DSU Science Department Emphasizes Polytechnic Mission Through Science Podcast and Live Events

By Kaylee Cluff

A team of talented Dixie State University faculty, staff and student have been working together and created both a Southern Utah Science Café podcast and live event experiences to familiarize the public with scientific topics.

Originally the goal of DSU faculty and staff members, Geoff Smith, Rico Del Sesto and Erin O’Brian the creators of the Southern Utah Science Café, was to create live Science Café events but switched their focus to a virtual podcast format during the height of the pandemic.

“Having something digital that you can leave there for others to see is really cool. My goal is to help the public get to know local experts and scientists better and on a more personal level” shared Smith. “The reason our life works the way that it does is because of science advancements, humanizing experts, and gaining more of the public’s trust with the scientific process are the overarching reasons for the podcast and the live café events.”

Co-creator Geoff Smith shared that the inspiration to create a podcast came after he gave his biology students an assignment to record a scientific podcast and was impressed with how well the students performed which led to an internship opportunity for one of his students.

Brady Iverson a natural science major, was in Professor Smith’s biology class and found the podcast experience to be an enjoyable assignment. The following year Iverson was asked by Smith to join the team as an intern where he is getting to apply his passion for science and scientific outreach to the surrounding community and fellow students through media platforms.

This internship is offering Iverson a multifaceted polytechnic opportunity as he manages the social media for the Southern Utah Science Café, created the theme music, had the opportunity to interview and record Dr. Joan Meiners on the “All About the Bees: Utah’s Favorite Insect” episode of the podcast and gets to do research a variety of topics.

“It was really neat to interview Dr. Meiners, Iverson shared. “I went through her whole body of research and then right there in front of me, I was able to ask her every question that popped into my head. Getting that firsthand experience was really cool.”

Iverson shared that in an ideal world his careers goal and interest in natural science is so that he can use his degree for scientific outreach and communication. Informing the public both in informal science café events and through the podcast Iverson feels are ideal ways to gain the communities interest and trust.

Iverson’s personal goals align with the overarching goal of the Southern Utah Science Café, “The primary goal of the Southern Utah Science Café is to create a stronger connection with the scientific and larger communities in the region to allow open, transparent, and non-partisan discussions of scientific topics, leading to improved scientific literacy in our diverse and rapidly growing community.”

To listen to the Science Café Podcast or to learn more about their upcoming live events visit, sciencecafe.utahtech.edu