Brady Hummel ’17 is a writer, student interviewer, Idea Fund officer and campus leader who attended the 20th Conference of the Parties in Lima, Peru, and co-founded a podcast, with classmate Rob Hill, highlighting the stories of students who are the first in their families to attend college. Below, he discusses his experiences in Lima, his plans for a journalism career, why podcasts trump print for certain kinds of storytelling, why he chose Dickinson and more.
Clubs and organizations:
Idea Fund (executive director), Office of Admissions (student interviewer), Garden Party (college jazz combo), Student Liberation Movement (chief writer), 1st Up podcast series (creator/editor/co-presenter), President’s Commission on Environmental Sustainability and Center for Sustainability Education (former senior sustainability analyst).
Order of the Scroll & Key, John Montgomery Scholarship and Stabler Foundation Scholarship.
Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates.
Meet Joe Black.
On choosing Dickinson:
I was originally looking at public policy programs at schools in Washington, D.C., but my mom was the voice of reason and suggested that we take a three-day tour of liberal-arts schools: Dickinson, F&M and Gettysburg, in that order. When I first visited Dickinson, I immediately got “the feeling,” which you hear a lot from tour guides and admissions counselors; I just knew that this was where I needed to go. So I ended up not applying to any other school other than Dickinson. I got in right before Christmas, and I’ve never looked back.
Favorite learning experience:
The fall of my sophomore year, I had the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to participate in the Global Climate Change Mosaic. For the entire semester, we delved deeply into both the science behind climate change and the international negotiations through the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). We then did 10 days of field research at the 20th Conference of the Parties (COP20) in Lima, Peru.
In Peru, I had the opportunity to interview party delegates and experts for my independent research on the interplay between sustainable development and climate governance in the five major emerging economies (Brazil, China, India, Mexico and the Republic of Korea) through the lens of the negotiations toward the recently ratified Paris Agreement. At the end of the program, I completed a 40-page paper to present my 10 months of research. There are no equivalent, or even similar, experiences available to undergraduate students at other institutions. It was my most difficult semester of college so far, but it unequivocally made me a better student, researcher, writer and global citizen.
Growing up, I was really lucky to have all three of my grandparents and all of my aunts and uncles in my hometown, Hershey, Pa. My maternal grandparents were like my second parents, and, without trying to sound cliché, my grandfather is my hero. I cherish the memories I shared with him. He showed me that curiosity is a gift that should always be cherished, that relationships can fundamentally steer a life in a purposeful way and that it’s important to find happiness in the little things in our day-to-day lives. I wake up every day and tell myself to be a better man today because I want to be able to look back and say that I lived like my Pop-Pop did.
About my current project:
This semester, I started 1st Up, a podcast series highlighting the stories and experiences of first-generation college students at Dickinson. In every episode, I interview a fellow student about their experiences leading up to Dickinson and about how they’ve navigated this space as a “first-gen.”
I am not a first-generation college student, but I have gotten to know a number of students here who are, and I have learned so much from their examples and their stories. Sitting down with them over the past three years over coffee or dinner in the Caf, they’ve shared stories about their paths to Dickinson—experiences of struggle and conflicting emotions, pressure coming from multiple fronts, and how they pushed through and overcame spectacular odds. These stories stand in contrast to my own experiences. Hearing them talk about how they approach their time at Dickinson has made me look at my education differently, and I was compelled to make sure that more people in our community can hear their stories and appreciate their struggles. Especially with so much discussion of diversity and inclusion on campus, I wanted to share these narratives to help make Dickinson a better place for all.
What I’ve learned:
Beyond just learning from the individuals I interview, I’ve learned to appreciate that everyone has their own stories to tell and that we can learn so much from each other and become better students and people as a result. I also discovered my love for the craft of podcasting, which has helped me frame what I want to do after I graduate. It was important for me to share these stories through a podcast rather than through digital text, which is more in my comfort zone, because I didn’t want to color the interviewee’s narratives with my words and inflections. It’s always more powerful to hear someone’s story in their own words and voice.
I’m looking to jump into a career in digital journalism, focusing on long-form narrative magazine pieces and podcasting. Throughout my time at Dickinson I’ve cultivated a heightened appreciation for the power of a story—of how the human experiences behind the numbers can provide a more insightful and useful understanding of the world around us and those with whom we share it. The media covers important stories, but it often tends to only focus on the very visible actors in our society, like politicians, athletes and Fortune 500 CEOs. Our world, however, has so many other people whose stories and voices are not heard. Through my work, I want to seek out these types of stories, which are important yet not as visible in our media and our culture.
Published January 5, 2017