Jennifer Rudd has studied pandemics and respiratory infectious diseases for years. She is a CAS biology graduate who went on to earn two more degrees at OSU’s College of Veterinary Medicine, where she is now a faculty member. After completing her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, she practiced for years before returning to OSU to pursue a doctorate in respiratory infectious diseases. Her research focuses on the excessive immune response seen with pandemic viral pneumonias and ways to improve clinical outcomes through targeting the immune response. We talk about the best way to end this pandemic, what makes COVID-19 unique, and why you should put a veterinarian on your zombie apocalypse team.

Tyler Bunch is an OSU alumnus who studied Theatre and went on to become a successful puppetry and voice over artist, one you or your children have probably heard before. We cover his time at OSU, his transition into the craft of puppetry, and how his role as Elmo’s dad on Sesame Street has helped millions of kids understand the complexity of combating racism.

The COVID-19 pandemic has paused virtually the entire world. What does that mean for researchers, especially those whose work entails international travel? One faculty member dealing with that question is art history professor Louise Siddons, who was recently awarded a summer stipend from the National Endowment for the Humanities and a Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program Award. The Fulbright will fund her travel to London’s Eccles Centre for American Studies, assuming there are no complications. But as we have seen over the past six months, complications are a regular part of living in a world infected by COVID-19. Louise talks about what it’s like to have your work as both a researcher and teacher in flux, why she likes abstract art, and what led her to research Laura Gilpin, a renowned photographer whose work documenting the lives of the Navajo Nation was featured in a 1957 exhibition at OSU.

Matthew Mungle is a former OSU student who studied Theatre and went on to become a renowned Academy Award-winning makeup artist and designer. In addition, he became a successful business owner specializing in makeup design, special effects and prosthetics. He joined us to talk about his time at OSU, what it's like to work in Hollywood, and why Gary Oldman is one of his favorite actors to work with.

Footage of the death of George Floyd while being arrested by the Minneapolis Police Department has sparked outrage across the country. Large protests, and in some cases riots, are pushing for a variety of changes in our justice system. In order to have an educational discussion about these difficult topics, we welcome Lawrence Ware, co-director of the Africana Studies Program and Teaching Assistant Professor and Diversity Coordinator in the Department of Philosophy. Like all of our podcasts, this episode is an open discussion for the purpose of education, and should not be mistaken as OSU’s institutional stance on race relations or any other topics discussed.

While Oklahoma and most of America has been in some form of lockdown over the past two months, Italy implemented one of the strictest versions in the world and did it earlier than most nations. That country has now begun easing restrictions, but we spoke with OSU art history alumna Lora Webb when they were still in place. She is in Italy working toward a Ph.D. from Stanford. Lora published a letter in the Oklahoman urging her home state to shut down to save lives, just as Italy did. We spoke about that, how her experience compares to what we are seeing in Oklahoma, and why her research area makes some people uncomfortable.

Many graduates of the College of Arts and Sciences are on the front lines in the battle against COVID-19. One example is Dr. Corby Smithton, a biology and zoology graduate who went on to earn his medical degree from the Oklahoma State University College of Osteopathic Medicine. His wife, Colbi, is another CAS and OSU med graduate. They are both providers at Stillwater Family Care, where they are seeing patients who have, or think they have, COVID-19. Corby Smithton joined us to talk about what that experience is like, what he expects to see as we continue to face this pandemic, and why CAS graduates are key to pulling us out of this situation.

Countless college seniors suddenly and unexpectedly saw their undergraduate experiences end due to the COVID-19 pandemic. One such graduating senior is Chapman Howard, a mathematics and mechanical engineering major from Tulsa. He was named an Outstanding Senior by the OSU Alumni Association and plans to pursue a Ph.D. in mathematics next fall. But first, he joins us to talk about how he is doing, what he is doing, and how he has done so much over the past four years.


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