Newport News Public Schools TV and the Telecommunications Center

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Telecom alumnus Brandon K. Hedgepeth, who is Telecom Streaming Coordinator and an Old Dominion University graduate student, is once again doing what he does best: spreading the word about something he believes in.

Hedgepeth has always been the type of student who takes advantage of every opportunity that comes his way, participating in various STEM programs offered by the Virginia Space Grant Consortium and joining the NNPS Telecom program, both of which allowed him to earn college credit as a high school student at Woodside High.

Because of his involvement in so many programs, his knowledge of video production and podcasting, and his desire to promote programs that have served him well, Hedgepeth is sometimes asked to be an ambassador for a program or to speak about his experiences.

Most recently, he was selected to be one of the college students profiled on the ODU episode of Amazon's "The College Tour" web television show, and he was pleased to promote the offerings and opportunities at ODU.

According to "The College Tour" website, the show is where "Real College Students share Real Campus Stories about their institutions." Hosted by Alex Boylan, "The College Tour"'s mission is to help high schoolers and other prospective college students in their search to find the best college for them.

The series, which boasts more than 10 seasons, explores college campuses big and small all across the United States, and even includes an episode about the "Semester at Sea" cruise.

The ODU episode was recently pre-released on YouTube.

Hedgepeth explained that this past summer, ODU sent out a casting call to all students about the show. Those interested were to submit an audition tape by the end of that week, he said.

"Surprisingly, I completely missed that email!" said Hedgepeth. "I was heavily focused on my thesis prep course at the time, so I was primarily occupied with that," he said.

A couple weeks later, however, Hedgepeth received an email from one of the university vice presidents asking him to participate in the video. The university wanted to highlight a student from ODU Global, and Hedgepeth had been recommended.

Hedgepeth quickly accepted, and after about a month of preparation, asking questions, and memorizing lines, they were ready to start recording.

Of course Hedgepeth has worked in video production for a while now, but he's almost always behind the camera rather than in front of it.

"I don't typically get nervous, though I will admit that memorizing and reciting a script on-command is not my specialty," he said.

Hedgepeth has hosted Telecom shows before, and has produced over 300 podcast episodes, but those are not scripted. He found it quite different to memorize lines, but also enjoyed the experience.

"Both the crew and the corresponding ODU team did an amazing job at making me feel welcomed," he said.

Hedgepeth feels the producers did a great job listening to his story, and he was pleased they used a number of his own photos in the final video.

One thing that Hedgepeth was particularly happy the producers did, was shooting video at his house the next day, because his segment of the show is about ODU Global, which is online learning. Hedgepeth felt being seen in his usual environment off campus in addition to the parts recorded on campus was key.

"As a completely online student, I believe this added a lot of authenticity to the segment, and helped highlight my story the best."

Hedgepeth believes the final show provides a true-to-life view of ODU, which he describes as a "place that accepts people for who they are, and welcomes everyone with open arms."

"Whether you are a campus student, distance learning student, a commuter, or a completely different student," he continued, "you can find a home at ODU."

Hedgepeth said that he believes the episode captures the Monarch spirit and that he is grateful for the opportunity to contribute to the project.

"As mentioned in the episode," Hedgepeth said, "my personal mission is to bring people together. I believe the work of 'The College Tour' works hand-in-hand with this mission."

See the video

The College Tour - ODU episode featuring Brandon K. Hedgepeth
In this episode of Amazon's College Tour, host Alex Boylan brings you along as he explores Old Dominion University, a four-year public institution located in Norfolk, Virginia between the Elizabeth and Lafayette Rivers. ODU is a forward-focused, research-intensive university renowned for its world-class faculty, diverse student body and distance learning capabilities.