Ep 23: Are They College Ready? A conversation about how you can send your student to college without losing your mind or your money.


In this episode, I am joined by Shellee Howard,

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Shellee is founder and CEO of College Ready and CR Tutoring and Test Strategies. She is a Certified Independent College Strategist and  best-selling author of the book ‘How to Send Your Student to College Without Losing Your Mind or Your Money’.

Shellee talks about the inspiration behind her organization, College Ready.  As a single mother of four children, she knew that college would be expensive and sought to put them through school without going broke or in deep debt.  It all starts with the unique approach of creating a profile and a stand-out strategy for students that gets them into top tier schools without going into debt. 

Shellee says that the optimum planning for college is when the student is ready to have the conversation and the understanding of the effort that needs to be enacted to stand out.  She explains that the level of student maturity matters, as well.  Students don’t need to know exactly what they want to ‘be’ when they grow up, just a desire for higher education.  It is all about finding out their expectations for their grown up life and talking through individual motivation for success.

Shellee talks about why she wrote the book ‘How to Send Your Student to College Without Losing Your Mind or Your Money’. It grew out of a desire to just give, and to help parents and students navigate the important decisions that come along with the journey to higher education.  Shellee says that today, students can’t just have a good gpa in order to be a strong candidate to access grants, scholarships, and funding for their dream school.  They need test scores, community service, and extra curricular activities.  It is a multi-tiered scenario.

Shellee started Passion with a Purpose to help students see volunteering and community service as something they would love to do for the rest of their lives.  Not just sign up, show up, check the volunteering box, but something they can appreciate and look forward to as they grow, mature and go through life.  Giving back and giving to others is a passion and mission of College Ready.

The College Ready website https://collegereadyplan.com/ can be navigated easily and Shellee encourages visitors to explore the options and opportunities. In 2021 alone, College Ready helped students earn over $10.7 million in scholarships!  College Ready provides several options for financial planning and advice for families which helps you to see the return on investment. From $495 to $4,000 depending on family need and desire for support.  But…

Shellee also says that she gives away tons and tons of free advice on their Facebook page.  All you have to do is visit and follow for free advice for your family and students. Check it out: https://www.facebook.com/CollegeReadyPlan/  Shellee also provides her own funding opportunities and scholarships to students through an annual essay writing submission.  She also says that if you reach out to her on her website, and request a copy of her book, she will provide it for  you free of charge. 

College Ready is a US based organization, but is available for students who want to attend college abroad AND for international students and families who want to send their students to the US for their college education.  Shellee is offering all of my listeners a 30 minute call with her to see if you and/or your student is on the right track for third level education.  Just schedule on her website.

Shellee’s final words of wisdom?  The time you  have with your children passes so fast.  If you can help them realise that it’s not just getting ‘to’ college as the goal, but it is more about who they are and why it matters in the long term.  Your children really do want your support, so invest in them because they are our future. Come #ListenAndLearn #Podbean #PodcastInterview


Ep 22: No Strings Attached?: A conversation about ethical volunteering as a force for social good, and the sense of freedom that comes with doing something good for others.


In this episode, I talk with Kate Chandler @heritage_kate about something that we are both passionate about – #volunteering!  Kate is a heritage professional from the UK, living in Dublin. She has worked and volunteered for the National Trust and English Heritage, and has held roles in volunteer coordination and management.

Click HERE for Accessible Transcript

@heritage_kate talks about her own experiences as a young girl, visiting historical places and being captivated by the stories she’d hear and the rich history surrounding these spaces that were so magical for her.  Kate has always had a passion for heritage conservation and volunteering was a wonderful opportunity for her to surround herself with historical spaces that she loved so much.

@heritage_kate credits her volunteer experiences during her school years for directing her higher education and career path working in the heritage sector.  Volunteering offered her the opportunity to try out different things to see where her interests might lie.  She was able to connect with place and space in such a deep and meaningful way that were so special and impactful for her freely, with no strings attached. 

@heritage_kate shares that she has learned important life-skills from her volunteer experiences, such as facing fears and how to talk and interact with other people, which was something that never came easy for her. She says that volunteering has impressed upon her that everyone is equally important and that volunteers are invaluable to organizations (something that can often be overlooked). Volunteers have a wealth of knowledge and experience.

@heritage_kate believes that volunteering is a force for social good by allowing people and communities to come in and to contribute to a shared purpose and goal with no strings attached.  There is a possibility for a kind of democracy about volunteering, but there isn’t always.  Volunteering has the power to really bring people together, particularly in local communities. When you choose to do something for somebody else – to work towards something outside of your ‘self’ – it can contribute to your own happiness.

We discuss, in depth, the concept of ethical volunteering and issues that many volunteer managers and organizations face. @heritage_kate feels that volunteers are integral to the heritage sector, but are often relied on too heavily.. She feels that there are two thorny areas in volunteering – privilege and vulnerability to exploitation. Kate recognizes her position of privilege in being able to pursue volunteering which has impacted how she looks at volunteer coordination and management. Volunteering is a luxury, as unpaid work, enjoyed by some, and voluntary work should never replace paid work.  

@heritage_kate call to action for anyone interested in volunteering?  Just go and talk to people in the place that you are interested in volunteering with.  Meet them and see where what you want out of volunteering might meet with what they are looking for and how you might meet in the middle.

@heritage_kate words of wisdom to listeners, especially those in a position of power and managing volunteers… make sure that you are reflecting on that and using your position of power to  improve the ethics of volunteering in your area. There is always room for reflection.  Everyone has different reasons for volunteering so make sure you’re checking in with them! Come #ListenAndLearn #Volunteering #Road2Volunesia.

Kate’s Resources and References:

Ten Percent Happier podcast by Dan Harris – the episode is 183 ‘Fighting Depression with Social Connection’ with Johann Hari. The study he refers to is ‘Culture Shapes Whether the Pursuit of Happiness Predicts Higher or Lower Well-Being’ by a team of social scientists led by Dr. Brett Q. Ford of Berkeley – the 2015 article of the study can be found here: https://www.apa.org/pubs/journals/features/xge-0000108.pdf
And the organisationmentioned is Fair Museum Jobs, who aim to “establish a better standard (“The Manifesto”) for museum job recruitment that is based on the principles of fairness, transparency, equity and inclusivity.” Their website is here https://fairmuseumjobs.org/ and they can be found on Twitter at @fair_jobs


Ep 21 Supporting Victims’ families of Road Traffic Collision: IRVA’s hope for a time when serious injury and death due to road traffic collisions are a thing of the past.


In this episode, I talk with Donna Price.  Donna, a mother of four children, founded the Irish Road Victims’ Association (IRVA) in 2012 following the sudden death of her 18 year old son Darren in a crash in March 2006.  Donna was frustrated and felt unsupported and alone while navigating the inquest into her son’s accident which took far too long, and left her family without answers, statute barred for civil action, and lacking closure. 

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Donna felt that there was no support for her family during the six years that they waited for the Coroner’s inquest… six years!  She committed to making sure that families of road crash victims who find themselves in the same position as herself, would have a source of support, advocacy, and comfort, and that they never have to experience the pain and suffering her family experienced.  This is why awareness of IRVA is absolutely vital.

The Road Victims’ Association in addition to being a listening ear, and peer support, they provide (and cover the cost for) bereavement counseling.  They also provide free legal advice for families navigating the inquiry process and hold monthly support meetings on the first Wednesday of every month (currently online due to COVID).  Additionally, the IRVA comes together every year on the 3rd Sunday in November, with over 300 families, to mark the World Day of Remembrance for road collision victims.

Over 1.36 million people all over the world are killed in road traffic collisions and another 50 million are seriously injured and left with life altering injuries. While they are primarily a victim support organization, the IRVA advocates for change in legislation when needed. For example, after her son’s fatal crash, the lorry driver was not tested for drugs or alcohol, although her son was tested at autopsy and had zero alcohol or drugs in his system.  Donna, and other bereaved families, campaigned to make sure that legislation was changed to ensure that there was mandatory testing when there was a death or serious bodily injury following a road traffic collision.

IRVA also has international significance and impact in strengthening the voice of victims’ and their families on a global level, as an NGO through a wide-reaching network  of road victims’ association IRVP (International Road Victims’ Partnership).  Did you know that 154 people are killed every hour on the roads of the world – that’s 3,700 people every single day that we hear very little about. Why?  Because these are small, individual tragedies where families alone are left to pick up the pieces and deal with the horrific consequences in the aftermath. With this global network, wherever in the world the traffic collision takes place, this organization can get much needed information and support to victim’s families.

While it may seem that IRVA might have an adversarial relationship with law enforcement and governing bodies, that couldn’t be further from the truth.  They work closely with the authorities to make sure that the families of road crash victims are well supported and that they understand the role and process of investigations and inquiries. In fact, IRVA has worked hard to make sure that law enforcement authorities provide the families of road crash victims’ with contact information and literature connecting them to IRVA’s representatives and services.

IRVA relies on volunteers and many are people who have been personally impacted by loss from road crashes.  Volunteers help to raise much needed funds for the organization as well provide free legal advice and lobby the government for changes in laws and statutes. The organization has developed several guides that assist not only families, but also prepare NGOs around the world, in working with victims’ families and navigating the processes when tragedy occurs.

Donna encourages any person or family who has been affected by a serious road collision, no matter where in the world you are, to reach out to any one of the 150 organizations within the International Road Victims’ Partnership.  All services are provided free of charge. If you would like to support or help with IRVA or IRVP, please get in contact.  She says ‘all it takes is one’.  One person at a time can save lives and greatly reduce serious road collisions. Come #ListenAndLearn


Websites: IRVA      www.irva.ie

                  IRVP      www.irvp.org


Email:  IRVA      irva@eircom.net


             IRVP     info@IRVP.org



Helpline: IRVA & IRVP   00353 868634194


Twitter: IRVA.       @IRVAroadsafety

              IRVP.       @RoadVictimsNGO


Facebook: IRVA https://www.facebook.com/IrishRoadVictims/

                  IRVP https://www.facebook.com/RoadVictimsNGOs/


Ep 20: Living the Alumni Way, Everyday: The power and potential lifelong engagement with your alumni network can bring to your professional and personal life after graduation.


In this episode, I talk with Dr Maria Gallo about the role university alumni can play in enhancing formal and informal learning.  She has over 20 years’ experience in higher education leadership and advancement roles in Ireland and Canada. 

Click HERE for Accessible Transcript

She has a brand new book entitled The Alumni Way: Building Lifelong Value from your University Investment that will be published on 30th September 2021. Dr Gallo is also the Founder of KITE – Keep in Touch Education, which is an alumni research services company that focuses on the transformative potential of alumni connection.

Maria starts the conversation off demystifying the concept of the ‘alumni grinch’ when we think that our alumni associations and organizations only want monetary contributions from us after graduation.  We evaluate our identity of ‘alumni-ness’, and the importance of shared connections and ties that makes networking through alumni relationships vital. Maria shares how giving back of yourself helps students to see a clearer vision of that relatable role-model in professional and business practice.

Maria talks about the impact that her own father’s experiences as a first generation university graduate had on her, and the positive influence that being an engaged alumni had on him personally and professionally, as an educator.  This fueled her passion for researching alumni lived experiences on all sides of the spectrum. She looked deeper into the policies and practices of alumni organizations to learn from the challenges that many face in maintaining successful and sustained engagement, and has developed best practices for implementing positive alumni relationships for universities worldwide.  

Maria has a new book coming out very soon that has been a long labour of love for her.  The book, The Alumni Way: Building Lifelong Value from your University Investment, which is incredibly warm and engaging.  She believes that the ‘way’ is this idea of a journey that we spend so much time and energy in education before we ever step foot onto a university campus. 

Her book reads like an intimate and passionate conversation between Maria, the author, and the reader, as a college graduate that begins to think ‘what now’?  This book is about helping others to discover the ‘alumni self’  and the four key traits of an informed and savvy alum, and working through the process of Reflection first, then Curiosity, Passion and Generosity before jumping in to give back and engage.  It’s a book that should be read by anyone who has graduated from college or university.

Maria talks about the impact that the ‘extraordinary ordinary’ alumni can have on student experiences in university.  Alumni associations need to reconsider who they highlight in their alumni connection newsletters and magazines because more graduates identify with the ‘extraordinary ordinary’ alumni stories than they do with reading about the CEOs, VIPs, and uber rich/successful alumni that are often interviewed and highlighted as people of note.  Every alumni has an interesting story and important contribution to university development and student learning experiences. 

Maria shares some great links and recommendations for inspiring your vision to get involved, connect or reconnect with your alma mater nationally or internationally.  Her parting words of wisdom for listeners?  ‘It isn’t just who you know… but who knows you!’ Develop your alumni relationships.  Get involved, stay engaged, and tap into the potential of your alumni network to achieve the life you want through those important connections.  It’s never too late. Come #ListenAndLearn

Link to purchase Maria Gallo’s book The Alumni Way: Building Lifelong Value from your University Investment  https://policy.bristoluniversitypress.co.uk/the-alumni-way 

Tedx link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ppr6ptfM4_s

Website: https://www.keepintoucheducation.com

Engaging International Alumni as Strategic Partners (Rincon & Dobson 2021)


Who You Know: Unlocking Innovations that Expand Students. (Freeland Fisher, 2018) https://www.christenseninstitute.org/books/who-you-know/ 

Nexus: A network of Alumni Social Impact Networks http://www.inhiveglobal.org/nexus/


Ep 19 Where is the Heart of the Child?: Discovering the state of childhood through stories and narratives curated in the Childlike Journal

Image credit: https://www.projectboldlife.com


In this episode, I am joined by Ciara O’Siorain to talk about the exploration of what it means to be ‘childlike’ through curated stories and narratives. Ciara is currently a Masters in Philosophy student in Trinity College Dublin studying Children’s Literature. She is also the executive editor of ‘Childlike’: A Journal of Childhood.

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Ciara begins by explaining her passion for children’s literature and how certain childhoods are excluded, or made abnormal in literature texts.  She interrogates the more commonplace ideals of the ‘real child’ in literature and texts alongside the messier bits of childhood.

We talk about the horror lens through which children’s stories and folk tales are depicted and how children are exposed to negative tropes and stigmas such as trauma, mental illness, depression and schizophrenia, through these stories in some sort of effort to instill a sense of morality and good in children, rather than deal with the realities of life many children experience in a more positive and healthy way.  The ends of the text are often disconnected and rarely provide a positive outcome as to how to get out of these situations.

Ciara talks about what inspired her to start the Childlike journal.  She was very inspired by the theories that she was studying and the concept of what really is ‘childhood’?  She discusses the differences between the negative connotation of ‘childish’ and the positive and creative connotation of being ‘childlike’.  What do we think of children and the concepts of childhood? 

Ciara explains the themes for contributions to the journal through concepts that she is reading and questioning about childhood, herself.  She asks contributors to consider their relationships with childhood.  What do they hold dear and what do they hope will come from their submissions?  The themes center around relationships, normalities and abnormalities, and responses from open surveys and interviews that she conducts. She talks about her favorite survey responses and the deep questions that were generated from the conversation.  The short stories and reflections present very moving and intimate depictions of childhood and memories of childhood. 

Ciara believes that the way the writing moves the authors and the reader is the whole point.  Rather than reading something in static form, these stories could be anyone’s history, anyone’s story.  They are meant to provoke thought and relate to some element of the stories. She talks about her hope for the themes and the ‘state of childhood’ in the next issue, as well.

We discuss the call and process for those interested in contributing to the journal.  Whether it is art, poetry, short stories or any other medium, she wants to see it!  She is open to international perspectives, as well.  Ciara recommends some incredible books and childhood literature that anyone interested in children’s literature should check out. Cameron Garrett, Oliver Jeffers, Alison Bechtel, GD Baker, and several more.

Ciara’s words of wisdom?  When it comes to writing, if you’ve outgrown the pond (of experience and expertise) that you’ve been living in, and you find yourself in a bigger pond which is terrifying and scary… you’re there for a reason!  Growth is meant to be embraced. Come, listen and learn! 

You can reach Ciara O’Siorain or check out Childlike, the journal here:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/childlikejournal

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/childlikejournal/

Email: childlikejournal@gmail.com

Childlike Issue 1: https://issuu.com/childlikejournal/docs/18_november_2020_

Childlike Issue 2: https://issuu.com/childlikejournal/docs/_childlike_issue_2_

From Imprisonment to Empowerment: How past trauma and a hunger for learning redefined one woman’s lived experience from victim to victor and empowered her to encourage voice for others.


In this episode I am joined by Michaela Booth, a passionate researcher and advocate for equity and inclusion, social justice, and the synthesis of lived experiences of women in prison, power, and the use and mis-use of trauma narratives in the broader societal context.

Click HERE for Accessible Transcript

Micheala talks openly about her trauma growing up with parents fully immersed in drug abuse, addiction, mental illness and the criminal system and her experiences in the education system as a young child living with trauma.  Michaela has been deeply impacted by discrimination and stigma.  She explains how labeling is really used to mock the bodies of what society deems as ‘bad people’.

Her first memory of an education provision that was failing in it’s duty to look after children, was during primary school when teachers would exclude Michaela and her sisters from afterschool activities that other children participated in as a form of punishment, specifically because her parents were addicts and chronically late to collect them.  They were made to sit in the corridor to wait for their parents while the other children were ushered into a hall to engage in arts and crafts and playtime.

Michaela and her sisters were often given detention for not getting their homework done, and embarrassed in front of others for not having the right uniform or for being hungry and asking for food.  Today, Michaela practices viewing this kind of behavior as a systemic issue rather than individual people who were less than what they should be during her time of need.

Michaela believes that her story in a broader social narrative, sheds light on the reality that many people who face social inequalities as a result of mental illness, drug misuse, and incarceration, have lived experiences that never really go away and the impact of social stigmas and its consequences are lifelong. Not just in the immediate, but for children and families who face trauma and trauma triggers on a daily basis, even if they are no longer directly in that trauma anymore. Michaela avoids using a narrative that places her in a victimhood identity.  She is the picture of positivity.

After being expelled permanently from post-primary school, having a baby at 17, and doing time in prison, Michaela was hungry for learning and was encouraged to apply for university.  She talks about an interaction with a university course coordinator that absolutely transformed her life and ideals for her future.  This woman’s enagement with Michaela, and her belief in Michaela’s potential was the first time anyone invested time in understanding who she was and how she hoped to use her past trauma for the greater good.  Michaela felt completely supported and valued for the first time in her life and to this day she shares a very special relationship and bond with the woman who believed her when no one else would.

Michaela talks about reintegration into society after a prison sentence and the stigma attached to that and all the barriers that are faced which starts you off on a track for failure rather than success.  How can this be integration? Many people can’t get past go.  We live in environments with systems and services that have failed us massively.

We talk about trauma being a ‘transferrable skill’ and whether traumatic experiences can be positively cultivated.  Michaela explains that one of her survival mechanisms has been to invest in the study and full understanding of systems and structures of oppression, trauma, social inequality and stigma, and the consequences of that oppression on groups of people. It is important to understand that these structures of oppression are not done by accident.  Through our conversation, it is very clear that Michaela embodies the ability to survive in any environment and to be successful at it.

We discuss Michaela’s research and the distinct lack of understanding by those in academia to the realities happening outside the proverbial institutional walls. She explains that academia perpetuates the invisibility of the oppressed and marginalised in society and rendering the participants voiceless in trauma research through overly strict, unreasonable ethics restrictions, and language that excluding people from participation.

It’s time to invest in people who have experienced trauma to tap into what their strengths and aspirations are as individuals with their own unique stories.  Michaela doesn’t want to be the voice for criminalised women, what she wants to do is work to put those mechanisms in systemically to draw out those voices.  She doesn’t want to be the ‘prisoner voice’ rather she wants to make the methods and models for hearing everybody’s voice.

Michaela’s words of wisdom?  We need to think differently about the quote ‘everything you do in the dark always come to light’.  It isn’t about something that you’ve done wrong, rather finding the light at the end of the trauma tunnel.  Don’t miss this conversation.  You will surely come away with a renewed sense of purpose, position, and passion for equity, inclusion, and transformative thinking. Come #ListenAndLearn

Michaela’s Blog:


Book recommendation:

The Body Keeps the Score – written by: Bessel A van der Kolk

Inclusion Matters: Inclusion is everybody’s business and we all have a role to play in ensuring inclusion for all members of society.

Image credit: Sheila Vick


In this episode, I talk with Dr Patricia McCarthy, a visiting research fellow from Trinity College Dublin and passionate advocate for disability and inclusion rights in education.

Click HERE for Accessible Transcript

Patricia shares her own experiences of being educated as a blind/physically impaired student from the 1970s and the barriers she overcame to achieve her PhD.  She talks about being perceived as an oddity of being doubly disabled and feeling less able than her peers because she couldn’t walk as well as them.  Patricia struggled with masking her disability through adulthood and reflecting on the stigma of the ‘white cane’ as if something was wrong with having a disability. It wasn’t until her experiences in higher education and the maturity that comes along with being an adult, that she realised the importance of disclosure.

Patricia is passionate about trying to improve awareness around the low incidence of people who are blind/vision impaired in education and specifically the very low percentage of those who go on to postgraduate study.  When there is significant amounts of reading that is required in higher level education, access to readable texts and resources, as well as support, is a major challenge and hindrance for many students.  She says that it is frustrating to be constantly on the backfoot waiting for someone to put resources and reading materials in a format that you can read, and students with disabilities are constantly trying to play catch up.

Patricia explains that often the voice of those with disabilities is often diminished by experts that are supporting them. Considerations and decisions for the students are often made very early on in their education and they have little support or voice in the decisions that are made for them.  The findings from her research centered around themes of identity, access and transition. The education system as it is now, isn’t always designed to include the disabled person and to engage them in a positive and authentic manner. It seems that blind and disabled students in higher education are more the exception rather than the rule.

Focus must always be on ability rather than focusing on disability. She says that there needs to be more awareness around how community, society and educators can support all students and not limit them during their formative years based on their disability.  Just because they have a disability, it is only part and parcel of who they are as a person and education should look at the individual and the whole person. Currently, the education system isn’t designed in a way to enable disabled people to engage meaningfully.

We won’t always get it right, but we are so much better for actively and authentically trying! Ensuring that everyone is included means thinking beyond only people with disabilities. We are all unique and have different needs for living and learning. We need to move from a position that a ‘someone’ is the designated person to look after the issues around inclusion or around disability, or whatever it might be and genuinely move to a position where actually inclusion is everybody’s business. It is a mindset shift that would move away from the dichotomy of ability and disability. Inclusion is never an end point, rather more like a wheel where people are getting on and off.

There is a deep appreciation for the person who authentically tries.  When you are genuinely aware and thinking about inclusion in everyday settings rather than just practicing it only in certain settings. We need to work within the diversity of our system and not exclude others.  In many ways it is an attitudinal shift, we all do things differently and learn differently regardless of disability or not.

We finish up the conversation with a discussion around Patricia’s guide dog, Gaston, and the twitter account she created using Gaston as the author to help create awareness about inclusion and disability issues in society and community.  It is a good way to educate people about the work of a guide dog, and certain aspects of what they do and some of the barriers that society places illegally on guide dogs due to ignorance of policies and legislation.

Patricia’s passion and enthusiasm for educating others on inclusion for everyone is certainly ignited through this conversation.  Come #ListenAndLearn




UDL Document resource:


Is there a Doctor in the classroom? Exploring the experiences and contribution of teachers with doctoral credentials in post-primary education.

MeToo Teaching Consent


In this episode, I talk with Dr Eoin Ó Donnchadha.  Eoin is a teacher of history, economics and business,who has taught in a post-primary context in both Ireland and England. He is also an occasional lecturer in economics at the UCD School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering.  We spend about an hour discussing human capital, the contribution of doctoral education in post-primary teaching, the importance of lifelong learning, continuous research and so much more.

Click HERE for Accessible Transcript

Eoin, a passionate educator and supporter of continuous learning, explains that his research explored the impact and experiences of post-primary teachers in Ireland that hold a doctoral degree through human capital theory and the idea that education and worker skill level can impact productivity.  His largely qualitative study provides so much rich data through teacher’s lived experiences and dialogue.

We talk about his desire to teach at the post-primary level, and the Irish requirement that even someone with an earned PhD must undertake a recognized programme in education to receive the teaching certification necessary to teach post-primary students.  He discusses the benefits that his PhD qualification had on his own learning during the PME programme, as well as the expertise and advice that he could provide to fellow peers because of his prior qualifications.

Eoin talks about the very distinct differences between teaching in the UK and in Ireland and the way the teachers communicate with their students and their families.  Increased teaching autonomy, teacher-to-student ratios, variation in paperwork and procedures, and employment interview requirements are all discussed.

The stories that Eoin shares from his participants as well as his own experiences as a teacher with a doctoral degree are so relevant and interesting. His participants reported benefits and challenges that a doctoral education provides for teachers.  There is greater confidence, subject knowledge, and skills demonstrated that are needed to really inspire their students to embrace higher order thinking skills and processes.

Teachers are able to support students with questioning sources and resources, critical evaluation and problem solving.  They also report that there is increased effectiveness of their communication with fellow staff and parents.  Some challenging experiences that teachers with doctoral degrees face are needless worry from administrative staff and others in the field around ‘stop-gap’, impacts on job acquisition, pay inequality, and the perception that teachers with a PhD are ‘too big for their boots’.

Eoin’s latest publication speaks about social media as a great way to share knowledge in the profession and varying professional associations in education. These online platforms are helpful for encouraging the sharing of high quality subject knowledge and for disseminating creative resources from teaching professionals at varying levels.  High quality and accessible education resources are critically needed when there is so much rubbish out there and online, to sift through.  There is an important element of relationships and community working together to improve the system for those that are at ground zero – teachers teaching, practicing, and researching in the classroom.

Eoin shares some final words of wisdom in true historian form. A medieval Irish maxim – ‘knowledge is the better for enquiry’.  Come, #ListenAndLearn

What are You Going to Do with That? Getting The Message Out: Why podcasts are important for formal and informal learning and why we do what we do.



Photo by Krzysztof Maksimiuk on Unsplash

In this episode, I talk with Danni Reches and Ido Rosenzweig, host and producer of ‘What are you going to do with that?’ podcast about their experiences hosting and producing an educational podcast series. Danni and Ido are both based in the Minerva Center for the Rule of Law under Extreme Conditions at the University of Haifa in Israel.  Their podcast highlights the work of PhD students and early career researchers about the varying aspects of their research and academic journey.

Click HERE for Accessible Transcript

Ido and Danni share the inspiration behind the podcast and their desire to share widely not only the success, challenges and struggles that early career researchers face, but also their desire to convey these stories in a way that others can relate to.  Since the launch of their podcast, they have interviewed early career researchers from all over the world and discuss important research that encompasses everything from the study of bananas to baseball and transnational migration.

Most don’t realize the work that goes into the production of a podcast from start to finish.  Both Danni and Ido make sure that their guests are in a comfortable space and place to talk about their journey and share their stories.  As the producer, Ido spends time with their guests ahead of the recording, listening to their stories, finding out exactly what they hope to get out of the conversation together, the message they want to convey, and taking detailed notes for Danni, the host.  Danni has a keen interest in mental health awareness in academia, so she always has a glass of amaretto and encourages their guests to bring along their beverage of choice to calm nerves, break the ice, and help make the interview space feel warm and inviting.  As if two friends are sharing a cuppa and a chat together.

Danni and Ido share funny experiences in past interviews and talk about how they handle sensitive issues that sometimes come up in conversations.  They discuss what they have learned as podcasters along the way, and learning that is constantly transforming.  Everything from developing new technical skills, mastering new social media platforms for promotion and networking, to improving listening and speaking skills, and unique perspectives gained from the research of their guests.

Ido explains that podcasts are important for conveying a message, for putting new and innovative research in the spotlight, and making learning and knowledge widely accessible.  There is something for everyone and the topics are endless.  We agree that independent podcasters are so incredibly supportive of one another, and collaborations like this one expand your reach as a podcast and make for interesting discussions from varying perspectives.  There is a sense of community among podcasters and you can find a sense of belonging through social media platforms like Twitter and YouTube.

As we conclude our conversation, Danni and Ido have some tips, tricks and advice for anyone who might be interested in starting their own podcast.  Ido wisely advises that podcasting is a commitment, have a clear understanding of the message you want to convey before you start, and don’t get discouraged.  ‘Remember, no one becomes a hit show overnight and don’t get caught up in the numbers’.  Be patient with yourself and learn as you go.  A really fun and fascinating conversation from one podcaster to another.  Come, #ListenAndLearn

Google podcast link:

What are you Going to Do with THAT?

Website link:





References to Twitter accounts we’ve mentioned today.

Fernando – @Ferchucky

Sophie – @InfraRedRum


Shelley Turner




Vikram Planthropology

Going Global: Is it really about education or something more? The geopolitics of higher education, World Class Universities, and international student experiences.



Photo by Bill Oxford on Unsplash

In this episode, I talk with Dr Evgenia Likhovtseva-Quinn about her research on World Class Universities, BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) nations, the geopolitics of higher education, and international student recruitment amidst the COVID_19 pandemic.

Click HERE for Accessible Transcript

Evgenia has lived and studied all over the world, so it is perfectly natural that her passion for internationalization in higher education and global higher education administration would be cultivated by her own personal experiences as well as her formal education in philosophy and public policy and management. Evgenia’s PhD research centered around higher education policy and the status of World Class Universities in BRICS nations as well as her work in Trinity College Global Relations Office has continued to fuel her desire to engage in further research on the experiences of international students studying abroad.

We talk about our own personal experiences as international students, and how being an international student makes you look at the world through a different lens as you learn about the culture that you are immersed in. We talk about the things you learn about yourself, and about contributing positively to those other countries in some way, as well. We are all different but there are so many similarities and finding common ground is essential.  Being an international student changes your personality as you try to connect and get to know other people and adjust to your new culture and environment. The global growth that is achieved through international learning experiences are transformational for the student and highly beneficial for the universities who embrace them.

Evgenia talks about the prestige of World Class Universities and flaws within the world university ranking system that affect non-traditional colleges and universities (like BRICS).  She explains the concept of geopolitics of education and how it impacts the way in which international student recruitment is approached.  The cold war came up and the way that Russia reached out to other countries to recruit international students to come learn and return to their own countries post-cold war.  She says that building relationships, trust and partnerships with other countries is key to diversifying your student body.

We talk about processes of learning for international students and the stigma of the ‘validity’ of an education from fully online colleges and universities. She shares her experiences teaching and researching in China and how censorship in communist countries can be very challenging for international researchers because participants are monitored, not open to talking, or just repeat information that is already available on open source.  We discuss the challenges that international students faced when the pandemic hit and many were forced to leave their studies behind and return to their home country with their education and life on hold.  Some institutions handled it very well while others contributed to incredible heartache for international students and their families.  This brings up the importance of regional colleges and universities and their place in society and delivering high quality education regardless of whether they are listed as a World Class University or not.

A brilliant and fascinating conversation you don’t want to miss!  Come #ListenAndLearn