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New WVU student podcast explores ‘Educated: A Memoir’ this year's Campus Read

cover of the book Educated on gold background

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What’s the news?
This year’s Campus Read “Educated: A Memoir” has inspired an entire podcast at West Virginia University. Geoffrey Hilsabeck, a visiting assistant professor in the Department of English and a community outreach fellow in the WVU Humanities Center, wanted to create this podcast so that his guests could reflect on the author’s story from their own perspective, and explore the similarities between this true story in rural Idaho and their personal experiences growing up in West Virginia. 

Quotes and Comments
"This podcast, and the Campus Read more generally, is premised on the idea that books have an important role to play in constructing not just our private selves but the public sphere, as well. They do that work by inviting conversation, among friends, of course, but also between strangers. WVU Reads has broad appeal that’s not only designed for the campus but alumni, prospective students, families and the larger community." — Geoffrey Hilsabeck, visiting assistant professor and Community Outreach Fellow

“Geoff is a natural interviewer who has brought a whole new dimension to our conversation about Westover’s book. The guests bring their expertise but speak from their heart about the issues raised in this memoir.” — Rhonda Reymond, interim director of the WVU Humanities Center

There is a new episode each week.

Episode 1- An Introduction to the Series Hilsabeck discusses the book and what listeners can expect. 

 Episode 2- A Mountain Education Hilsabeck talks with Marion Holmes, director of AdventureWV. They examine two passages from the book about the author’s experiences growing up in Idaho to examine the powerful and surprising ways we can be educated. 

 Episode 3- The Power of Interpretation Johanna Winant, assistant professor of English, joins Hilsabeck to talk about the power of interpretation and the role that reading played in Westover’s intellectual and personal development. 

 Episode 4 – Images and Texts With the opening of “Constructing a Life: A Visual Response to Educated,” the Campus Read art exhibit on the second floor of Stewart Hall, Hilsabeck and Bob Bridges, curator of the WVU Art Museum, talk about how he finds art in the permanent collection to evoke ideas that relate to some of the bigger themes in the book. 

 Episode 5- Westover’s Psychic and Emotional Struggles  Dr. Jessica Johnston-York and Dr. Brian Quigley from the Carruth Center talk to Hilsabeck about Westover’s mental health issues and how WVU students who may experience problems can get help here on campus. 

Episode 6: The Book as Object and Commodity Derek Krissoff, director of the WVU Press, talks to Hilsabeck about the business of books—how they’re made and how they’re marketed. 

Episode 7 – Memoir Hilsabeck talks with author Cutter Wood about memoirs and the unreliability of memory even as the author strives to tell the truth. 

Notes: The podcast is produced by Nick Kratsas and SeVohn Hunter in WVU Student Media. Listen to the podcast by searching “WVU Reads” on your favorite podcast player or visit The DA online

Target Audiences
Community members
Other small or rural communities
Other universities



CONTACT: Geoffrey Hilsabeck
Community Outreach Fellow
WVU Humanities Center

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