Carly Goeman and Kelsey Hope, both attorneys and members of the Rhodes Class of 2011, participated in mock trial while students. Goeman captained teams, and Hope even went on to compete during law school. Now the two have relied on relationships formed during their college mock trial experiences to get a new video series off the ground, branded as Ask The Experts.
“Our goal is to provide thoughtful academic commentary to a wide audience by posing important questions to Rhodes College experts in relevant fields. Our audience is anyone who has questions about the big issues America is currently facing,” explain the hosts. “We both love that Rhodes professors engage in discussions with students that encourage them to think for themselves. In developing Ask The Experts, we wanted to bring those types of discussions from Rhodes to a broader community.”
One of the first persons Goeman and Hope reached out to about their idea was their former mock trial coach and mentor, Dr. Marcus Pohlmann. “We would not have been able to do this without his encouragement and participation. He pushes us to consider how we can continue to grow our minds and skills in a way that will enhance our experiences and create a larger impact on the world around us,” says Goeman. “We also reached out to former mock trial teammates to submit questions and provide feedback.”
The production of Ask The Experts involves Goeman and Hope preparing questions for professors to discuss, recording the virtual discussion and editing the footage, and then posting a video playlist on YouTube. They also started an Instagram account, @asktheexperts_issuesinamerica, to include clips and quotes from the videos and to encourage Instagram users to view the full interviews.
Published in June 2020, the first installment of Ask The Experts focuses on race in America. Pohlmann, emeritus professor of political science, taught a course for many years titled Black Politics, and his book on the same subject has been used at colleges and universities across the country. Pohlmann invited Dr. Charles McKinney, Neville Frierson Bryan Chair of Africana Studies and associate professor of history, to join him on Ask The Experts for a conversation about the current state of race relations and to share thoughts on moving forward. “We cover questions about Black Lives Matter, protest-related looting and violence, police reform and defunding, and systemic racism in the prison and health care systems, among other things,” says Hope.
“We had such positive feedback to the first installment that we decided to create a second installment of Ask The Experts on education in America,” says Goeman. “Here, we cover questions about COVID-19 and its impact on students and teachers, the efficacy of remote learning, the pandemic’s disproportionate impact on the education of students in low-income households, and how to address racism in the American educational system.” Dr. Zachary Casey, associate professor and associate chair of educational studies, joined Pohlmann for this installment.
Although Goeman and Hope are busy in their careers—Goeman practicing corporate law for Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP in New York and Hope practicing general commercial litigation for Hunton Andrews Kurth in Houston—they have developed a creative and lifelong learning style. “It is important that we continue to educate ourselves and seek out different perspectives,” says Hope.
They add that participating in mock trial at Rhodes has helped them on their career paths. “It taught us to think on our feet, analyze factual and legal questions critically, and work as a team,” adds Goeman.
Currently, the duo is picking Ask The Expert topics based on current events. Here are links to Ask The Expert installments thus far: