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Student shares life lessons through new podcast

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Jaydelle Herbert
Staff Writer

Emily Zapata, senior radio major, created her podcast “Tales of a Chicana Woman” as a part of her senior project to share her experiences as a young Mexican American woman and provide advice for young adults as they move into the next chapter of their lives.

Each episode of “Tales of a Chicana Woman,” Zapata brings a guest to provide an expert point of view to inform listeners with advice and tips on various topics.

Zapata’s role as a mentor for high school students inspired her to create this podcast.

“I just thought to myself, what’s something that I wish I had to receive information as I grew older to help me?” Zapata said. “I wanted to express through this podcast to young adults not feel alone, and I want to help them with their journey.”

Her podcast episodes go in chronological order telling stories based on the stages of her life.

In the first episode, “Childhood Memories,” Zapata revisited her childhood with her childhood friend Gisselle Castillo. Zapata highlighted the highs and lows of her childhood – exploring childhood dream jobs, childhood shows and bullying.

Zapata said it was important for her to include bullying in the childhood segment.

“I thought it is an important message to send out because as you’re getting older you have to deal with it, and you want to help stop the bullying, especially with so many people being bullied on social media,” Zapata said. “Also as a child we have traumas. That was a trauma for me. I know, others probably have had some sort of experience of bullying. I wanted to share that you’re not alone.”

“Young Adulthood,” the second episode of “Tales of a Chicana Woman,” covered the responsibilities and pressures placed during this next stage of life and provided advice as to how to handle these changes.

“This episode was honestly inspired by the kids that I mentor,” Zapata said. “As a young adult, you’re learning about yourself, you’re learning how to speak for yourself. You’re not little anymore, you’re gaining more responsibility and learning how to handle pressures placed on you.”

“Career Exploration” is the third episode Zapata created with the goal of helping  high school students to start thinking about what they truly want to do in their life as graduation approaches.

Courtney Quach, Zapata’s friend from high school and a listener to the podcast, said the “Career Exploration” episode helped comfort her while she looked for different career paths.

“Emily’s podcast gives me a better peace of mind,” Quach said. “Specifically, the third episode reassured me that it is perfectly fine to have more than one career path in mind. It was such a relief to hear that because of the pressure society places on you to have one goal and having success defined by that one goal.”

The most recent episode, which aired April 9 is about “Being a High School Senior.”

Zapata covered what high school seniors should expect throughout their last year in high school along with having a guest Ari Juarez, who works for the Pasadena City College Trio Talent Search, provide tips for applying to colleges.

Zapata’s main challenge was having a clear picture of how she wanted her podcast to be showcased to her listeners.

“It was more of the details that went into creating the podcast and thinking about how I want to communicate the topics. That’s always my challenge, having to make up my mind since I am a perfectionist and I want to show my best work,” Zapata said.

On a monthly basis, Zapata has about 30 to 40 listeners. She interacts with her listeners by asking them to send her voice recordings of questions they want answers to through social media platforms.

“The other podcasts that I listen to, they don’t have the actual listener asking their questions. But they read the email someone sent in instead. I thought to make this podcast more involved, and to show that this is an interactive podcast, I wanted actual voices to ask their questions,” Zapata said.

About 12 to 15 listeners send voice recordings of their questions to Zapata and she chooses the questions based on questions she would ask herself and questions which are more closely related to the topic she is covering.

Marisol Flores, Emily’s friend from high school and listener of “Tales of a Chicana Woman,” said she enjoys listening to Emily’s podcast because it allows her to feel connected to Emily’s story.

“My favorite thing about her podcast is her interactions with the listeners and allowing them to ask any questions to help them learn more from her experiences,” Flores said.

Zapata’s goal is for listeners to learn from the mistakes she made while growing up.

“I want to be able to share and express my journey and my guest gives their input on how they got to where they are at. By sharing that it helps the younger generation not to make the same mistakes that I did, learn something from my story that can help them,” Zapata said.

“Tales of a Chicana Woman” airs every Friday until the spring semester ends and the first four episodes are on Apple Podcast, Spotify and PodBean.

Zapata plans on building her podcast to create more content for listeners even after she graduates from the University. Her current goal is to create six episodes and double the amount of listeners she currently has by the end of summer.

Jaydelle Herbert can be reached at jaydelle.herbert@laverne.edu.

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