By Amanda Schreck
SC Staff Writer
Fog was sprawled across East Stroudsburg University’s campus, and a light drizzle moistened the air as I followed Sara G. Solares to the radio station, tucked behind Stroud Hall.
We walked up to the second floor and were greeted by the incredibly warm air being emitted from all the electronic equipment.
A 70’s style green, orange, and tan, plaid couch, was situated against the right wall. Above it were posters of Led Zepplin, MTV U, and various ESU events. As Sara G. and I walk in we were greeted by Bboy Brandon with a smile and a, “There she is! And she brought a friend!”
With a handshake and introductions, I followed him and Sara G. into the tiny station on the left. DJ Dirty Fingers was finishing up his show, and R&B was blasting through the speakers, and DJ Dirty Fingers started dancing with Sara G. as she began to set up her station.
She let out a big laugh as she sat down and said, “This is going to be so much fun!”
After grabbing her RCA cables, she plugged in her iPod and was ready to get to work.
We all sat down around the mixing desk, and Sara G. helped Dirty Fingers and B-boy Brandon sign off, and she began her show with, “You are listening to 90.3 WESS, East Stroudsburg University, East Stroudsburg Pennsylvania. I’m DJ Sara G., and this is pop rock radio where we like it when you turn us on.”
Sara G. then turned on “No One Knows Who We Are” by Kaskade & Swanky Tunes featuring Lights, and I got to speak with Dirty Fingers and B-boy Brandon about their fellow DJ.
Dirty Fingers, who has been working with Sara G. for a year, said the biggest thing that she brings to the radio is, “Emotion. She plays a lot of chick rock, which I like, and it’s very emotional. It’s really dope.”
B-boy Brandon said, “I really enjoy her personality. It’s good to hear other genres of music, and that’s what she brings to the table. She’s a great radio personality, and I really loved working with her the past 2 years.”
After playing “Sweet Nothing” by Calvin Harris featuring Florence Welch, Sara G. and I talked on air about how she got started in radio.
She is part of a unique breed of students who mix their diverse passions into their education. Originally from Guatemala City, Guatemala, Sara G. Solares moved to Easton, Pennsylvania when she was six years old to be closer to family. Spanish is also her first language, and she learned English when her family moved here.
During high school her passions began to blossom, “When I was in high school, I would always hang out in the library.”
She didn’t always want to be a librarian, and she wasn’t the typical girl growing up who wanted to be a princess or get married right away. “At one point I wanted to be a pediatrician. I even wanted to be a cop at one point.”
Even though her direction in life has changed and moved her toward a degree in psychology, she said that has not changed her desire to help others.
“I’m never going to stop being a human’s advocate. I’m always standing up for people who have had it rough. You know, everyone is human, and I think we should treat everyone with the respect that they deserve.”
Like many other students, dreams and goals shift over time. Sara G. originally had a double minor in theater and in English.
She dropped theater but kept her English minor, because it continues to be a prominent passion in her life.
She’s always been told the combination she chose for her degree is interesting and unique.
“I like psychology, and I like to write a lot. I’ve been a story teller since I was a little kid. That also influenced me to be a librarian. I want to be reading stories for the rest of my life. Just be among the bookshelves,” she said imagining the rows of books and holding out her hands to touch them, “and weep openly among all the old books. They smell so musty, but that’s the best smell ever.”
Sara G. also started tutoring during her freshman year at ESU. She started tutoring for intro to mass media and tutored 20th century history.
Then she switched to general psychology to tutor for one of the teachers that influenced her the most, Dr. Chang.
She also started working for the radio station her first semester. Most of her inspiration for radio and psychology comes from her grandfather who was a DJ in college and is also a doctor in psychology, “He was telling me how awesome it was, and he had a fun time.”
She recalls the exact day she first started, which was a bit overwhelming for a newcomer.
“Let me explain you a thing. I had my computer set up, and it falls asleep during my first song. The song cuts out. I’m like oh my god. I started crying and sweating,” she said covering her eyes, reenacting her panic. “I done goofed!”
After the training director ran in to tell her everything was ok, she passed the second demo with flying colors.
She also remembers her very first show with vivid detail, “It was October 27 2012. I was here alone. It was 10:00 PM. There were people coming in here dressed like zombies. I’m like, oh no. It was the zombie run.”
Then the station manager at the time, Alex, introduced herself. Sara G. jumped at the opportunity to ask if they would like to be interviewed.
For the past three years she’s hosted a pop/rock show from 7:00 to 8:00 PM every Friday.
“My show is called pop rock for a reason. It’s because I play everything, metal, metal core, rock, pop, and I can go all the way to Lady Gaga. It’s that huge. I’ve even played acoustic country on here, and electric pop.”
Not only does Sara G. play an eclectic amount of pop/rock music, but she also interviewed artists and professors. he has interviewed Tecla, Hunter Monroe, and The Foxfires twice.
She also recently interviewed Dr. Green, from the psychology department and will be interviewing Dr. Debra A. Fischer, an astrophysicists and professor of astronomy at Yale University.
Dr. Fischer will be the keynote speaker at this year’s ESU Symposium, “I’ll be interviewing her about space and aliens and if we are alone in this universe or not.”
Along with interviews, Sara G. wants to bring in more of her personal interests and social justice topics to her show.
“I’m dying to cover feminist issues. I’m a big survivor’s advocate. I would love to cover To Write Love on Her Arms, The Heart Support Network, and The No More campaign. Those are issues that are very near and dear to me.”
Sara G. also talked about wanting to bring in one of her major loves: soccer.
Her adoration for soccer sparked when her uncle was a local soccer player, and her grandmother was an equipment manager for the same team.
“I want to interview the Philadelphia Union. That’s my dream interview. Soccer has gotten very big after the World Cup. I grew up watching soccer as a kid.”
Along with being a DJ, Sara G. is also the education director for the radio station.
“I create educational content. I’m trying to push for a newsletter that I’m creating. Things like: this day in history, word of the week, up and coming events in the college.”
Looking into the near future, Sara G. sees herself making a big bang her last semester at ESU, which is next semester.
She wants to bring a bit of her own culture into her show, “I would love to play Spanish music and bands from my home country.”
She also says the last show will be very difficult for her and will be extremely emotional.
“I’ll probably cry a lot my last show. If it weren’t for this, I probably wouldn’t have gotten out of my dorm room. This is my zen place. I chill here, decompress, and meditate,” she says with her hands to her side in a yoga mudra, pointer fingers to her thumbs.
“Leaving this is like leaving a part of my soul. It sucks – bad.”
Looking toward her last semester, Sara G. plans to attend Kutztown University to achieve her masters for library sciences and rocking the “old lady look” as a librarian.
Sara G. said broadcasting has changed her life for the best, and it has helped her during the interview process for the future.
“It makes me more rounded as a person doing something completely left field. Looking at your resume is one thing and seeing you face to face is a completely different thing. If you sound professional they will remember you more.”
Next up for Sara G., you can find her DJing from 2:00 to 3:00 PM with the rest of the radio station on April 25 for Community on the Quad’s “Peace, Love, ESU” event.
So, drop by and rock out with her to an eclectic mix of some your favorite pop, rock, metal, and techno hits.
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