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Students’ Award-Winning Athlete Mental Health Podcast Recognized at National College Media Meeting

3 students record a podcast in radio station studio
(L to R) Senior nursing students Keely Reardon, Claire Barrett and Emma Lovejoy record their podcast on athlete mental health and stigma in the spring semester of 2022 as part of their Health Promotion practicum experience at Villanova's campus radio station WXVU.

A new podcast Stop the Stigma: Student Athlete Mental Health, developed by three senior nursing students Claire Barrett, Emma Lovejoy and Keely Reardon, was recognized along with the creators at a meeting of the Spring National College Media Association in New York City on March 12 and earned third place in the Best Podcast category of the College Media Association’s Apple Awards. The students created the podcast for their Health Promotion practicum with Associate Professor Carol Weingarten, PhD, RN, ANEF, from the studio of Villanova’s campus radio station, WXVU, 89.1 FM broadcast and streaming and were supported by WXVU advisor Deena Smith, and Program Manager Nick Langan. This was the first time Villanova nurses had a podcast submitted to this national conference. In addition to broadcast and streaming through WXVU, the podcast is on Spotify and Apple Music.

Since the seniors have each been student athletes, they note, “From the get-go we knew we wanted to do something related to athletics...we saw the need for increased mental health awareness in athletics due to first- and second-hand experiences we have had. We knew how important it was to not only just speak on the topic, but to bring Villanova student athlete voices to the forefront.” In their final product, they also included licensed mental health professionals, coaches, and other campus resources.  

The students acknowledge that they did not fully anticipate how much work and time the creation of a podcast would take but they do not regret their choice. Ultimately, they had two weeks to “interview 12 people, transcribe and dissect their interviews, and organize and edit the entire podcast. There were quite a few late nights in the studio, but we gained a lot of experience and due to the time crunch, we learned quickly how to operate the software.”

Claire, Emma and Keely say they have learned the potential impact that the College of Nursing can have in advocating for others in the future who are also facing stigma and are going unheard. They explain, “We're hoping that this podcast can become the first of a whole series, focused on destigmatizing and bringing to light issues that may be unseen on campus.”  

Listen to the podcast here.