Innovator's podcast logo
Students Launch Innovators’ Podcast
IN NOVEMBER, four students from the class of 2022 launched the Gabelli School Innovators’ Podcast, a monthly series that features conversations with changemakers, innovators, and entrepreneurs in the Fordham community.

To date, guests have included Kevin Brooks, FCRH ’08, cohost of the podcast Live from the Bronx, who discussed the inspiration for the series, which has aired more than 33 episodes and celebrates Bronx artists and entrepreneurs. Other guests have included health and wellness advocate and author of the book The Power to Persevere, Alexa Cucchiara, BS ’20, and Alessandra Ciuffo, BS ’22, a marketing major and chef who has appeared on the Food Network with Guy Fieri and Rachael Ray.

“We want to amplify these voices on campus and inspire other students who are listening to pursue their ideas,” said one of the podcast’s originators, Gerald De La Cruz. He and Gabelli School juniors Brittany Gesell, Alia Benabdeljalil, and Giana Bartko were inspired to undertake the project through their work together as Stanford University Innovation Fellows (UIF). The program encourages a design-thinking approach to problem solving among select student cohorts around the world.

“Design thinking is an important mindset for every student because it increases creativity, identifies problems, and triggers solutions,” said Bozena Mierzejewska, Ph.D., professor of communication and media management at the Gabelli School and a Faculty Champion for the UIF program.

Each student brings a different skill set to the table: Benabdeljalil edits the episodes, De La Cruz runs the social media accounts, Bartko prepares guests for the interviews, and Gesell works on distribution.

“Our process in running the podcast is very collaborative, and we work together to recruit guests, host the show, brainstorm questions, and make big-picture decisions,” Gesell said, adding that Professor Mierzejewska has been a valued mentor from the start.

“The brainstorming and prototyping steps of this process were not easy, and when we hit a roadblock, Professor Mierzejewska would reunite us, help us take a step back, and see how to move forward,” said Benabdeljalil. “She became our biggest advocate.”

Alia Benabdeljalil headshot
Alia Benabdeljalil
Brittany Gesell headshot
Brittany Gesell
Gerald De La Cruz headshot
Gerald De La Cruz
Giana Bartko headshot
Giana Bartko