In fall, 2015, Professor Christen Madrazo introduced her creative nonfiction workshop students to several popular storytelling platforms with the following caveat: the genre was sorely missing the voices and stories of our city's vastly diverse young people. "Let's fill that gap!" she said. While she’d secretly hoped that they'd be as excited as she was to archive their truths and better represent whole bodies of people’s lived experiences, she never imagined they’d take it this far! Though the project is largely student-produced, Madrazo directs production and handles the story text editing process with each writer; helps to arrange collectively-curated story selections for episodes; and operates as the in-studio director for all story and interview raw recording sessions. In the past several semesters, she's expanded the podcast work to other nonfiction courses (including a self-designed "Travel Writing: Storytelling in Tanzania" workshop course she taught on-location) as well as in her Research Writing courses, in which her students now practice developing research inquiries based on contemporary social issues reflected in real life stories. Her work on Life Out Loud recently led, in part, to her winning the 2016 John Jay College Distinguished Teaching Award and the 2017 Service to Students Award. When not in the recording studio or in a writing workshop, Christen can be found directing John Jay’s award-winningWriting Program; curating a live travel storytelling series; or facilitating storytelling workshops around the world with DAT, an international service arts organization with whom she has designed and implemented storytelling workshops in more than 32 communities on four continents. Her own original work has been shared at the Renegade Reading Series, Projective Spaces, New World Stages, and in The New York Times, Brevity and The Shakespeare Bulletin.
Digital Art Director:
As one of the original founding members, Samuel Tapia volunteered to be the podcast's web developer, and soon realized that this would become one of his most ambitious passion projects. Sam has been at the studio since day one, and has ran the soundboard multiple times, as well as sound edited numerous stories and episodes from all seasons. His own story "WWMD", a quirky tale that takes place during a backpacking trip in Mexico with his girlfriend Lau (an honorary Life Out Loud member), can be heard on episode 1.4 "En Route." "WWMD" was also shared live at Travelogue at the New World Stages' Tony Lounge. During his last year at John Jay, Sam was part of an Independent Study that allowed him to create all the promotional content for Life Out Loud. Sam has a passion for the arts, specifically story telling, whether it's written, visual, or audio. His photograph of the "Orbs" has become Life Out Loud's most recognizable image. Sam graduated John Jay in the spring of 2016 with a degree in International Criminal Justice. He is currently working on a photography series about the children of Mexican immigrants living in New York City. Outside of Life Out Loud, Sam can be found creating the dankest of memes, and going after the longest road card in Settlers of Catan.
Digital Sound Director:
Velislava Bozhinova is one of the original founding members of Life Out Loud. In addition to running sound board, conducting sound editing, and designing underscoring, as the podcast's Digital Sound Director, one of Velislava's main jobs is to train others to edit, underscore, and run sound, too, so that the podcast has lots of helping hands working seamlessly together in order to produce a full episode; team work makes the dream work! As the Digital Sound Director for Life Out Loud, Velislava is also responsible for managing, delegating, and scheduling all of the work that happens on the raw recording tracks. She then compiles all the edited pieces; produces the full episode for review; and conducts all final sound editing on each version of the "final" product before it's launched on iTunes; sound cloud; the website; or on RADio568. Her personal passion is underscoring design, an idea that she initiated and developed here at Life Out Loud. Her own underscoring work can be heard in stories such as The Rabbit, In the Dark, and many more. When not behind the scenes, Velislava also shares her own work from time to time, such as “On the Run," featured in episode 1.2 “Our Father.” In the past year she has taken one Independent Study and one Faculty Mentored Research Group for the podcast during which time she teamed up with beautiful people to create beautiful work for Life Out Loud. When not in the studio or editing one of at least 17 of these incredible stories, Velislava--as a double major--can be found in a Political Science or Economics classroom or spending time with her three kids – a cat, a parrot, and a hermit crab. She’d like to thank her Life Out Loud family for their great work, passion and dedication. She couldn’t ask for a better team!
Episode Script Coordinator; Outside Resources Team Member; Production Team Member:
In a world of cat people and dog people, Karen Argueta considers herself more of a bird person. Lover of manatees and seasoned feeler of the feels, Karen has been hosting for Life Out Loud since the Spring of 2016 and never wants to stop. Seriously, she will not leave. This is her 4th consecutive month camping out in the studio. Karen also writes episode scripts; coordinates with the other script and interview writers and has taken to sound editing stories and interviews despite technology's seemingly fierce determination to work against her. Karen also runs the official 'Life Out Loud' Facebook and Instagram (@lifeoutloudpodcast) pages alongside Rebecca Singh. Born in El Salvador, Karen is an escapee from Long Island to beautiful New York City, and she wants nothing more than to thrive and die there. As a Criminology BA and recent Human Rights MA graduate, getting to learn about the inner (and outer!) workings of the people that inhabit this world is the blessing she treasures the most. Her work with storytelling is an organic extension of this. Karen also has a budding passion for education, as well as a fire for speaking out against injustice in pursuit of an equitable world for all marginalized people. You can frequently find her in ice cream shops or on bridges despite her fear of heights. She hopes this speaks volumes about who she is as a human.
Digital Studio Consultant; Production Team Member:
Riley Linares is a newbie to Life Out Loud. She joined at the start of the Spring 2017 Semester as Life Out Loud’s first ever first- year student. When taking English 101 with Professor Madrazo, a course which required Riley to listen to many of the beautiful Life Out Loud stories for research project inspiration, she was inspired to get involved. She now assists with sound editing, underscoring, and soundboard. You can hear her first editing and underscoring work on episode 2.8 “Found in Translation.” Riley has a true passion for telling stories and helping others share theirs. The Life Out Loud studio has become her home away from home. Attending John Jay as an out of state student from Michigan, Riley is happy to have the Life Out Loud group as her family in New York and thanks them for being so warm and welcoming and for painting a hard to remove smile across her face every week.
Advertising Design and Strategy Coordinator; Social Media Director; Production Team Member:
Rebecca is a 2019 John Jay BA/MA graduate who, in the fall of 2016, found interest in a genre she couldn't master. The CNF class left Rebecca wanting to learn more about the writing genre that did not come as easily to her as academic writing, fantasy writing, and fiction writing did. In the following spring semester, Rebecca joined Life Out Loud to play support in the roles of advertising design coordinator, social meda director, and production team member, assisting with basically whatever was needed of her at any given time. However, writing a CNF piece proved to be the last trick she needed to really earn the self proclaimed title of "jack of all trades." Finally, in between singing and preaching for Church, leading Bible study classes, and working a full time job as a paralegal, Rebecca managed to write and submit a CNF piece called "Enough" featured in Season 5 Episode 7 four years after the inital start of her journey. Rebecca continues to work with Life Out Loud, and plans on continuing to do so for as long as she is able to assist and as long as time permits.
Performance Rehearsal Director; Production Team Member:
Sadie is a junior at JohnJay college majoring in English. She started out as a forensic psychology major but Professor Madrazo’s English 101 class inspired her to switch to English. Sadie is originally from China but grew up in New York City. In her spare time, you can find Sadie rushing a Broadway show for cheap tickets or at Lincoln Center seeing the ballet on a student discount. Sadie is a voracious reader who always has her nose buried in a book. She is an aspiring writer who writes best under pressure right before a deadline.
Digital Studio Manager:
Digital Art Assistant:
A New York City native, Brianna Harrell is a 21 year old studying Forensic Science at John Jay. Where science and art collides is where Brianna resides - in the lab performing an experiment or working with PR/Marketing in Snug Harbor. When Brianna isn't writing, procrastinating work or singing her head off, she can be found binge-watching her favorite television shows, attending concerts or snuggling up to a really great book with hot cocoa on the side. After graduating college she hopes to find herself in grad school, in a job she loves, occasionally traveling to different parts of the world or a mix of the three.
Digital Art Assistant; Sound Training Coordinator:
Malaysia Knowles is a junior at John Jay College majoring in English. She started out majoring in Law and Society but switched when she recently rekindled her love for writing. Although she indulges in multiple tasks for the podcast such as hosting and sound editing, one of her main roles is assisting with performance rehearsals. She aspires to go to law school and eventually wants to pursue a career as an author. When Malaysia has free time, you can find her writing short stories or binge-watching the latest Netflix series. Although Malaysia is new to the Life Out Loud scene, she has come to admire the camaraderie that has been established and hopes to be a part of it permanently.
Digital Sound Assignment Coordinator; Outside Resources Team Member:
Sophia Urove is thrilled to join the Life Out Loud team! Currently in her junior year at John Jay, she created her own major (Writing for Justice) in order to learn, explore, and refine her focus in her studies. Sophia discovered Life Out Loud while taking Professor Madrazo’s creative non-fiction workshop course. Her experience in that class solidified her joy for reading, writing, and analyzing stories. She hopes to carry over her enthusiasm from that experience into her work on the podcast, of which she's been part since Fall 2021. When she finds a free moment, Sophia enjoys attempting to perfect eyeliner, finding new foods to love, and re-watching TV shows with her sister.
Assistant Web Designer and Editor; Social Media Assistant Director; Production Team Member:
Kira Persaud is a new member of the Life Out Loud Podcast, joining during her senior year at John Jay College. She is majoring in Global History with a minor in Digital Media and Journalism. Just last year, she started her own website and lifestyle blog called "The Sonder Site" that then led to her starting her own podcast. She is so excited to join the production team for the LOL Podcast and cannot wait to learn new skills as well as amplify the stories of others. In her free time, she enjoys writing, reading and art of all kinds and believes the sole purpose behind anything one does is to help others and assist them in their journey. And she also believes in the idea of following all of your passions and seeing which one sticks! You can listen to one of her nonfiction pieces and interviews on season 6, episode 4 of the LOL podcast and check out The Sonder Site here: https://linktr.ee/TheSonderLife
Production Team Member:
Danielle is a new member of the Life Out Loud podcast team. She is in her Sophomore year at John Jay, and is a Political Science major and a Creative Writing minor. After taking Professor Madrazo’s English 101 class her already present interest in writing blossomed. She was invited to join the show after her CNF story was selected to be featured on the podcast. During her free time, you can always find her writing poetry or reading a book. Using her own experiences, she one day hopes to help people with her stories.
Production Team Member:
Amy is a sophomore majoring in Law and Society and planning on minoring in Writing and Rhetoric. She plans on attending law school upon graduating. Her interest in Life out Loud developed from her interest in history and storytelling. After taking Professor Madrazo’s ENG 101 class, where she wrote a personal narrative, listened to various podcasts, and wrote an award-winning research project based on her personal experience (that which was also published in John Jay's Finest), Amy was inspired to write and share more of her own stories. During her free time, she enjoys walks to the park and eating ice cream on the benches.
Production Team Member:
Bilal is a new member of the Life Out Loud Podcast team. He's in his freshman year at John Jay, and is a Computer Science major. Although production work is a skillset deep outside the wheelhouse of your average CS major, Bilal has both an affinity and a knack for it. He became involved in production work due to his love of Tokusatsu, a Japanese genre of low-budget filmmaking usually used for live-action sci-fi films/ television. He was deeply engrossed in all the tricks and techniques used behind the scenes. After high school, this passion led him to intern at MNN (Manhattan Neighborhood Network) for 3-4 years, learning the ropes. Now at John Jay, Bilal was invited to the LOL podcast after his CNF piece was selected to be featured on the podcast. He hopes that his time with LOL can help him both sharpen his skills and pick up some new ones. During his free time, he enjoys watching films and scouring the city for new places to grab a bite.
Production Team Member:
Angel Salome is a newbie to the Life Out Loud Podcast. He is a 20 year old junior at John Jay who is currently majoring in Political Science and minoring in Digital Media & Journalism. He started off his college experience wanting to become one the best lawyers in the nation; now, he has his mind set on being one of the best journalists in the nation. Taking Creative Nonfiction opened his eyes to a new world of writing in which one can write without any limitations. His passion for Sports and Journalism led him to create a sports podcast called Stuck in the Double-A with his co-host, Alex, and he is sure that LOL can bring him even more exposure to the world of podcasting. He enjoys reading books, analysing sports, exposing himself to different cultures and staying active through sports or at the gym.
Production Team Member:
Leah Persram is a new member of the Life Out Loud podcast. She is in her final semester at John Jay College of Criminal Justice with a major in English and a minor in Creative Writing. She was invited to join the show after taking a Creative Nonfiction course, from which a story she wrote was recently featured on the fifth season of the show. When Leah isn’t writing essays or stories, she can be found exploring the city to find the best food spots and inspiration for her writing. She hopes to become a writer in the future and share her endeavors with the world, one word at a time.