Mula Lay ’22

English Major
Posted on November 29th, 2022 by

“All you need is a microphone to make a podcast. And some editing software. And some stories. And a student champion with a great voice for radio.”

His first major was computer science. But like so many Gusties before him, Lay questioned his first choice when the poetry and stories he was writing were competing with his computer science internship for his time. Now an English major with an emphasis in film studies, he’s focused on a future in documentary filmwork and journalism.

And radio—particularly podcasts. As a student employee at the Center for Inclusive Excellence (formerly the DiversityCenter), Lay has been creating, producing, and voicing the Center’s Stories and Culture podcast. “I wanted to do something creative, artsy, fitting in my major,” he says. It wasn’t hard to get off the ground. With podcasts, “all you need is a microphone and editing software.”

And, of course, stories. “The highlight of the podcast is culture and how we portray cultural importance through storytelling,” he says. The first episode, which debuted this fall, featured traditional ghost stories from southeast Asia. For November—Native American Cultural Heritage Month— Lay researched Ojibwe and Dakota creation stories.

Future episodes won’t all be Lay relaying stories from other cultures. There will also be interviews (including one of the new Center for Inclusive Excellence assistant director, Kareem Watts). He hopes to make an episode about his own ethnic group, the Karen people. He’s prepping for Black History Month, in February, with poetry from prominent Black poets read by Gustavus students. And for Poetry Month in April he’s seeking faculty and student poetry.

He finds poetry as a form of storytelling particularly moving as a writer and performer, and as a reader and listener. He’s fascinated by poetry’s history, back to ancient Greece, its prevalence among all cultures, its relationship to song, and how it moves us emotionally. “I love how words can be formed in such a short amount time and space but also express so much,” he says. “It’s so powerful. It’s such an amazing form of expression.”


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