On this episode of the Pokes PodCAS, we sit down with Dr. Tommy Poole, associate professor and director of jazz studies at OSU, and OSU students Kyle Fisher and Aidan Evano. We packed a lot into our conversation, including a discussion of the OSU Jazz Orchestra (Kyle and Aidan are members, Dr. Poole is the director), the orchestra’s 2021 album Room 118, a not-so-successful trip to Orlando, Dr. Poole’s connection to Rosemary Clooney, and that all important question: What do you say to someone who doesn’t like jazz? Thanks to OSU grad and composer Dylan Shadoan for the use of his song “Dubious Dachshund” in this episode. You can listen to it and the entire Room 118 album here. Watch and listen to the OSU Jazz Orchestra on their YouTube channel and catch them live on April 8 at LowDown in Tulsa and April 9-10 at the McKnight Center for the Performing Arts in Stillwater. 

This episode was recorded in January 2023.


Ever wondered what it’s like to deep sea dive, going miles below the ocean surface to collect micro fossils at the sea floor? Boone Pickens School of Geology professor Dr. Ashley Burkett gives us her firsthand experience of doing just that, including *ahem* how they use the bathroom down there. (“Down there” meaning aboard the Alvin, a deep-sea submersible owned by the U.S. Navy.) An expert in the single-celled organism foraminifera, Dr. Burkett gives us a rundown of her research with enough zeal to convince anyone and everyone to go into the field of geology. She also tells us about her Story of Dinosaurs course, where students combine creativity and the scientific method — and critique Jurassic Park.


In this episode of the PodCAS, we have special guest Bailee Augustino, one of four Honorary Graduate Commencement Marshals for Fall 2022 and the only CAS student among the honorees. Augustino is graduating with her master’s in integrative biology and has dedicated her time to researching how environmental conditions affect the structure and dynamics of communication between and among American toads. She discusses her studies with fellow College of Arts and Sciences students Bella Vu and Allie Putman, who co-host this episode.

The Honorary Graduate Commencement Marshal is the highest honor given to four doctoral or master's degree graduates who demonstrate scholarly achievement that embodies the essence of OSU’s land-grant mission.


What’s it like to be a first-generation American with deep Hispanic roots? In this episode of the College of Arts and Sciences Pokes PodCAS, OSU students Samary Simpson-Jimenez, Monse Solorzano and Nadia Valles give us some insight into their unique experiences — from food and family to school and societal expectations (and beyond!). Along with the rest of the United States, we here at CAS are thrilled to celebrate the cultures, histories, accomplishments and influence of Hispanic Americans during Hispanic Heritage Month — from September 15 to October 15 — and throughout the year.


Juneteenth is a day to celebrate freedom and honor the resiliency of all African Americans. Dr. Belton joins us to discuss the importance of Juneteenth being named a federal holiday, how an Africana Studies minor can impact a student's education and future work life, some historical figures he is inspired by, and so much more.


“It’s a very thin line between appropriation and appreciation,” said Monse Solórzano during our conversation about Cinco de Mayo celebrations in the United States. We’ve all seen the Cinco de Mayo banners, signs and social media posts advertising discounted Mexican food and margaritas. However, how many of us have stopped to consider the history of Cinco de Mayo and what it means to some Mexican-Americans? Tune in to hear about Monse’s journey to OSU and learn about Cinco de Mayo through her eyes.


“Mistakes are only mistakes if you don’t learn from them.” This was just one piece of advice that Orange Gown Recipient Kayla Reed had to share with students as she prepares to graduate with degrees in Psychology, Zoology and Plant Biology. Tune in to this episode of the Pokes PodCAS to hear about the lessons she learned throughout her journey at OSU.


Women have always had a hand in the way that history is made, but they often get left out of the conversation when it comes to their roles in major historical events. This can be especially true for women in minority groups. But despite people’s tendency to overlook the contributions of women in history, it’s important to remember them because they can be role models for young women today. No one knows this better than Kassandra Gaona and Destinee Adams. Kassandra was Miss Hispanic/Latina OSU 2020, and Destinee co-founded Okstate Stand United. They joined me to talk about some women who have made history and the importance of having these types of figures to look up to, especially as a woman in a minority group.