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Jackson and Peter Donaldson turned their lifelong quest for learning into a podcast that could make change. They launched The Educator Podcast this year, and Jackson also founded Impact of Words, a student organization focused on mental health. Read the Q&A to learn more about how these brothers took the first step toward putting their ideas into action.
Q: How did you start The Educator Podcast?
JD: We always wanted to do a podcast together. I came to Peter with the idea two months ago and then I asked "what if we did a podcast where the whole premise is interviewing teachers and professors about why and what they teach?" I’m the youngest of three brothers who went to TCU. They talked about classes that had impacted them like Race in Sports. So many students don’t get to take certain classes, but still want to learn about certain topics.
PD: Yea, the idea is that students have a particular major so they’re confined to certain courses. You may be a pre-med but have an interest in political science so it gives you the opportunity to get the higher-level touch points of that class or what that professor teaches to allow for that learning process. Something we’ve learned is that it’s a cool opportunity for people who aren’t at school, too. Students take learning for granted; it’s just our life. For people who aren’t in school to have an opportunity to learn about something in an in-depth and entertaining way, it’s an opportunity to feel like they’re in the class without being in the classroom.
JD: TCU and the Idea Factory were very supportive with both of us starting new organizations and it’s so indicative of our community wanting you to succeed. They engage students and want you to succeed and do everything they can to help.
Q: What do you cover on the podcast?
PD: What I loved about my political science major was talking about big issues in the world to understand them and maybe solve them. I like to understand a story and that’s why I find our podcast interesting. Any good professor can make their subject matter a story and narrative. We have these awesome professors at TCU who can make their subject matter so interesting.
We interviewed a political science professor, Dr. Eric Cox, who’s an international relations expert. We asked him about things like game theory and the Ukraine conflict and had the opportunity to learn from an international expert and get his take on the situation.
JD: The first episode was with Dr. Chris Harper, a communication professor. At first, we didn’t know how people would learn from this episode. We learned from him that who you are as a person and the values and morals that you hold – that’s how you bring trust to your audience.
Recently, we talked to Dr. Frederick Gooding and talking about race and sports, racism 2.0 was something that was interesting because you’re talking with someone who’s studied race, how it’s changed, and how important events affect how we talk about race.
Q: What have you learned since starting the podcast?
JD: I’ve learned that it’s ok to have the utmost amount of confidence and still fail. From day one I was very confident because we were able to use the idea factory podcast equipment. It’s not the perfect set up – the two of us share a microphone and we couldn’t get the equipment to work at first. I edit on garage band and we spend zero money but I still have the utmost confidence and love it. It’s totally ok that we don’t have the best set up or skills.
From our conversations, I’ve learned that the amount of care and love teachers put into what they teach is phenomenal; they genuinely care. I think students don’t realize how invested our professors are and how much they remember their students.
PD: You do appreciate how much they really care. Each conversation we have, I take something away. Whether it’s content learning about actual subject matter or learning about the professors’ lives. Sometimes it’s more interesting to hear about their upbringing. A lot of them didn’t set out to be professors or a teacher when they started their career.
Q: What advice do you have for students who want to implement their ideas?
JD: I started an org on campus called Impact of Words and I think with that and also the podcast –I’’s hard to take the first step because you’re afraid of what people will think. Take that first step and take advice seriously from people you trust, but just do it and don’t care what people think about it. If you truly enjoy something and have a passion, then taking that first step will allow you to know whether you’ll want to continue.
PD: I agree – if you can help someone and do something that excites you, take that step. If it doesn’t work out, you can learn from that initiative but the difference makers actually take that first step.
Jackson Donaldson is a marketing and political science junior and Peter Donaldson earned his degree in international business and political science with a minor in Spanish. They hope to monetize the podcast in order to donate to an underfunded school. Listen and follow The Educator podcast on Spotify and on the Anchor app. Follow the Impact of Words on Instagram.