“Escape Velocity” Podcast Series Explores Race, Academia and STEM

| August 26, 2020

New USC Viterbi series captures the stories of Black faculty, students and academic leaders.

Featured in “Escape Velocity,” Episode 1: professors Stacey Finley and Timothy Pinkston. Art by Xan Black.

The USC Viterbi School of Engineering’s podcast series “Escape Velocity” originally launched in 2016 as an audio drama series capturing the intersection of engineering and everyday life — stories of love in a time of algorithms, unlocking the human body and even an old school radio drama about AI buildings as friends.

Now, it has been reimagined in partnership with Brandi Jones, USC Viterbi vice dean of diversity and strategic initiatives, to capture the intersection of race, academia and STEM.

This reimagined podcast series launches in advance of USC Viterbi’s action plans for addressing issues of equity and inclusion, which will be released in the coming weeks.

As Dean Yannis Yortsos noted: “Listening to the poignant stories of some of our Black colleagues and friends, faculty, students and staff at USC Viterbi is an inspiration to our own call to action.”

Listen to their stories below.

Escape Velocity, Episode 1: “Conversations with Black Faculty”

Featured in this episode:
Timothy Pinkston
George Pfleger Chair in Electrical and Computer Engineering and Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering
USC Viterbi vice dean, faculty affairs

Stacey Finley
Gordon S. Marshall Early Career Chair and Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Biological Sciences
Director, Center for Computational Modeling of Cancer

Editor’s Note: There are eight, full-time, African-American faculty who have primary or secondary appointments in the USC Viterbi School of Engineering. Of these, four are tenured or tenure track faculty at USC, including Professors Timothy Pinkston and Stacey Finley (featured in Episode 1); Professor John Slaughter, the former director of the National Science Foundation (who will appear in Episode 2); and Professor Wade Zeno, who joined USC Viterbi in the fall of 2020. Professor Slaughter holds a joint appointment in the USC Rossier School of Education and the USC Viterbi School.

Credits:
Hosts: Brandi Jones and Daniel Druhora
Producers: Greta Harrison and Adam Smith
Sound Editor / Mixer: Eric Han
Opening Music: “Street Fighter Mas” by Kamasi Washington

Episode 1 Notes:
Watch Professor Timothy Pinkston’s talk at the National Academies on “The Parity Objective:”

Read the White Paper co-authored by Dean Yannis Yortsos, Brandi Jones, Gisele Ragusa and Timothy Pinkston on “Engineering an Educational Transformation.”

Read about Prof. Pinkston’s continued support for diversity programs at his alma mater.

Read Professor Stacey Finley’s blog entry: “A Personal Perspective on Being Black in America and Academia”

Share This Story