Episode 28 – “My Humanities Moment: Children’s experiences and voices in social research and literature” by Marta Eugenia Zavaleta Lemus

Runner-Up; Graduate & Professional: “Excellence in Podcasting” Competition

Sponsored by the Robert Penn Warren Center for the Humanities in collaboration with the Center for Teaching and the Office of Immersion Resources.

When it comes to weighty discussions, there’s one group of people whose perspectives are often overlooked: children. In this episode of VandyVox, Marta Eugenia Zavaleta Lemus goes to small places to grow to new heights, demonstrating the importance of children’s voices related to human mobilities. She was awarded runner-up in the graduate and professional students category for the Excellence in Podcasting competition.

Storytelling is one of the most effective tools Marta Eugenia utilized to convey the unique perspective children have on life events. Her vivid stories expose, through first-hand experience, the underbelly of life in El Salvador after the Salvadoran Civil War. Powerful and personal anecdotes like Marta Eugenia’s ascribe a tangible component to the value of children’s voices in the face of loss, fear, and hardship related to human mobilities. Ultimately, she relays that life events surrounding her childhood launched her into an academic career as a cultural anthropologist.

Relating to her childhood, Marta Eugenia also focuses on relevant literature that shaped her upbringing to relay the lasting impression that children’s voices can have in society. The first of two books she references is “The Diary of a Young Girl” by Anne Frank. As Marta Eugenia describes personally relating to Anne Frank’s narrative voice, the listener is unable to deny the importance of continually uplifting children’s first-person narratives. This message is accentuated in the second book she highlights, “My Friend the Painter” by Lygia Bojunga Nunes, which is written from a child’s point of view regarding art and suicide. Both pieces of literature feature heavy, solemn topics where children may be intentionally or unintentionally excluded from the conversations, despite their vital contributions.

Marta Eugenia displayed a skillful implementation of background and transitional music that complemented each topical tone. At the onset, she began with playful, attention-grabbing music as she revealed the subject centered around children’s voices. Then, while providing her personal and familial experiences in post-war El Salvador, the song slides into a brooding somberness. Pivoting into a discussion on the dark yet lofty book “My Friend the Painter,” the music modulates mimicking the complexity and breadth the book embodies. She even retells a portion of the story in both English and Spanish, touching back to her upbringing and bringing another layer of accessibility to the audio. Including supportive musical selections in this way enhances how the listener receives the audio content.


Discover the stories that spoke to Marta Eugenia through the representation of children’s voices:

“My Friend the Painter” by Lygia Bojunga Nunes

  • https://www.goodreads.com/en/book/show/8727594-my-friend-the-painter

“The Diary of a Young Girl” by Anne Frank

  • https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/48855.The_Diary_of_a_Young_Girl?ac=1&from_search=true&qid=QvEdLQXtVi&rank=1


Produce a podcast with powerful storytelling like Marta Eugenia’s. This Forbes article outlines the key components to achieve effective podcast storytelling.

“The Power of Podcasting For Telling A Story” by Carrie Kerpen

  • https://www.forbes.com/sites/carriekerpen/2020/03/11/the-power-of-podcasting-for-telling-a-story/?sh=1654323c2fb4


Marta Eugenia’s music adds depth to her podcast. Add sounds and edit audio for free using Audacity, then publish for free on Anchor:

Audacity, a “free, open source, cross-platform audio software”

  • https://www.audacityteam.org/

Anchor, a “free, beginner-friendly platform for podcast creation,”

  • https://anchor.fm/


Written by Kaelyn Warne, Teaching Affiliate at the Vanderbilt Center for Teaching