We Are North Texas Podcast

Episode 1 - Health Science Center COVID-19 Testing Center

WE ARE NORTH TEXAS shares great ideas, hard work and good deeds from the University of North Texas System and its member institutions. We are innovative, diverse, caring and collaborative – we are North Texas. Hosted by UNT System Chief Communications Officer Paul Corliss.

In this episode, Paul talks to Dr. Jeff Beeson, Vice Provost Academic Partnerships & Initiatives for the UNT Health Science Center and Jessica Rangel, Vice Provost for Academic Innovation at UNT Health Science Center about the UNT Health Science Center's efforts to test first responders during the COVID-19 Pandemic.


Episode 2 - UNT Dallas Drive-Thru Food Pantry

In this episode, Dr. Jamaica Chapple, UNT Dallas Dean of Students, and Eronia King, Project Coordinator for Experiential Learning at UNTD, discuss the recent COVID-19 relief partnership between UNT Dallas and the North Texas Food Bank that helped feed more than 1,200 households.




Episode 3 - Online Courses at UNT

Imagine you're one of the nation's largest universities and you have less than two weeks to convert nearly 8,000 classes to "alternative delivery" due to COVID-19. You also have to train faculty to teach online and prepare students to learn online, while also making sure everyone has the necessary technology available. That's a tough puzzle to solve, but UNT's faculty and staff – led by Provost Jennifer Cowley and Vice President Adam Fein – were up to the task.

In this episode, Dr. Jennifer Cowley, Provost at UNT, and Dr. Adam Fein, Vice President for Digital Strategy and Innovation, discuss the efforts to convert nearly 8,000 classes at UNT to online platforms during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Episode 4 - UNTS HR launches "In the Green: UNT World Well-being" to assist faculty and staff

In this episode, Barbara Abercrombie, Vice Chancellor for Organizational Effectiveness & Chief Human Capital Officer at UNT System, introduces In the Green: UNT World Well-being. This exciting new program is a system-wide well-being initiative that was created to help faculty and staff from UNT, UNT Health Science Center, UNT Dallas and UNT System Administration live their best lives. Whether navigating day-to-day challenges in “normal” times, or working through the unique circumstances the COVID-19 pandemic has produced, we believe the health and wellness of our employees is critical to their success – both personally and professionally.

Episode 5 - COVID-19's impact on Mean Green Sports

In this episode, Wren Baker, Vice President and Director of Athletics for the University of North Texas, shares the impact of COVID-19 on Mean Green Sports. Baker discusses how difficult it was to tell UNT's conference-winning men's basketball team that there would be no NCAA Tournament. Baker also discussed various scenarios for the 2020 college football season, while also considering what financial challenges might lay ahead. Above all, Baker said UNT will be there for the community during this challenging time, and put his money where his mouth is by offering emergency officials to use Mean Green Sports facilities if hospital beds become overloaded in Denton County.

Episode 6 - UNT Dallas Law Alum Leaves Law Firm to Work as ER Nurse in NYC During Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic inspired Dallas attorney Jim Mullen to return to his nursing roots and seek work in a New York City emergency room. With a wife working as an emergency room doctor in Dallas and a 2-year old daughter, the decision wasn't easy -- but Mullen felt a calling and is now working in a Queens hospital that has become a coronavirus hot spot. The death and human isolation he's seen can be troubling, but the desire to give back and care for patients drives him to work daily 12-hour shifts. Hear his story from the front line in New York City. 


Episode 7- Quarterbacking the UNT System’s Emergency Response During the COVID-19 Pandemic

UNT System Vice Chancellor for Facilities Steve Maruszewski has tirelessly led the UNT System’s emergency management planning and response during the COVID-19 pandemic – ensuring that all UNT System offices and member institutions are working together to best serve students, faculty and staff. He’s also on the front line for meetings with State of Texas officials as it relates to guidelines for state-funded entities like the UNT System and its universities.

Episode 8 - Dallas and the Great American Neighborhood during the COVID-19 Pandemic

In this episode, Dallas native Robert Wilonsky, Director of Communications for Heritage Auctions and Op-ed Columnist for the Dallas Morning News, joins the podcast to provide perspective on the city he loves during the COVID-19 pandemic. Wilonsky shares the same Northwest Dallas neighborhood as host Paul Corliss, and they discuss what makes their little corner of the city a special community that helps them maintain a sense of normalcy during social distancing and stay-at-home ordinances.

Episode 9 - Former NBA star Josh Howard ready to blaze new trails at UNT Dallas

On his 40th birthday, 2007 NBA All-Star Josh Howard is excited to return to the city that made him famous and eager for his next challenge – building a UNT Dallas men’s basketball program from scratch. A Dallas Mavericks standout as a player from 2003-2010, Howard was recently named head coach of the UNTD Trailblazers after four seasons coaching Piedmont International University, and he discussed getting started on his quest to mentor young men against the backdrop of COVID-19.

Episode 10 - Chancellor Lesa Roe and the UNT System’s Journey During COVID-19

Chancellor Lesa Roe, who acts as CEO for the University of North Texas System, shares how the UNT System and its member institutions are navigating the challenges of COVID-19. Chancellor Roe provides her perspective on Gov. Abbott’s plan to gradually reopen Texas as it relates to UNT World and discusses what summer and fall semesters may look like. 

Episode 11 - HSC's Dr. Microbe Helps Keep Public Informed (in English and Spanish)

Armed with a jumbo-sized coffee mug labeled "Dr. Microbe" and decades of experience as a microbiologist and epidemiologist, UNT Health Science Center's Diana Cervantes is becoming a media sensation for all the right reasons. She's providing accurate, science-based information on the coronavirus to the general public through dozens of media appearances -- conducted in both English and Spanish. Dr. Diana Cervantes, Assistant Professor and Director of the Epidemiology Program at UNTHSC, discusses her role in helping the university better educate Fort Worth and Tarrant County, and she also re-visits her past work in mitigating bio-terrorism threats.

Episode 12 - UNT's Colleges of Engineering and Visual Arts & Design Collaborate to Fight COVID-19

In this episode, UNT Vice President for Research & Innovation Mark McLellan provides an insightful look at research efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic and shines the light on an exciting new collaboration between the College of Visual Arts & Design (CVAD) and the College of Engineering. CVAD Fabrication Labs Manager Jenna Richards and Cesar Chavez, a doctorate student in Mechanical Engineering, join the podcast to share how they came together to help produce hundreds of clear plastic face shields and visors to help protect the UNT community against COVID-19.

Episode 13 - Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price discusses COVID-19 and partnership with UNTHSC | UNT System

In this episode, Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price joins Paul Corliss to discuss how the nation’s 13th-largest city has dealt with the COVID-19 pandemic and shares how businesses can strategically re-open to the public. The Mayor also touts Fort Worth’s partnership with the UNT Health Science Center's and praises HSC’s public health leadership during the pandemic.

Episode 14 - Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins and Health & Human Services Director Dr. Philip Huang

Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins and Dallas County Health & Human Services Director Philip Huang have led Dallas County’s emergency response to coronavirus and join Paul Corliss to provide a newsworthy update on how Dallas and greater DFW are doing in their efforts against COVID-19. Jenkins, the top elected official for Dallas County, also discusses police reform and how to safely protest in the wake of George Floyd’s tragic death. Huang, the county’s top medical expert, shared what COVID-19’s impact on North Texas might be this Summer or Fall and reviews the UNT System’s basic steps for reopening its campuses.


Episode 15 - Former Dallas Mayor Ron Kirk on Race Relations in America | UNT System

Ron Kirk, the first African American Mayor of Dallas, former U.S. Ambassador and member of President Barack Obama’s cabinet, visits with Paul Corliss to discuss race relations in American in the wake of George Floyd’s tragic death. Ambassador Kirk passionately shares his experiences and perspectives as a black man and what it will take for America to truly change.

Episode 16 - Dale Petroskey, President and CEO of the Dallas Regional Chamber

In this episode, Dale Petroskey, President and CEO of the Dallas Regional Chamber, joins Paul Corliss to talk about how the chamber has had to pivot during the coronavirus pandemic. Petroskey said the chamber has focused on communicating with its membership during these challenge times. The Chamber has also created a new employment campaign and job board in partnership with the Dallas Citizens Council and Downtown Dallas, Inc. to help laid off or furloughed workforce get back to work.

Episode 17 - HSC’s ‘Dr. Microbe’ provides the latest update on DFW’s fight against COVID-19

UNT Health Science Center’s Director of Epidemiology, Dr. Diana Cervantes – a.k.a. Dr. Microbe – has become a media sensation for all the right reasons. She's providing accurate, science-based information on coronavirus to the general public through dozens of local and national media appearances, conducted in both English and Spanish. Following up on her May appearance on the podcast, Dr. Microbe joined Paul Corliss to update North Texas on where we are in our fight against COVID-19 and discussed what led to DFW’s recent spike in cases. She also shared what activities are high risk vs. low risk and how to best protect yourself from infection.

Episode 18 - Mavs Announcer Set to Graduate from UNT 30 Years Later | UNT System

In this episode, Mark Followill – television play-by-play voice for the Dallas Mavericks – joined Paul Corliss to discuss his return to UNT as a student during the coronavirus pandemic. Followill is on track to earn his Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences degree from UNT in December, and shared why he wanted to finish his degree roughly 30 years after starting college. Followill told stories from his early days at UNT (1989-92) as a music major, as well as highlights from an incredible career in sports as one of Dallas-Fort Worth's most recognizable sports personalities who has covered everything from soccer's World Cup to the Olympics to the Mavs' NBA championship in 2011.

Episode 19 - Former State of Texas Education Commissioner and Distinguished Leader in Residence at UNT Dallas, Michael Williams

Former State of Texas Education Commissioner and Distinguished Leader in Residence at UNT Dallas Michael Williams joins Paul Corliss to discuss his career in law and politics prior to coming to UNT Dallas and how UNTD plans to begin the Fall semester in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Episode 20 - Basketball Analyst and Community Leader Stephen Howard

In this episode, Paul Corliss is joined by college basketball television analyst Stephen Howard, a Dallas-Fort Worth native who played in the NBA. Howard spoke about his passion for education and supporting the urban community, which included time spent as a speaker and mentor for UNT Dallas. Howard also provided perspective on COVID-19 and race relations in DFW and beyond. 

Episode 21 - Texas Radio Hall of Famer Mike Rhyner's Reemergence During the Pandemic

Texas Radio Hall of Famer Mike Rhyner, creator of KTCK "The Ticket," is the subject of a new documentary  – Not in This Town: The Improbable Rise of the Old Grey Wolf – that was produced by University of North Texas alumna Crystal Vasquez. In this episode Rhyner discussed the documentary, his retirement from the Ticket and his new podcast, Square One, with Mike Rhyner. The Dallas native also shared his love for his home town, shared anecdotes about former UNT System Chancellor Lee Jackson and talked about the challenges of playing in a band during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Episode 22 - UNT Alumna Crystal Vasquez set to unveil documentary on Dallas radio icon Mike Rhyner

UNT alumna Crystal Vasquez joined Paul Corliss to discuss her new documentary “Not in This Town: The Improbable Rise of the Old Grey Wolf,” that covers the career of Dallas radio legend Mike Rhyner. Vasquez, who started her career in TV news upon graduating from UNT, will debut the film on Sept. 16 and 17 at the Granada Theater in Dallas. Rhyner is a Texas radio Hall of Famer and co-founder of KTCK, “The Ticket.”

Episode 23 - Dallas City Manager and UNT Alumnus T.C. Broadnax

In this episode Dallas City Manager T.C. Broadnax, who earned his Master’s in Public Administration from UNT, joins Paul Corliss for a candid conversation about his role in leading one of the nation’s largest cities. Broadnax shared challenges he and his staff have faced during the coronavirus pandemic, and also discussed challenges with policing and race relations. The City Manager remains grateful for his time spent at UNT and enjoys giving back to his alma mater when asked.

Episode 24 - Dr. John Richmond, Dean of UNT College of Music

From Grammy winners like Don Henley, Norah Jones and Maren Morris, to the One O'Clock Lab Band playing for Wynton Marsalis in New York City, the University of North Texas College of Music is one of the most distinguished in the nation. As Dean, Dr. John Richmond is the "leader of the band" for the College of Music. Dean Richmond joins Paul Corliss in this episode, discussing the rich history of UNT’s multifaceted music program, the challenges of coronavirus, a new music MBA program, the future of his college and much more.

Episode 25 - David Mansdoerfer helping bring UNT Health Science Center's vision to life

This week, Paul Corliss is joined by David Mansdoerfer, Special Assistant to the President at UNT Health Science Center in Fort Worth. Mansdoerfer discussed his previous role working for the US Department of Health and Human Services and explained how his experience with the federal government has helped him make an impact in his role working with HSC President Michael Williams. Mansdoerfer's background working with significant public health crises helped him, and in turn HSC, hit the ground running in the university's efforts to serve the community during the COVID-19 pandemic. 


Episode 26 - Kit Sawers, President of Klyde Warren Park | UNT System

Kit Sawers, President of Klyde Warren Park in downtown Dallas, joined Paul Corliss to discuss the importance of outdoor spaces and a safe activities during the coronavirus pandemic. Sawers shared exciting news regarding a significant donation to fund the park's expansions and shared how public/private partnerships have been essential to Klyde Warren Park's success. 

Episode 27 - Dr. Wesley Randall Shares UNT at Frisco's Vision | UNT System

Dr. Wesley Randall, Dean of UNT at Frisco, joined Paul Corliss to discuss how the new satellite campus is making an impact with forward-thinking degree programs and deep industry partnerships. Dr. Randall brings a unique skillset to Frisco, with both military and business experience, and he's eager to help the campus grow in conjunction with Collin County. 

Episode 28 - UNT Political Science Professor Elizabeth Oldmixon Talks Politics as Election Day Approaches

With Election Day approaching, Elizabeth Oldmixon, UNT Professor of Political Science and Faculty Director for UNT at Frisco, visited the podcast to talk politics and preview the Presidential Election. Dr. Oldmixon also discussed her career path in higher education, the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on faculty and her administrative role at UNT's branch campus in Frisco.

Episode 29 - Dr. Monica Williams, Vice President for University Advancement at UNT Dallas

Dr. Monica Williams, Vice President for University Advancement at UNT Dallas, has a big job – overseeing  fundraising, alumni affairs, external relations, marketing/communications and sponsored research. But the most important job she's had in her life is being a mother, and that maternal instinct comes out in her work with UNT Dallas students. 

Episode 30 - Legendary broadcaster Eric Nadel teams up with Rangers and UNT for $30K Scholarship

Legendary baseball broadcaster Eric Nadel, the Texas Rangers Baseball Foundation, UNT’s Mayborn School of Journalism and UNT’s Department of Media Arts recently announced the Eric Nadel Excellence in Sports Broadcasting Scholarship. Nadel, set to enter his 43rd season with the Rangers, joined the podcast to share details of the $30,000 scholarship, while also reflecting on the impact of COVID-19 on baseball and his passion for music.

Episode 31 - Ask an epidemiologist: Dr. Microbe provides science-based updates on COVID-19, vaccines and how to stay safe

With COVID-19 cases spiking in North Texas and the holiday season now in full swing, Dr. Diana Cervantes – aka Dr. Microbe, head of UNT Health Science Center’s Epidemiology program – rejoins the podcast with the latest intel on coronavirus and how to best stay safe from infection. As positive cases climb to all-time highs, Dr. Cervantes provides guidance for staying safe during the winter holidays and shares her insights on COVID-19 vaccines, pandemic travel and what all this means to an epidemiologist.

Episode 32 - Dallas Schools Superintendent Dr. Michael Hinojosa Discusses Pandemic and Progress

Dr. Michael Hinojosa, Dallas Schools Superintendent, discusses DISD’s consistent progress — despite the challenges of COVID-19. Hinojosa, who earned his master’s degree from UNT, shared how the recent bond election will help elevate DISD further, and he looks at the future of teaching and what that means to college students looking for jobs.

Episode 33 - Dave Matthews Band sax player Jeff Coffin, a UNT alum, discusses his Grammy-winning music career

Jeff Coffin, a 1990 graduate of the UNT College of Music, is a globally recognized saxophonist, composer, educator and member of the legendary U.S. rock group, Dave Matthews Band. You may also know him from his 14 years, and 3 Grammy Awards, with the genre-defying Bela Fleck & the Flecktones. Jeff has released 15+ solo CD's on his own Ear Up Records label and teaches improvisation at Vanderbilt University.


Episode 34- UNTHSC’s Dr. Sid O’Bryant changing the world through Alzheimer’s research

Dr. Sid O’Bryant, Executive Director of UNT Health Science Center’s Institute for Translational Research, is a global leader in better understanding health disparities in brain aging. After watching his grandmother suffer through Alzeheimer’s Disease, Dr. O’Bryant – a trained neuropsychologist – taught himself blood science and developed a test to detect the disease. Today, behind more than $60 million in research investments, he leads the world’s largest study on better understanding why more Mexican Americans and African Americans, proportionately, suffer from Alzheimer’s than their white counterparts.

Episode 35 - UNT Hall of Fame Athletes from 1960s Reflect on Segregation and Race Issues

As part of the UNT System’s Black History Month Series, Mean Green Hall of Famers Charles “Chuck” Beatty (UNT football 1966-68) and Willie Davis (UNT basketball 1964-68) share their experiences as Black athletes of the 1960s growing up in a largely segregated Texas. UNT was one of the few Division I universities in the state to include Black athletes in this era and the university helped Beatty and Davis make it to the pros, while also providing an education that equipped them for success in life after the game.

Episode 36 - Girl Scouts CEO Jennifer Bartkowski on STEM, mental health and cookies

Jennifer Bartkowski, CEO for Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas, shares how the organization has evolved an continues to nurture young ladies through STEM and mental health initiatives (she also answers important questions about cookie sales during a pandemic).

Episode 37 - Has it really been a year? Judge Clay Jenkins and Dr. Philip Huang of Dallas County on COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted North Texas for more than a year and this special episode analyzes the long road traveled in our region’s fight against the virus. In the opening segment Rudy Bush of the Dallas Morning News joins the podcast to provide a journalistic perspective of how coronavirus has impacted Dallas. Later, Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins and Public Health Director Dr. Philip Huang join the discussion to share what went well, what they’d do differently and where we are today in our community’s efforts to mitigate the virus and return to normal.

Episode 38 - Celebrate Diversity with UNT Dallas

April is “Celebrate Diversity Month” and UNT Dallas is perhaps the most diverse university in Texas. With that in mind, host Paul Corliss interviewed a diverse panel of UNT Dallas leaders to discuss this unique campus and the many ways it celebrates diversity.

Episode 39 - Mean Green AD Wren Baker looks to build sustained success

Five years into his job as Director of Athletics for the University of North Texas, Wren Baker isn’t content. This spring his Mean Green program notched its first-ever NCAA tournament victory for men’s basketball, a conference championship in women’s golf and a perfect game in softball. But Baker says they key for UNT to get to the next level is sustained success. 

Episode 40 - UNT Health Science Center’s John Sims Saves a Life

John Sims, Director of UNT Health Science Center’s Safercare institute, was serving as a medical volunteer for the Cowtown Marathon in Fort Worth last May when he spotted a potential tragedy. A runner nearing the finish line collapsed to the pavement due to heart failure. A trained nurse, Sims sprang into action alongside several HSC students and performed CPR on the runner, a 27-year old man. In this episode Sims tells his story of saving a man’s life and gaining a new friend.

Episode 41 - Suicide Prevention Month Discussion with John Sims of UNT Health Science Center

September is National Suicide Prevention Month and September 10, 2021 is International Suicide Prevention Day. As part of the University North Texas System’s efforts to spotlight mental health awareness and support suicide prevention, this special episode features a raw, open conversation with a UNT Health Science Center staff member who lost his son to suicide. John Sims, Director of SaferCare Texas at HSC, lost his son Clay four years ago and misses him every day. Today John has made it his personal mission to share how suicide can be prevented and he makes a return visit to the podcast to help educate others as part of UNT World’s suicide prevention efforts.

Episode 42 - Play Like a Girl: UNT Soccer Star Sarah Fuller on Breaking Barriers

Sarah Fuller became a national sensation at Vanderbilt last year when she became the first woman to score in a Power-5 college football game, just weeks after leading the Vandy soccer team to an SEC championship. Today she is a graduate student at UNT, as well as the Mean Green's starting goalkeeper. In this episode Sarah reflects on her past, while focusing on the present and future.

Episode 43 - True Inspiration: Corey Borner overcomes an injury to walk again.

This is a story of determination, courage and faith. Corey Borner suffered a spinal cord injury playing high school football in 2009 that knocked him down, but not out. After multiple surgeries, Corey learned to function in a wheel chair and adopted the mantra “Find a way.” Indeed he has found a way – to graduate from high school, graduate from college and become a motivational speaker. And in August he walked for the first time in 12 years – across the stage to pick up his diploma from UNT Dallas.

Episode 44 - Forever Young: 81-Year-Old Jack Allday is Building UNT Dallas' Athletics Program

At an age when many are well into their retirement. Jack Allday is working tirelessly on building an intercollegiate athletics program from the ground up at the University of North Texas at Dallas. The UNTD Trail Blazers began competing in men's and women's basketball, cross country and track & field in 2020, and Allday says the university is moving toward the launch of additonal sports in the future. Allday has done a little bit of everything in his life -- won a Texas state football championship at Highland Park High School in 1957, toured as a musican and had a hit record in 1959, served his country in the Army during the Vietnam War in the 1960s, built a successful advertising business in Dallas, taught college courses and raised a family.