Fiat Vox

Fiat Vox

news.berkeley.edu/podcasts/fiat-vox
A UC Berkeley podcast


64: The Montgomery bus boycott and the women who made it possible
Feb 11 • 9 min
“People know about Rosa Parks. People know about Martin Luther King Jr. — and they should. And they know that it was the Montgomery bus boycott that ignited a certain kind of Southern civil rights movement,” says Ula Taylor, a professor in the Department…
63: Oral history project reveals ‘20 shades of Jerry Brown’
Jan 21 • 9 min
UC Berkeley’s Oral History Center and KQED teamed up to record the longest interview that Jerry Brown has ever done — one that offers a first-person account of his nearly five decades in California politics. For 20 sessions, they sat at Brown’s dining…
62: After Parkland shooting, student fights for mental health resources in schools
Dec 17, 2019 • 16 min
Feb. 14, 2018, began like any other day for Kai Koerber. He was running late for his early morning AP English class at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. When he got there, he was handed the class’s biggest assignment of the year and…
61: What does it mean to be a Native artist today?
Nov 26, 2019 • 8 min
After student Drew Woodson took a playwriting course with Philip Gotanda, a professor in the Department of Theater, Dance and Performance Studies at Berkeley, he realized he had a story to tell. Two years later, that story would become his first play,…
60: Fighting injustice with poetry
Nov 25, 2019 • 9 min
Saida Dahir grew up in Salt Lake City, Utah. At first, she thought she was like everyone else. But by sixth grade, she realized she was different. Her family was from Somalia — she was born in a refugee camp in Kenya after her family fled the civil war.…
59: Teeter totters as activism: How the border wall became a playground
Oct 8, 2019 • 5 min
When UC Berkeley architect Ronald Rael took his bright pink teeter totters to the U.S.-Mexico border wall, he didn’t know that what he and his team did next would go viral. He just wanted to create a moment where people on both sides of the wall felt…
58: The military isn’t out to ‘crush anybody who’s different’
Sep 3, 2019 • 13 min
“I grew up just super dirt poor … about as poor as you can be in this country,” says first-year Berkeley Law student, Blake Danser. School was where Danser felt safe, where he thrived. “And then puberty hit, and I felt weird in a way that I couldn’t…
57: Staffer’s search for birth mom reveals dark history of Guatemalan adoption
Jul 9, 2019 • 19 min
Gemma Givens, who works at UC Berkeley’s International House, was adopted from Guatemala in 1990 when she was 4 months old. Her mom, Melinda, was a graduate student at Berkeley at the time. She had a simple story she would tell Gemma about her adoption.…
56: The ministry of being out
Jun 11, 2019 • 11 min
For Martha Olney, a teaching professor of economics at UC Berkeley, coming out didn’t happen all at once. As a graduate student in 1980, she met her wife, Esther Hargis. A few of their friends knew they were together, but “it wasn’t something you told…
55: Why are there so many Filipino nurses in the U.S.?
May 28, 2019 • 8 min
Growing up in New York City, UC Berkeley ethnic studies professor Catherine Ceniza Choy remembers seeing a lot of nurses — dressed in their crisp white uniforms. She and her mom lived in an apartment building near several hospitals, so seeing health…
54: How a botched train robbery led to the birth of modern American criminology
Apr 30, 2019 • 17 min
On October 11, 1923, three brothers — Hugh, Ray and Roy DeAutremont — boarded a Southern Pacific Railroad train called the Gold Special near the Siskiyou Mountains in Oregon. The trio planned to rob the mail car. But instead of making off with their…
53: Chancellor Carol Christ and Professor Emerita Carol Clover on women in the academy, then and now
Apr 16, 2019 • 17 min
In 1970, when Chancellor Carol Christ joined UC Berkeley’s English department as an assistant professor, only 3% of the faculty on campus were women. “I always felt like a pioneer, in part, because I’m of the generation of the feminist revolution,” says…
52: ‘Mouthpiece’ says what many women never say
Mar 18, 2019 • 6 min
When Amy Nostbakken and Nora Sadava started writing Mouthpiece six years ago, they revealed their deepest secrets to each other with the prompt: “Tell me something that you would never want anyone ever to know.” From that, they created a raw, one-hour…
51: For Malika Imhotep, devotion to black feminist study is a life practice
Mar 11, 2019 • 6 min
Malika Imhotep grew up in West Atlanta, rooted in a community that she calls an “Afrocentric bubble,” in a family of artisans, entrepreneurs and community organizers. Now, as a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of African American Studies at UC Berkeley,…
50: In campus records 49 years and still loving it
Mar 4, 2019 • 6 min
When Karen Denton got a job in UC Berkeley’s registrar’s office at 20, she had one job: to remove incompletes. “I did that all day every day,” she says. Her tools of the trade? A fountain pen, an inkwell, an eraser, a razor blade and a marble. At 71,…
49: Black history cemetery tour: Abraham Holland and the Sweet Vengeance Mine
Feb 19, 2019 • 6 min
In 1849, a man named Abraham Holland packed up his things and left his life on the East Coast for California, in hopes that he’d strike it rich. The year before, gold had been discovered in the Sierra Nevada foothills, and people were coming from across…
48: Cal alumni leader gives hope to students who need it most
Feb 11, 2019 • 11 min
For Black History Month, we are resharing Fiat Vox episode #23, first published in 2018, about Clothilde Hewlett, the executive director of the Cal Alumni Association:Some people move to San Francisco for its jobs. Or its nightlife. Or its natural…
47: For international relations staffer, ballet kept her family’s Ukrainian culture alive
Jan 22, 2019 • 12 min
When Erika Johnson was 7, her Ukrainian mom put her in ballet class. Although Erika didn’t have the body that most principal dancers were known for, she had the work ethic that it took to be successful. “It was never like, ‘I must handpick you and…
46: Berkeley Haas Chief of Staff Marco Lindsey lives like his 80-year-old self is watching
Dec 10, 2018 • 9 min
Every morning, Marco Lindsey wakes up in East Oakland, where he was born and raised. He puts on a suit and tie, packs his briefcase, chats with his neighbors and drives to work at Berkeley Haas. It’s a typical morning routine, but to Marco, it’s a lot…
45: Native American ‘Antigone’ explores universal values of honoring the dead
Nov 20, 2018 • 8 min
In the summer of 1996, Will Thomas and Dave Deacy were wading in the Columbia River in Kennewick, Washington, watching the annual hydroplane races. Will kicked something with his foot, bent down and pulled something up. It was a human skull. Turns out, it…
44: Academic counselor Quamé on standing out, dreaming big—and letting go
Nov 5, 2018 • 17 min
When John Patton was in high school, he changed his name to Quamé. When he got to UC Berkeley as a student, “it stuck, instantly,” he says. At Berkeley, Quamé’s world opened up: “African American studies changed my life.” After graduating, getting a…
43: ‘White voice’ and hearing whiteness as difference, not the standard
Oct 16, 2018 • 5 min
In the 1940s and 50s, actors in major American films, like Katharine Hepburn and Jimmy Stewart, spoke with a kind of faux British accent as a way to sound “upper class.” This pronunciation spread across the country as a kind of standard to imitate. The…
42: The history of why some say women sound shrill, immature
Oct 9, 2018 • 6 min
Professor Tom McEnaney, who teaches a class called “Sounding American,” says the U.S. has a long history of men criticizing the way women speak. Sound technologies, starting with the gramophone and phonograph, he says, were developed for men’s voices —…
41: At Berkeley, nobody stuffs a bird like Carla Cicero
Sep 25, 2018 • 5 min
After Lux — one of the peregrine falcons born on the Campanile — died last year after striking a window of Evans Hall, the campus community was heartbroken. But Carla Cicero, the staff curator of birds at UC Berkeley’s Museum of Vertebrate Zoology, has…
40: From the archive: On Berkeley time? He keeps Campanile’s clocks ticking
Sep 18, 2018 • 4 min
Last week, Berkeley students noticed that one of the Campanile’s four clocks stopped. While the north-facing clock was at a standstill, the other three kept going. How could that happen? Turns out each of the clocks has its own motor and runs…
39: AileyCamp — so much more than a dance camp
Sep 4, 2018 • 7 min
As a kid, Makayla Bozeman could not stop dancing. She’d go to bed late because she was dancing. She’d wake up in the middle of the night to dance. When she was 13, she applied to AileyCamp — a six-week summer program run by Cal Performances at UC Berkeley…
38: Margaret Atwood: ‘Things can change a lot faster than you think’
Aug 28, 2018 • 7 min
Canadian author Margaret Atwood doesn’t like being called a soothsayer. “Anyone who says they can predict the future is… not telling the truth,” she says. But like it or not, it’s a label she’s been given since the revival of her 33-year-old dystopian…
37: Bringing people together, one puppet at a time
Jul 25, 2018 • 5 min
After seeing Handspring Puppet Company — the creators of the puppets in Broadway’s ” War Horse” — at UC Berkeley in 2015, Glynn Bartlett knew he wanted to work with them. So he packed his bags and traveled to South Africa, where he built puppets for an…
36: For disability advocate, helping students navigate campus is personal
Jul 17, 2018 • 5 min
When Derek Coates was 10, he found out he had a degenerative eye disease and was going to gradually lose his eyesight. Over the next 30 years, his visual world shrunk until he became completely blind at 41. Now, as a disability compliance officer at UC…
35: Peregrine falcons, zipping through campus at top speeds, are here to stay
Jul 10, 2018 • 5 min
The peregrine falcons that first made a home on UC Berkeley’s Campanile last year get a lot of attention every spring when their babies hatch. But it’s also amazing to watch the adults in action. At speeds of more than 200 miles per hour, peregrines are…
34: A biology prof on growing up gay in rural Minnesota
Jul 3, 2018 • 5 min
Noah Whiteman, an associate professor in the Department of Integrative Biology at UC Berkeley, has always known how to survive. He moved to Sax-Zim, a rural area in Minnesota, when he was 11 and spent the next seven years learning to fish and hunt with…
33: How a tender message helped win the fight for same-sex marriage
Jun 25, 2018 • 6 min
When Thalia Zepatos joined the Freedom to Marry campaign in 2010, she had a big job ahead of her: she had to craft a totally new message about same-sex marriage that would convince Americans that supporting the issue was the right thing to do. “It was…
32: Billy Curtis, an S.F. Pride grand marshal, on building inclusivity
Jun 14, 2018 • 5 min
Billy Curtis, the director of the Gender Equity Resource Center at UC Berkeley, has spent the past two decades working to build a more inclusive campus for the LGBTQ community. This year, he was named a grand marshal of the San Francisco Pride Parade and…
31: With music as his guide, Haas graduating senior envisions a better Nigeria
May 10, 2018 • 5 min
Inside of Joshua Ahazie’s mind live hundreds of songs. Since he was a kid, he would hear a melody and then he would hear all the parts — the vocals, how to play it on the piano. How it all went together. “I really thought I was going crazy.” But he soon…
30: On Worthy Wage Day, early childhood educators fight for support
May 1, 2018 • 5 min
When Marcy Whitebook worked as a childcare teacher in the 1970s, she made less than $2 an hour. She was amazed at how little she made for the hard and important work she did with infants and toddlers. So Whitebook, with a group of teacher-activists,…
29: From pollution cleanup to building houses, what can’t mushrooms do?
Mar 29, 2018 • 6 min
There are more than 5 million species of fungi, and each one likes a particular food. Some like sawdust. Others like plastic. Some can even digest heavy metals. After the fungi eat their meal, what was once waste turns into a new, natural and compostable…
28: Creating the world you want, by seeing a world that’s possible
Mar 12, 2018 • 5 min
When Derrika Hunt was in third grade, she didn’t stand for the Pledge of Allegiance. She remembers telling her mom, “This doesn’t feel right to me. Why am I saying this pledge and then going home every day to my community, seeing people suffering, seeing…
27: For Ula Taylor, it’s all about harnessing the leader within
Feb 28, 2018 • 5 min
“People know about Rosa Parks. People know about Martin Luther King Jr. And they know that it’s the Montgomery bus boycott that ignited a certain kind of Southern civil rights movement,” says Ula Taylor, the chair of the Department of African American…
26: Staff director sees great strength in diversity
Feb 21, 2018 • 4 min
Like a lot of leaders, Sidalia Reel started young. In fifth grade, she ran her household, making sure her four younger siblings didn’t get into too much trouble. Now, she’s the director of staff diversity initiatives in the Office of Equity and Inclusion…
25: For comics fan staffer, Black Panther was ‘life changing’
Feb 14, 2018 • 3 min
As a kid, Alfred Day would spend hours holed up indoors reading comics. He loved Batman and Superman, but the character who really spoke to him — who taught him that he could be smart and powerful — was Black Panther. Day, the director of student affairs…
24: For Ph.D. student Kenly Brown, collecting data is about people
Feb 12, 2018 • 6 min
As an undergraduate in Colorado, Kenly Brown was one of only a few African Americans on her campus. She felt isolated in the classroom, often expected to speak on behalf of all black people. Now, as a Ph.D. candidate in African American studies at UC…
23: For alumni leader, giving hope is her life’s mission
Feb 5, 2018 • 11 min
Before Clothilde Hewlett became the executive director of the Cal Alumni Association in 2016, she had lived many other lives. She spent years of her childhood in tenement housing in Philadelphia’s inner city before she and her family were called to San…
22: Here’s what an earthquake sounds like
Jan 12, 2018 • 3 min
Underground at UC Berkeley, seismic sensors capture the deep rumbles from Bay Area earthquakes. Here’s what a 4.4-magnitude earthquake that shook the Bay Area last year on Jan. 4, 2018 sounded like. Geophysicist Peggy Hellweg from the UC Berkeley…
21: Quit your giggling: the straight dope on cannabis
Jan 8, 2018 • 5 min
Most of us know by now that recreational cannabis became legal in California on Jan. 1. But there’s still a lot we don’t know about the plant, despite its long history of human use, says Eric Siegel, the director of the UC Botanical Garden. So the garden…
20: For aspiring triple major, piano is a way of life
Dec 8, 2017 • 3 min
Christopher Richardson, a sophomore and aspiring triple major at UC Berkeley, has been competing in classical piano since he was 9 years old. Since then, he’s competed at least 50 times. It’s when he feels most alive, and most connected to himself.Read…
19: Growing up without free speech is like ‘prison for your mind’
Nov 21, 2017 • 6 min
Parham Pourdavood, an incoming computer science student at UC Berkeley, grew up in Iran. He says that he, like most people, didn’t challenge authorities. He wasn’t an activist. He studied hard in high school and didn’t draw attention to himself. He’d…
18: Student musicians on learning from the best
Oct 18, 2017 • 4 min
“I was amazed at how he walked on, and he just got the attention of everyone right there,” says Kyle Ko, a fourth-year music major. “You could see everyone’s intense focus. You could feel it on the stage.” Ko, along with student Hallie Jo Gist, attended a…
17: How generosity in disaster flows in both directions
Sep 27, 2017 • 3 min
When Hurricane Harvey struck the Texas coast in late August, Americans had a choice: they could share their resources or look the other way. Although as a society, we tend to value individualism, it doesn’t always make us happy, says Emiliana…
16: Students & alumni reflect on free speech, Ben Shapiro
Sep 15, 2017 • 4 min
Conservative commentator Ben Shapiro spoke on UC Berkeley’s campus in September 2017. Berkeley News spoke to students and alumni as they waited in line to attend the event, protested peacefully outside — and got some reactions as they left the venue.Read…
15: Roaya and Nissma on their surprise connection
Aug 28, 2017 • 3 min
When Roaya and Nissma met as freshman at UC Berkeley last year, they were amazed at how much they had in common. They were both Canadian and Moroccan, and were on the pre-med track. They became fast friends. But the next year, when they were moving into…
14: Students discuss social impact of Hamilton (with a cappella performance)
Aug 21, 2017 • 2 min
Incoming students discuss how the hit musical Hamilton has changed Broadway and inspired students to learn more about the nation’s history, as students from campus groups including the UC Women’s Chorale and BareStage, perform a medley of songs from the…
13: Same system with a different name for African Americans
Jul 26, 2017 • 5 min
UC Berkeley assistant professor of history and expert in African American history Stephanie Jones-Rogers discusses the historical basis and the modern implications of the recent exonerations of police officers who killed African Americans in the line of…
12: One young Republican’s pursuit of the ‘Freedom to Marry’
Jun 23, 2017 • 3 min
Tyler Deaton’s story is one of 23 interviews conducted by Bancroft Library’s Oral History Center at UC Berkeley that explore the national campaign that won federal marriage rights for same-sex couples. More on Berkeley News:…
11: For Sayah Bogor, an arduous road from refugee to health researcher
May 8, 2017 • 20 min
Sayah Bogor, a UC Berkeley graduate student in public health, will make the short walk across the stage to receive her master’s degree. For Bogor, a native of war-torn Somalia, the event will mark a joyous leap in a long and difficult journey. See photos…
10: ‘Brooms up!’ Oski, meet Harry Potter
Apr 7, 2017 • 4 min
Cal Quidditch got its start on Berkeley’s campus about eight years ago. For two consecutive years, the team has played in a national competition. “It wasn’t expected from a young, scrappy team out of UC Berkeley,” says co-captain Owen Egger. Scrappy or…
09: From a border wall to a cultural bridge
Apr 5, 2017 • 3 min
Imagine a border wall between the U.S. and Mexico not as a barrier, but as a piece of architecture that brings people together. That’s what UC Berkeley architect Ronald Rael does in his new book, ‘Borderwall as Architecture: A Manifesto for the…
08: The carefully crafted sound of Zellerbach Hall
Dec 22, 2016 • 3 min
The acoustics that make the sound of Zellerbach Hall didn’t just happen. The sound has been created with an acoustic system of some 40 microphones and 140 speakers, all intricately placed throughout the hall. It’s called Constellation by Meyer Sound.…
07: How Moscow’s Tsar Bell found its voice — at Berkeley
Apr 21, 2016 • 3 min
We’re at UC Berkeley’s Campanile courtyard listening to sounds of an ancient bell that have never been heard before. It’s the 20-foot-tall, 200-ton Russian “Tsar Bell” — the largest bell in the world — in duet with the campus’s carillon.But the bell isn’t…
06: Is CDC’s alcohol warning paternalistic? Why some women think so
Feb 18, 2016 • 3 min
The CDC released a report recommending that women of childbearing age who aren’t taking birth control should abstain from drinking alcohol. Berkeley Law professor Melissa Murray says the report gives the impression that women are incapable of making…
05: Like GPS, but for your sex drive
Feb 11, 2016 • 4 min
These days so many of our devices are smart. Our phones are smart. Our cars are smart. Our TVs are smart. And now, even vibrators can be smart. It’s called Lioness. It’s a sleek, sophisticated vibrator that works kind of like a running app on your…
04: Berkeley Law professor Melissa Murray on the darker side of marriage
Nov 10, 2015 • 6 min
Marriage — modernly — is seen as sort of unalloyed good, says law professor Melissa Murray. “Everyone would like to get married, or most people would like to get married. Certainly, most people’s mothers want them to get married.”Murray teaches family law…
03: The ‘Big Idea’ that’s leading the push to make UC carbon-neutral
Oct 1, 2015 • 4 min
In 2004, Scott Zimmermann had a big idea. He had just quit the oil and gas industry — he’d been working in it for eight years, trying to reduce the impacts of fossil fuels — and enrolled at UC Berkeley as a dual-degree law student and master’s student in…
02: On Berkeley time? He keeps Campanile’s clocks ticking
Jul 28, 2015 • 3 min
The Campanile clock tower is the campus’s North Star. At 100 years old and 307 feet tall, it’s a landmark everyone knows and trusts. But what happens when the clocks stop? There’s only one person to call: Art Simmons.“Everybody in Berkeley watches those…
01: Trudy’s bloom raises a stink
Jul 27, 2015 • 3 min
We’re at the UC Botanical Garden in Berkeley. A long line curves through the gardens, and a small group huddles in a steamy greenhouse, all here to get a whiff of Trudy.Garden director Paul Licht stands at the front, talking to one of the many groups to…