By Sophia Ricco
A group of podcasters from Walt Whitman High School earned recognition from National Public Radio (NPR) in a nationwide podcast challenge.
“Between Two Worlds,” produced by members of Whitman’s podcast club The WHIT, was awarded an honorable mention in NPR’s Student Podcast Challenge. The podcast finds commonality in the very different experiences of the three students from diverse backgrounds.
Junior Alina Naseer was inspired by her own life with her parents – immigrants from the Dominican Republic and Pakistan – to formulate the podcast’s topic.
“I thought about my upbringing and how I had to blend the expectations of my parents with being raised in a new country that’s different from their upbringing,” Naseer said.
She enlisted the help of Umema Siddiqui, a junior whose parents came from Pakistan, and Efrain Citle-Palestino, a senior who immigrated from Mexico with his family.
“We all have different backgrounds but we found common ground,” Naseer said. “Even though we’re diverse our families have always pushed us to focus on education and family values.”
Citle-Palestino shared the pressure he felt from his family to pursue education and get into a good college. He said he often felt they were depending on him to succeed.
Naseer and Siddiqui talked about the expectation and difficulty to pray five times a day while attending school.
“Growing up I kinda experienced a culture clash in some ways,” Naseer said. “Whether it be religion food or just tradition.”
“The title ‘Between Two Worlds’ reflects the three of us on the panel because we felt between the worlds of our parents immigrating here and our reality living on Long Island,” Naseer said. “We had to take their expectations and mold them into something that was attainable for us.”
In its first year, the WHIT has established itself as an outlet for student voices through political podcasts and cooking videos.
“The club is student-run so we have free rein to pick the topics we want to discuss, to choose a panel and the questions,” Naseer said. “Whatever we’re passionate about we just run with.”
Benjamin Joseph played a major part in shaping its final form, making the podcast sound professional and fit in the 10-minute requirement.
“It was pretty daunting… But now I’ve become more comfortable and candid,” Naseer said. “It’s less-rehearsed and more natural now that we’ve been doing it a while.”
“It’s really refreshing to be given that opportunity to just express ourselves freely without really having to worry about the influence of teachers or others at school,” Naseer said.
Naseer looks forward to another year with The WHIT and communicating about important issues. She said the club has sparked an interest in her with journalism writing and reporting that she hopes to pursue.
Listen to “Between Two Worlds” and other student podcasts on SoundCloud by searching The WHIT. � 8