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College Town Talk

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College Town Talk is a podcast from Tennessee Tech University in partnership with the Cookeville-Putnam County Visitors Bureau available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google PodcastsPandora, Soundcloud and YouTube.
 
Each week, hosts Jonathan Frank and Shan Stout introduce listeners to Tech faculty, staff and students – as well as successful Tech alumni, local business owners and civic leaders – who are making a difference and living Wings Up in their community. College Town Talk is a celebration of the people and places that make Cookeville Tennessee’s College Town.
 
Email Tech’s Jonathan Frank at jonathanfrank@tntech.edu with podcast questions, feedback or suggestions.


Stream the Latest Episodes:

 

Episode 23: Morris Irby and Lori Jackson Strode
Morris Irby and Lori Jackson Strode
As Black History Month comes to a close, Jonathan and Shan are joined by two trailblazing Tennessee Tech alumni: Morris Irby, the first Black baseball player recruited to Tennessee Tech and a Tennessee Tech Sports Hall of Fame member, and Lori Jackson Strode, a three-time Tennessee Tech graduate who recently directed and co-created the Cookeville Theatre Company's production of "I Am My Ancestors' Wildest Dream," a musical and spoken-word production honoring the struggles and triumphs of Black history.



Episode 22: Penny Grace Judd and Cheryl Montgomery 
Penny Grace Judd and Cheryl Montgomery
On a special Presidents' Day episode of College Town Talk, we chat with a bipartisan pair of Tennessee Tech Golden Eagles who previously served in presidential administrations. First, we hear from Tech alumna and former SGA President Penny Grace Judd, who served as an aide under President George W. Bush. Then, we're joined by Cheryl Montgomery, director of program development and engagement in Tech's College of Business, who worked on the Clinton-Gore 1992 presidential campaign and transition team and later served in the administration as a top aide to U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno.

 

Episode 21: Dr. M. Dianne Murphy and Vice Mayor Luke Eldridge
Dr. M. Dianne Murphy and Vice Mayor Luke Eldridge
This week on College Town Talk, we're catching up Dr. M. Dianne Murphy, a trailblazing athlete, coach, and university administrator. Dr. Murphy is a Tennessee Tech Sports Hall of Fame member and the 2005 winner of the university's Distinguished Alumna Award. Later on, we are joined by Luke Eldridge, the vice mayor of Cookeville and a proud Tennessee Tech alumnus from the class of 2010. 

 

Episode 20: Dr. Monic Ductan and Lee Gatts
Dr. Monic Ductan and Lee Gatts
On episode 20 of College Town Talk, we hear from Dr. Monic Ductan, associate professor of English at Tennessee Tech and author of the new book, Daughters of Muscadine. Then, we're catching up with Lee Gatts, a former Tech SGA President and the 2013 recipient of Tech's prestigious Derryberry Award.

 

Episode 19: Dr. Jennifer Shank and Larry Stone
Dr. Jennifer Shank and Larry Stone
On episode 19 of College Town Talk, Jonathan and Shan talk with Dr. Jennifer Shank, dean of the College of Fine Arts at Tennessee Tech, about the college's upcoming "Arty Gras" celebration on March 2 (purchase tickets here). Later in the program, we're joined by Larry Stone, the president and general manager of Stonecom Radio and the person behind some of our favorite Upper Cumberland radio stations like Newstalk 94.1, Lite Rock 95.9, 106.9 Kicks Country and others. 



Episode 18: Claire Myers and Lisa Uhrik
Claire Myers and Lisa Uhrik
On episode 18 of College Town Talk, Jonathan and Shan are joined by Claire Myers, a Tennessee Tech senior and current Student Government Association (SGA) vice president. Later in the program, we're joined by Lisa Uhrik, a Tennessee Tech alumna and the co-owner of Plenty Downtown Bookshop in Cookeville.



Episode 17: Rev. Dr. W. Antoni Sinkfield and Jamie Lankford 

Rev. Dr. W. Antoni Sinkfield and Jamie Lankford
On episode 17 of College Town Talk, Jonathan and Shan hear from Rev. Dr. W. Antoni Sinkfield, the winner of Tennessee Tech's 2023 Distinguished Alumnus Award and a nationally recognized community, higher education and faith leader. Later in the program, we're joined by Jamie Lankford, the owner of Jamie's Eats & Sweets in Cookeville. 



Episode 16: Jake Hoot and Dr. Christina Mick 
Jake Hoot and Dr. Christina Mick
College Town Talk kicks off 2024 with an appearance from country music sensation, Tennessee Tech alumnus and the winner of season 17 of The Voice: Jake Hoot! Jake discusses his years growing up in the Dominican Republic, his years playing football for Tech and his passion for giving back to campus today. We also hear from Dr. Christina Mick, director of the Tennessee Tech Counseling Center. Dr. Mick discusses how today's college students are opening up the conversation on mental health and plays a game of rapid fire questions with Jonathan and Shan. 



Episode 15: Hannah & Justin Davis and Dr. Joseph Slater 
Hannah & Justin Davis and Dr. Joseph Slater
On episode 15 of College Town Talk, Jonathan and Shan are joined by the power couple of Hannah and Justin Davis - Tennessee Tech alumni who own Vertical Coffee Company in downtown Cookeville. Later in the program, we hear from Dr. Joseph Slater, dean of Tennessee Tech's College of Engineering, who shares about the college's forthcoming nuclear engineering degree program and the state-of-the-art Ashraf Islam Engineering Building nearing completion on Tech's campus.


Episode 14: Brooke Mayo and Dr. Catherine Godes
Brooke Mayo and Catherine Godes
On episode 14 of College Town Talk, Jonathan and Shan are joined by Brooke Mayo, a Tennessee Tech soccer alumna and officiant at the 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup. We also hear from Dr. Catherine Godes, professor of piano in Tennessee Tech's School of Music. Dr. Godes shares a deeply personal story about her late husband's years in a Nazi concentration camp and how his memory inspires her work to combat antisemitism today.

 

Episode 13: Kirsten Cooper and Dontrell Baines
Kirsten Cooper and Dontrell Baines
On episode 13 of College Town Talk, Jonathan and Shan are joined by Tennessee Tech alumna Kirsten Cooper, the owner of The French Cookie of Cookeville. Later in the program, we hear from Dontrell Baines, a former Golden Eagles football player and the chair of the Tennessee Tech Alumni Association Board of Directors.

 
 
Episode 12: Philip Gibbons and Susan Luna-Hazlewood
Philip Gibbons and Susan Luna-Hazlewood
On episode 12 of College Town Talk, Jonathan and Shan are joined by Philip Gibbons, a Tennessee Tech alumnus who is a CMA Award and ACM Award-nominated radio personality for 94.7 The Country Giant. We also hear from Susan Luna-Hazlewood, a Tennessee Tech alumna and the newly appointed director of Tech's Crawford Alumni Center.



Episode 11: Remembering Michelle Huddleston
Michelle Huddleston
On a special episode of College Town Talk, we honor the memory of Michelle Huddleston, a longtime Tennessee Tech staff member and proud alumna who passed away on October 21. Joining us to offer tributes are Michelle’s friends and colleagues, including Dr. Rob Owens, Dr. Katie Aikens, Sandra Bohannon, Karen Lykins and former Cookeville Mayor Ricky Shelton, along with his wife, Shannon. Learn more about how you can help rename the Tech food pantry in memory of Michelle at www.giving.tntech.edu/pages/food-pantry.



Episode 10: Chance Hale and Emma Crabtree
Chance Hale and Emma Crabtree
On episode 10 of College Town Talk, co-hosts Jonathan Frank and Shan Stout are joined by Chance Hale, a junior at Tennessee Tech from McMinnville and the current Student Government Association (SGA) president. Later in the program, we hear from Tennessee Tech alumna Emma Crabtree. Emma is also the owner of Glass Tangerine, a plant shop and mercantile in Cookeville's historic West Side. 



Episode 9: Dan Allcott and Lindsay Pride
Dan Allcott and Lindsay Pride
On episode nine of College Town Talk, co-hosts Jonathan Frank and Shan Stout speak with Dan Allcott, professor in Tennessee Tech's School of Music and the music director for the Bryan Symphony Orchestra. We also hear from Lindsay Pride, a Tennessee Tech alumna and award-winning journalist who serves as the editor of the local newspaper for Cookeville and surrounding areas, the Herald-Citizen.



Episode 8: Addison Dorris and Dr. Sean Ochsenbein
Addison Dorris and Sean Ochsenbein
On episode eight of College Town Talk, co-hosts Jonathan Frank and Shan Stout are joined by Addison Dorris, a Tennessee Tech senior, former student body president, and current student trustee on the Board of Trustees. Later in the program, we hear from Dr. Sean Ochsenbein, a decorated Tennessee Tech alumnus, former Derryberry Award recipient, emergency room physician and the 2018 Medal of Valor recipient. 



Episode 7: Andrew Buckner and Terri Ritter 
Andrew Buckner and Terri Ritter
On episode seven of College Town Talk, co-hosts Jonathan Frank and Shan Stout are joined by Andrew Buckner, a Tennessee Tech alumnus, local musician and the editor-in-chief of Cookeville Lifestyle. We also hear from Terri Ritter, the president of the Cookeville Art Studio & Gallery. 



Episode 6: Mayor Randy Porter and Dr. Cynthia Polk-Johnson
Mayor Randy Porter and Dr. Cynthia Polk-Johnson
On episode six of College Town Talk, co-hosts Jonathan Frank and Shan Stout are joined by Putnam County Mayor Randy Porter and Dr. Cynthia Polk-Johnson, Vice President for Student Affairs at Tennessee Tech. 

 

Episode 5: Provost Lori Mann Bruce and Biskie Duncan
Biskie Duncan and Provost Lori Mann Bruce
On episode five of College Town Talk, co-hosts Jonathan Frank and Shan Stout are joined by Dr. Lori Mann Bruce, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at Tennessee Tech, and Biskie Duncan, a Tennessee Tech alumna now serving as morning news anchor for KSLA News 12 in Shreveport, Louisiana.



Episode 4: Rep. Ryan Williams and Charria Campbell 
Rep. Ryan Williams and Charria Campbell

On episode four of College Town Talk, co-hosts Jonathan Frank and Shan Stout are joined by State Representative Ryan Williams and Charria Campbell, director of student engagement and Intercultural Affairs at Tennessee Tech.


Episode 3: Becky Magura and Dr. Michael Aikens
Becky Magura and Michael Aikens
On episode three of College Town Talk, co-hosts Jonathan Frank and Shan Stout are joined by Becky Magura, a Tennessee Tech alumna and the President and CEO of Nashville Public Television (NPT), as well as Dr. Michael Aikens, the director of the Center for Rural Innovation at Tennessee Tech and the administrative chair of the Rural Reimagined Grand Challenge.

 

Episode 2: Mark Wilson and Anna Dunn 
Mark Wilson and Anna Dunn

On episode two of College Town Talk, co-hosts Jonathan Frank and Shan Stout are joined by Mark Wilson, director of athletics for Tennessee Tech, and Anna Dunn, a Tennessee Tech alumna and the owner of Soul Craft Coffee.

 

Episode 1: Mayor Laurin Wheaton and Dr. Robert Owens
Mayor Laurin Wheaton and Dr. Robert Owens

On the series premiere of College Town Talk, co-hosts Jonathan Frank and Shan Stout are joined by Cookeville Mayor Laurin Wheaton and Tennessee Tech Chief Diversity Officer Dr. Robert Owens.