Maybe not what you ‘Expected’ from SBU’s pod people

Cast off: Featuring Interim President Michael Bernstein (left) and music instructor Thomas Manuel, the first episode of "Beyond the Expected" -- Stony Brook University's first official podcast -- is "live" in cyberspace.

The Long Island flagship of the state university system is an understandably busy place.

Cutting-edge scientific research, a thriving arts-and-culture scene, NCAA Division I athletics, deepening and increasingly important collaborations with regional socioeconomic partners – all of this and more, spread across a 1,000-acre main campus with a city-sized student population hovering around 27,000.

To highlight the expertise and outstanding social contributions of this large and diverse community, Stony Brook University is adopting a popular 21st century mass-communications tool.

“Beyond the Expected,” the university’s first-ever official podcast, features compelling conversations between SBU leaders and bright lights from across the Stony Brook system, highlighting innovation, diversity and “the global impact of scholarship,” according to the school.

Come blow your horn: Thomas Manuel, going “Beyond.”

The first of the “rotating podcast hosts” will be Interim Stony Brook University President Michael Bernstein, who conducts a series of 20-minute-or-so interviews with various campus representatives contributing, in some way, to the betterment of others.

By sharing their insightful perspectives on the important social issues of the day, “Beyond the Expected” both highlights each guest’s work and reinforces the university’s role as “the great community partner that it is today,” according to Bernstein.

“Stony Brook University faculty, staff and students put their heart and soul into their work, which elevates our regional economy and contributes more broadly to areas such as environmental sustainability, healthcare and social and cultural identity,” Bernstein said Wednesday.

The first slate of podcast guests covers a broad spectrum of academic and artistic pursuits, with varying levels of social and economic impact. Among those chewing the fat with Bernstein are Department of Physics and Astronomy Professor Abhay Deshpande, who discusses the evolution of nuclear science and the new electron ion collider project at Brookhaven National Laboratory, and Department of Music educator Thomas Manuel, who brings his jazz trumpet.

Also featured: interventional brain surgery with SBU Cerebrovascular and Stroke Center Co-director David Fiorella; the importance of the 2020 census with MSW student Meesha Johnson and School of Social Welfare Clinical Associate Professor Carolyn Peabody; and insights into the 2019 coronavirus with Renaissance School of Medicine Professor Sharon Nachman, chief of Stony Brook Medicine’s Division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases.

In addition to discussing its guests’ current work, “Beyond the Expected” will go back in time. The conversations retrace each interviewee’s personal journey, giving a broader understanding of his or her motivation and mindset and how the university nurtured them along, according to inaugural host Bernstein.

“This podcast will showcase their drive and diversity as we learn about what inspired them when young, and what they’re doing now,” the interim president added.

The first three episodes – featuring Manuel, Nachman and Deshpande, along with accompanying “vodcasts” that put faces with the names – are live now. “Beyond the Expected” is also available via subscription from Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Radio Public and Google Podcasts.

Although “Beyond the Expected” is SBU’s first official podcast, it is not the university’s first foray into the increasingly popular format. Among other efforts, in 2017, Stony Brook Southampton launched an Audio Podcast Fellowship program with Connecticut-based WSHU Public Radio.