Molly Seavy-Nesper ’12

Rarefied Air

Writing background helps Seavy-Nesper ’12 in role on NPR flagship show.

A year out of college, Molly Seavy-Nesper ’12 was living back home and, by her own admission, feeling “very lost.”

Radio—and in particular Fresh Air and its host Terry Gross—was a lifeline. “When I was miserable in Massachusetts, working in retail and restaurants, I listened to Fresh Air in the car,” she says, “and I remember those interviews. 

“I remember Terry talking to Rachel Maddow about depression, and I remember the anniversary of September 11th and her talking to somebody who trained rescue dogs, and I remember the powerful force of radio when you feel so alone and so stuck.”

Back then, she couldn’t have imagined that, within the year, she’d land a Fresh Air internship. Or that the internship would lead to “the best job I could have in my field.”

A French and Cities double major at Bryn Mawr, Seavy-Nesper today works as associate producer of digital media for Fresh Air. In that role, she’s the person responsible for managing the program’s digital presence—building webpages, running social media, and handling the podcast. 

Molly Seavy-Nesper ’12

Writing is a big part of her job—in addition to her digital work, she often writes copy for the “today on the show” promos that appear at the top of the hour—and she credits her Bryn Mawr experience with helping her hone that skill. “Without that Bryn Mawr ‘writing boot camp,’ I certainly wouldn't be here,” she says. “I'm writing all day, every day. I'm writing for radio, I'm writing for Terry’s voice, I'm writing in my own voice—and feeling confident to have people critique my writing is so important in what I do.” 

A true Mawrter, Seavy-Nesper describes the College as “a gift of four years where I could focus on myself and my friendships and my academic interests. … So by the time that I was out in the ‘real world,’ I was already fully formed, and I wasn't going to change because of patriarchy.”

“Being a feminist and really identifying with my Bryn Mawr experience has helped me feel closer to Terry, too,” she says. “She started at a feminist radio show called Woman Power, and so she was just out there on the frontlines before anybody else was.” 

When asked about the highlights of her job, Seavy-Nesper, again a true Mawrter, cites the advance copies of books and movies that flood the office. And, while most guests record remotely and not in Philadelphia, she has met a handful of big names: she’s met Trevor Noah, Anthony Bourdain, Hillary Clinton, and a host of authors. 

And, “oh, Gloria Steinem!” she adds. “What do you say to Gloria Steinem? I'm pretty sure I said thank you and started crying and then I was like, I have to go now.”
 
NPR's Fresh Air with Terry Gross is a long-form interview show that covers arts and issues. It's heard on about 650 stations across the country, with six million weekly broadcast listeners. Fresh Air was the most downloaded podcast on Apple podcasts in 2015, 2016, and 2017. 

"If there's anything that Bryn Mawr taught me, it's: Ask for what you want.

About the Show

Fresh Air with Terry Gross is produced at WHYY-FM in Philadelphia and broadcast nationally by NPR.