Ebony Porter Headshot

WOUB had a tremendous impact on former student Ebony Porter

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Porter graduated in 2012

ATHENS, OH – If you had to sum up Ebony Porter’s WOUB experience in one word, it would be impact. Porter was a work study student at WOUB from 2009 to 2012. She says the organization had a tremendous impact on her professional development, while showing her the impact she and public media could have on others.

Ebony Porter dressed as Clifford the Big Red Dog“One summer I stayed in Athens and worked at WOUB while taking classes. And that’s when I had the opportunity to play Clifford the Big Red Dog for the education department,” said Porter laughing. “It was my most memorable experience. I went on train rides and went to fairs dressed in a Clifford costume! The children were so excited to see me. I got to be an official PBS costume character thanks to WOUB!”

Porter, who grew up in Akron, Ohio, started working at WOUB when she was an accounting major. She assisted Yvonne Morman with invoices, accounts payable/accounts receivable documents, file management and organization.

“I loved working at WOUB with Yvonne,” said Porter. “But I was starting to realize that accounting wasn’t the career for me.”

After a family tragedy during her sophomore year, Porter knew she had to make a change.

“My brother died by suicide. That was a difficult time,” said Porter. “When I came back to Ohio University, I started to question my major and my career direction. I realized that life was too short and decided to change my major.”

Porter switched her major to marketing and management information systems. However, she kept working at WOUB.

“WOUB was a paying job, which I needed,” said Porter. “And I got a lot of office experience. I worked the front desk and was the gatekeeper for calls and visitors. I really got to learn a lot about the operational side of things. I also learned how to interact with the public, which was really important.”

Porter graduated in 2012. She eventually got a job as the diversity director for a high school in Philadelphia. But recently Porter decided to try her hand at entrepreneurship.

“I was always driven by how much money I would make, and chose my career and jobs based on that,” said Porter. “But I came to realize that I wanted to go after the things I was passionate about. And I believed if I did that, the money would come.”

Porter opened The Vanilla Sanders Baking Company in November of 2021.

“Vanilla Sanders was my great-grandmother, and I thought her name was so unique that it would be a great name for my bakery,” said Porter. “I started the company because I really just wanted to bring joy to the world via delicious and memorable desserts.”

However, Porter isn’t just focused on the bakery. She also has a podcast called Sis, This is 30! where she talks about the ups and downs of navigating life in your 30s. Porter says her interest in media and content creation started at WOUB.

“When you’re around it, you have to catch it,” said Porter. “I would watch my friends who worked at WOUB and see what they were doing on the air and behind the scenes, and I learned a lot.”

Porter is also very involved in her Christian faith through ministry work.

“Between baking, Jesus and podcasting, it’s been a great journey,” said Porter with a laugh. “WOUB provided valuable mentorship for me. There are people, like Yvonne and now retired Director & General Manager Emerita Dr. Carolyn Bailey Lewis, that I can still call to this day which is priceless.”

“Overall WOUB prepared me to be a young professional. I learned how to interact with a variety of people because WOUB serves a variety of people. I learned about different perspectives and because of WOUB and NPR, I got to see things from a variety of angles.”