When MindsEye first began as WMRY’s Talking Book in 1973, there was only one way to get our broadcasts to our listeners: radio. As technology gets more advanced, MindsEye is always on the lookout for how to best use new technologies to get our content to more listeners. The rise of smartphones in particular has given us an opportunity to make our broadcasts and shows more accessible than ever before.

Thanks to this year’s Mission Moment Award winners, Tom Janoski and Sam Saxon, we can now do just that! Tom and Sam were instrumental in getting the MindsEye Radio app for Apple’s iOS up and running. Now, anyone with an Apple iPhone or iPad can download the MindsEye Radio app from the App Store and begin streaming our live broadcasts or any of our shows on demand.

While Tom has graduated and moved back home, Sam is still in the area and Laura Foughty chatted with him at our Volunteer Appreciation Day.

LAURA: Can you tell us a little bit about where you are in your educational journey?

SAM: Sure. Right now I am a junior studying computer science and computer engineering at Wash U. I’ll be doing an internship over the summer.

LAURA: Oh, wow! How did you get involved with the MindsEye app project?

SAM: I initially started through a club at school. Essentially, people from that club went out to a bunch of local nonprofits and asked them if they needed technology work done for websites or apps. MindsEye was one of the organizations they reached out to and there was an event where we went around and talked to a bunch of people. I remember seeing Jason there thinking it was really interesting, really cool and that it was something I wanted to get involved with.

LAURA: Do you remember what struck you about MindsEye’s mission?

SAM: I think it was how specialized and unique it is. It also seemed like one of the places that would benefit most from having an app, so it was a combination of a couple of things.

LAURA: What do you want to do in the long run? What’s your final goal?

SAM: I’d say right now I’m still flexible, but I think the most likely outcome is I finish up school and then go into working full time as a software engineer.

LAURA: Where are you from?

SAM: I’m from New York.

LAURA: Do you plan to go back to New York when you graduate?

SAM: I’m flexible. I could see myself going wherever the best opportunity lies.

LAURA: Have you liked your time at Wash U?

SAM: Yeah. It’s been nice. Of course, you know, COVID hit pretty early on into my college experience so that was rough, but things are gradually getting back to normal and more things are happening again.

LAURA: What did you think when Jason told you that you won this award?

SAM: I remember being kind of surprised. Definitely happy. It was never my intention to really get anything in return for working with MindsEye, so I think the award is a nice touch. To be able to say, “Hey, I worked at MindsEye.”

LAURA: And you should definitely put that on your resume! Okay. So we ask everybody this question. What’s your favorite pizza topping?

SAM: Cheese isn’t really a topping, is it?

LAURA: Plain cheese is an option. Maybe extra cheese?

SAM: I do like pepperoni or hamburger.

LAURA: So you’re a back to basics kind of guy.

SAM: Yeah.

LAURA: No Hawai’ian?

SAM: No.

LAURA: Haha, fair enough. Well, thank you so much!

SAM: Thank you.

We at MindsEye can not thank Tom and Sam enough for all the hard work they put into making the MindsEye Radio app functional and successful! Their contributions to our organization will positively impact countless listeners for many years to come! Congratulations on your awards, Tom and Sam! Feel free to leave your own congratulations in the comments below.

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