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St. Aug’s student-athlete creates podcast
Published Tuesday, May 4, 2021
by Anthony Jeffries, St. Aug's Sports Information

RALEIGH – St. Augustine’s senior Briana Person found a way to stay focused during the pandemic without softball.

Many student-athletes across the country had their 2020-21 athletic seasons canceled due to COVID-19. In Person's case, her last college softball game was March 2020. Life without softball was stressful, but Person, an infielder, figured out a way to succeed during the pandemic. Already a top-notch student, she buckled down on academics even more.

She also found a clever way to occupy her spare time by hosting an audio podcast show. "I had to find a way to deal with my emotions," said Person, who lost her grandmother and best friend two years ago. "I thought it would be cool to do a podcast to express my thoughts and see how other women are feeling."

The podcast, which started in May 2020, turned out to be a bigger hit than expected. Her audience includes listeners as far away as the Bahamas, Germany, Singapore, Puerto Rico, and Ireland in addition to the United States. Titled "Healing From My Thoughts," the podcast runs twice a month on the Anchor and Spotify platforms. Topics range from issues facing young women to current events. 

It's been documented that many student-athletes grappled with mental health issues during the pandemic. For Person, the podcast filled a void when softball was canceled this season, and that helped her get through the school year. The show was therapeutic for listeners, too, including softball teammate Dachye Stubbs.

"Her podcast encourages me," Stubbs said. "On dark days, I can relisten to one and get everything I probably needed. It's one thing if a person you don't know gives you advice or tells you her testimony or even gives you inspiration, but when you have someone in your circle who can encourage you, even if it's not in-person but on a larger platform, that's literally golden.

"Outside of the authenticity, I love how transparent Briana is. She talks about her experiences and the ways she has been able to get through the rough times or the valleys of her life. She not only speaks about her coming out of the valleys and moving into her mountaintops, but she also shares what it is like in the valley. As someone who's mental health has been a little compromised because of my traumatic experience and the pandemic, it has been a safe space for me. It lets me know that I am not the only one experiencing these things."

SAU School of Business Dean Van Sapp is not surprised that Person started her own podcast. "Briana is a self-motivated and intellectually curious person with a kind heart," he said. "So, the curiosity creates a motivated individual that thrives in learning situations, but also wants to do new things. The podcast is a new venture designed to help others."

The show also helped Person thrive as a senior. On May 1, she received her accounting degree. Graduate school awaits at North Carolina A&T State University, and an internship is lined up with Deloitte, one of the "Big Four" accounting firms in the world, and the largest professional service network in the world by revenue and number of professionals.

The future looks rosy for Person, who finished with a 3.92 cumulative grade point average. In addition to accounting, Person has a second career to fall back on if she chooses to go in that direction.

"I've always wanted to do it to express myself," she said about the podcast. "I'm also doing this for women who need therapy. You would be amazed how many people are touched by their experiences. I got one comment recently from this girl who was so happy after listening to the show that it brought her to tears. Healing is actually therapy in mental health."



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