There is a hidden gem within the Naval Postgraduate School (NPS). Dangling from countless points above, are stout mugs belonging to many faculty, students, staff and famous alumni who imbue this place with special significance as they enjoy their favorite beverage with colleagues, friends and family. The Trident Room, considered by many of its patrons as a well-known contributor to academic success and great ideas, is where NPS’ own can engage in unfiltered conversation regardless of rank or position.
As NPS’ distance learning modality continues in the COVID-19 environment, the Trident Room conversation has grown quiet. That is until an NPS student team whose enterprising idea has reignited the dialogue. Lt. Col. Joe Novak and co-host Major Michael Morris both U.S. Air Force students, and U.S Navy Lt. j.g. Brian Pajarillo, President of the NPS Board of Student Advisors, created and produced the new podcast series, aptly named the “Trident Room Podcast,” reminiscent of the free-flowing conversations between students and faculty where rank isn't a factor and people easily talk about ideas and their NPS experiences.
NPS President retired Vice Adm. Ann E. Rondeau strongly encouraged the effort, “The podcast is a terrific idea that features the people behind NPS’ interdisciplinary education and research. The fact that our students are leading the podcast effort speaks volumes about their pride in the school, how they value the faculty here as well as their own voice, and the opportunity they have to make a difference.”
Impressed with the array of conversations he was having in the halls of NPS, Novak turned to podcasting to provide these same types of informative, yet intimate exchanges in a direct and unfettered way to the NPS community.
“I just felt like there was so much intellectual capital out there that needed to be captured,” said Novak. “This podcast aims to take advantage of the caliber of people we have at NPS and bring some of that socialization and personal communication back to the students.”
Debuting this week are six episodes of the podcast featuring relaxed, casual discussions between the hosts and NPS faculty guests as if they were engaging over a drink in the Trident Room, virtually for now. These conversations have involved a range of topics from the NPS curricula, science & technology and how student-faculty teams are putting education into use for operational forces.
“I think there is an advantage to a student-led, grassroots style production,” said Morris, the co-host. “The conversational style is inviting to people where they can talk about their passions and ideas. Guests can talk through personal stories and experiences where the most compelling examples and information can be delivered.”
As first-time podcasters, both Novak and Morris engaged with the NPS Alumni Association and Foundation (NPSAAF) for support.
“The NPS Alumni Association and Foundation has always been focused on supporting the NPS community of students, faculty and staff as our core mission,” said NPSAAF Vice President retired U.S. Marine Corps Col. Todd Lyons. “Connecting our alumni to the great people that serve at NPS and our broader community is an extension of that mission focus. When we initially discussed the idea of the Trident Room podcast, we immediately recognized the opportunity to connect with our community in a different way. The podcast was a great way to focus on building our community even as other traditional ways of engagement were no longer available.”
With each new episode, the Trident Room podcast staff aims to add value to their production as they reach out to their audience ranging from current NPS students, faculty, alumni and potential students interested in NPS.
“I want to thank Lt. Col. Novak and the student team for taking the initiative and spending their most valuable resource, time, to make this podcast come to life,” said Lyons. “He and the Trident Room Podcast team have done amazing work in creating a new space for conversation in support of the NPS community. We are proud of the work they have done and will continue to do in the life of NPS.”
As an ongoing project, the Trident Room Podcast aims on being a value-added production that evolves with each episode. They welcome student feedback and encourage any student interested in the production to contact the Trident Room through email or their website. The Trident Room Podcast episodes are available on the NPS website and through podcast streaming services iTunes and Spotify.