College of Engineering News • Iowa State University

A.J. Perron: Worldwide podcast connections power sustainability initiatives

Male student speaking into a podcast mic on a white background.

Male student speaking into a podcast mic on a white background.

For industrial engineering student, A.J. Perron, the goal is to make a difference.

“Once I found out there was a major studying how to make things better, I was like, this is it,” says Perron.

Since coming to Iowa State University, Perron created a podcast titled Universe-ity with a fellow engineering student. The podcast has successfully reached audiences world-wide by building curiosity around and exploring “all things science”.

In fact, Perron says when he looked recently, the podcast had listeners from 120 different countries – more than the total number of countries represented in Iowa State’s student enrollment in the past ten years.

Once the podcast hit a certain number of followers, Perron started venturing into the world of merchandising by setting up Pocket Science, a benefit corporation selling shirts, sweatshirt, and hoodies.

“It’s less about the money, “says Perron, “And more about the fact you can create a self-sustaining system that continues to provide to an important cause.”

Perron feels it’s his responsibility to make something better if he sees a way.

“My goal is to share knowledge. Science shouldn’t be restricted – it should be accessible,” he says.

Currently Pocket Science customer dollars contribute to a nonprofit involved with the United Nations reforestation efforts that gives one tree per dollar spent.

“We’re not just about selling science-related merchandise,” he says, “We want to teach people about science. Great science is for everyone.”

When Perron’s creating content, you’ll usually find him in the Digital Media Studio in the new Student Innovation Center on campus. He opts to rent out mics from the university’s Parks Library and work from his apartment when the building is closed.

“Sustainability intiatives would be where my heart is. That’s where I would like to work,” says Perron.

His experience at Iowa State so far, it seems, is helping provide a way for him to do just that.