WINNING VICTORIES FOR HUMANITY: an interview with Mary Evans ‘20
by Matt Walker ‘04
Mary Evans is an audio journalist and radio producer. She is a social justice activist and uses her platform to provide space for underrepresented communities. As the co-creator, producer, and host of Re Entry Stories, an NPR-affiliated radio show and podcast that features conversations between people who were once in prison, she does just that. Mary graduated from Antioch with a degree in The Business of Interdisciplinary Media Arts where she studied journalism, video, radio, history, anthropology and computer coding. Before accepting the job as Events and Social Media Manager she worked in Residence Life here at Antioch. Before attending Antioch, Mary was incarcerated from 2010-2017 and spent time in both Ohio Reformatory for Women in Marysville and Dayton Correctional Institution.
We sat down with Mary this week to talk about her new job and what’s ahead – enjoy:
Matt Walker (MW): “Why did you apply/accept the job as Events and Social Media Manager at Antioch?”
Mary Evans (ME): “I didn’t think that I would end up here but when I got back to Antioch College there was just something about being on campus and being around the community and being around the students, that kind of kept me here. And so, when I saw the opportunity to apply for the Events and Social Media Manager, I was like “Well, why not? Why not try to help the school out, the place that saved me?”
MW: “What are you working on right now that excites you?”
ME: “What I’m excited about is that I feel like I get a chance to craft my stand-up comedy career because I get to be a host and that’s one of my dreams. For me to be this MC host type of thing and actually get feedback from any opinions, because sometimes we can be brutally honest like “Hey, that’s not good stuff”. If I can make people laugh, then great. When I went over and introduced myself to the Volunteer Work Project, I made everyone laugh. I felt like I’m going to be off to a great start as this new host and learning things from April Wolford. April Wolford is an amazing individual.”
MW: “What are your visions and ideas for the work you are doing at Antioch in this position?”
ME: “I love the stuff that we’re doing, but I would like to see a lot more interactive events. I’d like to see a virtual talent show. I think that would be cool. Since we’re doing virtual events that might be amazing because everyone has their own little talent – everyone sign-up, get their own little time and then, do it.
Also, I think it would be great to do more events where it’s students interacting with alumni. I think that’s something that I’m going to try to promote at least once a month or once every other month or something like that – where alumni and students can come together and we have an event and do an icebreaker. That way there’s the transparency that the students are talking about because the students think that they don’t get transparency. But I know, as alumni, you don’t really get transparency either. I think if we had something like that going on I could get a lot more conversations going, maybe even get the president involved to come to one of those meetings. It could be something like an alumni community meeting but more based on building partnerships and building bridges with alumni and students. I think that’s really, really important to help me get through any arguments. So that’s what I’m trying to see in the future.”
MW: “Do you have any thoughts on in-person events? Do you think they will come back anytime soon?”
ME: “I feel like next year we’re going to be back in person, that’s my personal opinion. I would like to see a transition into some hybrid events in the spring. I just want to see what this peak of COVID is going to do with these boosters coming out and see if we’re going to actually nip this thing in the bud. Because I understand with people that are older, alumni and things like that, they’re more susceptible to catching COVID. I want to make sure that everyone’s safe, but I would love to kick it off with some kind of gathering, some kind of event. I don’t even know what we could do – maybe that’s where we do the talent show? Maybe it’s hybrid? We have so many people here and you have to think about all the musicians that we have as alumni and all the alumni artists. It would be one hell of a talent show and I think it would draw a great crowd. That’s an event that I would love to see as a hybrid and in-person. We’ve got it virtually and that’s always great. It’s just always even better to be around people, especially people that you care about and who care about you and who care about the institution that pretty much made us a family.”
Mary’s WYSO program Re Entry Stories:
More about Mary Evan’s story and her impact on the community on the Soapbox website:https://www.soapboxmedia.com/features/Ohio-second-chance-reentry.aspx
Mary Evans is also a founder of The Journalism Lab which teaches writing, social media, audio journalism, videography and media marketing to underserved communities: