Work in media helps Presidential Professor better understand students - The University of Tulsa
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Work in media helps Presidential Professor better understand students

As a University of Tulsa Presidential Professor teaching audio journalism and co-teaching multimedia journalism, Mary Anne Andrei said her goal is to inspire students to tell stories that make a difference.

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“In my classes, students learn to become better listeners, better storytellers, and better writers,” she said. “My courses introduce students to the creative side of media studies by giving them the necessary tools to increase civic engagement through effective communication.”

Undergraduates who take her courses have access to field reporting kits filled with industry-standard equipment and Adobe Creative Suite software to create and edit professional work. “Students conduct interviews, write scripts, edit audio and video, and create photo essays to produce everything from first-person stories to street reporting to multi-subject narratives,” she said.

Whether researching the history of bison conservation or skateboarding subculture in the Midwest, Andrei’s passion is storytelling in a variety of media. Her background in the history of science and as a multimedia journalist and producer makes it possible for her to help students integrate perspectives from a variety of disciplines, working in a storytelling tradition that emphasizes both the making and the meaning of media.

“By learning to make media, I hope that students become savvy consumers of news, entertainment, and advertising, even if they don’t become professionals in those fields,” noted Andrei, who frequently collaborates with her husband, Ted Genoways, another TU Presidential Professor.

Andrei grew up in Maine and developed a lifelong passion for the outdoors. Hiking, biking, and swimming are still her favorite ways to relax and recharge. “When I get the opportunity, I also love heading to the coasts for tide-pooling or paddling into the waves in a kayak,” she said.

Andrei loves working with students who are taking a slightly different path, using their education as an opportunity to figure out what matters most to them and finding ways to explore those interests.

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Andrei and Genoways, right, with TU students at an exhibition in December 2022

“I was a first-generation college student, so I had to forge my own trail,” she said. “I did my undergraduate work in resource conservation then worked for a time in the Forest Service as a forestry technician and wildland firefighter. I went back to school for a master’s in museum studies and then a doctorate in the history of science.”

Along the way, she taught herself photography and then videography and audio storytelling before landing a job in public media.

“In retrospect, that’s where I had always wanted to be, but I needed to build a number of seemingly unrelated skills before I could do the kind of work that I do now. I hope as a professor to encourage students along their own journeys and to help them see where their interests might take them.”

Andrei is excited to join the incredible Media Studies Department and the vibrant TU community.

“My colleagues are smart, funny, and engaged, and they really care about the students,” she said. “I also love that TU plays an important role in the arts and humanities in the City of Tulsa. I’m thrilled to have support to do cool projects that afford students and faculty opportunities to create media that matters.”

Andrei is the executive producer of the Switchyard podcast. She oversees the production process, including interviews, narration, writing and editing scripts, sound design, and mixing. She is also working with Poetic Justice, a nonprofit organization, to create a podcast about incarcerated women in Oklahoma and California.