NPR’s StoryCorps Features Junior Neha Sampathkumar

December 13, 2016

Neha Sampathkumar, a junior who has been listening to NPR’s StoryCorps podcast since she was five, was featured on the Nov. 15 podcast StoryCorps EXTRA: Call Me. For the many years Sampathkumar has been listening to the podcast, this is her first time being featured on it. We did a Q&A about her experience and here is what she had to say:

Q: How do you feel about your message being shared with the listeners of StoryCorps?

A: Let’s get one thing really clear right now, it was like one in the morning over the summer when I left that message because I was in an emotional place for some odd reason and I was listening and they were like: “You can just call in if you have a message!” and I was like: “Yeah! That’s a great idea!” in my half asleep mind and so I did and completely forgot about it until I got a call from the producer and she was like: “Yeah, we just played it and like Dave Garofalo, who is the creator of Storycorps.” and I was like “Oh god…what have I done.” And so I don’t even know how I feel about it.

Q: How did it feel hearing yourself on the podcast you’ve listened to for so many years?

A: It doesn’t even sound like me. It doesn’t sound like how I sound in person. I always figured that I would be on StoryCorps because I was like actually talking to someone and not just talking about myself.

Q: How do you think listening to the Storycorps podcast since you were five has helped you grow or have a better outlook on life?

A: I’m really lucky because I live in a super privileged area and I’m very privileged as it is… The podcast has made me more grateful and appreciative for what I have.  I feel humbler from it and I’ve learned a lot. It encourages me to do good.

Q: Was there any specific moment in your life when you knew the podcast was making even the smallest difference in your life?

A: I remember from Chapel Hill (3 muslims were killed by a racist man with a gun), one of the girls had done a StoryCorps interview with one of her former principals. They played it after what happened and it was just kinda insane because she was like a person who I just felt this connection with. She’s a woman of color and so am I. She was a positive person and had this great outlook on life and had a great education. Now I try to bring light and education and positivity everywhere I go.

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