jessie’s interests that cut across disciplines in the areas of fashion design, anthropology, and global health. We discuss the program she did at Parsons on the visual presentation of fashion, what she’s been doing to pass the time in quarantine and her interest in rowing and learning to play the guitar.

In this episode, Rob chats with Professor and Chair of Anthropology Tristram Randolph “TR” Kidder about his Beyond Boundaries course Earth’s Future: Causes and Consequences of Climate Change that he co-teaches with Professor Brent Williams from the McKelvey School of Engineering. This unique freshman-only course at Washington University provides a broad overview of issues involving climate change and its consequences. The discussion encompasses the structure and impetus behind the course, TR’s background as a 3rd Generation archeologist, and a 1950’s reality show hosted by TR’s uncle and archeologist Alfred V. Kidder called What In The World where archeologists guess the origin of a museum antiquity.

In this episode, Rob visits with two Beyond Boundaries Program Class of 2023 students Katrin Gatz and Jamie Xu. They talk about how their 1st Year experience went as members of the inaugural “first astronauts” of the brand new program at Washington University in St Louis, their individual interdisciplinary interests that range from a business and education combination to music and psychology/neuroscience. We also talk about the best food on campus, the best ResLife college (WayCrow), and their favorite study spots on campus.

In this episode, Rob talks with the Sally D. Danforth Distinguished Professor of Law and Religion John Inazu (WashU School of Law and Danforth Center for Religion & Politics) and Assistant Professor of Communication Design Penina Acayo Laker from the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts about their ‘Bear Bridge’ course called Law, Race, & Design: Examining the St Louis Story open to students in the Beyond Boundaries Program as one of two options of courses that offer a community engagement component. We talk about how the idea for the course came to be, a bit about the Carver Project, and Professor Laker’s past as a track and field champion.

In this episode, Rob chats with current Class of 2023 Beyond Boundaries Program student Jenna Rogge from her home in Rob’s hometown of Austin, Texas. Jenna talks about her “big question” involving Mechanical Engineering and Art to design prosthetics for children, courses she has taken in the program, and her interest in gardening that was reignited with a single packet of seeds she got at Venture Cafe during Orientation Week.

In this episode, Rob interviews Professor Rebecca Messbarger Director of Medical Humanities and Professor of Italian in the Department of Romance Languages. They discuss teaching philosophy and her Beyond Boundaries course Art of Medicine that she co-teaches with her colleague at the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts Professor Patricia Olynyk. The course explores the visual arts and medical practice over time. They also take time to discuss the current situation in Italy as it relates to the COVID-19 pandemic and her recent article in The Source on the Histories of Contagion and what bit of advice she would give her 1st Year college self.