Dan Casarella was struggling with his first job at VH1 when he realized college was preparing him for what he wanted to do, but not how to go about it.
While working in Los Angeles for “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” Casarella reached out to co-worker, Ray Boyd, to present “Leaving the Nest,” a podcast focused on media resources for college students. He wanted to be able to give back to the Temple community and create space for alumni to help current students.
Boyd, a 2013 journalism graduate, and Casarella, a 2015 media studies and production graduate, plan to bridge the gap between Klein alumni and current students with the launch of their new podcast, “Leaving the Nest” in collaboration with the Klein Alumni Association. The podcast is expected to be released around Temple’s return and aims to create a platform for Klein alumni who want to give back to the community after graduating.
“Leaving the Nest” will feature interviews conducted by Boyd and Casarella with alumni working in media and communications to discuss gaining experience in the field.
“Temple has played such a big role in who we are personally and professionally,” Boyd said. “We met at Temple and for us it was kind of a way to cure ourselves of the itch of wanting to do podcasts.”
They both had a passion for podcasting and giving back after graduating from Temple. The idea for “Leaving the Nest” was first conceived in 2017 but did not materialize due to Boyd and Casarella’s busy schedules. However, COVID-19 has delayed the need for the podcast because so many student opportunities have been put on hold, Boyd said.
“I went back to Dan and I thought maybe now was the perfect time for this podcast idea because people can’t connect in person, they can’t have this face to face and these students lose the opportunity to connect with alumni,” Boyd said.
Because Casarella was in Los Angeles and Boyd in Philadelpha, the two wanted to work together to focus on their respective cities.
“The premise was more about showcasing Los Angeles and Philly alumni, with me interviewing the Los Angeles ones and Ray the Philadelphia ones,” Casarella said.
Once Casarella returned to Philadelphia to take a job as a coordinator for content marketing agency Lightning Media Partners, there was no particular focus on working with Los Angeles alumni. Boyd and Casarella aimed to work with the university itself to connect with alumni across the country.
By working with the Klein Alumni Board, Casarella and Boyd were able to work directly with students instead of doing marketing and research on their own.
Erin McGinn, a 2014 media and film studies graduate and Klein’s director of alumni engagement, helped the two creators apply for the Temple Alumni Fellowship that funds the project.
“We applied for a grant through the Temple Alumni Association last year,” McGinn said. “This grant covered all equipment costs and subscription fees. I basically helped with logistics and keeping things on track.
As a former student of Klein, McGinn had a vested interest in the success of “Leaving the Nest.” Its biggest goal is to connect alumni who were not involved in the Temple years.
She works as a project manager for the duo and was responsible for contacting potential guests, helping with promotion and contacting the communications team.
Ultimately, Boyd and Casarella hope to engage with current Temple students as well as future students and alumni to create space for media resources.
“It feels like an opportunity to give back and use our media connections to give current and future students something about what they can expect on the other side after graduation,” Boyd said.