Pushkin Industries and The Bell Announce New Podcast Incubator For College Students

Pushkin Industries and The Bell, a leading youth journalism nonprofit, are proud to announce a new partnership aimed at diversifying the pipeline of podcast creators.

Podcast U, a nine-week training program for motivated college-age students with dreams of hosting their own podcast, will debut this spring with five students who graduated from New York City public high schools within the last two years.

“I’m excited by the unpredictability of working with my peers on an audio project,” said Carmen Lopez Villamil, sophomore at Yale University. “I want to learn how to assemble stories that make listeners feel things.”

Weekly virtual workshops will run from March 3 to April 28. Students will each work to complete a pilot episode for a new show that they hope to launch.

Pushkin’s former head of content, Mia Lobel, will serve as the program’s lead coordinator, and several Pushkin employees across various departmental functions will teach workshops or serve as one-on-one mentors throughout the program.

“There is nothing more inspiring than working with a talented group of students who bring fresh ideas and perspectives to podcasting,” Lobel said. “This is exactly what the industry needs to survive and thrive!”

Podcast U represents an exciting addition to The Bell’s programmatic offerings. Its summer and school-year internships have provided rigorous audio journalism training to more than 100 public high school students since 2018.

“So many of our program alumni graduate high school wanting to keep pursuing podcasting, but quality training programs can be cost prohibitive,” said Taylor McGraw, The Bell’s executive director. “We’re thrilled now to offer another rung on the ladder toward professional podcasting for young people whose voices the world needs to hear.”

In addition to professional instruction and mentorship, participating students will receive complimentary access to Hindenburg Journalist Pro editing software and a personal stipend.

“By producing a podcast, receiving quality mentorship, and collaborating with fellow peers, I hope to put my journalistic skills into practice and acquire new ones that would make me stand out in the workforce,” said Malak Kassem, freshman at Pace University.

Read about the inaugural student class below.


Malak Kassem was born and raised in NYC. She comes from an Egyptian family. She is a freshman at Pace University and is majoring in Journalism. She believes that journalism can lead to positive community engagement, unity, and provide quality knowledge and information. Malak’s internship experience includes The School of the New York Times, the Manhattan DA’s office, and published work with 826NYC. She is excited to meet professionals in the industry and hear their narratives of what it was like to achieve their career successes. She loves books, travel, and trying out different cuisines.

Salomé Noufele is a New York City native with a passion for activism and uplifting marginalized voices. Through her personal photojournalism and interviewing endeavors, she hopes to bring light to racial, social, and economic inequalities that have been ignored for far too long. Salomé recognizes the importance of journalism as an indispensable tool for the functioning of society and strives to be an agent of change. A first-year student at Brown University, she is interested in pursuing psychology and political science, as well as language studies. In her free time, Salomé enjoys playing basketball, learning how to play songs on the guitar, and traveling to new countries. 

Betsy-Jane Paul-Odionhin is a freshman at Williams College from Queens, NY. Although majoring in neuroscience, she always had a passion for media and communication and debated studying journalism for a while. She is excited to explore the interconnectivity between neuroscience and journalism and publish her findings through the medium of audio storytelling. She was a participant in WNYC’s Radio Rookies initiative. Her favorite book series is the Harry Potter series, and her favorite podcast genres are true crime and book commentary. She hopes to start her own podcast after gaining the knowledge necessary to reach multiple audiences.

Carmen Lopez Villamil is from Brooklyn. Carmen likes well-planned gatherings that feel spontaneous, watching people in their flow states, listening to young and working people, and recording groups in their least comfortable moments. She is excited by the humanizing capacity of conversation and plans to spend her life interviewing people. By learning audio journalism, she hopes to gather youth to investigate inequity and construct sustainable institutions. She has worked in education organizing as a Fellow at Freedom Reads and an organizer at Teens Take Charge. She also makes pizza at the Yale Farm. She is studying the history of Indigenous student organizing at Yale.

Renika Jack is a freshman at York College. Originally from Guyana, Renika moved to New York City in 2019. She has worked with The Bell’s Miseducation Podcast since her junior year of high school. She enjoys writing stories of her life and conducting interviews. In her free time Renika listens to music or goes on mini adventures with her friends all around NYC. She hopes to major in journalism in college and become a journalist for the New York Times or a News Anchor for CBS or Good Morning America.