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U Rising podcast is back with new hosts

The University of Utah keeps rising in recognition as one of America’s leading universities and, under the leadership of President Taylor Randall, our momentum is accelerating. And that means there is a lot of exciting research and new initiatives to share not only with our campus but also with our community and academic peers, which is the goal of the newly relaunched U Rising podcast.

Hosted by Chris Nelson and Julie Kiefer, U Rising’s first episode debuts on Aug. 1, 2023, with new episodes released every Tuesday morning during the academic year. You can subscribe to U Rising on all the leading streaming services, from Apple Podcasts to Spotify to Google Podcasts as well as here on @theU.

Nelson and Kiefer both have a deep understanding of the U, both its past and its future trajectory and bring those insights to their roles as hosts of U Rising.

Nelson has more than 26 years of experience in higher education and academic health care communication at the U and currently serves as the chief university relations officer and secretary to the university.

Kiefer, who has a doctorate in biochemistry, is the associate director of science communications at University of Utah Health and has 15 years of experience in science communication.

                                  Chris Nelson

“Candid conversations with the amazing people doing the important work of the university—that’s U Rising,” Nelson said. “Our hope is that listeners come away with insight into the great things going on at the U and a more personal connection to our students, staff and faculty.”

As in the past, the podcast will showcase the incredible work of faculty, staff and students and supplement news produced by the University Marketing & Communications team and other communicators across campus. The first episode features a conversation with Chase Hagood, senior associate vice president for Academic Affairs and dean of undergraduate studies, on the eve of the opening of the new University of Utah Herriman Campus, a collaboration with Salt Lake Community College.

Also on tap in coming weeks are conversations about the development of the Utah Bionic Leg, what one researcher is learning about how dust impacts snowmelt and the idea that won a doctoral student first place in the Wilkes Center’s Student Innovation Prize competition.

                                   Julie Kiefer

“I’ve had so much fun talking with scientists from across campus and learning why they’re so passionate about their research,” Kiefer said. “U Rising will help listeners understand how the U’s discoveries and innovations are making a difference in our state and way beyond.”

The new U Rising podcast features the talents of Dave Meikle and Elisabet Curbelo González.

Meikle, a professional landscape artist and art director for University Marketing & Communications, created the podcast cover art, which features a silhouette of the campus’ iconic buildings against the majestic Wasatch Mountains.

Curbelo, assistant professor of electroacoustic music & music theory in the School of Music, created the original soundtrack. Her music has been performed worldwide and includes pieces for ensemble and solo instruments, voice, choir, acoustic and electroacoustic music, music for dance, installation work and music audiovisual media.

“I created an uplifting and energetic soundtrack to get the audience’s attention ready for the podcast’s conversations,” Curbelo said. “The sounds are all electronic with the addition of game sounds to reference the importance of the current tech revolution and the interaction with technology that games provide. The words I had in mind when composing were tech, games, uplifting and energetic.”

Brooke Adams, the national media strategist in University Marketing & Communications, is the podcast’s executive producer, and Robert J. Nelson, the media studios librarian at the Marriott Library, is the technical producer.

Need more information or have questions about the U Rising podcast? Contact Brooke Adams at

We hope you’ll listen in!