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New podcast focused on innovation in the Furman community launches this week

Producers Rachel Page ’22 and Harris Wellborn ’21 talk with The Class – E Podcast host Mary Sturgill.
Assistant producers Rachel Page ’22 and Harris Wellborn ’21 talk with Class E Podcast host Mary Sturgill.

There are more than 700,000 active podcasts in the world, but none are focused on innovation and entrepreneurial thinking in the Furman community. With the launch of the Class E Podcast Tuesday, March 3, however, that won’t be the case for much longer.

Hosted by Mary Sturgill, media specialist and instructor in the communication studies department, and Anthony Herrera, executive director of Furman Innovation and Entrepreneurship, the podcasts are a partnership between the communication studies department and Furman Innovation and Entrepreneurship. Recording began in the fall of 2019, and episodes feature a variety of guests talking about their business ventures and pathways.

“One of our challenges is telling the story of our alumni, of our community, of our students, of our partners, of our faculty. We have to do it faster, quicker, and in a medium that the audience wants to receive it in,” Herrera said. “And that’s a podcast.”

Herrera himself, hired in 2018 to launch Furman Innovation and Entrepreneurship, is one of the guests during the eight-episode first season. Others include Kenneth Fields ’98 and Johannes Mutzke of BlueInc Strategies, Furman Associate Professor of Health Sciences Meghan Slining, Furman Entrepreneur in Residence Derek Pederson, Furman Associate Professor of Art Ross McClain, Furman Trustee John Yates of Morris, Manning & Martin, Amy Moore ’97, and Furman Associate Professor of Earth and Environmental Science Suresh Muthnakrishnan.

“We focus on people who have some kind of connection to Furman, whether it’s an alumni or a professor or a student or a parent,” Sturgill said. “And we have all of those people from those backgrounds as guests on the podcast this first season.”

Though this will be her first stint hosting a podcast, Sturgill is an award-winning former television news reporter with plenty of experience conducting interviews.

“We have a range of potential listeners …. because we talk about not just entrepreneurs, business, things like that, but also about innovative thinking and what that entails and how you can actually become a more innovative thinker,” she said. “Although we’re grounded in the classics, we want our students to graduate and be digitally savvy,” Sturgill said. “We want them to be able to tell stories on every digital platform, and this is one of those platforms.”

Nick Curcio ’22, Rachel Page ’22 and Harris Wellborn ’21, all communication studies majors, were hired to professionally produce the podcast.

“I don’t know where I want my career to go, but I figured building skills is never a bad thing to do,” Page, a native of Richmond, Virginia, said.

The Class E Podcast will be available for download on most podcast platforms. It can also be listened to on the Furman Innovation and Entrepreneurship website by clicking here.

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