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A pause for podcasts

Dr. Laurel E.Thompson, SSWAA Board Member

Have you ever been stuck in morning or afternoon traffic and still able to maintain your calm equilibrium while secretly praying that the traffic will not clear for a while? Or have you ever gotten home and stayed seated in your car, whether in the driveway or the garage, because you simply needed more time for the activity in which you were engaged? Well, these were my ongoing experiences that started during my doctoral studies when I traveled daily after work to attend my evening classes. I was using this travel time to listen to books on tape, an activity shared by members of my cohort. We either bought or borrowed these cassette tapes from our local library and we took turns listening to them. We begged for more time in the car in order to finish sections of our riveting books. So now, shamelessly, I have completely dated myself! For the younger readers among us, there were no devices that seamlessly took our listening from the car to another location!

Fast forward a few decades and the advancement in technology, and especially bluetooth capabilities, has freed us to listen on the go! Traveling at least 30 minutes each way to and from work provided me a great opportunity to voraciously consume books and enter into the world of podcasts, thereby providing an avenue for stimulating learning, while de-stressing from work, and/or maintaining emotional equilibrium while navigating traffic issues. I have been listening to podcasts for years and probably regularly consume at least 10 per week, therefore I feel qualified to recommend several to you. Since my repertoire is varied, I will recommend them by categories. I hope you will try some of these and will learn from and enjoy them as much as I have over the years.


Dr. Laurel E. Thompson is the recently retired Director of Student Services for Broward County Public Schools, a role in which she served for over a decade, supervising a staff of 260 school social workers, family therapists, instructional personnel and administrative supports.

She received a Ph.D. in Social Work from Barry University a Masters in Social Work from Columbia University, and a B.A. in Psychology with a minor in Social Work from Fordham University at Lincoln Center in New York City. For nine years, Dr. Thompson worked in administration in the field of gerontology and then pivoted to spend over 31 years in school social work services.

During these years Dr. Thompson worked arduously to develop policies, create programs, grow staff, and build collaborations with community partners to support the students in Broward County Public Schools. She wrote and was awarded grants in excess of $8.3M to develop innovative programs to support the academic achievement of all students and especially black males. One such signature mentoring program implemented during her tenure was the Mentoring Tomorrow’s Leaders Program that was initially funded by a $5M award from the United States Department of Education.

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