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Nursing Students Among Top Awardees at Intercollegiate Broadcasting System Conference


Through a special partnership with Villanova University’s student-run radio station WXVU 89.1: The Roar, Fitzpatrick College of Nursing students have been developing public health messaging and essential science-based communication skills to educate communities about health through the airwaves and in podcasts.

WXVU, which reaches a global audience with its 24/7 broadcasts, received two national awards at the Intercollegiate Broadcasting System (IBS) annual conference March 2 in New York City and was a finalist in five categories, including Best College Radio Station.

Representing WXVU at the IBS Conference: (L to R) Catherine “Cat” Coyle, Assistant Director for Student Media Programs, Office of Student Involvement; Natalia Matar ’23 FCN; Carol Weingarten; Taleen Postian ’24 CLAS; Nick Langan ’20 CPS, ’22 MS; Nick Williams ’24 COE.

The podcast, as well as other public health messaging and public service announcements (PSAs), have been developed through WXV&U Health, a division of WXVU that debuted in January 2023 and is the first nurse-led health department in Federal Communications Commission-licensed college radio. The 2024 awards follow WXV&U Health’s 2023 win for Best National Public Affairs Program.

“The vision and goals for WXV&U Health flow from the mission, goals, and values of Villanova University and the Fitzpatrick College of Nursing (FCN),” said Associate Professor and Inaugural Director Carol Weingarten, PhD, RN, ANEF, “and are examples of their strategic plans in action.”

WXV&U Health team for Best Podcast: (L to R) Natalia Matar ’23 FCN, representing classmates Anne Ferry and Gaby Sasso; Nick Langan, ’20 CPS, ’22 MS, Operations Manager/WXVU/WXV&U Health; and Carol Weingarten, PhD, RN, ANEF, Inaugural Director, WXV&U Health.

Best Podcast Award

The Best Podcast award went to the Depression Among College Students episode of WXV&U Health’s ongoing Stop the Stigma series, which has focused on topics such as students with disabilities, mental health among college athletes, and non-traditional students.

Senior Nursing majors become involved in WXV&U Health through a required Health Promotion and Community Health practicum (NUR 4113) taught by Dr. Weingarten every spring.

Since 2018 senior Nursing majors have been based at the radio station for the required Health Promotion and Community Health Nursing practicum (NUR 4113) taught by Dr. Weingarten with Operations Manager Nick Langan ’20 CPS, ’22 MS and the Assistant Directors of the Office of Student Involvement for Student Media Programs, Deena Leh (2019-March 2023) and Catherine “Cat” Coyle (July 2023-present).

Anne Ferry, Natalia Matar, and Gabrielle Sasso, 2023 BSN graduates, hosted the Depression Among College Students podcast with Julia Stanisci ’22 CLAS, ’23 MA, President and Founder of IfYoureReadingThisNova and Guy M. Weissinger, II PhD, MPhil, RN, Diane Foley Parrett Endowed Assistant Professor. They discussed the prevalence of depression and ways to manage mental illnesses among college students.

“College is a really big time of transition,” said Dr. Weissinger in the podcast, noting that changes in behavior and a sense of hopelessness can be warning signs of depression. He suggested that students look out for each other by listening, engaging in active social behavior, and/or encouraging them to take advantage of mental health services available on and off campus.

Dr. Weingarten says that everything WXV&U Health records evolves from teaching plans focused on audience, outcomes and strategies.

“We go through every step of the critical thinking process to connect with our audience,” she said. “It’s another example of our clinical work and a service to the College and community beyond, expressed through the airwaves.”


Best News Interview

IBS selected WXVU’s Freshman Move-in Broadcast with Father Donohue as Best News Interview. Sophomore Nursing major Mandy Love Ledbetter and senior political science major Chris Cokinos interviewed the president during WXVU’s all-day broadcast of Move-In Day 2023. Among the wide-ranging topics they covered were the transition to college life for first-year students, Father Donohue’s theater background and the future of higher education.

Ledbetter, the first Nursing student to serve on the station’s executive board and producer of WXVU’s weekly news and talk show, The Morning Roar, also asked the president what piece of advice he’d give to new students embarking on their journeys at Villanova.

“Patience,” he responded, acknowledging that coming into university life can be a big adjustment. “You’ve got to give yourself a chance,” he said. “You’ve got to find your way in and find the people that you can connect with.”

More to Come

WXVU’s recognition from IBS is set to continue. A WXVU/WXV&U health abstract has already been accepted for presentation at the 2025 IBS Conference in New York City.